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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Monday, 29 December

Ah, another Christmas come and gone, and another bunch of ancillary, holiday-induced activities to deal with: going out and using those gift cards (or, as we're having it, staying in and ordering shit off the net); dealing with the return of redundant gifts (I forgot to warn the wife off of my incredibly outdated Amazon wishlist, which now really just functions as a sort of depressing chronicle of my past retail crimes); and performing end-of-year surgery on the rest of your crap, which now looks a little wan and sad next to all the new shiny things.

You know: you got two new sweaters, and some of your older, rattier sweaters now seem sort of puny and maybe a little ickier next to the new guys--like parasites, almost, feeding of the newness and good cheer radiating off of the new sweaters. Plus, you're out of room for sweaters. So out they go, and they scream. "You loved us once!" But you're a grim, unflinching surgeon. "Yeah, I loved Def Leppard once, too, but things change."

Then you stop talking to your sweaters, because hey, don't be a fucking weirdo all the time, Skot.

Speaking of being a weirdo, around this time of year, obsessive weirdos sometimes make new year's resolutions; strangely, being an obsessive weirdo, I've never tried this, so I thought I'd give it a shot this year, and wouldn't you know it, the first one involves talking to oneself, or, either more or less dumb--I'm not sure which--talking to inanimate objects, such as sweaters.

Walking home today, I passed a guy who, steps in front of me, stopped dead in his tracks and muttered urgently, "Slice of cheese!" Which made me a little wary, but then he lurched over to his left and entered a pizzeria: so okay, then, muttery nutjob wanted some pizza. But then I realized that I am a muttery nutjob, and I should maybe try and cut it out. For I have been known, for example, to stand in a bookstore, looking at the shelves, and upon seeing a book I hate, hiss to the author's name on the book's spine, "You're a total boner." Which has caused (real, live, in-the-room) people to shuffle rapidly away from me. (Leaving aside the myriad of sad implications that arise when I notice that at my age, I still say things like "total boner.")

So: Try not to be a muttery nutjob who talks to himself.

Pros: People won't think I'm some creepy masher with a boner.
Cons: Does not address disturbing penchant for sixth-grade smuttery.

The holiday season of course brings with it a whole boatload of new Hollywood movie offerings, and I--as I've explained many times--ruthlessly prejudge movies based solely on their advertising. My track record is, I must say, pretty good with this method, and I have been routinely punished when I have deviated from it (I'm looking at you, Mulholland Drive). So I pay a lot of attention to movie ads, and I've come to the conclusion that I shouldn't see any Sean Penn movies where he looks shatteringly sad; or, as a corollary, where he is shot from above, walking dolefully and stolidly down a beautifully empty street; or finally, where he is shown howling in agony to the heavens, and crumples to his knees. Mr. Penn is a talented actor! He can do more than that! Not that you'd know it lately: ads for Mystic River--a film more than a little tainted by the faint (but ghastly) whiff of Mystic Pizza you get from the title--21 Grams, and so on. I'm not sure where this phenomenon started--maybe Dead Man Walking--but come on!

So: No more movies with emotionally devastated Sean Penns.

Pros: More free time to see less psychologically freighted character studies, like the upcoming Torque, which as I understand it, is a touching story about motorcycles and the tiny-penised men who love them.
Cons: May backfire and result in I Am Still Sam.

But of course, TV's endless pleasures don't end with just ads for crummy movies. There's plenty of crumminess, and at least 35% of it is brand new! For example, the hit phenom Queer Eye for the Straight Guy--which always makes me, troublingly, think of gay opticians--debuted an exuberantly embarrassing new MUSIC VIDEO to open its show not too long ago. It's really quite something, even if it is also, at times, extremely puzzling: Ted, the food guy, using a champagne cutlass? I don't think so. First of all, champagne cutlasses are deeply stupid, and pretty much only a ridiculous rich person would ever use one, because two; YOU'RE SPILLING THE FUCKING CHAMPAGNE ALL OVER THE PLACE! Never mind, it gets worse later on when Jai--the adorable, useless one who never has anything to do, and so ends up standing around failing to be witty--hits the dance floor and treats us to some of his more ferocious Jazz Dance 101 moves, looking for all the world like a somehow slightly less talented, slightly less hairy Jennifer Beals. At this point, the camera cuts back to the other guys, wisely seated and drinking, who all point and laugh at Jai. I'm sure it's supposed to look very supportive and all--"Look at Jai tear it up!"--but it really just looks like they're pointing and laughing at Jai--"Somebody make him stop!"

So: Watch even more television.

Pros: I certainly can't get much dumber.
Cons: We'll see about that, as FOX continues to develop shows.

I talked a bit about gifts above, and the wife's very nice parents had some great ones for me: a couple gift certificates, some books, and of course . . . socks. In fact, everyone in the family got socks from them--"They were on sale!" they crowed, which killed me--and they themselves were also wearing these socks. Wife's dad waggled his brightly-hued feet for me as I opened my booty of socks; an apropos phrase, I think, because they are booty socks. Mine appear to have wide racing stripes, and have little nubbies on the soles to prevent linoleum slippage, and remind me of old Gremlins. The wife got a simply remarkable pair that have what are alleged to be cute penguin faces on them, but the stitching is all wrong, and so they look to me exactly like the corpse-heads of Sesame Street's Grover. So now I want to challenge the wife to a race: "My Gremlins versus your dead muppets! Vroom vroom!"

So: Make sure to wear insanity-inducing socks.

Pros: Will make the in-laws very happy.
Cons: Will possibly be haunted by terrifying nightmares involving zombie Grovers.

Finally, today when I stopped at the supermarket to get some dinner stuff, I waited in line to get to the register, and when I got there, something wonderful happened. The guy was ringing me up, and I was fumbling with my wallet for money, and when I looked down, I spotted a $20 bill. Just sitting there on the floor. I remembered the customer before me had used a card, and anyway he was long gone, and nobody else was making a scene, so I picked up the bill. I looked around to see if anyone was digging frantically in their wallets or purses, but nobody was. I thought for a second of saying, "Ah, hey, did anyone lose a twenty?" But that seemed like an invitation to catastrophe, so, well . . . I took it. What was I going to do? Give it to the cashier for Lost and Found? I hadn't found money sitting around unclaimed for a long time, and you know what? I really, really like it!

So: Continue to find money sitting around.

Pros: I will have more money.
Cons: It will probably not help to prevent me from talking to my sweaters.

What a total boner.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Oh dear ghod. Did your in-laws talk to my in-laws? We also received two pairs of dazzling, non-skid socks. I wear both pairs, though not at the same time. I may slip some on Senn while he's sleeping, just for the horrified reaction when he wakes up.

On the other hand, we only have two sets of sheets.

Comment number: 004119   Posted by: Cat on December 29, 2003 09:23 PM from IP:

hey, wait - that's my twenty you picked up, sunnny Jim! It may be recognized by the brave invocation "in god we trust" emblazoned upon it, as well as the distinctive green color.

And when I worked in Met Park (where some who read this note may also toil) I would regularly find myself engaged in full arm-waving conversations with myself as I crossed the freeway walking down Olive from my apartment above Brooadway.

Comment number: 004120   Posted by: mike on December 29, 2003 10:02 PM from IP:

Izzle pfaff: "My Gremlins versus your dead muppets!"

Comment number: 004121   Posted by: Rob Drimmie on December 30, 2003 05:38 AM from IP:

Sweeeeeeeeeeeet...a 20! The largest bill I have ever found was a fiver. And I am the dumbass who asked around if anyone lost it. And everyone in the room was even dumber by saying "It's not mine." Heh. What total boners.

Comment number: 004122   Posted by: Stacey on December 30, 2003 07:11 AM from IP:

Skot! What will you be doing on New Year's Eve Skot?

I found $100 once (This was the 80s, so it would be like finding a million dollars today), and I spent it on candy and unknown comic books. Then a week later I found $15 and spent it on Twizzlers and Judge Dredd comic books. I do not know why I remember how I spent the smaller amount more than the larger. Likewise, I do not know why I like Judge Dredd so much, when I hate cops so bad. This is what you call a mystery of life.

Another time I was spending some quality time walking down some seldom used railroad tracks, and I found a five dollar bill in a puddle of oil. It was stained pitch black, but if you turned it into the light, you could see the printing. I tried to spend it on a commuter train upon which you bought the tickets as you travelled, but the crazy train man refused my legal bill (the only one I had with me) and threw me off at the next stop which was mind bogglingly worse than the horrible one I was living in.

I did a lot of walking that day. Later I found that the ticket machine had no problem recognizing the value of my soiled paper money, and I travelled the rails like a prol king!

I hope you have not already revealed your NYE plans, cause then I will look like an idiot.

Comment number: 004123   Posted by: Johnny on December 30, 2003 07:28 AM from IP:

I mean the neighborhood was worse than the one I was living in. I have never, and will never live in a train station.

Comment number: 004124   Posted by: Johnny on December 30, 2003 07:29 AM from IP:

What is a champagne cutlass? Sadly, I am Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-less because I live in a land of ice and snow. The Google returns that phrase only as a colour of Oldsmobile.

Comment number: 004125   Posted by: Zvi on December 30, 2003 07:47 AM from IP:

What is a champagne cutlass?

It is a sword that you use to decapitate bottles of champagne. No, I'm serious. There is such an object, and it is common enough to have its own name.

Comment number: 004126   Posted by: Snarky on December 30, 2003 08:01 AM from IP:

With your permission, I'd like to call my band The Zombie Grovers.

Comment number: 004127   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on December 30, 2003 08:23 AM from IP:

And when I worked in Met Park (where some who read this note may also toil) I would regularly find myself engaged in full arm-waving conversations with myself as I crossed the freeway walking down Olive from my apartment above Brooadway.

Disturbingly, we might be the exact same person.

Skot! What will you be doing on New Year's Eve Skot?

Going to a small party at some friends' whose apartment overlooks the water. We're going to shoot bazookas at all the boats, because they seem so smarmy down there gadding about like they're better than us, which they undoubtedly are.

Comment number: 004128   Posted by: Skot on December 30, 2003 10:09 AM from IP:

I always heard it called a "champagne saber."

Was curious and just Googled it:;;

Comment number: 004129   Posted by: Vidiot on December 30, 2003 12:46 PM from IP:

When I was a kid, I found a 100 Lira note on the steps of the Eiffel Tower. My family didn't have the heart to tell me it was worth, like, 7 or something.

Anyhow, I'm with you on the resolutions, Skot. For the first time ever, I made resolutions last year - eat more beef jerky, stay out of mortal confrontations with wolverines, and avoid international bowling ball smuggling incidents. I'm happy to say that I held fast to each and every one, and I feel so much better off today because of that fact.

Good luck not talking to yourself. I have a feeling that's going to be the tough one.

Comment number: 004130   Posted by: Mixmaster Mikey on December 30, 2003 02:22 PM from IP:

I dunno, I kinda dig the resolutions. I, in fact, hereby resolve to receive significantly more hummers in 2004 than I received in 2003. I believe this is a resolution I can get behind with exceptional enthusiasm unlike other more "traditional" resolutions like "exercise more" and "cease stalking Jennifer Connelly."

Comment number: 004131   Posted by: ColdForged on December 30, 2003 02:56 PM from IP:

When I was somewhere around 10 my sister and I found a wad of bills near our elementary school totalling about $400. Since it was summer vacation we immediately went to the nearby mall and blew as much of it as possible on candy and stupid trinkets.

That night our mom made us return everything we could and give the money to the police in case someone reported it missing. She also suspected we'd stolen it from our grandparents. A month later we got the money back from the police (this is apparently standard) and we ended up using it to buy ourselves waterbeds. A much better, though significantly less tasty) investment.

Comment number: 004132   Posted by: Rob Drimmie on December 31, 2003 05:49 AM from IP:

Once I was walking down the street, and I found a champagne saber that I took to the pawn shop where a guy who looked exactly like Ted gave me $200 (and an ounce of mid-grade caviar) for it, but then I woke up.

Oh, and Ted with the champagne sword is symbolism. See, he's not afraid to use his weapon. I don't really have to explain that any better, do I?

Comment number: 004133   Posted by: anapestic on December 31, 2003 08:51 AM from IP:

Now I'm totally convinced you're psychically stalking me, because I was just thinking to myself the other day, "Does Sean Penn EVER make movies where he's not anguished/devastated/emotionally tortured? He's a good actor -- can't he extend his range to 'blithe' or even 'chipper' once in a while?" and then I thought, "Oh God, 'I Am Sam'." Yech. I guess if Sean Penn's emotional range ain't fixed, don't broke it. Or something.

Comment number: 004134   Posted by: Robin on December 31, 2003 10:46 AM from IP:


Comment number: 004135   Posted by: Cat on January 28, 2004 03:38 AM from IP:

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