He’s a Connected Guy

Peter_O'Toole_-_Lion

That title is a quote from Donnie Brasco. This post, however, is not about Donnie Brasco, though it is about movies. See, years ago, my family began accruing movies that we would all gather around to watch on Christmas Eve. As the years went on, though, it got kind of ridiculous.

We started with some of the old classics. I mean, who doesn’t get a little teary watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street and It’s a Wonderful Life tucked into the buxom of a loving family mere feet away from the newly decorated Christmas tree and yule log, y’know? Thing is, as time went on, it got to the point where if we watched all the movies we planned to watch as Santa hovered over the house waiting for us to retire for a long winter’s nap, the reindeer would get tired and hungry and we’d be glued to the set until Valentine’s Day. By the time my brother and his wife started having children, the list still had It’s a Wonderful Life and the Sesame Street flick, but had grown to include A Christmas Story, Die Hard, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The load got a little easier to handle when TNT started their “24 hours of A Christmas Story”, with an added perk because it meant that there was a 1/12 chance you could turn the TV on at any time during the Xmas holiday to find Ralphie beating the shit out of Scut Fargus. Particularly handy when at Nana’s house, the heat blasting at 97 degrees, there’s 30 people in a 2 bedroom house and you’re having ham or brisket for the family dinner for the 486th time.

 

But my family’s all-time favorite Christmas movie was and probably always will be A Lion in Winter. This one had something for everyone. It’s about King Henry II of England and the Christmas Court in medieval times (history for me and my Da) bickering married couples (Mom and Dad) classic actors and compelling story with Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins (my brother), plus deception, humor and dogs (me). And one of the greatest scenes that will always live in family lore is this soliloquy given by King Henry (The part that pertains to our business here starts at the beginning and ends around :50 but the whole speech is well worth the listen):

Now, I told you that story to tell you this story. Through the month of December, I’m house/pet-sitting for my parents’ neighbor and their dog Lucky. My first night at the place, I opened my laptop to go wireless using my parents’ hub but I needed the password to connect to the hub:

WiFi text 1

Because I am my parents’ son, I am instinctively a smartass:

Wifi text 2

As always, my mother responded in kind and drew from that seminal classic of holiday viewing. And, perhaps sensing there might be a blog post in it for me, she added a twist.

Wifi text 3

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Krazy Kwanzaa friends.

 

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The Making of “Doggie Dentures”

I always wanted to do a “Making of …”movie. What would be totally bitchin’ is to do a “Making of the Making of” movie. But I couldn’t really do a “Making of the Making of ‘Doggy Dentures’” cuz that would just be a movie of me typing at my computer right this moment. Not very exciting.

When I hatched the idea of the “Making of ‘Doggie Dentures’” I had to ask the person’s permission to do it. That’s the other thing I’ve learned in the course of this blog. I always ask the permission of the person who the post references because I don’t want them to be caught off guard. The post after this one will most likely be another one where I had to get the person’s permission to write it. Essentially, it’s the merger of two very significant forces in my life right now: Sobriety and the Open Group for Bedlam Farm. It’s essentially going to be about a decision I recently made that I think brings those two things together swimmingly. Really, it makes sense that they would come together as they have. Something I’ve learned through my study of Buddhism and my life in sobriety is everything that needs to come together does. And that which does not, well, it probably didn’t need to in the first place.

Back to the “Making of” business. In coming up with the idea for “Doggie Dentures” I knew I needed an actual set of dentures. And I don’t have one of those. So I asked a friend of mine if he minded if I took a photo of his.

Luke text 2

It’s not exactly the kind of question you just rattle off. But his response to my inquiry was priceless.

Luke text 1

He asked that I respect his anonymity in posting a picture of the dentures. Which kind of bums me out because he should totally get credit for that joke.

 

The Ongoing Saga of Housecleaning

     My mom has been integral and plumb necessary to getting my house back up and running. Although we do have organizational and compartmentalization systems that are completely different. Mine is mostly a plan based on the concept of “like items go with like items.” Cleaning supplies all go in one place, DVD’s and books all go in another, riff raff goes in the riff raff pile. Mom’s is more akin to the unifying principle of “I’m Jean and I say it goes here. Don’t argue.” And considering Mom does the vast majority of the work when one of her bonehead boys (my father included) does something this stupid, we follow suit without question. But not without commentary.

My camera is in some box somewhere. When I want a possession, and this is true especially in the last week, I have to gauge how much I really want/need it and compare that against how much work is it going to take to find it. Yesterday, I really wanted to get myself back at least into the “I’m going to try to quit smoking” mindset and that requires the use of my e-cigarette for that period of time in the middle of the night when I wake up and smoke (don’t judge.) So I had to commit to at least 15 minutes of trying to find it in my sacks of “probably contains something I’m going to want in the time it takes for the house to be totally painted.” And after a little time, I found it. No big deal. I want to find my camera, but as I don’t have that kind of time this morning, a transcription of me and Mom’s text exchange will have to do.

That waiting time has also come to include whether my employer will help me out with what everything costs, so I have been putting off buying a new stove. It is with this little nugget of information that I texted mom a few days ago.

Me: You haven’t shopped for a stove yet right?

Me: You said the cleaning crew will come on Thursday yes?

Mom: Yed

Me: Is that a Jewish currency you’ll pay them in or something?

Mom: Bite me cubed.

 

And later:

Mom: I’ve done all I can do. The rest is heavy work. I took your shirt and ties home to be washed. They are full of shit. Talk to you when you have read the note.

Mom: Full of soot. Smiley emoticon.

Me: Nice save.

Her: Apparently voice-voice generated messaging is a technology that’s not quite perfected.

 

     And I am not impervious to the perils of text messaging. My new phone is a Galaxy S4 Mini. It’s really sleek and shiny, but the “buttons” on the “keyboard” are wicked small. So inevitably I close at least 2 sentences per day with an “m” instead of period cuz one is right above the other. For instance:

Me: I will call you when I am done with work todaym

Me: Today [period]

    

     And I am fully aware of my typo in the text message, but it seems that increasingly, people will let typos go. But that voice-recognition software struck again:

 

Me: Is this your hammer in this kitchen? You left a sweatshurt here.

Mom: No its yours Craigslist trying to get the window open with it. By the way I have your altar cloth and shower curtain in my car.

Mom: Greg was trying

Me: Ahahahaha …

That annoying keypad thing again …

Me: Can we do the painting on Sat at noon or so? I wanted to get to the gym too m

Me: Gym [period]

I recently read an article at The Huffington Post detailing the adapted meanings of things in text messaging. It buttressed my uniform objection to and the lunacy implicit of overuse of [!] and the bastardization of the intent when using ellipses [ … ] and the like. I picked and I chose. Mostly because I think, for the purposes of these kinds of blog posts, they make for some hella funny material.

 

Fun with Texts, Pt. 2

I saw this thing on Facebook a few months ago that celebrated the fact that many people have made friends in various social networking avenues with people they’ve never actually met in person. This is overwhelmingly true for me in the Open Group for Bedlam Farm, a group solely devoted to creativity. One of my best “friends” there is a woman named Lisa and she has an absolutely fantastic blog called Just Ponderin’ in which she examines all facets of her personal life, from her family to her dogs and on and on. You can get to the blog by going to the left hand side of this page and clicking on the link under Blogs I Follow. And she’s really, really funny. Full disclosure: I stole the title Fun with Texts from her (you can read her contributions to the subject here) and as I seem to be posting more and more about my own experiences with text messaging, I should probably come up with my own title. I thought about it and haven’t come up with much. There’s just not much you can do with the word “text.” I thought about “Text-book Examples” or maybe “I Wanna Text You Up.” Not really catchy category titles, so I’m just gonna go with Text Ed. See? That’s not really catchy either, but anti-thievery is one of the laws of writing and I can’t outright permanently steal Lisa’s. So Text Ed it is.

So the second post in this fledgling category has actually turned out to be a part 2. I didn’t intend it to be, but you will see why it became such. See, many months ago, I posted about the many things that I see in my job pushing wheelchairs at Eppley Airfield. One of those things is the horrible brain child of someone looking to capitalize on the “Yea!!! A celebrity knows our town exists!” mind-set that spawned the “Omaha! Omaha!” T-shirt. If you don’t know about this, click here.

When I saw the shirt, my first and only thought was “Fantastic. All we need is one person wearing this shirt anywhere outside of Omaha to completely buttress the stereotype that Nebraska is just a bunch of bumpkin hicks.” I didn’t even consider that there might be a market for the shirts in the children demographic. I was wrong. Check this out:

Texts 2-2

Texts 2-3

 

 

Her friend Martha wanted a shirt for her grandson, a Denver Broncos fan. And while no one but me and the clerk would actually see me buy the shirt, you can imagine my chagrin at even this prospect and I told her so.

Texts 2-4

She had a point there. I mean I do owe this woman, at least partially, my life. Like, a couple thousand times over. So I agreed. Grudgingly.

Texts 2-5

Unaware at this point if she had read either the post about the shirt or the Fun with Texts Part. 1, I warned her of the possible ramifications (I also ignored the glaring error in light of my giddiness).

Texts 2-6

Turns out, she had read Part 1.

Texts 2-7

Fun with Texting

I fought the temptation to get texting capacity on my phone for some time. I even explicitly told my phone company I didn’t want to be able to receive or send texts from anyone. Anywhere. At all. That was yet another foolhardy thing I was taking a stand on. I realized later that, like so many things, there was definite possibilities for humor in texting. And that makes it worth a look-see. Besides, once I admitted that text messages are no different than private messaging someone on Facebook, well, what was I objecting to exactly?

I have threads of texts with many people spanning months and even years, same as private messages. One of these is with my mother, a woman who I have a healthy amount irreverence for, especially when it comes to her aptitude with new technologies. I mean, I’m sorry, but sometimes she just sets herself up and I have no choice to mock her. This weekend was one of those times. I was trying to find out about a friend in town from Brooklyn whose parents live quite a little ways away.

 

Mom text1

So far so good. Knowing how important getting to my home group AA meeting is to me, she asked if I would be joining them for dinner the night I had my meeting …

 

Mom text 2

As you can see I just can’t let some details go, no matter how minute.

 

Mom text 3

It’s okay, I offered to do the dishes that night, so I think I’m back in the black.