Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"If this Christmas doesn't blow, I'll eat my hat."

I'll have that hat cooked medium rare. After all my usual fear and loathing, Christmas this year was "fine." In any other family that would be kind of "meh," but for my family it's a pretty damn good year if nobody gets in fight. People were eerily pleasant. Pod people? Affable zombies? Who cares? Not I; looking a gift horse in the mouth is not my style.

I even received a spectacular gift: The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
I was soooo excited, especially to read the 20 page introduction by Bill Watterson. Watterson basically never grants interviews and I am eager to read what he has to say about Calvin and Hobbes. The set weighs roughly a billion (22.5) pounds though. Interestingly, today's Foxtrot was about just that:

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

Ok, National Department Store of Doom and Misery, I surrender.

In a particularly underhanded act Nationwide Mega-Store Hell has yet again shown me that they are too large and too evil to fight.
The preternaturally evil and devious weasels who run this shadowy company pushed back my schedule from 3-11 to 3:30-11:30 at the very last minute giving me an additional hour of nothing to do before work. A mere day after unilaterally declaring to my co-workers that Ever After was the worst non-ironically intended movie ever made, as a “treat” to the workers, Our National Department Store of Ever-Lasting Torture rented a movie to show in the break room. Being the kind souls they are, they looped the film to increase the likelihood that one could view it in its entirety. The sound of Barrymore’s abysmal accent distracted me so badly that I incorrectly filled in 4 sudoku puzzles before giving up and playing Tetris on my phone.
Ever After, showing ALL DAY at your local Vile Department Store of Eternal Damnation, is set in France, where the people all have English accents (the exception being Barrymore). Barrymore, who apparently was rendered so broke from her failed marriage to Tom Green (thanks Canada), that she could not afford the elocution lessons which could have provided her with a moderately non-retched English or even, dare I suggest it, French accent. Although since she lacked the follow-through to hold her own indeterminable accent through an entire sentence, much less an entire scene, I don’t suppose it matters anyway. Beyond the general outlandishness and predictability of the film, Barrymore’s revoltingly horrible accent manages to cause Ever After to out-suck even Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. In the movie’s favor, the writing is not obviously awful, the acting was actually quite good (if one can overlook Barrymore’s acting), and really it’s a quite visually pleasing film. Having Barrymore in it undoubtedly increased the throngs of America’s Top Model Viewing Morons, but killed any possibility of it being a kind of cutsie but overall satisfactory film. Worse yet is the fact that Barrymore’s accent and lack of theatrical uhm… talent manages to render one of the most beloved fairy-tails in the lexicon of frightening children’s stories completely toothless. Gregory Maguire’s Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister managed to rejuvenate Cinderella, so we can’t really blame the story.
While I believe the worst aspect of the movie was Barrymore’s distracting accent, most people at Nationwide Department Store of Unceasing Sorrow found the presence of Leonardo da Vinci in France the most irritating. In a fine twist, the most seemingly outlandish part of the movie is the only realistic part. In 1515 da Vinci was in France under the auspices of King Francis.

Darwin Award Winner Unjustly Denied Prize

I am addicted to yet another show on the Discover Channel. It is called "I Shouldn’t Be Alive." It shows dramatizations and interviews with people who have faced deadly circumstances and have used cunning to overcome them. The first one I saw was the story of Chris Moon (Kidnap in the Killing Fields). Moon was a retired British military man volunteering in Cambodia as a de-miner. He and his colleagues were kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge, but Moon used his courage and wit to rescue his group. The next one (Jaws of Death) was the story of Greg Rasmussen, an Australian working to preserve African wildlife. Rasmussen displayed amazing strength and wisdom in his efforts to survive a plane crash in the middle of an African game preserve. In fact Rasmussen survived with no food, water, or radio in spite of his shattered legs and broken hips.

However, the next episode was about Saul and Larry (Swept Away). Saul and Larry decided to go on a kayaking trip through the San Juan Islands, in dangerous waters, in November. (Is this a good juncture to mention that the water in the Puget Sound is approximately 52 degrees in November… or that the waterway they picked to cross is famous for its forceful tides?) In a cascading series of awe-inspiringly stupid acts the kayaker who had NEVER been in a kayak before, Saul, ended up being swept out to sea (surprise). This forced Larry to abandon him in order to paddle to shore to mount a full scale rescue attempt. Eventually Larry’s only good decision resulted in Saul being rescued despite his best attempts to get himself killed.

While Moon and Rasmussen were thrown into life and death situations by volunteering to do remarkably selfless things in only moderately safe environments, Larry and Saul were thrown into their life or death situation by their overriding need to go to a nude hot-spring. They nearly died to ogle boobies. And they admitted so on national television. Furthermore, while Moon and Rasmussen used their smarts to get out of their situation, Saul (at least) made every wrong decision possible. He even admitted that he knew what the right decisions were but decided to gamble. Now if I acted like a complete bone-head and nearly got myself killed so that I could go to a nudie hot-spring, the last thing that I would want to do is have it dramatized on the Discovery Channel.

Which leads me to my point, which is that the Discovery Channel needs to have two survival TV shows. One should be called "I Shouldn’t Be Alive": the true stories of people who used wisdom and courage to survive life and death situations. The other should be called "I Don’t Deserve to Be Alive": the true stories of people who survive life and death situations in spite of themselves.

The Penis Mightier

Recently I was on a date with a nice fellow. He was hands down the most interesting person I have been on a date with in ages, except… he happened to mention that he was at the WTO protests that turned into a riot in Seattle a few years back. He was going on about this amazing use of his right to protest and all I could think was “Golly, it’s a good thing that you were around to march in the streets, otherwise that WTO would still be out there.”

As I’m sure you are aware, I am all about the use of our civil rights, but let’s pause for a moment and think about this. What is more effective 2,000 people screwing up traffic and breaking the windows of Starbucks OR 2,000 well-written letters arriving at the office of their Senator? Something tells me that the pen is mightier than the idiots dressed as turtles.

I think you do, Trebek!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Divine Intervention

God does not want me to work.

The signs are clear.

I have been sick for like a month. The Black Death? Typhoid Fever? Bird Flu? I'm not quite sure with what, but I've woken up every morning feeling like something that cat dragged in. Every day I wake up (face encrusted with drool) with my nose completely stuffed. Perhaps a pair of Nasal Hamsters has decided to nest in my sinuses. Respiratory rodents?! Thanks Jesus, that's just what I wanted!

Sign 2:
God trapped me in my apartment. Last Thursday I awoke from bed still sick, but determined to make it into work. Finally, armed with laundry and lunch I turned my deadbolt. Kachunk! I thought, "Hmmmm 'kachunk' is not the expected noise." I turned the handle and lo, my door was still dead-bolted. I tried turning the deadbolt back to locked but it would not move. I was trapped. I went to my window and opened it, pushing the screen gently. Nothing. Rather than break my screen I decided to call my manager. Not home. Called the emergency line, they said they would call back. They didn't, I called again, they asked if it could wait till 9. "Nein."
Chuck Norris style I kicked out my screen and clamored out onto the sidewalk in my skirt, running my stockings. Thank God nobody called the police over a disheveled thief (pink underwear displayed) escaping from a first floor apartment, arms full of loot. I was over an hour late to work that day. In the car I left a somewhat snarky message for my manager demanding a new lock by that day as I had a house guest flying in from Wisconsin that day and I really could not expect her to clamor in and out of my window with her luggage. It turns out that Thursday morning is when he has his Vietnam Vet Support Group Meeting and that's why he wasn't there. Thanks for making me feel like an asshole, God!

Sign 3:
This morning I arrived at my car to find it completely frozen shut. What the hell? I finally got the trunk open. First I pulled out the stuff for charities that had been accumulating in my trunk. Then I crawled in and after pushing my way into the cab managed to use my legs to get the passenger door open. I then threw my laundry (didn't get finished last week) onto the driver seat, crawled into the passenger seat and maneuvered my laundry into the back. Then I scraped the windows and crawled back in through the passenger door. By the time I got into work the driver side door was defrosted. Yay! Unfortunately in my excitement in exiting my car through the customary door I was not cautious about the icy sidewalk and promptly fell on my ass. It was awesome.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A New Hope

Stick with me as this entry is more convoluted than a Lucasfilm production.

In addition to John Edwards, Colin Powell, and John Sydney McCain III, I have a new political crush. On a lady this time (hey, I went to Bryn Mawr, don't judge me). The lady, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is known as the Iron Lady. No, she is not the newest member Steve Harris' metal band. She is the new President of Liberia. She seems like such an excellent choice: Harvard educated, a believer in the UN, former employee of the World Bank, someone who has bravely faced a corrupt government in order to attain great things for her nation. SO exciting.

And yet I feel nervous. Nervous that all this is too good to be true. I feel like Africa is cursed. That no matter how good the situation seems, it will all end with underfunded UN troops discovering mass-graves on CNN.

But Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf gives me just a glimmer of hope for Africa, for women, I guess even for human kind.

I know that this will sound revoltingly geektastic, but there is this part of Terminator 2 where Eddie Furlong and the Governor of California are watching two little boys pretending to shoot each other and Eddie says "We're not going to make it are we? People I mean." And the Governor responds "It is in your nature to destroy yourselves."

Which brings me right around to Charles Taylor, remember that one time when George W. Bush forced his resignation? Yea, well he is still out there. He is in hiding in Nigeria, and they won't turn him over. Charles Taylor is on Interpol's Most Wanted list, noted as possibly being dangerous, and is wanted for "crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the 1949 [4th] Geneva Convention." (And now you know what happened to Charles Taylor.)

Which brings me right around to the pot and kettle. You remember that whole Bush thinks that torture is super ok, well this is a bit of a problem with that crazy [3rd] Geneva Convention.

Choice bits of the 3rd Geneva Convention:
(Art 13): "Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated."
(Art 13): "...Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity."
(Art 17): "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

To answer your unasked question, there are a total of four Geneva Conventions: The first regarding treatment of casualties of war, the second regarding war at sea, the third about the treatment of POWs, and the fourth about the treatment of civilians.

Apparently all Geneva Conventions are not equal. Or perhaps all Geneva Conventions are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Porn Title or Torture Location, YOU be the judge!

Jason Jones, "Daily Show" Senior Human Rights Correspondent, on anti-torture legislation negotiations: "It works like any negotiation.... Both sides go in overreaching with their best-case scenario going forward, knowing they're probably not going to get exactly what they want. McCain has opened with no torture, any time, any place. The administration has countered with, we want to do whatever we want,whenever we want, to whomever we want, and we don't want anybody knowing about it. So they're not really that far apart. There's some wiggle room there. And if you know anything about torture, you do not want to spend any time in the wiggle room" ("Daily Show," ComedyCentral, 12/8).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What a Feeling!

Last weekend at nation-wide department store I was placed in my new home department, department 0305, the department known as Mecca to some and as the Coach Counter to others. As I walked teary eyed with wonder into the back room to hunt down the morning’s first sale (a large black signature soho hobo bag, style 8635) I rounded the corner to find shelves up to 12 feet high and as many as 20 feet long completely stuffed with Coach handbags. There were so many handbags, in fact, that there was a pile 2-3 feet deep on the floor at the foot of the shelves. And I thought to myself “Dare I?” I did dare. I shuffled delicately into the wading pool of soft-tanned leather, their protective garments tickling my ankles and ruffling my skirt. I climbed onto the step ladder and reached up reading each style number “8601, 8609, 8620, 8625, 8634, 8635.” I gently pulled the corner of a bag to free it from its niche. All around me, onto my head, my shoulders, my toes, handbags tumbled down from their lofty perch. I briefly imagined my self as the scantily clad vixen from Flashdance, dancing my iron-welding heart out and in the grand finale of my exotic dance routine heavily throwing myself into a chair and pulling a cord, releasing not water, but hundreds of Coach bags.

My pilgrimage to Mecca will be short, I am only at nation-wide department store hell for a month more, but now I know that like Jennifer Beals, even if it is for just a brief moment, I can really have it all.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I guess you can have an opinion too...

Seattle Umbrella Conspiracy will now allow comments, but try not to suck, Ok?

… signifying nothing.

So, some of you are upset by my lack of updates recently. The reason for this sudden fall in bloggish amusement is that I HAVE NO LIFE. I have picked up a second job to pay off my car. Shockingly, when you work between 60 and 70 hours a week nothing interesting happens. Starting at the first of the year I swear I will have plenty of grousing but unless you want to hear about my trials and tribulations at un-named major department store-- and trust me, you don’t—relax, sit back and read Goats instead.