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Tuesday, 27 November
Vacation Doldrums

So I don't think I told you guys that I'm on vacation. I'M ON VACATION! And now you know. Not that we're doing anything much; the recent move and also some goddamn fucking leftover medical bills from my recent firestorm of scans, proddings, biopsies, eye-grams, butt-cards and skin harvests have left us a bit skint. We may go down to Cannon Beach for a few days, but other than that, well, we're watching an awful lot of bad movies. Yay!

(NOTE: Transformers is a horrible movie, and not in a good way. This movie will cause your disbelieving mind to prolapse and fall into your GI tract. Don't watch it. And if you're not going to take my word for it, think on this: You might have, at some dark period in your life, actually wished for a giant robot to take a piss all over John Turturro, but strangely, it's just depressing when it actually happens.)

So I'll be a little (read: probably entirely) scarce until December. And speaking of December, did you know that it will mark my five-year anniversary of writing for you, my tens of readers? You know what this milestone calls for? Laziness. And so, in my absence, I present to you some of my old favorites. They weren't necessarily the most popular pieces I ever wrote, but for whatever reasons, they stick in my mind. Enjoy, if possible, and if not, I will be back in a couple weeks to disappoint you afresh.


Thirteen Ways of Looking at Valentine's Day

Elementary School
Andy
The Evening Boringness in the West
The Sounds of Violence
Drink Me
Things I Have Shouted in Belgium
At The River
I, Caregiver
My Bother The Car

Monday, 19 November
This Landlord Was Our Landlord

So! It turns out that our goddamn motherfucking ass-eater of a former landlord isn't too keen on returning our deposit! This is great news!

This is what I'm assuming, anyway: we haven't gotten any actual notice of this, or really anything apart from his verbal assurances two weeks ago to return it. Since then, however, he has ducked multiple emails and has stopped answering his phone--which, incidentally, has no voice mail either, so it just rings and rings! Which is not at all fucking maddening.

This mealy-mouthed fuck-wig had the goddamn fucking nerve to actually call us a few weeks ago and lick our crotches with a bunch of meaningless happy talk about what great tenants we were, and how much he appreciated us--though, apparently, not enough to, you know, give us back our fucking money that he owes us. This ALSO despite the fact that he's run out the clock on his chance to itemize any possible reasons why he isn't refunding us the full deposit; Washington State gives this defective fucking Sears made-by-blind-children tool 14 days to provide us with reasons why he would withhold the deposit; he hasn't given us shit. Actually, shit would be an improvement; an improvement over the nothing that we have received to date for our (very polite) efforts. With a handful of shit, I could, I don't know, go smear it on his fucking windows. It would feel proactive.

You know, I have to ask: where to these fucking amoebas come from, and why don't they spend their miserable lives getting cornholed by giant horned lizards every day like they deserve? Who tolerates these hair-fall-out Morlocks that live amongst us and do nothing but slink around eating millipedes and honking like the subhuman troglodytes that they clearly are? How do they obtain property? Did Gorilla Grodd seize property from some luckless condo hillbilly in some ill-fated land grab and then cede it to his feckless fucking dipshit hairless drool-emperor of a half-cousin only to have this trip-dick then rent it to us in some sort of reckless half-figured stab at the free market in rental properties? This is all I can figure, and now this quarter-gorilla of a landlord is strapped for cash and hiding in some carved-out bunker somewhere mindlessly evading our phone calls and emails and hooting miserably at the four dank walls that enclose him and wondering what ever persuaded him to venture into the world of men.

So I'm a little pissed off with the situation. Happily, the wife happens to have an old friend who is an attorney who specializes in--guess what?--tenancy disputes! So if by the end of this week this broke-dick mammal hasn't responded to my latest grim missive full of apocalyptic warning, we will certainly be happy to--in the legal sense--nail his goddamn fucking feet to a couple of gas cans, strap some firecrackers to his nuts, stuff his mouth full of gunpowder and light him up and then wait to see if we see a real Pynchonesque screaming across the sky as his primate skull launches off his goddamn neck into the sky only to blow up in the aether with the forlorn message "DIDN'T REFUND DEPOSIT" twinkling in the clear night.

Metaphorically. I feel I should stress this.

Oh, and former landlord? If you're reading this? If you can read, you swayback fucking mini-Yeti, if your scleras haven't become completely occluded by ocular damage from spending all of your time reading I Fuck Dead Things magazine while you clumsily jerk off into crusted, abrasive old discarded woollen socks that you scavenge from the dump on your nightly forays to find dead sparrows to chew on, I'd just like to tell you that when we moved out of your place, every single person we encountered in the building expressed severe dismay over the news that you were moving back in. You see, they all hate you.

I can't fucking imagine why.

Wednesday, 14 November
Imperfect Strangers

For two years in college--my junior and senior years--J. was my stalwart roommate. J. and I made a good pair: we were both skinny little art twinks, and we got along together. More importantly, I could usually get J. to do whatever I asked. This was important, as J., who had a modest trust fund to get him by, also had a Corgi-sized PC loaded with hot-shit WordPerfect, a gas card at his disposal, and a Mitsubishi, which came in handy when my girlfriend at the time graduated and moved to Portland. J. was remarkably sympathetic to my pleas to borrow his car for the drive up from Salem, probably because he then got to fuck his girlfriend at the time in relative peace, which is to say without me clawing at his bedroom door asking if I could use his computer.

J. did love that car, and of course, so did I. So did his good friend M., who shared J.'s penchant for Euroweenie 12" singles by the likes of entities such as Clan of Xymox and Tin Tin and Front 242; M. particularly enjoyed the time-honored art of tracing horrible things into J.'s car dust. I fondly remember the two weeks J. drove around with the bold legend "RICE DICK" blazing from the passenger window. J., for some reason, did not notice; he might have been transported with rapture by the newest Malcolm McLaren and His Bootzilla Orchestra release.

I mustn't be too hard on J. College is, after all, a weird time for anybody. J.--ever fashion-conscious--took to wearing his hair (or his hair took to wearing him) in a sort of Eraserhead/Lyle Lovett coif that sat atop his skull like brown popcorn erupting from his brainpan. (For my part, I spent a brief period dressing as if Siouxsie Sioux had wandered into an exploding Jay Jacob's outlet.) Being in Salem, Oregon, of course, we looked patently ridiculous, but we would never have known it, and we strutted around campus, obliviously clad in purest grief.

J. did love his things. He had that little trust fund cash every month, and he'd generally blow it immediately (forcing us to then use his gas card for the rest of the month; the bills conveniently went to his mother). J. was a tremendous fan of computer games, all of which he was unremittingly hopeless at. I would accompany him to the game shop and handle these mysterious games with wonder: What in the hell was "Leisure Suit Larry" and why would anyone want to play it? Because of the horrible, pixilated boobs that the cover seemed to promise? The thing cost fifty dollars. You could get a Hustler for six bucks, I thought.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise later on, given J.'s hunger for trinkets and baubles--things--that I discovered that he had bought a gun. A nine millimeter Glock, to be exact. I came across this knowledge one night when J. waved it crazily in my face.

"Check it out, man!" he crowed. He was taking aim at my forehead.

"HEY, THE FUCK!" I screamed, ducking madly. J. cackled.

"I got a gun!" he cried, quite unnecessarily. He drew fresh aim at the television. Now, I grew up with guns. I saw that he had his fucking finger on the trigger.

"Put that fucking thing down!" I howled, deftly rolling under our crumbling particleboard coffee table. "Don't shoot our fucking television!" Note my keen sense of priority. Shoot me, not the TV!

He lowered the gun. "It's not even loaded," he said calmly, fumbling out the magazine. "See?" He showed me the empty clip.

I learned later on that J. liked to sleep with the thing under his pillow. I learned this from his girlfriend at the time.

"Does he keep it loaded?" I asked incredulously.

"I assume so," she yawned. "He says there's no point in keeping an unloaded gun around."

Swell!

"He's got dick issues," said my girlfriend a little nervously.

"I don't think so," replied J.'s girlfriend. "He's got a huge dick."

I didn't say anything. I already knew that. Hey, you live with a guy for two years, you're probably going to see his dick. J. really did have a goddamn hose. I figured he had to thread it between his legs and tape it up against his back.

J.'s girlfriend yawned again, and I said, "I guess it's bedtime, huh?" I was still stewing over the whole weird gun thing.

"I don't know," she said tiredly. She looked down at her lap and sighed. "Sometimes I can't even face it." There was a silence, because everyone knew she was talking about J.'s monstrous penis again. I helplessly wrestled against the barrage of double-entendre images brought to mind with her unfortunate phrasing about having to "face it," and realized I would sleep uneasily that night.

No wonder he never got that upset when he found that "RICE DICK" carved into the dust of his car.

That girlfriend really didn't last all that long--God only knows what sort of dong-y horrors drove her out--but she was soon replaced by the Pod. The Pod was, in retrospect, a clearly depressed young woman. Not because she dated J., but, well, she just was. We--my other roommate N. and I--called her the Pod because 1. she seemed to lie around all day on the couch hunkered under a green blanket, and 2. because she had magical powers, as long as one followed the ritual.

N. and I had a saying. "If you caress the Pod and care for her," we would say to each other, "wondrous things will happen."

N. and I would make sure every morning, on our way to class, to stroke the Pod's hair gently--for she was always there on the couch--and she would tiredly murmur her thanks and shimmy dolefully under her blanket. Then, in the afternoon, when we came home from class--

MAGIC!

The apartment would be clean. (As clean as it ever got. This was, of course, a place where during one party, someone took a shit on the floor over by the phone.) There would be beer in the fridge. The noisome carpet of dead flies would be skimmed from the sink, and the dishes cleaned. And the Pod would be there, on the couch, beneath her blanket, as if she had never moved.

We would lavish praise on the Pod, once again patting her head. "This place looks great! Oh, man!" The Pod would smile wanly and continue watching The Abyss. (I'm pretty sure that during those two years in college, the only thing on television was The Abyss. At the end of the movie, the credits would roll, and then some announcer would yell, "Coming up next, don't miss . . . The Abyss!" We never did.)

We never quite understood J.'s relationship with the Pod, and nor did we dare inquire. We weren't even sure if they had sex. Perhaps the Pod employed blanket-y pseudopods to creep up the stairs and ravish J.'s tremendous penis in the night while he rapturously held his pistol in his mouth. It was best not to think about the whole thing.

Eventually, graduation rolled around, and we packed up our miserable bunches of crap. Crowbarred from her perch on the couch, the Pod looked naked and exposed. She blinked in the sunlight as we stood on the porch, getting ready to go our separate ways. The Pod sloped over to the Mitsubishi and listlessly tumbled in.

"I guess this is it," I said. I had no fucking idea what I was going to do next. I wondered if J. felt as unmoored as I did. "So what's next for you?" I asked.

J. scratched the back of his neck. "I don't know," he confessed. Another moment passed. "I've been thinking about converting the Glock to full auto, though."

Monday, 12 November
Prejudgment Day

Happy November! Miserable yet? No? You must have not seen Fred Claus yet! I mean, I haven't either, but its existence still makes me deeply unhappy. Here it is only the first bit of fucking November, and what do we get unleashed on us? A clearly awful holiday movie with Vince Vaughn. I regard Vince Vaughn as clear proof of one unassailable fact about Hollywood executives: they hate happiness. What else other than purest misanthropy could move them to cast Vince fucking Vaughn in a holiday comedy? The man hasn't ever bothered to act a day in his life. He just gets out there and Vaughns. Yes, Vince, give me more of those hilarious clicky-eyes and rapid-fire speech! You're like a Touretter, only less funny! Remember when we all thought he was "money" in Swingers? Can we get a fucking refund yet?

Oh, let's see how else Hollywood is planning on ruining things for us soon enough.

Beowulf

THIS! IS! SPARTA!
I! AM! BEOWULF!
WE'RE! OUT! OF STAMPS!

One of these phrases can be heard resounding throughout the Kurruk household during the holidays. Can you guess which one? Hollywood has taught me that overdramatic screaming is the only way to get my point across. Mike Mignola knew this. BABIES LIKE IRON! Mike Mignola is a genius.

You know who isn't a genius? Robert Zemeckis, of course, the genial hack who never met a gimmick he didn't like, such as de-legging Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump or pretending there was anything more to the story of Death Becomes Her other than gleefully doing hideous things to Goldie Hawn (inspired, I agree).

Beowulf ventures into the same Uncanny Valley that Polar Express explored, but still without creepy sex objects--except, of course, for Angelina Jolie, prompting a horrified audience to wonder, "Wasn't she already creepy?" Zemeckis is the guy over in the corner, hunched over and humping the motion capture machine Grendel's mother emerges naked from a steam bath on the video monitor.

Love in the Time of Cholera

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Hey, where is everybody? Oh, right, cholera.

Oh, cheer up. It's got Javier Bardem! Everyone wants to fuck him, even me! It's also got . . . ah . . . Benjamin Bratt! He . . . he was in Catwoman! Huh? Huh? And--wait, don't go!--wait, we've also got . . . John Leguizamo!

I predict this will be the most successful holiday film ever released with "cholera" in the title, and I'll stand by that.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

It didn't take me or any of my friends very long to draw parallels to Troy McClure's magnum opus The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel, except that Troy McClure is terribly funny, and this movie has Dustin Hoffman and the inexhaustibly ghoulish Natalie Portman, who is only capable of being funny when she is deadly serious.

Here is the only thing this film has going for it:

Jason Bateman ... Henry Weston, the Mutant

Enjoy!

I Am Legend

This is apparently the ninth or so adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel, which I admit I have never read, but I did see The Omega Man as a kid, staying up late when nobody was watching, and it scared the fucking shit out of me. To this day I can barely read Green Lantern comics, because those fucking Guardians of Oa look just like those goddamn little freaks.

Anyway. Let's take a look at Mr. Smith's filmography, shall we? (NOTE: Selectively edited for the sake of embarrassment.)

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)--Turkey.
Hitch (2005/I)--Horrifying.
I, Robot (2004)--Horrifying turkey.
Bad Boys II (2003)--Despicable.
Men in Black II (2002)--RUN! RUN!
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)--HAHAHAHAHAHAHA--hey, wait, where's Dorf?
Wild Wild West (1999)--This is the REM song of comedies.

So go ahead, people. Take your chances on I Am Legend. I'm not seeing it without a power ring.

Tuesday, 06 November
Be-In

Ladies and gentlemen, our long dark days are OVER! Oh, wait, we just came off daylight savings time, so really they're just beginning. This fucks my game up every time, but on the other hand, I've had nearly two weeks off from writing, so I can hardly bitch.

Okay, time for me to bitch!

As I mentioned briefly in the previous post, we successfully made the move and are reasonably settled in with our ridiculous new pad. Already we've enjoyed three fires, two of them in our delightful fireplace.

The move itself was actually just fine, for the most part, mainly because the move itself was done by two guys, who were pretty awesome despite physical problems of their own--one of them had an orange-sized lump on the back of his neck--and you know, if I'm going to have a huge fucking lump on my body, why not where I'll never see it?--and the other guy casually mentioned to the wife that he recently suffered a prolapsed neck or something and he almost died. Interesting! That bookcase should be downstairs.

But as I said, they did a good job, such a good job, in fact, that we tipped them twenty bucks apiece shortly after lump guy tore a rear wheel off the entertainment center. "Fucking particle board!" he screamed. He looked at me in the deeply earnest way of someone who doesn't want a customer dumping poison into his boss's ear. "You can just glue that and clamp it," he explained. "And maybe drive in a couple screws," he mumbled. He handed me the wheel. I stared at it and sort of helplessly kneaded it like maybe I had unbeknownst healing powers over media furniture.

Whatever. It's this hulking rolling thing (not anymore, though!) we got at Ikea six years ago. I can't be bothered hassling this belumpen geek about it, much less get into some gabbling argument with the movers over the damage amount. I stuck some books under it--books, of course, I'll never read again and yet moved anyway, despite my solemn oath not to.

And so we lived in a box floe for a couple days, but I must say, we kind of kicked the place's ass into shape pretty quick. (Except for the one room full of unopened boxes.) Today we achieved wireless! Comcast, thrifty folks that they are, sent me a handy, do-it-yourself setup for the modem in the mail! So I could DO IT MYSELF! I'm paying them . . . to do it myself. They are geniuses.

I of course did nothing myself. After a torrential session of helpless weeping as I opened the boxes--which contained no less than three installation disks for the various dongles and whozits--I cradled the mysterious toys in my hands helplessly, like an L-DOPA patient discovering a box full of superballs. Then I called my friend J., who actually knows helpful things such as how to do . . . things, and speedily set everything up. He performed all sorts of digital acts of Santeria on the laptop, none of which I understood. I saw him type "ipconfig" once, if that helps. I distinctly felt the laptop purr with pleasure at his ministrations, and I also felt the poor little machine glaring over at me a few times, sending me the clear message that it would prefer I never touch it again. Jesus, can you get me the fuck out of here? pleaded my laptop to J. You're not going to hand me back to Joe Bob Mengele here, are you?

Finally, with all the hardware installed, it was simply time to "register" with "Comcast" and get a new "email address" that I'll "never use!" Oh boy! This required a simple download; in fact, Comcast made sure you got this download by redirecting my browser implacably to its download site. INSTALL! commanded the window.

It failed, and threw out some awful, incomprehensible error message. J. pounded (but nicely) out some more baffling demands and commands and crap, but to no avail. J. snarled and grabbed the CD included in the system, which was presumably the same software. It gave the same error.

At one point, through some process I could not, well, process, though, it DOWNLOADED! (Secret: I do know what the hangup was: Comcast evidently hates Firefox.) Success! I set my password, username, all that shit, and finally--finally!--finished up. We reloaded the browser.

We got the familiar INSTALL! page. It was still redirecting. J., looking a little hunted at this point, tried a workaround that initially looked promising. Then we got--of all things--a 404 message.

Looking good, Comcast!

After a few minutes of this, I blindly suggested "Look, try just going to comcast.com. See what happens."

The comcast.com home page opened up like a horrible flower, I signed in, and that was that. "That was the worst thing I've ever seen," pronounced J. He was bleeding slightly from his ears, and he said a feeble goodnight as he tottered out the door.

"Thanks, man!" I called distractedly. I couldn't be bothered with him any more.

I had wireless! It was the best experience of the whole move.

Not Long Now

A couple kind souls have contacted me to make sure I'm okay in the unexplained long absence of new posts. And I am! I've got a second bedroom full of boxes of comic books that I can't bear to bother with, but apart from that, nothing is wrong. (Welll, maybe Season 2 of Heroes. What the fuck?)

No, the real reason is this: in our old place, there were scads of people who simply didn't bother to secure their wireless signal. So I cheerfully stole from them for about two years. Yay!

Our new apartment--which is wonderful--does not have this useful feature. Boo! So I have been forced to actually pay for my own wireless, which, oh well. And I have all the gear! It's sitting in my house, ready to go! Yee haw!

Yeah, I'm not setting up any of this shit. I've got a non-stupid buddy coming by soon to give me a hand (code for "do everything"), so soon I should be back up and running and boring the living shit out of you as per usual. I've got a reputation to uphold.










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