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Monday, 30 April
The Windy Apple!

Well, it's come time again to do the work-travel thing as I do once or twice a year. This time it's back to Chicago. CHICAGO! The Windy City! Second City! City of Big Shoulders! Chi-Town! Chi-Chi Rodriguez (pronounced "ROD-wig-eez")! America's Meatbasket! Abe Froman's Disneyland! Richard Daley's Zionist Petting Zoo!

Blarg. Despite my snarking, I do like Chicago. If only I weren't going for work. On the other hand, the wife is traveling with me this time around. Why? Because our wedding anniversary is on Friday--it's our fourth, so FOUR MORE YEARS! and then some--so I'll get fucked if I'm going to be apart from my girl for that. Also, it would be nice for a change on a work trip to, you know, actually get fucked.

And I think that I could use the time to recharge, unless you're looking forward to more scintillating posts about hot-button topics like breakfast nooks. (I applaud one of my acerbic readers who noted: "Next on Izzle Pfaff: Crannies.") It's always good to be shipped off to another town every now and then, ostensibly for work, but more realistically, to make fun of it. We get to see some Chicago friends, and we get to have a nice anniversary dinner in a pretty awesome city (even if you guys manage to elect some real fucking creeps to public office).

So: taking the week off from blogging. I'll catch all y'all next week some time when I'm back.

Thursday, 26 April
Don't Nook Now

The wife and I recently bought a nice small little pine-and-wrought-iron breakfast table set for our breakfast nook.

Do you know how many years I spent thinking God, I'd kill to live in anything with a space that can be characterized as a "nook"? A long time. And we've been in this place for a couple years, but only now did we finally get around to accessorizing said nook with a table set. It's pretty awesome. We've furnished our nook! Previous inhabitant of the nook-space: a wan houseplant that perpetually looks like I water it with gasoline. It's such a shitty plant. I lavish attention on it, and yet it always looks like something you'd find in a Kierkegaard essay. "Why won't this fucking plant die?" I will occasionally scream, and my friend R., who knows from plants, inevitably replies, "Because it's a weed."

My houseplant is a weed.

Get lost, weed! Make room for the awesome nook-making table and chairs! Now we have a proper nook. We try not to talk about the fact that five feet away, in our newly appointed nook, is what I guess must be a "breakfast bar," since that's where the bar is. It distracts from the nookness of the nook. On the other hand, it might be comforting some Sunday morning, esconced in our nook and eating omelets, to know that at any moment, it would be child's play to make a five-foot dash for some badly-needed rye shots.

Another useful thing about our new nook is that instead of eating dinner on, say, an ottoman (me) or a lap (the wife), we can now eat it on a table! The breakfast table! We are eating dinner on a table, I think deliriously. In our breakfast nook. There's an indescribable frisson about the whole thing that's hard to talk about. Dinner in our breakfast nook! That's crazy! Tom Lehrer could write a song about this! (Memo to Tom Lehrer: Please don't.) Fred Durst could write a song about this! (Memo to Fred Durst: Please don't.)

I furnished my own little nook-y/Perhaps you'd like a cookie . . . Well, fuck, that's going to stick. Dennis Quaid was in "The Rookie"/We should totally go to Stuckey's/I'm not even rhyming any more . . .

Anyway. We had a lovely dinner tonight. The wife even set out a little bowl of savory items, gherkins and pickled onions and so forth. At one point, she plucked a cherry tomato from the bowl and chomped into it. We were seated at our lovely little nooked-up table. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw this . . . jet . . . of corpuscular red shoot out at me. Having seen Platoon, I of course screamed, "NOOOOOOO!" in slow motion before this horrible arterial spray of tomato juiceseed hit me in the chest and neck. The tomato had simply exploded in the wife's mouth and blew the fuck all over me. Have you ever picked a tiny tomato seed off of the side of your neck? It's quite a singular experience. "I'm sorry!" my wife wailed, right before dissolving into helpless laughter. I solemnly rescued a tomato seed from my weird-ish epicanthic fold.

I should at this point note that, in addition to our usual bottle of wine with dinner, we had some San Pellegrino water, which I had downed at a gulp at the beginning of the meal. Now relieved of my sudden burden of tomato shrapnel, I opened my mouth to comment on recent events, and said: "HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAGGG." A shocking basso belch erupted from my abdomen; it sounded like Merle Haggard and His Walrus Chorus being caught in an industrial press.

Both of us were now just fucking useless, and we dropped our utensils in paralytic hysteria. "Dinner with the hillbillies!" the wife choked out. Eating was now out of the question, and breathing was starting to get difficult. We laughed and laughed.

Fuck, I love this nook. You know what everyone needs, I've discovered? Nooks.

Monday, 23 April
Gonzales Confined To Bed; Unable To Remember "Things Past"

WASHINGTON, April 23--Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was confined to a sick bed at his Washington residence on Monday, necessitated by a chronic asthmatic condition that has plagued the frail attorney for most of his life. In a short meeting with reporters on Monday, Mr. Gonzales pawed ineffectually at a plate of madeleines and gingerly sipped tea while continuing to profess that he "simply had no remembrance of certain things past" with regard to vigorous questioning regarding the controversial firings of eight United States attorneys.

"I don't even know what the fuck these little cookies are," said the Attorney General waspishly, brandishing a small, cake-like snack. Mr. Gonzales then wheezed audibly for a few minutes while cameras rolled in the cork-lined room that Gonzales regularly frequents during his neurasthenic attacks. He then upset his teacup, spilling its contents to the wood-grain floor, causing Mr. Gonzales a moment of agitation followed by what appeared to be the calm serenity of recollection of pure physical sensation.

But it did not last. Gonzales' demeanor changed abruptly moments later as he snapped at the gathered reporters, "You don't fool me! Who are you? Al Roker is here to eat my feet! Isn't he?"

Startled onlookers nonetheless pressed Mr. Gonzales on his attendance of meetings with particular relevance to the fired U.S. Attorneys, which the Attorney General continued to deny any memory of. "I can't remember anything," said Mr. Gonzales in pitiable tones. "Where is my mother? I need her money."

Before lapsing into semi-dazed, barely coherent rasps, Mr. Gonzales added, "The vicissitudes of life have become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory . . . "

"This fucking guy," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee in a statement today. Senator Leahy then performed a hand motion widely recognized as the "jerk-off gesture" and rolled his eyes broadly. "You'd think he was French."

Thursday, 19 April
I Shared Dorms With . . .

Gavin

Gavin, you affable, pasty man! You were a pretty nice guy, but I think you had issues. For one, you would sit in the dark in your dorm across from mine and pray to Buddha. Then you would soulfully play your saxophone. You and Jason and I enjoyed talking about music, sort of, unless the topic was Prince, which was a strange hobbyhorse of yours. "Prince is a genius," I would declare. "Prince is not a genius," you would serenely reply. When Jason and I challenged you for a backup argument on this statement, you would say, maddeningly, "I can't explain it to you. You're not musicians."

Other than this irritating thing, you were a nice guy, and doubly so for letting me have sex with Bonnie in your bed. If I have one regret about that very strange evening, it would be that, when trying to fumble with your boombox in the dark to give us some music to fuck by, I inadvertently hit the "Record" button. Thanks, really, a ton for playing that tape for me the next day. That was awesomely horrible. But you at least didn't do what I would have been sorely tempted to do, which would be to play it at high volume in the quad.

I'm sorry that after one semester you got wiped out by mononucleosis and we never saw you again.

Dale

Dale, you well-combed dapper motherfucker! I really liked your affectations, particularly your smoking jacket and pipe. Was there every any doubt that you'd join the frat that had a reputation for being a pack of baying pussyhounds? Even as a freshman, you were smooth. I particularly liked your evening sojourns over to the girls' end of the dorm, where you would offer to read the girls bedtime stories--the accompanying milk and cookies were a nice touch. With you bejacketed and empiped as you were, you must have cut a surreal figure, like J.R. "Bob" Dobbs come to gently and lasciviously coo the lasses to sweet sleep with your lullabies of Slack.

Man, you sure could comb your fucking hair, dude. If we really had superheroes, you would have been Comb-Man, or maybe just Comb, or even The Living Coif. On the other hand, if you were a baseball player, you could be Jerry Hairston.

Kelly

One day when I was loudly playing "I Melt With You," you appeared spectrally in my doorway and regarded me with a look of strange transport. "This is the best fucking love song ever made," you asserted, and then retreated across the hall to your room with mysterious pamphlets about the miracle drug MDMA. A couple weeks later, when I was blaring "Orinoco Flow," you appeared again in my doorway and stared wordlessly at me, your every feature displaying feelings of deep betrayal. Then you stalked across the hall from me and I don't think you spoke to me again for a month.

For what it's worth, Kelly, you were right. I'm sorry. I'm also sorry for my roommate's penchant for playing Terrapin Station and the pain it so clearly caused you as well. But you could have shared some of that MDMA.

Hung

You drove a Volkswagen Scirocco with gold hubcaps. Thanks for that, as it was fucking hilarious. Also hilarious was that prank you pulled on me where you put shaving cream on my phone headset and then called me, resulting in me getting shaving cream in my ears.

Sorry when I pennied your door shut and I couldn't get you out until I found a screwdriver. Also, sorry for figuring out how to redirect the admissions office phone line to ring to your phone.

Then again, I'm slightly less sorry when I remember that you insisted on constantly playing the George Harrison album Cloud Nine. Thank God Kelly wasn't around for that.

David

Word is that you had to move out after one horrible drunken night when your roommate Chris woke up to find you naked and poised above his supine head, saying "Put my dick in your mouth!" Unhappily, this is all I remember about you.

Noel

There have been times since I've been away from school when I could have used you, my 6' 5" 275-lb. rugby-playing friend. In addition to being genuinely awesome, you were also quite handy to have around to occasionally say things like "Is there a problem here, gentlemen?" whenever I happened to say something stupid to people who had a sudden interest in beating my face in. Funny how the air always cleared!

Remember the great idea I had when I challenged you to a beer-drinking contest? Why am I alive?

But it is your divinely retrograde female-remembering mnemonic system that I particularly remember, for some reason.

"Hey, Noel, do you know Gretchen?"

(Thoughtful pause on your part.)

"B-cup, right?"

Jason

Ah, Jace, I think of you still and I think of you often. You were my best friend; you did not laugh at me for not knowing what you were talking about when you said to me once, "Shine on, you crazy diamond." (Reminder: I grew up in Idaho.) You were my ally in the Gavin wars, when he made the puzzling and typically gnomic "Prince is not a genius" assertion, and you stayed as such even when I was weirdly haranguing you about your tentative foray into very college-y things like "self-actualization."

Also, you refused to sleep with girls that literally cornered you in hallways because "it wouldn't be right." What the fuck, man? I would have fucked some of those girls right there in the hallway if I ever had a shot, which I didn't. God knows if I did have the chance, I'd probably accidentally record it anyway.

Remember when we did some piddling bunch of coke and went and played video games? There was that strange fucking game where dwarves decapitated each other. Then we went with Dan to play frisbee, but Dan was so wrecked on mushrooms that he dropped like a stone on the lawn. Some time later, we got burned on some other coke exchange where we were sold what the dealer called "really good machine dust." Good idea! We took it anyway, because we were fearless and immortal and, I guess, fucking stupid.

You were my best man, once, and another of my (first) wedding party commented with an unmistakeable certitude, "That guy really is the best man." And you were. I didn't give you a tenth of what you gave me. I owe you, my friend. I called you brother once. I meant it, and I miss you.

I'm pushing forty. I have so much. But I miss so much.

I remember so clearly Jason playing me this song.

The earth is weeping, the sky is shaking
The stars split to their core
And every proton and unnamed neutron
Is fusing in my bones

And an unnamed mammal is darkly rising
As man burns from his tomb
And I look at this as a blissful moment
To fly into the sun

Monday, 16 April
Meet The Apes

This year, as with many past years, I moronically agreed once again to participate in a fantasy baseball draft. My team is called the Tearful Apes, and year after year, they continue to live up to the team name, mainly because I am a horrible baseball fan. I came late to the game--1995, to be exact, the Mariners' "miracle year" where they won 25 out of their last 36 games to make the playoffs for the first time and then after miraculously beating the Yankees in the ALDS were then bounced by the fucking Indians, for Christ's sake--and I am terrifically lazy about, well, everything. This in a league where the other "owners" routinely do things like create intricate spreadsheets prior to the epochal draft days, and which they cannily use to draft odd gherkins with improbable names like Gruntin' Cody Stubb and Yeast "The Beast" Fennel, the Licorice-Flavored Phenom, usually to cries of "Great pick!" and "I wanted Zell "Tubular Bells" Wells!" Meanwhile, I sit mutely, knowing that never in my life will anyone cry "Great pick, Skot!" after I do something like pick up some guy who just got diagnosed with meningitis.

So my shame is annually great and widely celebrated by the lovely arseholes who play in our league, and I am regularly treated to derision and contempt when I do things like pick up free agents with dubious nicknames such as "Shit-Arm Jones" and "He Died In 1978 Baker" or attempt to propose trades along the lines of "I'll give you Scott Podsednik for seven pounds of stale rye bread." And then they laugh at me, because I didn't know that Scott Podsednik is a one-legged Klansman with rubella. Or so they tell me. I don't know.

Anyway. I thought you might like to meet the Apes. Because they want to meet you. You, the fans. Here is a transcript from a recent ad spot I filmed, and is now showing on the Home Mopping Network in between Carlos Mencia spots where he's hawking his new line of joke-telling Swiffers.

(Fade up on DAVID ORTIZ, one of our finest clutch-hitting sluggers.)

Ortiz: Hello! If you can hear this, please get me on another team. I can't take this much longer.

(Ortiz is cruelly sapped from behind by what is revealed to be Gerald Laird, the .129-hitting Rangers catcher. Ortiz slumps to the floor and begins snoring mightily.)

Laird: Hi, I'm Gerald Laird, and contrary to what you probably haven't heard at all, I exist in this world. I'd like you to meet some of the other Apes. Here's the frequently-injured sociopath Milton Bradley!

Bradley: HULK'S BACK HURTS!

Laird: Thanks, Milton.

Bradley: NAAAAAAAAAAAARRR!

[At this point, the video is crudely edited, most likely by my wife.]

Skot's Wife (V.O.): Let's not forget about Johnny Damon! He's dreamy.

Damon (grainy video): Uh, hi. I, uh, I'm dreamy. Listen, lady, maybe if you put down the gun--

Skot's Wife (V.O.): YOU'RE DREAMY!

Damon: I'm dreamy! Please don't kill me.

Skot's Wife (V.O.): Take off your clothes. Now eat this pineapple.

Damon (brokenly weeping): Please, lady . . .

[End clumsy edit. Fade up on Barry Zito and Dontrelle Willis, seated on thrones made of human tibias.]

Willis: So tell me again how you're going to get me off the Florida Marlins by filming this?

Skot (V.O.): I have no recollection of promising you that.

Willis: Every fucking year I hear that.

[Suddenly, Barry Zito flings a fastball through a nearby window.]

Zito: My bad.

[Zito begins flopping around on the carpet spasmodically, his eyes rolling back into his head. He mindlessly fires baseball after baseball into the plaster walls and some players. Milton Bradley roars madly, adding to the chaos, and several representatives from the San Francisco Giants frantically enter the room to offer Zito another contract extension while Joe Morgan calls for sanity before falling asleep in a beanbag chair in the corner.]

[Cut to Carlos Lee, aka "El Caballo" ("The Horse"), who is posing uncomfortably in bed with a severed horse head.]

Lee: I've got to get off this fucking team.

Bob Wickman: You're not kidding.

(Pause.)

Lee: Do I know you? You look familiar.

Wickman: Yeah. I'm the closer for Atlanta.

Lee: Didn't you die in 1978?

Wickman: Yeah. At least I got picked up before fucking Podsednik.

Tuesday, 10 April
Ask Izzle Pfaff!

As the internet continues to embiggen, I notice certain . . . communities coming together to help its members out. Where before you had to either 1. figure out your own stupid life or 2. beseech sages such as Erma Bombeck or Marilyn vos Savant or [insert astrologer here] for advice, now you can ask several of the anonymous maniacs who happen to frequent the same websites as you for help! Got a droopy dick? Maybe FARK can help you! You'll at least get some good Photoshop jokes. Got a fellow marine biologist who always farts in the diving bell? Hie thee hence to Yahoo! Answers for several pages of "LOL FARTZ" comments! Or you can always head to the cream of the crop, Ask Metafilter--disclaimer: I am a member--for the best of the best. On AskMe (as it is known), you can always count on the bottom line, the best research, the most cogent analysis from an impressive crowd of people you've never met and have no reason to trust.

But that's mean. AskMe is often quite an amazing resource; it's made even more impressive by the fact that this "community" of thousands of sun-deprived gripers frequently give good advice. Predictably, however, you have to wade through pounding waves of horrible bullshit to find it. And then, when you do find it, you have to sit there a moment and worry about the fact that this community--like all communities--is filled with a colorful band of assholes, half of whom hate the other half; a full two-thirds who are illiterate or insane; an unidentifiable portion who are basement-dwelling hate-wraiths; ten percent who are axe-grinding creeps, possibly with real axes; and your average random smattering of mean-spirited shitheads. But somewhere in there are some good answers! Usually.

Well, I figured, I can do this. I can give shitty advice and nonfactual answers! I do it all the time. "Hey, Skot, what's up? I got a fucking parking ticket," someone might say. And my reply would be, "I guess you shouldn't have parked like a goddamn idiot." See? And maybe next time they won't! I was born for this. So I asked several friends to send me in some questions for me to answer. I can't wait to enrich their lives. And since you're reading this, yours.

Dear Skot,

I want to make a mix tape for my gal. She really likes Richard Thompson, Diamanda Galas, Yma Sumac and Chylandyk throat singing. Any suggestions?

You sound depressed. Have you considered therapy? I am not a doctor, and this should not be taken as medical advice.

(Look, don't tell anyone I said this, but seriously, she's fucked up.)

Dear Skot,

I saw this movie once about a robot chick that fucked a dude. It's driving me crazy. I think it came out in the 80s.

You are thinking of the immortal Cherry 2000, which starred Melanie Griffith, Harry Carey Jr. and a young Laurence Fishburne as "Glu Glu Lawyer." I have yanked it countless time to this timeless piece of smut.

Alternatively, you are thinking of Body Double, which starred Melanie Griffith, Craig Wasson and Dennis Franz, in which she robotically fucks some guy and admonishes him not to come on her face.

Or, now that I think about it, you may be remembering Shining Through, which starred Melanie Griffith, Liam Neeson and Joely Richardson, in which Griffith claws up your pantsleg, scrabbles at your crotch and screams, "This is an important movie!" right before you wake up in a cold sweat, thinking about that one time that friend of yours actually watched this movie and told you about it.

Dear Skot,

Remember that one time? Wasn't that the best?

Yeah. No.

Dear Skot,

I've always been a big girl, and really, I'm cool with that. The thing is, I've met this guy--he's skinny--and while we click so well, I can't help but wonder if he's just a "chubby chaser." I really like him a lot, and I like myself a lot, just the way I am, but sometimes I can't help but feel like I'm his little fetish project. I don't know if I'm being silly or what. I want to trust him! But I don't know how. Help!

Lose some weight, widebody. Gross.

Dear Skot,

Hi. So a lot of people wouldn't even think I have anything to complain about, but here's the thing: I'm a pretty college girl, blonde, no trouble getting attention, about 5 foot 9, 105 pounds. I'm pretty happy, get a lot of dates, but a lot of times, it feels like my heart is a lawnmower engine and that I might fall over and die into my pallet full of dry crackers! Is there something wrong with me?

There sure is. You have an eating disorder, fatstuff. Get some exercise and for God's sake, consult a nutritionist for some serious advice on how to drop some of those extra pounds. And can we lose the "victim" tone? That's not attractive to anybody.

Dear Skot,

So I've been seeing this guy on the side. He's all I want in a mate: he's a famous, wealthy, piratical glass artist from right here in the great Pacific Northwest. The bullet is, he loves handjobs, and I love to administer them. The problem is, he comes so hard! He's always blasting out my tracklights with his freaky ejaculations! He never offers to pay for the replacement bulbs. What's the best way to approach him about this? I'm tired of making lame excuses to Home Depot about always replacing these things.

Tie him to the bed, put on Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights, and say "Now think about what you've done!" Then leave him there to die.

(This is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer.)

Dear Skot,

I wake up. I go to work. I come home. I eat. And that's all I've got. This is no way to live. What do I need to do?

Ouch. This is a tough one. Have you considered making a fun mix tape?

Thursday, 05 April
Here Comes The Prejudge

Hollywood never sleeps! It just occasionally dozes, and when it does, then all of its foul, misbehaving children immediately sneak out the window and into theaters where they then grope us and engage in all kinds of hideous cinematic frottage. For some reason, this always seems to happen right between Christmas and the summer blockbuster season. My only conclusion is that Hollywood executives cope with the post-holiday blues by drinking heavily, since no sober person could possibly decide that these movies are good or marketable or even tolerable.

Year of the Dog

This movie's riveting plot synopsis on IMDB is "A secretary's life changes in unexpected ways after her dog dies."

This movie's ad tagline is "Has the world left you a stray?"

LINE UP, EVERYBODY!

This movie, with Molly Shannon, Laura Dern, John C. Reilly and Peter Sarsgaard, appears to be Mystic Pizza, but with dead dogs instead of Annabeth Gish and Julia Roberts, and really, that might be an improvement. Unfortunately, I still wouldn't watch Mystic Pizza again even with the really audience-friendly inclusion of dead dogs, so . . . yeah, nobody will watch this.

The Reaping

Hey, not for nothing, but this movie is currently meriting a whopping 5% rating at RottenTomatoes.com. Oh boy!

I don't see why this should be, since the ads for this film strongly suggest that the hideous meat-golem Hilary Swank gets eaten by locusts, and fuck, I'd watch that. I'd buy that video. And I'd watch it on half-speed for hours on end, if it were sufficiently graphic.

Yet another alleged horror movie themed on the Biblical plagues, The Reaping appears to be just about as useless and unasked-for as the stunningly pointless remake of The Omen. You'll know exactly what's going to happen each and every moment, because you've seen this film a million times before. Remember Demi Moore's horrid The Seventh Sign? No? Then by all means, see this film. It's the same thing, except when you watch this one, instead of anxiously hoping for the lead actress to take off her shirt, you'll hope for the opposite. (Assuming you are a teenaged male, which I clearly still am.)

BONUS POINT: Also starring William Ragsdale, aka Charley Brewster from Fright Night! Boy, that was a terrible movie, but not as bad as this one will be. Welcome back, Mr. Ragsdale!

EXTRA BONUS POINT: Some IMDB member comments: "Instead of paying for this, go and buy or rent Signs." Wow. Since Signs is an astonishingly horrible pile of unwatchable shite, that's saying something.

Are We Done Yet?

Now this is the movie you want for pure, unadulterated horror. Answering the question that nobody ever asked--"Who wants a sequel to Are We There Yet?"--this movie is this year's Cheaper by the Dozen 2, a chilling disaster followup that resembles nothing so much as a dog returning to eat its own vomit. Rumor has it that there is a scene where the hilarious Ice Cube--noted for his comedic talents--falls down and/or makes faces. Also, John C. McGinley (CAN WE GIVE THIS GUY SOMETHING BETTER TO DO THAN "SCRUBS" AND THIS SHIT?) plaintively looks into the camera at one point and mouths "Please help me."

I can't wait for the third installment in this horrible series, entitled Am I Dead Yet?

The Hoax

From the cast list:

Richard Gere
Alfred Molina
Hope Davis
Marcia Gay Harden
Stanley Tucci
Julie Delpy
Eli Wallach

I thought for a while that this was a comedy project with the working title "Who Wants To Humiliate Richard Gere?" where the director surrounded the poor man with vastly superior actors and watched what happened. But then I noticed that the director is Lasse Halstrom, who has no identifiable sense of humor at all, and I was crushed.

Then I saw that Zeljko Ivanek is in it and I was cheered for a moment. That guy just doesn't look like a Zeljko to me! He's peachy.

BONUS POINTS: This will surely be the finest movie released this year that was filmed in Armonk, New York.

Slow Burn

This movie--which has been rotting in the can for about two years--carries the tagline albatross "The truth is just a trick of light."

My response: "God, fuck you."

Oh, what am I saying? Ray Liotta doesn't do bad movies. He's quality! I cite Smokin' Aces and Wild Hogs! Hey, what's up next for Ray?

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Director: Uwe Boll

Cast List:

Jason Statham
Jonathan Rhys-Davies
Ray Liotta
Matthew Lillard
Leelee Sobieski
Burt Reynolds
Ron Perlman
Claire Forlani
Kristanna Loken

Oh my God. What does it say about me that I'd rather watch this film than Slow Burn?

Who wouldn't?

Monday, 02 April
Alone Again, Or What?

The wife's play has opened, and so I continue to enjoy some private time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This is ostensibly a good thing--it does one good to spend some time every now and then by oneself. Or so I'm told.

The real truth? I fucking bore myself silly.

It's an odd thing. When I've been spending time alone at home when she's off performing, I've been doing the same things I do when she's here: watching piteously bad police procedurals; watching woeful, dreary horror movies; reading my idiotic comic books; reading dreadful novels. (I just tonight finished up Hannibal Rising. Why? Because I read all the other ones, for Christ's sake, yes, even Harris' spirited "fuck you, nagging fans!" that was the rapturously stupid Hannibal. Anyway, as you can guess, it stinks.)

So I'm not doing anything different while the wife is off being the artiste. So why am I so fucking bored with myself? Why do I sit here with the blood roaring in my temples, staring at yet another "Law & Order" rerun or a copy of Iron Man Vs. Chemoglobin and think, Hey, me? You are fucking boring.

I could call friends. I do have them, and I love them. But I don't call them. Normally, I don't have to. I have my wife! (My friends don't call me, either, and I wouldn't if I were them. After all, fuck me: I never call. I have a cell phone that exists solely for me to be able to say, "I have a cell phone." It literally serves no other purpose.)

The thing is, I like being able to watch terrible visual media or read insulting literary refuse while my wife is with me. I'm not sure why, and I don't mean to sound corny or sappy about it. But it makes a difference. Maybe it's just the simple animal comfort of proximity; maybe it's the knowledge that at any time, I can turn to her and say something like "Iron Man is an irritating choad," and be met with a polite, "Well, all right."; or being able to share giggles over astonishing and confusing entities such as David Caruso and the Seattle Mariners.

(Now I kind of want David Caruso to coach the Mariners. He can stare at Adrian Beltre with those dead-reptile eyes of his and whip off his sunglasses to croak, "Let's see some hustle out there, Adrian," and Beltre will jovially blap, "Sure thing, skip!" right before he strikes out swinging and loses control of his bat and it sails into the stands and kills a mother of three, and then David Caruso stonily arrests him with some pithy quip like, "Sometime, coaching can be murder." YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!)

On Friday night, I had had enough of me. Me, I said, for God's sake, let's just go to the bar. Me and me had a deal, and so I went down to my new favorite bar, which is helpfully a block away from my apartment. It's about a year old, and I love it; I am sad to say that it has replaced my former favorite place, a faceless thing of a place that charmingly refused to do things like wash its walls. The first straw was when they removed the awful Megatouch machines; the second was when I was recently served a martini with tiny winged insects in it and was told, "They must be in the olives." Must they? Say, I think I'll have a beer.

The new place is much more upscale, done in dark wood tones, dim lighting and a somewhat forced Asian feel. It is a scratch bar, which I love ("We have a cranberry moat out back! Let me go stomp you some juice!"), and their drinks are refreshingly creature-free. They also feature wonderful bartenders who are not at all reluctant to tell you entertaining stories about how last night they got ripped up on some horrific Cambodian whiskey that was laced with methamphetamine and then discovered cellphone evidence of a late-night call to a sex line.

They also enjoy coming up with fanciful drinks with names like Bit of Guv'nor's Time?, Teenager's Lament and Ina Garten's Self-Satisfied Chuckle, and these drinks, though typically Baroque in construction, are unfailingly delicious, and usually feature unusual elements such as port, or Chartreuse, or Xylene. It all sounds very fussy and too-much, but it is not, and I adore this place. So I went.

I seated myself at the bar and fiddled momentarily with my cell phone, making sure that it still was in good useless working order: this is the lonely dance of the unaccompanied person at a bar. Fuck with your cellphone, make it look like you're staring at text messages or something, so you don't look so pathetic. Meanwhile, you are doing something pathetic like playing Canal Control. Which I was.

The other thing the unaccompanied person at a bar does: people-watch. After E., my good bartender, brought me my delicious Thicket of Dense Reasoning (gin, muddled dill, cucumber garnish), I began scoping out my companions at the bar. I was seated near two young ladies enjoying a night on the town; whenever E. would inquire if their drinks were okay, did they need another round, etc., they would titter and coo at him shamelessly. "Would you date him?" one asked the other while E. made their drinks. "I'd fuck him," replied the other, and they broke into laughter that rose to the ceiling like flushed, terrified birds. I stared into my drink and then fumbled with my cell phone again, pretending it was doing something of interest.

A few minutes later, the ladies ordered two shots of something that they called "Killer Bees," and I noticed with clinical detachment that they involved Jagermeister and some other hellbrew that I couldn't identify. By this time, I was working on another house drink called One Thousand Tears of a Tarantula (12-year rum, blood orange, flensed whale blubber, bitters), so maybe I can't say anything, but an icy shudder ran down my spine. After these nightmares, they finally called for E. to settle up. As they regarded their bill with fixed concentration, one clawed at her purse and produced a pen.

"I love these pens. They are so inky."
"They are awesomely inky. They're the inkiest."
The first girl then tunelessly sang: "IIIIIIIIIINKYYYYYYYY PEEEEEEEEEEEENS!"

I finished my drink, and settled up with E., tipping him well, of course. (You don't take care of your bartender? You're a fool.) It was time to go. My girl was coming home soon, and I didn't have to be bored any more.










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