skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com
Wednesday, 24 October
Viva Lost Hours From My Life!
Okay, so about a week ago the wife weirdly decided to leave the house for some cultcha--she removed herself in order to go see a production of Twelfth Night. Fuck that, I said. I stayed home so I could see CSI. Which as we all know is the Shakespeare of our time, except for "Prospero" insert "Gil Grissom," and for "dramatically drowns books of magic" insert "clinically observes blowflies." I did this because I am America's greatest hero.
So I saw that, and because I am almost pathologically sedentary, I also left the TV on when the program ended.
That's when everyone else in the world sensibly turned off their televisions. But I did not! I stuck around. You fucking cowards.
That's when Viva Laughlin started, and my eyes were opened. Glued open, practically, except for the parts that I simply couldn't watch out of shame and embarrassment.
Where to start? Oh, the title, I guess. Viva Laughlin? Are you kidding me? This show was apparently ripped off from some unloved BBC show, and this is the American title they come up with. What's next, CBS? Hubba Hubba, Walla Walla! Holy Fucking Shit, Davenport! My Ankles Hurt, Grangeville!
This . . . thing . . . which has already been nuked was purportedly a musical drama. This despite the fact that two of the principal actors demonstrated no singing skills whatsoever. More on this in a minute.
It also inexplicably had the very charming, very talented Hugh Jackman in it. Jackman's character's introduction was to sing the song "Sympathy for the Devil" as he strutted through his hot-ass casino. But here's the thing. They just played the Rolling Stones song behind him while he sang along. In other words, the show displayed an incredibly accomplished song-and-dance man basically singing along (nearly inaudibly) with the radio while grooving to some seriously uninspired dance moves. They hired Hugh Jackman to sing and dance, and then hamstrung not only his singing but also his dancing. It was the weirdest thing in the world. It was like hiring Rowdy Roddy Piper to sit quietly in a chair and calmly read from the encyclopedia entry about "professional wrestling."
It got much, much worse. I mean, even when utterly crippled by production bear traps, a pro like Jackman still isn't going to look too stupid. Other people?
Well, it would be nice if they could sing. The main guy--it's also telling that Jackman wasn't "the main guy"--displayed no evidence of singing talent whatsoever. But since he was also singing along with Elvis, it was hard to tell. (But I'm pretty sure that the guy could not sing at all. I know whereof I speak, as I myself am a depressingly horrible singer.)
The whole show opened with him singing along with "Viva Las Vegas." Remember that this show is--was--called "Viva Laughlin." Anyway. The man could not sing. I think. And even if he could? WHO FUCKING CARES? This is one of the most worthless songs Elvis ever recorded; Elvis at his pandering worst. (Frankly, I hate Elvis. I'm like the Chuck D. of hating Elvis, only I'm white and stupid and I also can't rap.) "Viva Las Vegas" is simply "Copacabana," except that "The King" recorded it, and therefore it is good. Fuck that horrible song. Fuck this whole show! I thought. It's so awesome! I thought moments later. I'm not good for me, obviously.
It got worse.
Did you know Melanie Griffith was in this . . . object? Did you know that Melanie Griffith trying to sing is a lot like listening to macaques being burned to death? Did you know that Melanie Griffith attempting to be sexy any more is a lot like watching a Sci-Fi channel movie called "Attack of the Deteriorating RealDoll"?
Melanie Griffith "sang" "One Way or Another"--again, with the full original song playing behind her, thank God--while doing some hideous seductive routine at the main guy, who mostly hung onto his tie for dear life and tried not to look too mortified.
"ONE WAY! OR ANOTHER! I'M GONNA GETCHA!" squealed Griffith in her patented moron-slash-babydoll voice, looking about as sexy as Will Ferrell dry-humping a rancid ham. (I assume that that is the premise of his next movie.) The only thing I can think of more horrifying than that scene, frankly, was her whore turn in Body Double where she insisted to her client that he must not come on her face.
I'm really going to miss this show.
Monday, 22 October
The Doctor Is: APPALLING
I took Friday off so I could go to a WHOLE NEW MEDICAL FACILITY to get my LIVER ULTRASOUND! It was a BANNER DAY! They put out a REAL BANNER, and it flapped GAILY IN THE WIND! It said "SKOT'S BIG LIVER DAY! BRING ONIONS!"
When I got to the waiting room to . . . wait, I was confronted with one of those "take a number" little displays, complete with little plastic numbered tabs. Hanh? Take a number? I hope I come out of this with either some corned beef or a new driver's license, I thought.
After my "intake interview," which sounded wonderfully ominous, but wasn't, someone showed up more or less instantly to escort me to my room, which was moodily lit in a Blade Runner-ish way. Maybe I was going to get fucked by Daryl Hannah! Or killed by Roy Batty!
Or, more likely, an unremarkable tech was going to slather my thorax with surprisingly warm goo and then jam a little robo-phallus into my ribs for about forty minutes, which is somewhere in between. "It's kind of like a formula warmer," said Pat, my tech, of said warm goo, apropos of not much.
I asked Pat if she was allowed to let me know if she saw anything worth screaming about on my scan, and she stuttered. "I, I--I only take pictures. Doctor Marx will take a look and let you know what he sees. My job is to take the best pictures I can." There was silence for a moment. "No," she said in a small voice.
"It's cool," I said. "I'm a pain in the ass," I explained further.
"We're going to look at your pancreas and gall bladder too," she said in reply. She gouged me again, and I didn't say anything.
"I never think about my gall bladder," I said, witlessly. "That's good," she cooed. You're a pain in the ass, I assume she thought.
Our porny adventure continued on for a while, complete with sentences like, "Let's roll you over so we can get a side view." Also: "Oh, don't worry, I see pubic hair all the time."
BOM CHICKA WOW
After a while of this, she gave me a towel to wipe up all the goo, which, really, if I'm wiping up goo? It would have been nice to have a decent reason for. In this case, I was just goo-covered for unpleasant reasons. Wiping up sticky residue should always be after an orgasm, frankly. But I was neither motivated nor confident in my ability to talk my way into a handjob at this point anyway. I glumly toweled off my fish-white gut.
Presently the terrifying Dr. Marx was escorted in. Here's a rough approximation of what he said, in utter machine-gun cadence:
"I have looked at your films and I do not see scary things like cancer or robots or dog faces [I actually have no idea what he said at this point, so I'm filling in] and I will talk to your doctor about this but there are maybe some fatty deposits but you can have a good day."
He stood stoically after that while I processed that whole bit.
"I . . . that sounds like good news!" I stammered.
"You have a good day!" he yelled again. Then he left.
I stared at the tech. "He's very . . . succinct," I said. "He sure is!" replied the goo-tech. Then she showed me out.
Good Lord, fuck all this. I'm happy to live with my neuropathic silliness if I don't have to confront any more terrifying Politburo doctors.
I have trouble eating soup, for God's sake. None of this is worth it. YOU HEAR ME, SOUP? YOU DON'T FREAK ME OUT.
I have watched Viva Laughlin. I will not be intimidated by soup.
Next entry: Viva Laughlin. It was like soup, only one thousand maniacs came in it. Also, it's cancelled. Yay!
Next entry: Holy fucking hell, did anyone else see Viva Laughlin?
Monday, 15 October
Oh, these are heady times! Our 1/2 month rent check should have been deposited today, so in theory, we should have access to the new apartment after tomorrow. I can't wait to roll around naked on the new Berber carpeting! (I knew it was Berber instantly after my wife told me that's what it was.) I'm going to stick my dick in the dryer! I'm going to take three shits in our three toilets! I'm going to stick a baby into our baby-sized "parcel box!" Hey, can I borrow a baby?
You can imagine how things have been here in to soon-to-be-ex-place. Packing central. By which I mean: we haven't packed one goddamn thing. But I have an explanation. The explanation is, I hate packing, because packing fucking sucks.
I have a closet shelf full of fucking vinyl. These poor records haven't seen the light of day for nearly five years, and I don't really feel like fucking around with them. They're heavy, they're dusty, and they're outdated technology. These albums are basically an M1 Abrams tank sitting in my fucking closet. Fuck you, vinyl.
Here's something else, something I know that more than one of you can cop to: in our "second bedroom"--that is, "room in which we just throw all of our shit in"--contains boxes from the last time we moved and never bothered to unpack. Stacks of the damn things. At some point, we got comfortable, and one day there we were, unpacking, and we opened a box, and the first thing we saw was some old textbook like History of Costume Design, and yelled "UGH!" and then said, "I'm not unpacking this fucking thing." And there they sit today.
I know for sure that I have a box in there with a little Darth Vader action figure in it. He shares space with an off-brand Walkman thing from 1985 and a Fiend Folio that I stole from some genius who was smart enough to get me to take it off his hands. The last time I looked in the box, it had some melted candy in it that got all over everything, including some embarrassing college photos, and I just sealed the fucker up because I couldn't stand to go through it.
I blame our society. America has conditioned me to save things like pipe cleaner sculptures, Christmas stork statuettes and old poems I wrote when I was stoned that say things like "Loneliness/Is like a hole/In my heart . . . "
The poem page also featured, inexplicably, a drawing of mine of a birthday cake that was lettered: "R O U N D." I shivered and tore the horrible thing up.
Anyway, it's time for another purge. I think if I can bear to load all of that goddamn vinyl into the car, I'll just sell that fucking shit off to some greasy Luddites who wail about the cold death of vinyl and weep bitter tears whenever anyone says "MP3." I know that someone will enjoy the vast collection of New Wave dead media. And I suppose it's time to let go of my extensive collection of dreary fiction and non- that I never bother to look at any more--why do I still have Alan Schneider's Entrances? I'm never going to read it again. Kurt Anderson's extremely dated Turn of the Century? Let it go, Skot . . . Spy Magazine isn't coming back. Jonathan Lethem's last novel? It was fucking horrible.
Gilligan's Wake? Unreadable. Look at all these terrible books! They're heavy!
Fuck moving. We can't wait, of course. If only we could get started.
We have this diseased bath mat that looks like Maenads fucked on it, ate it, and then shat it out. The wife has assured me that she is pitching it. We need to embrace this particular line of thought. This bath mat is where hope goes to die, and it is doomed. I must become ruthless about these terrible things that possess us even as we possess them.
I'm looking at you, pestilent houseplant. You're in my sights, dingy hand towels. Sleep lightly, belts I hate.
You're all on notice.
On the other hand, you might all just end up in some fucking boxes that we'll never unpack.
Thursday, 11 October
And so it was that we signed the papers on a new apartment. We can start moving in any time after the 16th, having parted with several thousand dollars. We don't mind.
Because this apartment . . . is magnificent.
We still can't quite believe it. It's a couple hundred more than we were already paying, but when you factor in certain costs we incur at this place and compare it to this other place . . . it's like finding out that your rent is being raised by fifty bucks, but they're also adding on a new wing.
Let me try to summarize.
It has a wood fireplace. (It also has reg'lar heating, which is by all description awesome and cheap and not baseboard.)
What we don't have is a view. You know what? Fuck views. Like I'm going to spend my evenings staring wistfully out my windows anyway. I would barely care if the place had no windows at all. We could open a casino. We look out into the surrounding greenery anyway, so it's not like there's derelict mimes taking a shit out there 24/7. That's a lot more interesting than watching rich douches sailing around Lake Union any day. (The greenery, that is. There are hydrangeas out there, not defecating buskers. But we can always recruit.)
The living room is the size of Delaware; we're going to have to buy a bunch of crap from Crate and Barrel just to prevent unpleasant echo effects when we speak. When I opened one of the kitchen cabinets, Henry Kissinger was in there. He hissed, "Leave me be! I come here to practice necromancy! You don't need the space! What will you put in here? A box of cereal as large as a toilet? Go! Go! Here is one thousand dollars." Fine with me, war criminal. Your money spends just like anyone else's. We'll never use up this absurd cabinet space.
It has a Brinks security system, for God's sake. I mean, it's not active or anything, but the owner told us we were free to fire it up. It's kind of tempting in a stupid way, just so I could show off to my friends. "Hold on, I have to deactivate the SECURITY SYSTEM." But then I'd feel pretty lame when my friends noticed that I was paying to protect my embarrassingly large collection of graphic novels, so.
THIEF: "Sucker! No security system at all! Sweet!"
(Thief looks around.)
THIEF: "30 Days of Night: Featuring Linus from Peanuts? I hate my job."
I might have forgotten to mention the helipad and the wild game preserve. The helipad will come in handy when my good friend Richard Branson stops by to insult my shoes and fuck expensive whores in the spare bedroom; the wild game preserve will please me when I get my frequent urges to lope around shooting torpid jungle cats in the brain with a high-powered rifle.
If there's one downer about the place, it's the "No Gloryholes" wording in the lease. In a place with 2 1/2 bathrooms, you really want to drill some gloryholes.
Man, now I'm a little bummed. Branson is going to give me a lot of shit about this. He really loves anonymous blow jobs.
Monday, 08 October
Life As A Househunt
Howdy, howdy. Sorry for the lapse in posts; we've been dealing with a lot of crap what with the whole "get the fuck out!" thing. But you'll be happy to know that we haven't bothered to start packing anything. (Truth be told? We have boxes of shit that never got unpacked from four and a half years ago. Hooray!) We figure we'd like to, you know, have a place to live before we worry about shoving our garbage into liquor boxes.
We looked at a place today, a two-bedroom only a block away; the 50-ish bra-less apartment manager ushered us in to the 1928 apartment, saying, "And it's still standing!" Good selling point! We trudged up the four flights of curiously barn-smelling stairs to the apartment and entered. The living room was smaller by half than our current living room. "That's a nice archway," I said, noting a particularly boring archway. I stared at the sprung hardwood floorboards and didn't say anything.
"Isn't it?" she said. "We're changing the awnings, by the way," she continued, striding to the tiny windows. "The new ones will be green!" She hauled for a moment on the window to open it up and failed. "Ugh," she said. I noted a quarter-inch gap between the window and the sash. "Anyway, we're not done with this place."
The wife and I split up. I headed into the kitchen. I noticed one of those old circular kitchen fans set into the wall to vent to the outside. The cover was open, and I beheld what appeared to be the crushed remains of The Scarecrow crammed into it; I could feel his fear toxin seeping into my body. I opened a thin cabinet, and an ironing board fell out; the cabinet door had staples that protruded through into the inside.
I found my wife exploring, if that can possibly be the term, the Lilliputian bathroom, which felt like some sort of Iowa hostel bathroom, complete with an ancient, cutesy sink. The wife opened a sad little cabinet mounted above, and mustered the comment, "Look, honey, it opens." I toed a loose tile in the flooring, and tried unsuccessfully to imagine ever happily taking a non-depressing shit in the room.
The bedrooms, both of them, looked exactly like what "Law & Order" location scouts look for when they're hunting for some seedy murder scene in a shitty NYC hotel room. Hey, are these cheap blinds bent and dusty? Score!
Looking at apartments is just depressing as hell. The rent on this place--no parking included--was $1400.
Some apartment managers simply do not show up for their appointments. I guess that's sort of a hint of the kind of choad that we don't want to be needing help from when the toilet explodes from methane buildup. Other places simply don't seem to match up in any way with what these people have to say about them. We waited for ten minutes in the lobby of another place recently while the manager explained to the Geek Squad guy about how he wanted his new TV installed. In the meantime, a young girl on a cell phone let in some guy through the front door, and the first thing he said to her was, "Can you hold my sandwich?" She did, you'll be thrilled to learn. The wife and I looked at each other.
"I would say our building skews a little older," the manager told us when he got done with the Geek Squad guy.
He showed us the apartment. "You can probably tell the previous tenants had cats," he said. Being a histological comedy zone, I can generally tell when cats are within city blocks of myself, the distinct tang of catshit in the air was, yes, a slight giveaway.
We glanced around a bit. The baseboard heating units (oh, for fuck's sake) looked rather kicked in, and, as usual, the horizontal blinds were dented and sad. He raised one anyway to show us the view, which looked straight down into some neighboring bungalow's windows. Sweet, I can either watch strangers fuck, or, better yet, commit murder. There was a lower-story roof overhang that it also overlooked, and I stared dismally at, of all things, a discarded AC/DC CD that someone had apparently decided to pitch out into the gloaming one hopeless dark night of the metal soul.
We asked about the rental price. "I think it's $1345. It might be $1395." Sigh. I breathed in another dose of feline funk and felt my lungs prickle.
But there is something else we saw. We saw it today. I don't want to talk about it, because . . . look, I'm not a superstitious guy. But I'm going to be so here. I just don't want to say anything, because it feels good to hope. It feels good to have a good feeling. We have good feelings about something, something good, and frankly, we could really use it right now. If it doesn't happen, then we will soldier on, but . . . this could happen.
If you feel like you want to contribute to the juju we're feeling and nursing, well then, just dig out that old copy of the Revolting Cocks' album Beers, Steers & Queers, dial up the volume to just under "getting evicted" levels and dance all you like to track 7. Its title comes from the rather unassuming film 2010.
Monday, 01 October
Nic At Night
It was so terrible
You won an Oscar once.
(Though I do have to carp
Why are you doing these things
The Wicker Man?
(You wore a bear suit
Okay, that was pretty funny.
I secretly whisper to you,
ANYWAY . . .
I cannot let you go
You were in
You were in
(While we're on the topic
You don't have to do these
You don't have to. You can stop.
They stain us
Listen to your hair
It was terrifying in Adaptation
Listen to your hair
What will your hair look like
When you film that thing
Will you be bald?
(Nobody will see these movies.
We shall not see you.
You are lost . . .
. . . nic . . .
Let the lamp affix its beam.