Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This Sonogram Clearly Shows the Head Inserted in the Ass

Thank you, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, for protecting Texas from its own legislators.

They devour brains, you know.
 Judge Sparks has struck down parts of the worst law ever, also known as the "LOOK AT THE FETUS, BITCH" law. The law, which was passed with mind-numbing ease by the Texas Legislature earlier this year and would have taken effect tomorrow, would have required a woman seeking an abortion to first pay for a sonogram and be forced to watch and listen to a description of its limbs and organs by the attending physician. Even if she didn't want to. Even if the sonogram wasn't medically necessary. Even if the doctor didn't want or determine a need to provide such a verbal description. All this in the name of preventing abortions empowering women to make informed decisions.

So many pretty purses!
Can I get a sonogram to help me choose?
The court determined that the law as written "compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen." Yes, it took a federal judge to come to that conclusion. I guess all the first-year Constitutional law students were busy.

"Working with Legislators 101"
 Texas Governor Dick Perry (it's Dick, right? Definitely Dick) immediately called the ruling "a great disappointment to all Texans who stand in defense of life." He then shot a pistol into the air and invited reporters to check out the rack on a young woman passing by the press room.

Texas is going to appeal the ruling, blah blah blah. But in the meantime, pregnant women and their doctors retain the right to determine appropriate treatment without involving some stranger's political agenda. What a concept. Like Gov. Perry's Presidential campaign, it may not last long, so enjoy the novelty while you can.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Does It Mean?

There's a guy working in my building today who looks exactly like Paul Vasquez, aka the Double Rainbow Guy:

He of my favorite viral video evah:

I have personally seen a double rainbow, and yes, it is intense. Even without whatever drugs he obviously had in his system at the time.

Anyway, this guy is on-site to do some kind of construction work, which seems to be going on constantly  here. I don't think they actually finished this building before they started leasing it out to tenants. They just put up a building-shaped shell and slapped some ugly-ass mirrored panels on the outside and declared it "prime leasable space." Which means "a certain number of walls and perhaps a few doors, oh and an HVAC system that functions according to a quantum algorithm we haven't quite figured out. If you want electrical outlets that'll be $250 each." But I digress.

Oh, you want windows? You can't afford windows.
 The point is, I see construction crews wandering around every week, but this is the first time I've seen Guy Who Looks Like Double Rainbow Guy. I was going to sneak up and take a picture of him to post, only he weighs around 250 pounds and likely could pound me flat with one meaty fist. I mean, he's probably a total teddy bear and treats his mother well, but I'm not going to take that chance just for a photo. Trust me, he looks just like Double Rainbow Guy without the beads in his beard.

Now, however, I'm a little obsessed with the idea that he might actually be Double Rainbow Guy. Who knows, maybe the whole living in the mountains and crying at rainbows thing didn't work out. Maybe he had to find a way to make a real living, and he decided to become a construction worker in Dallas. That might have been his lifelong dream, but life took an unexpected turn and he ended up in a tent in Yosemite with a whole bunch of killer weed and a camcorder. It could happen to any of us.

I could have been a professional snake wrangler
if I hadn't turned out to be sane.
Do you think I should ask him? Something like, "Hey, your name wouldn't happen to be Paul Vasquez, aka Double Rainbow Guy, would it?" Because I love saying "aka." It sounds so spyish. Or I could go more subtle and ask him if he's sobbed at any natural light-refracting phenomena lately. Or if he has any really good weed. Of course, if he really is just a construction guy, he probably does. I've known my share of construction guys, and they all smoked dope. Not that you should be concerned abou the integrity of any home or office building you currently occupy.

Plus, the electrical is all organic and it smells like clouds.
I think I'll just let Guy Who Looks Like Double Rainbow Guy go about his business. It's more fun to pretend he might be an in cognito Internet celebrity than to find out he's just a big anonymous dude with a beard. Safer, too, what with the meaty fist factor. But if it starts raining, and I notice him going outside, I'm definitely going to follow him to see what he does. He might start crying. Or he might just light up a fattie. Either way, I'm cool with that.

Always Drunk would like to remind readers that many drugs are in fact illegal. And many are not. Choose well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lessons in Car Buying

Beloved Spouse's Buick has driven off into the sunset. Or most likely, the salvage yard. Rest in peace, old Buick. You were a noble conveyance until the end. Except for the part where most of you didn't work and the rest was dented and/or broken.

Shown approximately actual decrepitude.
So now we have a new car. And a new car note. And a new higher insurance premium. And no garage to put it in. More on that in a minute.

In the end, the car buying process went much more smoothly than I could have hoped. Which sounds lovely, but the truth is, boring middle-aged people have a much easier time buying new cars than flighty young people. And my surprise at the ease of this weekend's transaction simply reflects my utter refusal to accept that no one sees BelSpouse and me as a flighty young couple any more. We are Stable and Upstanding. Kill me.

We were radicals back in the day. No, really.
The key to a successful vehicle purchase is working with a salesperson you don't actively want to throttle. I can't stress this enough. Since you will be spending virtually an entire day with this person, and handing them an inordinate amount of your money, it's very important that they not make you feel like committing murder right there on the showroom floor. Don't get discouraged, because most car salespeople will have your throttlin' fingers twitching within a minute.

Just like a horse, you should check
their teeth and feel their withers.
 We ended up working with an awesome Chevy salesman named David. How awesome was he? He was the only salesperson at any dealership we visited who did not speak these words: "What's it going to take to put you in this car today?" Seriously. I hate that question. Wait: I HATE that question. Better. For me, the answer to that question is, "It's going to take a freaking time machine so you can go back and not say those words, because I'm not buying a pair of shoelaces from someone who asks me that, let alone a $25,000 car."

Unless it was Kurt Russell in Used Cars.
Well, maybe not. Well, maybe.
 So Lesson One: Find a Salesman Who Is Not a Douchebag. Lesson Two: Don't Assume You Know Anything at All About the Person with Whom You're Buying the Car, Even If You've Been Married to Him for 600 Years. This is a good all-purpose rule, but especially applicable here. At this point in my relationship with BelSpouse, I've learned that any instance of my correctly surmising his mood, thoughts, tastes, preferences, or possible future actions is a lucky guess. I may as well keep a Twister spinner with me and give it a flick when I have to predict what he's going to say or do. My accuracy rate would likely double.

Right hand, indifference! Left foot, urge to kill!
We went to the dealership on Saturday to test drive a Chevy Impala. David had one on the lot, and we were going to evaluate it as a sample car and then figure out which options and such we wanted on the actual car that we would then purchase when it became available. You know, later. Because the one thing of which I was absolutely dead certain was that BelSpouse was not going to be 100% happy with the test drive vehicle and would not want to purchase it then and there.

Except that as he drove it, he got this look on his face. The last time I saw that look was when we stopped at the SPCA booth at the State Fair of Texas to see the adoptable dogs, and BelSpouse sat on the grass, and an improbable mutt with stubby legs and floppy ears climbed into his lap and gazed up at him with big soulful brown eyes. Thirty minutes later we had completed the adoption paperwork to make him ours. I knew it was going to happen, because I saw the "Gee, ma, can we keep 'im?" look on BelSpouse's face.

I'm not made of stone, people.
 So we're driving around in this Chevy Impala, and I'm noting that it doesn't have a couple of the options we had talked about wanting, like the cool buttons in the ceiling that turn the car into a giant garage-door opener or the rear seat that folds down so we can keep an eye on Precocious Daughter when we stash her in the trunk. Meanwhile, BelSpouse is noting that the odometer reads 441 miles, as opposed to the Buick's odometer, which reads nothing because it stopped working three years ago. And that the springs in the driver's seat are gently cradling his bum instead of hanging down to the floorboards. And that there is no discernible duct tape holding any portion of the car together.

In fairness, it's amazing what that stuff can do.
 But more than any of those things, BelSpouse had That Look. So when we got back to the dealership, and I said, "Well, let's go talk about what else we want for our car," it should not have surprised me that he said, "No, let's buy this one right now." But since I can't predict whether he'll like the marinade I put on the chicken breasts, all I could do for a moment was stare. I've adopted that same stare roughly 145,000 times during our marriage. You'd think I'd give up and admit I don't know this man I married at all.

Transparent and scrutable in comparison.
So we sat down and bought the car. This brings us to Lesson Three: Leave Your Checkbook at Home. This is not a shrewd negotiating technique or a way to buy more time to think about your purchase. It's a way to ensure that your garage door doesn't come crashing down on top of your brand-new car the day you bring it home.

While the dealership finance guy was sitting in the back office pretending to run our credit numbers but actually just making us sweat while he played Angry Birds on his Android for a couple of hours - you know, the standard protocol - I rummaged through my purse and realized I had no checks with me. Who the hell writes checks any more? If you look in our check register, you'll see almost nothing but entries for our hairstylist, who doesn't take credit cards. And a single yearly check made out to the Girl Scouts to cover the obscene number of cookies I always buy. Besides, if you'll recall, I was 100% positively absolutely sure we weren't actually going to purchase a car that day because I'm married to a complete stranger. So it never even occurred to me to make sure I was carrying a checkbook when we left the house.

Anyway, BelSpouse drove home to get the checkbook while PDaughter and I stayed at the dealership and played in all the Corvettes and Camaros in the showroom. Hey, how often do you get to sit in a $75,000 sports car and make vroom vroom noises? Not often enough.

After all, it was our second choice.
 Then BelSpouse called and for once said exactly what I expected him to say, which was that he couldn't find the checks. But to even the score, he added something out of the blue: "I almost just got killed by the garage door."

In a nutshell, one of the 37-year-old tracks holding our garage door had finally warped, and the little wheels fell out of the track when BelSpouse hit the opener. Not all of them, but enough of them on both sides that the whole thing was hanging rather precariously from the ceiling. The Garage Door of Damocles, if you will. The Buick was out of the garage when this happened, which was fortunate, since BelSpouse had to erect an impromptu scaffolding of random lumber to hold it up. It was 105 degrees on Saturday, did I mention that? I'm sure his surging adrenaline kept him cool while he worked.

I took some pictures of what our garage currently looks like, but I forgot to upload them, so here's a dramatization:

Possibly a bit of an exaggeration, but on the other hand, in BelSpouse's eyes, probably not.

So with this stunningly good omen for buying a new car before us, we got back to buying a new car, which now had nowhere to live until we could get the garage-fixing guys out on Monday. (No, we're not fixing it ourselves, thank you very much, every single person who has asked. I don't pay for a home warranty just so I can go around fixing things myself. It's called supporting the American economy, and it gives me an air of superiority and keeps me from getting shmutz on myself.)

The lesson here is that, had I brought the checkbook to the dealership, the garage door would have fallen off the tracks when we brought the new car home, possibly trapping or even crushing our beautiful and totally not paid for Impala. I'm going to to say I saw the whole thing coming, because you can't prove otherwise.

We ended up getting a really good price, and a really good interest rate, and the whole process went so well that when Charles the finance guy (who also was awesome once he stopped playing Angry Birds) handed us the completed paperwork, I had no idea that we had actually gone from Buying the Car to Owning the Car. I hadn't even cried yet, and it was over. It was very much like having the anesthesiologist tell you to count backwards from 100, and the next thing you know, you have no appendix. I had to check myself for scars. Wow.

So all that leaves is Lesson Four: Cars Have Become Spooky. When you go from a 12-year-old car to a brand new car, the first thing you notice is that certain advancements have taken place in automotive technology since the millennium began. We couldn't drive off the lot until we had "activated" the Impala. We've never had to "activate" a car before. We just stuck the key in the ignition and drove. First of all, this damn car starts itself. Our new car is Christine.

The consequences of spilling frozen yogurt
on the upholstery will be swift and severe.
Second, our car has its own phone number. I'm not talking about OnStar, which is freaky enough because now disembodied voices speak to us, and not the ones we're used to. I'm also not talking about the hand-free Bluetooth for BelSpouse's cell phone. BelSpouse's cell phone is a dinosaur - it doesn't even have Bluetooth. Our new car laughs at his inadequate cell phone. No, the car itself has a phone line. And if I start seeing a lot of late-night calls to Detroit on our bill, that car is going to have some 'splaining to do.

I hope Click and Clack don't charge by the minute.
 Our new car tells us what our tire pressure is, when we have to get the oil changed, whether our socks match. It tells us what song is on the radio and if the club mix is better. It gives us turn-by-turn navigation, and if we yell at PDaughter in the back seat, it notifies our parents that we're mistreating their granddaughter. It's possible I'm exaggerating a few of these features, but only because the damn car makes us feel like Valentine Michael Smith when we get behind the wheel. But since we can also steal PDaughter's iPod and plug it directly into the stereo, all is forgiven.

BelSpouse loves his new car. I love not having to worry about the Buick breaking down or bursting into flames or simply giving up and dying. PDaughter loves the new car smell. Having a car payment again...not so much. Because really, if a salesperson asks you what it will take to get you in this car today, the obvious answer is "it will take you giving me this car for free, right now, no questions asked." Which is why it's a stupid question. And why we held on to the Buick until it begged for mercy before replacing it.

And now, having stimulated the economy, I'm going to go eat some ramen noodles. For the next five years. I wonder if the Impala came with a microwave in the glove box?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Karma (Get It?)

As you may know, we've been car shopping. Now we're done. Beloved Spouse has his new car.

That's right, I bought him a Delorean. No, wait, I didn't. But how cool would that have been? I also didn't get him one of these:

What I did do is buy him a brarnd-new car the day before his birthday, which has probably raised the bar for birthday presents way past anything he should ever reasonably expect to get again.

I'd better start saving for next year.
 There is a whole, you know, story behind our car-buying experience, which I'll relate in my next post. Today is all about BelSpouse's birthday. At least that's what he told me. Along with something about an Orion slave girl costume and a gallon of raspberry swirl ice cream. Personally, I don't think he'll look very good as an Orion slave girl, but it's his birthday.

So more about the car soon. Right now I've got to give BelSpouse a big kiss and try to persuade him that I'm supposed to spank him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Video Saturday: Waterloo

Happy Saturday! For today's musical treat I bring you ABBA in their career-making performance at the 1974 Eurovision contest.  Massively dopey, fun, catchy song. And who doesn't love ABBA? Sad little people, that's who.

And in case you're wondering, if I could lay my hands on Agnetha's blue satin spacesuit, I would wear it everywhere. Especially the boots. And the hat. I would wear it to Mass, just to see the look on people's faces when they turned around to do the "peace be with you."

Long live ABBA! Hmmm, maybe it's time to watch Mamma Mia! again...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rotwang Lives!

You know how sometimes your day gets off to a crappy start because your boss gets on your ass for not doing something he didn't actually ever tell you to do? And then you get a piece of good news that totally makes your jerk boss seem about as important as that sad drip of soft-serve ice cream hanging off the nozzle after you dispense yourself a swirly cone and can't quite figure out how to finish it off neatly? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT?

What the hell do I do with this shit?
 Well, this morning I got amazing news from Bestest Friend, who heard it from Perez Hilton. That's iron-clad credibility.

Fair, balanced, and fabulous.
 In a nutshell, the 1984 Georgio Moroder musical version of Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis is coming out on DVD!

Did you hear me? I said...

OK, look, some of you are fanning yourselves and saying OMG OMG OMG, and some of you are staring blankly at the screen, waiting for my announcement to make any sense whatsoever. Trust me, latter group, this is huge news.

Long story short: Metropolis is a silent movie about a dystopian future where poor people live underground and robots do flapper dances. It's a classic, brilliant film. In 1984, music producer Giorgio Moroder (Flashdance) released an edited version set to music by the likes of Freddy Mercury, Loverboy, Pat Benatar, and Bonnie Tyler. It was amazing. AMAZING. You can still get the soundtrack, which is a slice of 80s heaven, but the movie was only briefly released on VHS  and laserdisc before becoming mired in all sorts of licensing issues with the various record companies involved. It's never been released in non-bootleg form on DVD. Ever. It's one of the Holy Grails of DVD releases, but fans have been told for years that it was as unlikely as a Kardashian eloping quietly.

I can build a hot robot, but I can't get Sony and Capitol
 to talk to each other.
 Until now. (I'm hopping on one foot here. It's hard to type this way.) Because Perez Hilton has announced (and The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed, or maybe it's the other way around, WHO CARES) that the Moroder version of Metropolis is finally being released on DVD on November 15. Holy soaring synth fills!

Let me take a breath here.

That's better. OK, now some film purists consider the Moroder Metropolis to be a heretical piece of commercial crap, partly because it radically cut the sprawling narrative down to 82 minutes and partly because Adam Ant sings in it. Hey, I'll concede the butchery, but leave Adam Ant alone!

But we're really talking about two distinct movie experiences here. As I said, the 1927 Metropolis is an undisputed masterpiece. Here's one of the best discussions of the film I've ever seen - seriously, check it out. It's a very important and influential movie. And awesome.

When you've been aped by Bender, you've made it.
The 1984 Moroder version of Metropolis is a different animal. It's fast and flashy and solves complex problems with three-minute power ballads. In other words, Moroder took a silent German Expressionist film and made it into a quintessential 80s flick. It's like Footloose set in a post-industrial plutocracy.

And you thought I couldn't connect Kevin Bacon
to Fritz Lang. For shame.
It's not the movie Fritz Lang made - although I think he would have liked the Billy Squier tune - but it rocks. It's as much a part of the legacy of 1980s cinema as the original is a legacy of 1920s cinema. And it so needs to be seen by a new generation of movie fans.

And now it will be! Yay!

But there's more! The Moroder Metropolis will get a limited theatrical run prior to its DVD release. The Hollywood Reporter says that Dallas is among the cities that will screen it. I. AM. THERE. Wearing my Metropolis promotional pin that I got because I was working at a video store when the VHS tape originally came out and I later gave to my pre-Beloved Spouse boyfriend who also loved Metropolis but turned out to be a pompous jerk and I totally made him give it back because it meant a lot more to me than he did and anyway he gave me mono.

Another deep breath.
 So thankyouthankyouthankyou, Bestest Friend, for making my day. Seriously, I was about to start another crabby post when I got your e-mail. This will take me into the weekend doing a happy dance. And thanks, Perez Hilton. You're a stone-cold freak with a dubious job, but you really scored big with me this time.

Anyone who wants to join me in Dallas for a Metropolis-watching party, let me know. We'll drink wine coolers and curl our bangs and pretend we can sing like Pat Benatar. Just like we did in the 80s.

As Rotwang would say:


Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Week's NEW Dick Perry Button!

Here's another collectible campaign button for Dick Perry 2012. Dick wants you to know that Mitt Romney would make a less way-cool President than Dick would. Hey - isn't mit a German word? Wasn't Hitler German? I don't know what they'd do to Hitler in Iowa, but in Texas they'd send him to Massachusetts to hang out with Mitt Romney. That's what Dick Perry thinks.

Be sure to collect them all! And don't forget to support your Dick!

Spot the Difference - Doctor Who Edition

Hello, eagle-eyed readers! Today we have a brain-teaser for you. There are six subtle differences between the two celebrity photos below. Can you spot them? Watch out, it's tricky! If you need help, the answers are below.

1. Watch 2. Hat 3. Sunglasses 4. Wristband 5. Left nipple 6. Doctor Who (Matt Smith, left) has jumped into the TARDIS and traveled to the year 4218, when the brain has genetically mutated to become part of the abdominal wall, forcing him to conceal his phenomenal intellect with a t-shirt. Also, the Daleks have turned into palm trees.

This has been Pasty White Englishmen on Parade Spot the Differences. See you next time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Post Contains Inappropriate Language...Somewhere

The other day the radio played one of my favorite songs, like, ever. This is not a song that gets a lot of airplay, but I guess all of Jack FM's Eagles, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Police, and Guns 'N Roses CDs fell out the window at the same time or something.

The song is "Add It Up" by Violent Femmes. It's from their self-titled first album, and I don't want to say something mawkish like "that album saved my life when I was 15," but if ever there was a time when I needed an album that was loud, crude, snarky, rebellious, stripped-down, shocking, and brilliant, it was the Summer of 1983. I played the crap out of that record.
record [rek-erd, n.]. gramophone record, also called: disc. A thin disc of a plastic material upon which sound has been recorded. Each side has a spiral groove, which undulates in accordance with the frequency and amplitude of the sound. Records were formerly made from a shellac-based compound but were later made from vinyl plastics.  

No lasers, no digital encryption, just a sharp sliver
of diamond and a cheap turntable.
So I'm driving along, and "Add It Up" comes on the radio. As I said, while it's a fantastic song, it doesn't come on the radio much. That might have something to do with the lyrics in the third verse:

Why can't I get just one fuck?
Why can't I get just one fuck?
I guess it's got something to do with luck
But I've waited my whole life for just one.

Thank you, Gordon Gano. You rock.

Not surprisingly, those lyrics were judiciously edited for broadcast. You can't just sing "fuck" on the radio where babies and God can hear it. But if you replace the word "fuck" with a half-second of silence, followed by a line ending with "luck," you've successfully shielded the young and sensitive from any possibility of gleaning the original content. And the world is safe for democracy.

Now, the interesting thing about "Add It Up" (I'm going to assume many of you don't know the song by heart, although if I'm wrong you people are awesome) is that the Violent Femmes don't simply start the song off by belting out the F-word. This is goddamn Art. As I said, it's in the third verse that the lyrics get all fuckular. In the second verse, Gordon (can I call you Gordon? Thanks, Gordo) sings:
Why can't I get just one screw?
Why can't I get just one screw?
Believe me, I'd know what to do
But something won't let me make love to you.
Clearly there's a thematic element here, as there is in all great poetry. But here's the thing: Jack FM censored the word "screw," as well. Just in case it wasn't referring to the singer's existential crisis looking for a specific fastener in a hardware store.

Just one. But it better be a good one.
Well, OK. "Screw" can be a little crude in the right context, I guess. Better safe than sorry. Bleep that fucker sucker out. Although by this point, you'd think the program director might have wondered whether a song - even a great song like "Add It Up" - might be better suited for private listening rather than broadcast on the FCC-regulated airwaves, clumsily shorn of its "fucks" and "screws." Or maybe it was the program director's day off and the intern they left in charge listened to song and thought, "Fuck it." In which case I'd like to shake that intern's hand.

But wait! I've got one more drop of blood to squeeze from the turnip of this anecdote! Here's the part of the song that played completely unexpurgated:

Words to memorize, words hypnotize
Words make my mouth exercise
Words all fail the magic prize
Nothing I can say when I'm in your thighs.

Needless to say, when I was 15 this was stimulating stuff. I was basically smoking a cigarette and basking in the afterglow by this point in the song, and I didn't even understand why. In completely unrelated news, I'm going to commit Precocious Daughter to a cloistered order of mute nuns without electricity when she's 14.

Anyway, I had to insanely chuckle at this selectively edited version of "Add It Up." Maybe now that I'm a fat, boring wife and mother and not a fat, boring teenager, my standards have changed. But I'm pretty sure my 15-year-old self and my 43-year-old self can agree that in the suggestion-of-naughtiness derby, the word "screw" finishes several lengths behind an overt reference to cunnilingus. Doesn't it? Yeah, you're thinking about it now. Gotcha.

Me, I would have left the "screw" intact and instead looped in some cleaner lyrics. For instance, "Nothing I can say when I'm eating pies." Or "Baby, knead my bread 'til it starts to rise." Or "Carpet matches drapes, what a nice surprise." Something wholesome that doesn't lend itself to filthy innuendo.

Everyone can enjoy that!
Still, it was great to hear "Add It Up" on the radio. I'm going to dig out my vinyl Femmes album and listen to it. With headphones. Can't have yet another generation ruined by the devil's music, right?

By the way, here's the song. Turn it up loud. Loud enough to make your dad yell "Turn that shit down!" Even if he lives in another state or, God forbid, is dead. And don't forget to sing along on the third verse. It's only appropriate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Charlie Freak

Here's a short, random post. I have "Charlie Freak" by Steely Dan stuck in my head. It's from Pretzel Logic, which is Steely Dan's most awesome album other than The Royal Scam, Can't Buy A Thrill, Countdown to Ecstasy, and of course Aja. I'm a Steely Dan geek, which you may not have known about me and probably could have gone to your grave in blissful ignorance thereof. Still, it's a fact.

So I'm thinking that if I expel the "Charlie Freak" demon from my brain by casting it into my blog, I can go to bed tonight without it taking up precious brain bandwidth required for sleep. Also for crazy-ass dreams where I try to drive home but end up walking through a rocky gorge with a stream running through it in the middle of a town I've never been to before. You know, that dream.

Anyway, I cast you  out, "Charlie Freak" by Steely Dan. Worm your way into someone else's head. And don't think you can slide in just because there's a vacancy up there, "Barrytown." You'd like that, wouldn't you? Well, forget it. I'm going to bed. Come my friend, I'll take your hand and lead you home.


I Do Not Support This!

A gentleman of my acquaintance on the West Coast wants to know if I can find him an armadillo purse. He says it's not for him, but hey, West Coast amiright? (That's just to piss him off. Actually it's a good thing he doesn't live in the East, because he leans so far to the right he'd end up capsizing Maine.)

In any event, there really is such a thing as an armadillo purse, and it really is exactly what it sounds like: A purse fashioned from a whole dead armadillo. I suppose if you're not from Texas you may not have seen many armadillos. They're adorable armor-plated critters:

Awww! Unfortunately, when you live in an urban part of the state, they're relatively uncommon, and when they are seen they tend to look more like this:

Poor 'dillo!  Not even your protective shell can save you from a Ford F350 in a hurry.

At some point in the past - I'm going to guess the 30s and 40s, when people loved to kill animals for fashion - armadillo purses became a popular novelty accessory. They looked something like this:

You see it correctly: That's the poor armadillo's head and pointy little feet incorporated right into the design.  Because someone thought, "There's a interesting, exotic-looking animal. Let's kill it and then commemorate the killing in the most tasteless way possible." And yes, those are fake rubies where its eyes would be. 

Who wouldn't want to sport one of these around town? Especially if it came with a fully three-dimensional head:
Or was dyed chic black:

 Or was made to look as if it were eating its own tail?

Because that's not tasteless at all.

Reminder - armadillo:

Aramdillo purse:

Maybe I could send my friend one of these instead:

Cute, responsible, and just $14.95. Some of those "antique" armadillo purses go for hundreds of dollars! Who would pay that? Besides being tacky and a sad trophy to vanity, I'll bet they smell gross inside. Ever smelled an armadillo? It's not exactly lavender sachet.

Or maybe I could point him to other animal-based handbags. In the Philippines, you can purchase one of these:

In Australia, you can get a crocodile bag ("for the ladies," as the website says - sorry, guys, you'll have to find some other reptile to skin and wear):

Then there's this:

I think this was Photoshopped so the blogger could make a point about our relationship with animals. If it wasn't, I don't want to know.

No, I don't want a purse made out of a frog, or a croc, or a kitten, or even a cow, when it comes right down to it. I'll take my cheap faux-leather bag and be glad it wasn't once somebody's littermate. And as for my friend on the West Coast: I'll keep my eye out for an authentic armadillo purse, if you'll consider trading for one made out of Republicanhide.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hello, Customer Service?

My Precocious Daughter started middle school today.

To whom do I direct a cosmic complaint?

One at a time, people, or I swear to Me I'll start smiting.
My child seems to be growing at an unacceptably accelerating rate. She was in diapers, like, yesterday. Now she wears a bra. Does that sound right to you?

Also, was she supposed to be five feet tall at birth?
Something strange has happened to her legs, too. They're all stretched out and reach the end of her bed. There's no way she'd fit in her crib if I tried to put her in it now. I knew that was going to happen - I do try to be an informed consumer - but I didn't think it was supposed to happen so soon. I thought I had, I don't know, another decade or so. Are you sure it's not some kind of software glitch?

It's just that I had no complaints with PDaughter v1. I didn't need the upgrade yet. We were all so happy with the grade school model. I remember her first day of kindergarten. She was tiny. She had a mouth full of baby teeth. Those have already fallen out, and we're having to hold their replacements together with braces. That's a workmanship problem, if you ask me. Also, she couldn't pronounce her "r"s very well. It was really cute, and yes, PDaughter v2 can say them correctly, but it wasn't an issue I would have rushed to address, given the choice.

I might have gone for the attitude tune-up first.
So now, where I had this compact offspring unit with all the features I wanted, I suddenly have this new model that I didn't order. What's more, she doesn't seem to be backward-compatible with PDaughter v1. For example, this middle school version reads her own books and hardly ever asks for help with the big words any more. She watches "Project Runway" instead of "Dora the Explorer." She helps with the cooking and cleaning. OK, I admit that's a pretty good upgrade. But along with it I've lost the ability to dry her off when she gets out of the shower. I'm not sure that's a true equivalency.

Some of the new features are interesting, granted. It's pretty cool that she likes art museums and musical theatre. It was cool when she liked Elmo, too, but this seems to be a user-friendly advancement in the technology. On the other hand, all of a sudden we can't pay kid's price when we go anywhere. I know progress is costly, but really, why is everything more expensive now?

Oh, and her fuel costs have skyrocketed. Frankly, PDaughter v2 eats like a horse. She's always hungry. And along with that, she keeps outgrowing her clothes. Which also cost more because they're bigger and trendier. What I wouldn't give to be able to put her in onesies again. They don't make them in her size. I checked.

That's maybe not a bad thing.
And don't think I don't know about the whole planned obsolescence thing. As surely as my little grade-schooler has been replaced by this goofy middle school model, in just three years I'll find myself dealing with PDaughter v3: The High School Package. I've seen how difficult it is to maintain those things. There are curfews, boyfriends, driving lessons, homecoming dances - so many peripherals to juggle. And I've noticed that a lot of the features that come standard now - like smiling and wanting to spend time with me - will become optional, and may even be unavailable for long periods. Makes the middle school model look like a pretty good deal. Very clever marketing, I must admit.

But I'm not going down that road just yet. I've got to learn to navigate this sixth-grade hardware that's landed in my lap. I'm not too happy about it. I've already discovered that there are no returns or refunds, which strikes me as very poor customer service indeed. Not every consumer is ready to upgrade as soon as you'd like her to. I would have held on to PDaughter v1 a little longer. Just a little. Because I'm going to miss her.

Heck, I still miss Pong.
Anyway, where do I file a complaint? I don't realistically think there's anything that can be done, but I can't be the only person who's facing this problem. I just want to add my voice to the tally. Maybe if enough of us complain, then by the time I have a PGranddaughter, they'll have figured out how to stop this from happening.