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April 2, 2010
Cookies Are Enabled For This Browser
Mood:  hungry

April Fool's day was celebrated with gusto at the office yesterday.  We had one fake resignation, two unattended water bottles filled with sugar, a chair covered in Post-It notes, a notification from QA to development that the entire database had been wiped out, ha! ha! just kidding!, and several entertaining emails sent to the entire company by people who went off to meetings and forgot to lock their machines.  Believe me, I spent the whole day glued to my desk.  At least the tricks stopped at 5:00, which is more than can be said for the set of Van Helsing.  I hope all of you survived the day and didn't find any Glad Wrap on the dunny.  (Why does "glad wrap on the dunny" sound like a wrestling move?)

This morning, somebody brought in doughnuts to celebrate some project milestone or other, and within 5 minutes the entire box had been picked clean by the office locusts.  This got some co-workers and I talking about food, and our instincts to protect it.  Many of us grew up in big noisy Irish Catholic families where, if you didn't finish your dinner quickly enough, siblings would move in on your plate.  I can't speak for David's family, of course, but among our department it seemed to be a pretty universal experience, particularly if your family ran to brothers.  In our house, everyone kept secret food caches where treats were squirreled away for later.  If a box of popsicles came home, and you didn't feel like eating yours right then, your only hope was to stow it away in a safe hiding place in the back of the freezer.  The kitchen was studded with hidden cookies and sheltered pretzel assets left in odd places.  If you accidentally came across someone else's snack stash while looking for some nutmeg or a fork, well...finders, keepers.

Once my brothers were all out of the house (when I was well into my teens) it was finally safe to leave cookies in the box.  But I think it might be prudent to start hiding them at work.


On the commute home tonight, the radio station played Tin Man by America.  Does anybody know where the "Tropic of Sir Galahad" is?  Is it anywhere near Molokai?

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: April 2, 2010 10:31 PM EDT
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March 17, 2010
Death, taxes, and leprosy. Well, not so much death.
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Hey! (Hey!) You! (You!) Get off of my lawn!

Did you know that armadillos can carry leprosy?

I sort of wish I'd known that before agreeing to participate in a corporate armadillo race in Texas.  Not that it really made any difference, since we wore gloves to handle them, and only a small percentage of armadillos are carriers, and it's really hard to contract leprosy anyway, since 95% of people aren't susceptible.  But maybe I could have offered them spiritual counseling.  I could have done more.  So much more.

So, Andrew Fraser is next up for David.   Ten hours:  a prospect most pleasant to contemplate.  Babies have been born and nuclear arms accords signed in less time that that.  I have to admit, I never heard of Mr. Fraser, but he sounds like quite a juicy character, what with the prison time and heavy cocaine involvement.  This marks a switch for David; his previous druggie characters have dabbled in smack, with its attendant lethargy and dim-wittedness.  (Although Lenny, I guess, didn't use, he just pushed it).  Cocaine strikes me as more of a hyper, glittery, energetic drug.  Will this addiction color David's performance?  Stay tuned.

I often wonder if it's easier or harder for actors to play actual people.  With real people, especially ones who are well-known like Father Damien or Jerry Springer, there's the advantage of tons of source material.  Books and photographs, mainly, but if there's archival TV or film footage, resources like YouTube make it easier to research the person's traits and mannerisms, and get at the character's essence.  But I imagine it also limits how creative an actor can be in bringing the character to life.  With a fictional character, a Johnny Spitieri or a Glen Owen Dodds, there's a lot of little details that can be invented, from clothing to gait to vocal inflections.  It's so interesting to hear about a little outside quirk that David brings to a character, like Eddie Harnovey's plastic shopping bags, and I wonder if there's as much scope for deviation when portraying someone real.  I suppose it depends on the internal rules of the film, and how closely it hews to authenticity.  Harry Pierpont probably isn't going to sport an interesting digital watch unless you're doing a very loose, Frank Miller-ish interpretation.

So, while we wait for filming to wrap on this newest project of David's, we continue with our regularly scheduled lives.  March is nearly half done, with its cordial, warm, but still oddly distant sun (was it something we said?) and its mean winds full of concealed hatpins and bees.  But spring is on its way.  The red-winged blackbirds are back, calling "ok-a-leeee" in the marshes, and yesterday, leaving work, an immature bald eagle glared at me from on top of the lamppost.  That is, I was leaving work, not the bald eagle.  (Dear me, we can't leave that participle dangling out there.  After all, there's children and wimminfolk about.)

Speaking of spring, here's a free seasonal tax tip: Never be self-employed at four different jobs in two different states with a rolled over 401k, capital losses, and itemized deductions, unless you want your tax return to resemble a Russian novel.  (Spoiler: at the end, my bank account throws itself under a train.)  The instructions do make for pretty amusing reading, though.  "If you had farm income, or were employed as a jazz dancer or pastry chef in the state of Minnesota, skip lines 37 - 41 and multiply by the lesser of 5% or the qualified amortization amount from Schedule K.  If my name you wish to see, turn to page 103.  If my name you cannot find, turn to page 109.  Now stand on one leg and sing 'I'm A Little Teapot'."

Next year, I plan to deduct all funds spent on acquiring the complete DVD set of Killing Time.  If I can get a doctor to write me a prescription for it, I can claim it as a medical expense.

Well, after all, I have been exposed to armadillos.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 9:38 PM EDT
Updated: March 17, 2010 11:23 PM EDT
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February 27, 2010
Sea, World
Mood:  lyrical

You know, every time I watch the Olympics and the Canadians win gold, I suffer from anthem envy.   Canada may be America's Hat, but "O Canada" has it all.  Beautiful melody.  Easy to sing.  Lovely lyrics in English, French, and Inuktitut.  (When playing it on guitar, I like to ham up the Quebecois "Blacque Jacque Shellacque" accent).  At the risk of sounding like less than a real live niece of my Uncle Sam, I'm not fully on board with glaring red rockets and bombs bursting in mid-air and OMG U GUYS WHAT ABOUT THE FLAG IS IT STILL THERE?  Must our national song be so explodey?  And have a one and a half octave range?

I love everything about Canada: evergreens, politeness, modesty, Loonies, Timbits, boring politicians, drunken Celtic fiddlers, Anne Murray, touques, maple syrup that isn't artificially flavored Karo.  As a matter of fact, I think I may secretly be a Canadian, trapped in the body of an American.  A transpatrite.  I understand you can get surgery to shrink your star-spangled stripes and have an artificial maple leaf transplanted.  But first you have to go on a twelve-week regime of poutine injections.

But back to the Olympics.  Aren't the medals cool?  At first glance I thought they looked like microwaved frisbees, or that they belonged in a bowl of potato chips in King Midas' house, but the Dali-esque design has grown on me:


They're based on a large four-panel masterwork of orcas by a Vancouver artist, Corinne Hunt.  The waviness is meant to evoke the oceans, and the mountains.  Each medal is laser-etched from an individually cropped section of the painting, so they're all unique:

I understand that orca whales are a popular theme in paintings.

Speaking of marine creatures, last Sunday I was going for a walk around Back Cove after hitting the gym (literally...I walked right up to the building and smacked it), and this harp seal had beached itself about 20 yards from the path:

Harp seals aren't rare around here, but they're not common either.  Mostly they hang out in Arctic waters, but they'll migrate south as the pack ice thickens.  Their winter breeding grounds are in Newfoundland.


As you can imagine, the little fella (or gal) drew quite a crowd.  We worried that it might be sick.  I found myself standing next to a cheery bearded Australian marine biologist who seemed to know quite a bit about seals.  He reassured everybody that the seal was OK, based on its behavior (it was lying on its side like Cleopatra, waving one flipper and flexing its tail):

"Oh, she's fine" he said. "Sick seals don't do that.  I think she's either lost, or she just wanted to come in to the city and enjoy the warmer water and the sunshine, maybe take a little vacation."

"Well, it's the off-season now and not quite so touristy," I said, somewhat ironically (everybody had their cell-phone cameras out and was clicking away).

Now, you'd think that chatting with an Australian marine biologist with a scruffy beard would put me in mind of Diver Dan.  Far from it.  If anything, I was wondering what an Australian was doing so far out of his usual habitat range.  Also, watching the crowd, I was remembering the episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza pretends to be a marine biologist to impress his girlfriend, and then they go for a walk on the beach and come across a beached whale, and George has to keep up the charade.  He reaches into the blowhole and finds one of Kramer's golf balls. ("The ocean was angry that day, my an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.")  Then I started thinking about how much I miss Seinfeld, and that I really should join Netflix so I can catch up with Curb Your Enthusiasm, but so many people want to see it that by the time it came up in my queue, the DVD format would be obsolete.  Which reminded me of how decrepit and non-digital my television set is.  It was a train of thought that didn't stop at Seachange, or much of anything else.

I'm not sure what the denouement was, but presumably the seal decided to head back with glowing heart to the True North, strong and free.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 9:39 PM EST
Updated: February 27, 2010 10:30 PM EST
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February 20, 2010
Faster! Higher! Weirder!
Mood:  suave

Ah, Vancouver!  The beautiful Pacific Northwest city that brought us Married Life is now giving us 17 days of ice-packed sport 'n' spectacle, in the form of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  I like to think that David, Patricia Clarkson, and Pierce Brosnan occasionally sneaked off to ride a shopping cart down the luge track during breaks in filming, but that seems ever so slightly doubtful.  Still, David did briefly strap into a pair of skis as Ian in Simone de Beauvoir's Babies, and give an indoor skiing lesson of the "bend-ze-knees-five-dollars-please" variety.  So we Groveians are not unfamiliar with Olympic sport.

I've always loved the Winter Olympics more than the Summer Olympics.  For one thing, there's fewer events, so it's more intimate.  The Summer Games seem so vast and diffused, with thousands of athletes and events ("Coming up next!  Women's Team 100m Normal Hill Hopscotch Round B Qualifiers!").  The TV networks breathlessly hustle you from one far-flung event to the next, and you never really get a sense of what's going on.

There's also the nostalgia factor.  Kids around here grow up sledding, skating, and skiing, dreaming of winter glory.  When I was a kid, every November the river that ran behind our house flooded into the wetlands, creating a miles-long ribbon of glossy ice which every kid in the neighborhood flocked to.  I spent countless afternoon hours gliding around in my brother's hand-me-down hockey skates, dreaming of being an Olympic speed skater like Eric Heiden or Bonnie Blair.  My feet would turn into numb blocks of ice, so cold I'd have to run home and hold them against the radiator until the feeling came back.  As dusk came on, we raced through the trees and around the hummocks of grass, playing tag and crack-the-whip, or seeing who could slide the farthest.  (We tried Marco Polo once, but that turned out to be a bad idea on skates).

That ancient itch still comes back the moment I put on a pair of skates.  I can't jog or bike for more than ten minutes without getting bored, but skates make me want to fly fast and far, forever.  It can be frustrating when the pond ice is crappy or the rink is crowded.  I ventured out last Sunday to the pond in our neighborhood park with skates in hand, and the ice was awful.  It was rutted, cracked, bumpy, and slushy.  In some spots it was soft enough that your blade would sink down abruptly, pitching you forward gracefully onto your face.  Still, there were a few patches of smooth ice, and it was fun to awaken the old dream, to chain together some 3 turns and spins and waltz jumps under a soft afternoon moon, to hear once more the hollow hiss of a blade carving through ice, the shouts of kids, and the clop-thwack clop-thwack clop-thwack of the ritual pond hockey faceoff.  It has been awhile.

And, OK, I admit it: the Winter Games also appeal to me becauase of the element of thrill and danger.  The summer events are mostly athletes puffing around a rubber track, or back and forth in a pool. Somebody might trip, or pull a hamstring, but the events are decidedly sedate and earthbound.  Once you add snow and ice and wooden planks and steep hills, suddenly you've got speed, flying bodies, and spectacular stunts.  You get entertainingly inexplicable events, like Nordic combined and biathlon (skiing and shooting?  why not skiing and cooking? Or shotput and sonnets?).  Also curling, an activity where people with brooms yell at a granite rock.  Fans are passionate about it.  I was in a bookstore in Canada once, and - I kid you not - there was an entire section devoted to curling.  There had to be at least fifty different titles.  My favorite was Burnt By The Rock, which seemed rather melodramatic for a sport that involves long periods of standing around staring at painted concentric circles.  One does wonder if David, with his lawn bowling experience, might not be a natural at this sport.  It's not as physical or rough as Aussie football, but then again, Ian Stewart never got burnt by the rock.  *scoff*  (Confession: I picked that name at random from Wikipedia.  I don't actually know the names of any players.  Thank goodness I invented the internet.)

The fourth reason I love the Winter Olympics:  the bizarre fashions.  When you think "athlete", you generally think streamlined, utilitarian, and basic.  Skintight spandex, say, or a basic tank top and shorts.  Something that shaves off those all-important hundredths of seconds.  And yet the Winter Games bring the ruffles, the sequins, the psychedelic patterns and fake jeans and general silliness. You never know what you're going to see next.  A farmer?  A gondolier?  Some guy in a skeleton outfit?  Figure skating is responsible for the bulk of these, but the other disciplines also contribute their share.   Feast your eyes on some of the imaginative outfits we've been treated to thus far:


We love you, Overalls Guy!


Johnny Weir, the Crystal Enchantress of the ice, in a pink lace-up corset.

Evan Lysacek.  By the way, his free skate won 100 points for Slytherin.


Evgeny Pluschenko, rocking the "parking valet attacked by a Bedazzler" look


Ukrainian pairs team wearing unitards made up of equal parts mithril, Unobtanium, and melted aluminum 1950s tumblers, with contrasting trim made out of that molten metal stuff from Terminator 2.  It took them five hours to get through international airport security.

The men's downhill was won by a giant candy cane.


Dig these cool Tron-like Australian short track outfits (with the 4-pack of abs!) 

Are you ready for pants?...


The Norwegian men's curling team.  I think.  They could also be harlequins golfing.


The Azerbaijan team outfits for the opening ceremonies.  Their pants are a 50/50 blend of paisley and awesome.  As far as I'm concerned, they won the Olympics right then and there.

In other news, Oliver gnaws a radiator valve, continues to have ears:

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 6:58 PM EST
Updated: February 20, 2010 9:16 PM EST
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February 11, 2010
Things that go bumper in the night
Mood:  bright

In observance of the annual Festival of the Automobile State Inspection Sticker, aka What Expensive Yet Mandatory Fixes Can The Garage Find Wrong With It This Year?, it came to light that inside the car's bumper cover, the rear beam spent 2009 quietly transmuting into a rust-colored powder and must be replaced before the state will allow it back on the road.  Judging from the price tag, the new rear beam is made from metal mined on Saturn and flown to Earth in rockets that burn Chanel No. 5.  (Or it may possibly be forged from unobtanium, by the elf-smiths of Imladris.  I haven't ruled that one out.).  At any rate, once it's fixed, I will be able once more to back into trees, parked cars, and state motor vehicle inspectors with confidence.

Speaking of hidden rust-colored things - which we were not really, but humor me, this is an awkward segue - the other night David appeared in one of my dreams, playing the surprising role of My Nagging Subconscious. (Maybe Glen Owen Dodds has rubbed off a little?)  He only had one line, but it was delivered impeccably.  You know those dreams where you're at a huge party, and you find yourself sitting on the sofa between Jimi Hendrix and your sixth grade gym teacher, holding an eggplant in your lap and discussing whether cows can walk down stairs? (Yeah, that old chestnut of a dream.)  At some point in the dream, David detached himself from the crowd, walked past the Sofa o' Random Characters, and laughingly remarked "Your web site's gotten awfully juvenile lately."  My (equally laughing) response: "As opposed to all those earlier times when it hasn't been juvenile."   Jimi Hendrix's response: *blank stare*.  I think he might have been dead.

I think the interpretation of this dream is pretty obvious: my subconscious feels guilty about all the blather that goes on here and wishes that more DC time were devoted to serious adult discussion of David's work, and less time re-enacting "300" with marshmallow peeps.  My subconscious can be a real nudnik sometimes.  I don't think it fully understands the strange and wacky forms that fan appreciation can manifest as.  Fan appreciation doesn't always have to come wrapped in six-syllable words, wearing a bowtie and tweed jacket and trailing shades of Staniskavski.  Where's the fun in that?  The fan community has come up with hilariously creative stuff -- plays, stories, poems, dictionary entries, musicals -- that gets more directly to the heart of David's career than any sobersides film critic can articulate.  Besides, there's only so many times you can review "Australia".

If my subconscious continues to assume ever-darker dream forms in its quest for a more mature DC - say, Brett Sprague, or one of the Fletchers - then I'll sit up and take notice.  Until then, nanny-nanny-poo-poo  *braaaaaaap*.

In other news, lunch today was all that and a bag of chips.  Literally.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 9:26 PM EST
Updated: February 11, 2010 10:57 PM EST
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February 8, 2010
Chapter 5: Concerning groundhogs, Quaffles, and kittens
Mood:  lazy

Groundhog Day (also known as Candlemas or Imbolc) came and went last week with nary a ripple.  This is the time of year when hibernating creatures begin to stir in their dens, and their movements predict the weather pattern for the remainder of winter.  Tradition has it that on Feb. 2, if the groundhog emerges and sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter.  (Frankly, I'd be THRILLED if there were only six weeks left of winter.  Around here, you're lucky if you can get your tomatoes chipped into the tundra by the end of May).  If the groundhog doesn't see his shadow, it's six more weeks till spring, which amounts to pretty much the same thing.  You could also follow the old-timey tradition of "looking out the window" to "see if the sun is shining", but that's not as much fun as hanging around a rodent burrow on a freezing February morning.

Folklore also says if David emerges from hibernation and gives an interview, there's six more weeks till his next movie.  If he sees his shadow, it means he's not playing a vampire.

Last weekend, because we were feeling restless and in need of stirring outside our den, we went to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston.  It was a real treat to see the various props from the movies.  They had the Sorcerer's Stone, Tom Riddle's diary, Hagrid's hut, Dolores Umbridge's horrible fuzzy pink study, and the Great Hall in Feast Mode, with floating candles.  They had a couple of interactive displays.  There was a tray of mandrakes that shrieked when pulled up, and some leather Quidditch Quaffles to heave through hoops.   It felt like throwing a carburetor at a doughnut.  I'm sure it's much, much easier when you're whizzing on a broomstick half a mile above the ground.

Five years ago, the MOS had a similar exhibit for Lord of the Rings, with tons of costumes, armor, and weaponry on display.  You could see the astonishing level of detail and craftsmanship that went into the gowns, the brooches, the swords, the maquettes, all the props that went into feathering and furnishing the world of Middle Earth.  A scabbard that appears in one scene for half a second might have been worked on for 2 months by a WETA craftsperson.  It was totally awesometaco, but there was not one speck of Faramiraphenilia in the entire thing.  Not even a glove, or an arrow, or a monogrammed Steward hanky.  They had the Boromir dummy all laid out in the funeral boat looking totally realistic, but no Faramir-on-the-barbie mannequin.  I'd say that's mighty strange, wouldn't you?  Where exactly is the Faramir mannequin?  Have they lost track of it?  No one has ever said, but I have my suspicions.

In other news, our household has a new addition.  His name is Oliver and he's a total marshmallow cutie:

Actually, we weren't originally planning on naming him Oliver.  Before driving over to get him, I had a short list of hipster kitty names such as Wyatt, Nimbus, Quincy, and Bertie Wooster ("Spitieri", als, was vetoed as encouraging inappropriate behavior in a cat, along the lines of "Scratchy" and "Midnight Hairball").  But once he arrived home and started scampering around the room, all the carefully pre-chosen names went out the window.  There was just no question that he was an Oliver.  His personality was overwhelmingly, unanimously Oliver-ish.

And so Oliver it is, in spite of its associations with Love Story, "Good Morning Starshine", and the extra Brady Bunch kid. (What was the deal with Oliver during the 1970s? For a brief period, it was the ne plus ultra of male names, and then it disappeared)  So the moral of the story is: sometimes you have to meet a kitten first to know what its name truly is.

He's super affectionate and purry, and he has a gray tail with a white tip that looks exactly like E.T.'s finger.  Every time he walks past, I just have to say "phooone hooome" and boink the tip lightly with my index finger.  That will never get old.

P.S. Before we go, Oliver would like to say a few words about Van Helsing:

fvvvvvvvvvlllllllllllllvvvvv58 cnso

derf  ;

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:39 PM EST
Updated: February 9, 2010 1:15 AM EST
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January 28, 2010
What if God was one of us?
Mood:  smelly

Just a slob like one of us?

And so it came to pass that Glen Owen Dodds went forth into a beige, windowless, wood-panelled office, and occupied thereof the hind portion of a desk.  And yea, his leather throne did swivel.  And though he moveth with the times, he hath not computerized his records; and his pants are like twin brown gazelles grazing among the lilies; and his tie is comely, like myrrh.

Glen Owen Dodds, by the way, should not be confused with Owain Glendower, the last Prince of Wales.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:13 PM EST
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January 14, 2010
Om Mani Padme Yum
Mood:  bright

Remember back at Halloween, when we were scoffing at the kooky idea of candy that had been prayed over by witches?  Well, it turns out there's a company called "Intentional Chocolates", which sells chocolate that's been prayed over by Buddhist monks.  (Not directly - they use a special recorder to capture the brainwaves of meditating monks and then expose the chocolate to it for five days).  Eating the chocolate, you absorb the monks' peaceful meditational energy,  and experience a sense of enhanced well-being. 

I read about this in an airline magazine, along with an article about a wildlife biologist who spent years painstakingly learning to communicate with wolves by howling, and now spends a good deal of his time inadvertently howling back and forth in the woods with other wildlife biologists who have spent years painstakingly learning to communicate with wolves by howling.  Airline magazines have the rippingest yarns.  They're right up there with Virgin's legendary in-flight safety movie (a great favorite of Fake Sony Ericsson Android Phone David, as you'll recall).

So I decided to try and create my own intentional chocolate at home.  I bought a big bar of Belgian chocolate and left it on top of a copy of Molokai for several hours, to soak up Father Damien's gentle, heartfelt prayers and selfless nobility.

Unfortunately, the effect went in reverse:  the chocolate influenced the movie.  In my copy of Molokai, Father Damien is now assigned to an acne colony.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 11:12 PM EST
Updated: January 15, 2010 12:03 AM EST
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January 8, 2010
The waning drain in Maine makes Jane insane
Mood:  chatty

Happy new year!  There isn't much new to discuss, other than the good news that Oranges and Sunshine will soon begin filming.  It's great to hear David is back at work again.  It's been a long time since I've seen anything new of his, especially in the theater (has it really been over a year since Australia?)  Still haven't seen Public Enemies yet.

A very generous friend from inside the computer sent me a copy of the Murray Whelan series on DVD this Christmas (thank you, Generous Friend!!).  It had been quite a long time since I watched them.  Both my videotapes broke, in a terrible VCR tragedy, not long after the series originally aired.  In a way, it was like watching them again for the first time.

So you know how, in The Brush Off, Murray is standing at the sink watching the water spiral down the drain, just before the flashback to the events of the previous night?  Well, I've always wondered about whether water really does go down the drain the other way in the southern Hemisphere.  In the Murray scene, the Australian water swirls definitively clockwise.  I sat there trying to remember which way it goes in our hemisphere, and couldn't for the life of me recall.  Clockwise?  Counterclockwise?  It was really bugging me.  Finally I had to pause the movie and perform a scientific experiment in the bathroom.  I filled the sink with an inch or two of water, then pulled the plug up and watched it drain. went straight down.  No swirling.

So I tried again, this time filling the sink up about halfway.  This time, the water swirled clockwise.  Definitely clockwise.

Then I went downstairs to the kitchen sink and tried it there.  Counter-clockwise.  Tried it again: clockwise.  Third time: clockwise again.

So much for that myth.  

So, since our last confabulation, I've left L.L. Legume for a better job offer, right in my hometown.  It's a company that processes payments of various types (check, credit card, wampum) for a bank known, we'll just call it "Bwank of Bwamerica".  The work isn't nearly as cuddly as working with photos of fleece pullovers and cute golden retriever puppies romping in snowy pine woods, but there are moments of thrilling Jim Doyle-like frisson when doing things to a database with 100,000 live corporate bank account numbers.  I would never in a million years steal the numbers, but it's a deliciously naughty feeling, like rolling around in a big pile of cocaine.  (Not that I know what that's like.  I understand it feels gritty.)  Anyway, the downside is that the company has security policies up the wazoo.  I had to pass a complete background check, the computer passwords are ridiculous ("Mrnw09FJ3Pf$q?"), and every door is badge-access only.  Woe betide you if you go out to the kitchen for tea, say, and forget your badge.  The police will find your cobweb-covered skeleton six months later, leaning against the metal door, with two bony palms pressed beseechingly against the tiny window.

To get to the bathroom, you have to walk about three quarters of a mile down this corridor that consists of a series of airlocks, like the opening credits of "Get Smart", with doors slamming portentously behind you, and mysterious tunnels off to the side marked UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN.  I have to plan my bladder activities very carefully during the day, because it's a five-minute hike to the other side of the building.

The company also has an office in Melbourne.  I'm half tempted to phone down there and ask them if they could do a drain test for me, but they'd probably have to put me on hold while they trek 1.8 miles to their bathroom, fill the sink, note the results, and hitchhike back.  It would cost a mint.  I'll just have to take Murray Whelan's word for it.

Over the holidays, when I wasn't busy trekking to the bathroom and jeopardizing the world's butter supply for various baking projects, we saw a couple of movies with actors in them who have worked with David Wenham in the past.  Actually, David's built up enough of an oeuvre by now that it's quite commonplace to spot former co-stars, although I wouldn't say he's approaching "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" territory yet.  Once he appears in a movie with Kevin Bacon, then we can all start playing "Seven Degrees of David Wenham".

Anyway, we saw Avatar the day after Christmas, with Sam Worthington giving a wonderful performance as a wounded marine trying to save a tribe of blue long-waisted aborigines from being displaced out of their homeland on the planet Pandora.  You see, the aboriginies made the silly mistake of planting their Home Tree on top of a huge deposit of a valuable mineral called Unobtainium (which, as Mr. DC remarked afterwards, must be an isotope of "Extremely Rarium"), thus attracting the attention of an evil corporation that had hired some military types to infiltrate the tribe and persuade them to move them elsewhere so they could chop down the tree and get at the ore.  Eventually the corporation gets tired of waiting, and launches a full-scale invasion with helicopter gunships against bows and arrows.  Unfortunately, it's an old, old story.  We saw it in 2-D, because movie theaters around here are too chintzy to spring for the extra D.

Later we rented The Ugly Truth with Gerard Butler, which was astoundingly, teeth-grittingly terrible.  I don't know what Gerard Butler was thinking, appearing in this film.  The script should be fed to dingos.

Also saw Invictus, which has nobody directly connected to David in it, but it does have Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, who David once mentioned as being an admired figure, as well as Matt Damon attempting a South African accent (strange to say, but he just doesn't sound right without the wicked thick Haavahd-Yaaahd accent).  I can truthfully say that, as holiday rugby movies go, it's right up there with the best.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers forgot to show us which way the water drains in Johannesburg.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:57 PM EST
Updated: January 14, 2010 11:12 PM EST
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December 5, 2009
I hav recently lernd 2 grammr. Hire me!
Mood:  accident prone

Christmas is upon us, dearest Groveapudlians.  Time to reflect on the past year, from Jerry Springer to Public Enemies to Pope Joan, and look ahead to what lies in store for 2010.  So far, all we can count on are animated owls, and the possibility of a good orphan drama.  But we're a tough, gritty, determined bunch, we Daisy fans, and we can wait patiently for our next fix without drumming our heels on the floor and forgetting to use our indoor voices.  (Much.)

So, I spent a little time job hunting at the end of October, because the working-two-states-away thing was getting very old (as was my car).  While I was filling out job applications online, my stupid-ass computer kept hiccuping and and sending them out mid-edit.  I'm sure prospective employers were very impressed with my "atention to detai" and "excellent written and verbal communication skulls".

Despite my totally unawesome internetting skullz, I found a consulting gig last week with the E-commerce team of a large mail-order clothing company headquartered here in Maine.  (We'll call it L.L. Dean to protect its delicate identity from the evil, remorseless gaze of Google.)  The job involves maintaining and testing their website, which changes every day as new promotions and products get added.  Links and HTML tags have to be checked, copy verified, and payments handled.  Essentially, in the course of probing for defects, we get paid to sit around and shop.  I pretend to buy tote bags with fake credit card numbers (though I have to remember to cancel the transactions, otherwise they actually go through and a kayak arrives on my doorstep a week later).

Our department is right next to Product Testing, so we can see all the clothes and outdoor gear being auditioned for upcoming seasons.  There's an entire room devoted just to duck boots, and trash barrels full of fabric swatches, and people walking around in really odd getups, like bike shorts and fleece slippers.  Snowshoes, ice skates and skis litter the hallways.

Interestingly, there's a lady in my department named Mary Whelan.  That name seems somehow...familiar.  I'm wondering when the acoustical ceiling tile will cave in above her desk.

But let's get on to the real topic of this post.  I've been reading up lately on handicap theory, which is an evolutionary biological principle that states that deliberately taking on handicapping characteristics actually makes one more attractive to potential mates.  No, not the sort of handicap that makes you email dopey half-baked misspelled resumes to potential employers, but physical characteristics that signal "I have health and vigor to burn!".  For example, the tail of the male peacock is useless, unaerodynamic, and nutrionally costly to grow and maintain, but it advertises the health of the peacock to all the peahens.  Examples in the human realm would be things like tattoos, smoking, and motorcycle riding, all of which say "I'm strong enough that this stuff doesn't kill me!"  For females, very short hair and wearing men's clothing work similarly.  In order to get away with these, one has to have sexiness to spare.  (I think this is one reason why guys like it when girlfriends wear their shirts around the apartment).  Same for men who cook or use moisturizer:  rather than dealing a fatal blow of insta-gayness, it makes them that much more attractive.

This, I think, is key to why so many of us love David.  He can don a bridal gown, or coke-bottle glasses, or horrible jeans and a mullet; he can smear cream bun on the tip of his nose; yet his awesomeness overcomes these handicaps and makes him all the more more endearing.  When playing hapless or dorky characters, he can afford not to take himself too seriously.  He's got fabulousness to spare.  Maybe that's what makes a great actor: character quirks don't stick to them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to raze my hair into stubble and get  forearm tattoos.  This will signal to my new employers, "I've got corporate dress style to spare!" and they'll promote me.  I want to be the person who walks around in bike shorts and fleece slippers.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:09 PM EST
Updated: December 5, 2009 11:46 PM EST
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