« September 2011 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Open Community
Post to this Blog
September 4, 2011
Earthquakes and hurricanes, birds and snakes and aeroplanes....
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: It's The End Of The World As We Know It

So a couple of weeks ago, at 1:54 PM on an innocent Tuesday afternoon, I was checking out infant bouncy seats at, when suddenly my chair started vigorously swaying and rocking.  It felt like someone was standing behind the chair, pushing it back and forth the way you would if you were trying to rock a baby to sleep.

My first thought was "Huh, they're really making the Internet realistic these days".

My next thought was "Are the twins doing some kind of synchronized swimming routine?"

My third thought was "EARTHQUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!"  Which turned out to be the correct one.  It was the shock wave from the 5.9 Virginia earthquake, rolling up through Maine on its way to the Canadian maritime provinces.  (Yes, yes, Californians, I know you use 5.9 earthquakes to stir your coffee, but we get excited about these things here on the East Coast.  Indulge us.)  The vibrations went on and on, lasting for about a minute.  My co-workers were all atwitter: "Did you feel that? Did YOU?  Wow!  That was weird!  What was that?"  There was no immediate damage from the quake, except a dry-erase marker fell off one of the whiteboard rails in the conference room.

Then a few days later, when the excitement from the tremor had calmed down, we got hit by Hurricane Irene, which churned its way up the eastern US and caused a ton of flooding and power outages.  Vermont and Connecticut look awful - so many roads washed out, huge trees down, major coastal inundation, people still without power.  Portland was on the east side of the storm, which had weakened considerably by the time it arrived, so we got mostly wind and very little rain.  Even so, I sustained $5.00 worth of property damage when a bathroom window got left open by mistake and the wind blew a bottle of contact lens solution into the toilet.



The local Greek restaurant is now offering something called a "King Leonidas Calzone".  It has 5 kinds of meat, 4 kinds of cheese,  weighs close to 2 pounds, and sounds like it should be conveyed to your table on a lubricated sledge pulled by a dozen Helots.  "If you finish our King Leonidas," says the menu, "you will be worthy to call yourself a Spartan, and the calzone is free!"  (Or you could, y'know, not order it, and also not pay anything.  Plus, avoid a lengthy hospital stay).

Oh, what would Dilios do?  I guess he'd snarf it down and sneer at its puniness, but there would be a grave risk to those 6-pack abs.  Better to opt for the wussy, degenerate Athenian salad buffet, and live to fight another day.


The twins are active and growing and kicking up a storm.  It feels like I've got an aquarium full of tarpon in my belly.  Or a lava lamp.  Just about 10 weeks to go until life changes forever - it will be an earthquake of a different kind.  Mr. DC assembled the cribs last weekend, so now they'll have someplace to sleep other than a bureau drawer.  Then we took the ancient 20th century TV over to Best Buy to recycle it.  I was oddly emotional when it came time to say goodbye.  That TV and I have been through many ups and downs together over the years.  Monica Lewinsky.  O.J. Simpson. The Gulf War. September 11th.  Lord of the RingsSeachangeGettin' Square.  Eight years of George W. Bush Tourette's Syndrome.  The lifting of the Curse of the Bambino, as the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.  Van Helsing.  *sniffle*

"Would you like a moment?" the clerk asked.

"No," I quavered, holding back tears.  "It's all right.  It's time to let go." I gave the old girl one last pat and left it on the counter, looking forlorn and outdated.

Speaking of tears, I seem to be crying at anything and everything these days.  I'm sure it's just pregnancy hormones, but even pet food and insurance commercials are making me choke up.  I made the mistake of watching Up the other night.  You'd have to have a heart of stone not to cry at the opening montage of Carl and Ellie's married life, but I was just a melted, teary, blubbery wreck.  Damn you, Pixar!  They always ambush the audience with a tearjerking montage at some point in their films.  How many of you nearly imploded during Sarah McLachlan's rendition of "When Somebody Loved Me" during Toy Story 2?  (And how many of you hear that playing in your heads as you heartlessly abandon your old televison set to the dustbin of history?  Okay, just me.  Never mind.)


The woman in line in front of me at the post office yesterday was mailing an automobile tire.  Not packaged up or anything, just a single naked automobile tire, with an address label and $27 worth of stamps slapped on it.  I would love to know the story behind that.  Is it a family heirloom?   Did her mother-in-law visit and accidentally leave the tire behind in the guest bedroom?  Is there a college student somewhere with a flat tire, waiting impatiently next to a mailbox?

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:44 AM EDT
Updated: September 4, 2011 12:01 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
July 3, 2011
The Kids Are Alright
Mood:  accident prone

Dear Nickelodeon Cinemas,

I am so very, very sorry about your Harry Potter poster.

Wait, let's back up.  I'll explain in a minute.

So far so good: the twins are coming along fine.  They've been dubbed the Tater Tots, due to an overwhelming lust for mashed potatoes, potato chips, french fries, and all things tuberous over the past few weeks.  Whatever vitamin or mineral is in potatoes, the twins seem to be craving it nonstop.  We've been referring to them individually as Russet and Yukon Gold.  (I jest now, but those names may end up sticking).

We learned last week that the Taters are both boys, and fraternal.  (If they'd been girl-girl twins, would they be sororital?).  Yukon was quite the little flasher, so his boyness was immediately obvious, but Russet was a little more modest and had to be coaxed into revealing himself.  I can't even describe how joyful it felt, the enormity of finally learning their sexes, of being able to put a shape to the daydreams.

Though I love the thought of baby girls and cute dresses and doll tea parties, part of me was secretly relieved at the prospect of dodging the pernicious pink clutches of the Disney Princess Conglomerate, which seems to seize hold of every little girl between the ages of 3 and 6, and provides a convenient legal loophole for not eating lima beans and brushing teeth (because Real Princesses like Ariel have other people do that stuff for them).  Although that's not to say Russet and Yukon won't also have the right to be into tiaras and Destiny Ballads.  However, if they insist on being royalty, I'll try to steer them towards off-brand fairy dust, and make sure they hang up their jackets just like the commoners do.

More likely, I'll have to start sprucing up on dinosaurs, superheroes, and construction equipment, of which I know very little.  There's the....uh.....big stompy dinosaur, and the little rat-faced one.  And Tyrannosaurus Rex, who doesn't have to take a bath if it doesn't feel like it.  (Uh oh....we're right back to the Princess Problem.  I guess it's just unavoidable.)

So, getting back to the previous apology to Nickelodeon Cinemas:  we went to see Tree of Life on Friday night.  This film is A Very Bad Idea if you're feeling at all remotely queasy.  It's chock full of vertigo-inducing camera angles: shots that peer up the trunks of tall trees, open-cockpit biplane rides, disorienting underwater ocean waves, nebulae undulating like lava lamps, acrophobic views from the top floor of skyscrapers.  There were also a lot of jumpy quick cuts through which the unhappy, tense characters moved, giving each other portentious glares.   I tried closing my eyes and breathing deeply, but that didn't really help.  About halfway through, the little alarm bell in my head finally went off ("Get out of there.  NOW.")   I hustled up the aisle, opened the door, and was immediately bowled over by a thick wall of artificial butter/popcorn lobby reek, which caused me to panic and bolt for the fresh air of the outdoors, instead of for the restroom as I should have done.

As luck would have it, it happened to be First Friday, when all the downtown art galleries stay open late and serve wine and hors-d'oeuvres, and the art museum lets everyone in for free.  The brick plaza in front of the theater was thronged with hundreds of arts lovers milling around, lounging on benches, and enjoying the soft summer air.  Murray Whelan and Salina Fleet wouldn't have looked out of place there.  I stared around wild-eyed, searching for a trash can, an ashtray, a sewer grate, a planter, anything.  There were none to be had.  Finally, out of desperation, I slumped against a discreet out-of-the-way nook in the theater facade, closed my eyes, and thought of England.

Unfortunately, after I was done, I noticed I had defiled the wall beneath "Harry Potter and the Deathly Awkward Silence".  I couldn't even make eye contact with the bystanders, just slunk back into the theater.  The best I can hope for is that they all thought it was a strange piece of performance art.

All things considered, I guess it wasn't as awkward as discovering the dead body of an artist floating in the moat of the National Gallery.


Dear Weather Gods,

Thank you for sending a short-lived but vigorous rain shower 45 minutes later.  I owe you one.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 1:23 PM EDT
Updated: July 3, 2011 3:21 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
May 28, 2011
Deer, meet headlights
Mood:  incredulous

Of all the phrases I ever expected to hear a doctor utter, "It's twins" ranks somewhere below "Gee, I've never seen a case of jake leg that far advanced" and "If the aliens probe you again, I'll order some X rays."

So you may imagine my reaction a few weeks ago when we saw two sacs on the ultrasound, and two little heartbeats.  The room suddenly got very, very quiet as everyone absorbed this news.  It's a big readjustment to go from expecting one to two.  Suddenly you're speaking in plurals.  Suddenly you're trying to imagine the logistics of nursing and bathing and changing and comforting two newborns at once.  Suddenly the expenses you'd carefully budgeted for balloon: double strollers, double outfits, double day care, double $$.  The two-bedroom place and the Honda Civic start to look cramped and inadequate.  Then there's all the risks associated with carrying multiples - preterm labor, NICU, placenta previa, higher risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, the probable need for a Caesarian, etc.

On the other hand, twins are pretty darn cute and exciting, and they can mercilessly bug  entertain each other when they get older. (Already, in the womb, there appear to be territorial issues.  Baby B's sac is curving around to encroach on Baby A's turf.  I'm thinking about putting a dividing line of masking tape down the middle so everyone stays on their side.  If I hear any more bickering, we're turning this uterus right around and going home.) 

Twins are also double the morning sickness, which is the reason I haven't updated DC since March.   As Robert Frost might have said, had he written poetry during the first trimester, "I have been one acquainted with the toilet".  In between, I've been horizontal on the couch and avoiding the kitchen like the plague.  One develops a complicated relationship with food.  For a few weeks, I wasn't able to keep anything down but those nutrition shakes from the drugstore, the kind they give to cancer patients and people recuperating from surgery.  At my 12-week checkup, I had lost 7 pounds.

Things are starting to improve a little bit.  I still have "yuck" periods, and weird cravings, but the sickness is no longer 24/7.  I always thought pickle cravings were a pregnancy cliche, but it turns out there's some truth to it.  For some reason, you seek out things that are cold and sour.  Pickles are straingely alluring and delicious right now.  And normally I hate pickles.  They squick me out, with their green bumpy frog skin and their strutting, egotistical way of taking over a sandwich, crowding out the more retiring lettuce and mayonnaise flavors.  Now I furtively steal dill spears from leftover catered lunches at work, like a desparate cigarette junkie swiping butts from the sidewalk.  Can't get enough of that vinegar putsch!

The bloodhound sense of smell is a little weird, too.  Recently I was able to smell a pile of mulch 25 yards away in the parking lot, from inside a sealed office building.  I can tell if someone chewing grape bubble gum has walked past in the last few minutes.  Coffee is like a sledgehammer assault to the senses.  I can smell fear, success, a rat, napalm in the morning. I smell satellites passing overhead.  Did the upstairs closet always smell like bacon?

It's still a little early to tell the sexes, but I am eager to find out.  There are all sorts of old wives' tales and methods for predicting your baby's sex, from peeing in Drano to dangling a wedding ring over your belly and watching which direction it swings in.  The most accurate method, and the one I've heard works the best, involves placing a "transponder" on the "belly" and scanning the "ultrasound picture" for "genitals".  This is assuming they cooperate, of course.  Baby A was feeling mischievous at the last screening and wouldn't hold still for the nuchal fold measurement.  It was flipping, rolling, waving, squirming, and wriggling to beat the band.  Just my luck, I had an impatient Teutonic technician that wouldn't stand for such nonsense.  She kept barking orders at them..."NO!  Hold still! Don't roll over.  STOP THAT.  Behave!  GET BACK HERE," plunging the wand up and down on my belly to try to chivvy Baby A back into position.  In between "Oooofs", I asked if Baby B was sucking its thumb (it had its hand up to its mouth).  The technician barked severely "NO!  It is NOT sucking its thumb.  It's WAVING AT YOU.  Can't you see?"

As I stopped at the desk on my way out, the receptionist beamed: "Good news!  We were able to book all your remaining appointments with the same ultrasound technician!"

I smiled wanly and murmured "Isn't that lucky!"

Off topic...or rather on topic, since this is supposed to be (nominally) a blog that occasionally discusses That Which Is David...the other day at work, one of the systems engineers came over to talk to me about some work-related thing, and the subject gradually swung around to 300.  I'm not exactly sure what the sequence of topics was, but I swear he brought it up, not me.  He commented something about the Spartans marching off to battle wearing shin guards and helmets, like that was going to provide much protection against spears and arrows.  I said "Don't forget the leather speedos, that provides at least 5% more coverage".  Instantly twenty heads prairie-dogged up from twenty neighboring cubicles and started contributing their two cents on Spartan armor (or lack thereof).  What was up with the bathing suits?  And the abdominal makeup?  Were those real muscles or CGI?  (At the risk of appearing to be a 300 know-it-all, I firmly set them straight on that's only fair the actors should get full credit for all the tractor tires, chin ups, wind sprints, and cottage cheese).  Before you could say "Spin me a yarn, Dilios," a lively discussion was under way.

Or it was until one of the QA analysts came over to ask if the direct marketing environment could be upgraded to the latest web services build.  All jocular talk of leather bathing suits and Spartan training methods ceased, we crashed back to earth, and work was reluctantly resumed.  "Thanks, Debbie Downer," said the systems engineer to the analyst.

Our Transaction Services group takes ancient Greek costuming very, very seriously.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 4:39 PM EDT
Updated: May 28, 2011 6:19 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
March 6, 2011
I got a nautical-themed pashmina afghan
Mood:  accident prone

Last Saturday I drove down to Portsmouth and took the New Hampshire state boat license exam.  A word of advice: if ever you need to take this test, the answer to 90% of the questions is either "150 feet" or "A Type III personal flotation device."   It also doesn't hurt to brush up on your red spar buoys vs. your black spar buoys, because the state is rather keen that you know the difference.  On paper the correct answers are "pass to the south or west" and "pass to the north or east" respectively.  In practice, when you're driving a boat the correct answer is really: "pass on the side of the buoy that is opposite from the large rock pile/island/shore/mooring field/other solid obstacle". 

I missed two questions, both of which concerned what to do when you're underway on the ocean in fog.  (Answer: sound your horn one time every two minutes.  Or is it two times every one minute?  I don't think it really matters.  If I ever find myself drifting out to sea in the fog, I'm going to be sounding the airhorn 50 times a second until someone comes and rescues me.)

Aside from that, the rest of the exam went fine.  I am now licensed to pilot my caviar-powered yacht anywhere it will go.

Prior to the test, we had to sit through a mandatory all-day class taught by a no-nonsense Marine Patrol guy with a snappy mustache and brush cut.  He screened several "Don't Do This" videos depicting boaters gadding about at night without lights, unsafe passage violations, gangs of jetskiers terrorizing an innocent couple having a quiet glass of Chardonnay on the dock, sailors tangling their mast in power lines, and drunken hunters plowing into a bridge.  At the end of the class,  he asked if there were any questions.  A forest of hands went up:

"Can I drink while my boat is anchored?"

"Can I drink if my boat is tied up to a public dock?"

"Can I drink if I set my throttle on idle and take my hands off the wheel?"

"Can my ten year old drive while I drink?"

"If I'm drinking on a jetski, does that count as a BWI?"

"If, hypothetically, you saw someone cruising along holding an open can of Budweiser, would you have probable cause to pull them over?"

"If my boat is on a lake straddling the Maine/New Hampshire border, and I'm drinking in the bow, which is in New Hampshire, and the marine patrol pulls up, can they still arrest me if I cross over to the stern, which is in Maine?"

As the questions went on, the marine patrol officer began to look more and more despairing, his clipboard lost its jaunty angle, and his mustache began to droop.  It reminded me of the time my brother had to attend traffic school in Florida for a minor moving violation.  He was forced to spend a whole Saturday in a classroom with a bunch of hardened vehicular felons.  At the beginning of the class, everyone had to go around the room and state why they were there:

Guy #1: "Uhhh....yeah, so I wasn't wearing any clothes, and I was full of prescription drugs, and I crashed through some palm trees and did $15,000 worth of property damage."

Woman #1: "I was doing 45 in a 15 mph school zone.  I wasn't really watching the road because I was, um, 'servicing' my ex-husband who was in the passenger seat.  Afterwards I dated the cop for awhile."

Guy #2: "The cop pulled up behind me, and I was afraid I was going to get jacked, so I took off.  He chased me for five miles before I skidded off the road and took out a Girl Scout cookie stand."

My brother:  "Ummmm...I made an illegal right turn on red."

But anyway, back to boating.  If the thought of drunken lunatics zooming around the waterways with Everclear sluicing through their veins makes you want to take a permanent vow of landlubbercy, consider this: there used to be no licensing requirements at all in New Hampshire.  Anyone over the age of 12 could operate a motorboat.  It was the Wild West out there.  By the time I turned 13 I was driving the Boston Whaler into town by myself to get the day's groceries.  We did the most incredibly stupid things as kids, like having pitched sailboat naval battles out in the cove and slingshotting each other into the rocks on waterskis and free-diving over old boat wrecks that were 20 - 30 feet down.  My sister and I once got trapped out in the Whaler in a terrible lightning storm at night and had to grope our way home along the shore.  I can't even believe our parents sat calmly on the porch reading the newspaper while we did these things.  That was another world.

I was going somewhere with this lengthy preamble - something to do with Diver Dan, or something.  I'm not sure.   Sometimes I start off these blog entries with a conclusion in mind, and veer wildly off course, and find myself in an uncharted area marked "HERE THERE BE MONSTERS".

I'll leave you with one final nautical tidbit from the class: Red Right Returning.  This mnemonic stands for two things:

1. If returning to harbor from the sea, keep the red channel buoys on your right.

2.  If there is a David movie on television, keep the red-haired boy on the channel.

There will be an exam on #2, so pay attention.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 6:31 PM EST
Updated: March 6, 2011 10:43 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
February 22, 2011
Ubi sunt?
Mood:  spacey

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
And has anyone seen where I put my car keys?
                                            -- Theoden, King of Rohan

Sigh.  Remember?  Remember those long-ago days, when you first discovered David?

Where are they now, those fellow fans you met in chat rooms and Live Journal and Tolkien boards?  The friends you made?  Those early films that you just couldn't wait to get your hands on?  Remember how new and exciting it all was?  Van Helsing was still on the horizon, 300 was just a gleam in Zach Snyder's eye, and you'd never heard of burrowing owls.  East Timor's violent beginnings were unknown to you, as were female popes and orphaned children in Japanese-occupied China.

Every couple of months, there'd be a giddy burst of premiere pictures and interviews, and you'd feast on the spoils.  You watched Basilisk Stare over and over, until it imprinted a permanent ghost image onto your television set (to say nothing of your retinas).  You thrilled to Father Damien's quiet nobility and Josh's brash animal imitations.  You swapped hard-to-find video tapes and old interviews with nice friends from inside the computer.

We were all so young and innocent then, weren't we?

But let's not wallow in sentiment.  What's done is done.  The past is past.  We've got other important business to attend to.  Namely, predicting the future.  Since the present is rather, well, quiescent. 

Unfortunately, I don't have a magic 8 ball handy.  Instead, I've got a better idea.  I'm going to take my iPod, set it to "shuffle", ask it some pertinent questions about David's future career, and interpret the answer from whatever song title appears.  It'll be like a high-tech Oracle of Delphi (sans the CGI goo, the rippling white linen, and the getting licked by creepy priests). 

The iPod is sitting here next to me fully charged, plugged into the future, and waiting for our questions.  So, without further ado, let's light this candle. 

Oh mighty all knowing iPod, spin the Wheel of Destiny and make a selection from the Cosmic Playlist. What will David's next movie be about?

iPod: "She's a Mystery To Me" (Roy Orbison)

Oh, COME ON.  Next.

iPod: "I've Got You Under My Skin" (Frank Sinatra)

That's more like it.  So, this sounds like a film about dermatology.  Or junkies.  Or one of those things where scientists shrink themselves down and travel through someone's bloodstream.

Now, mystical iPod, tell us: what shall be the nature of David's role in this next film?

iPod: "Badge" (Cream)

Ah, yes.  The symbol of the badge portends a sheriff, or a policeman: an authority figure in conflict with the dermatologists. Possibly the name of the group also has significance here.  I see David milking a cow.  If the cream is inside a carton, there will be tea.

O wise and sagacious iPod, where will this movie be filmed?

iPod: "Scotch and Soda" (Kingston Trio)

Scotch...Scotch...yes, yes, that obviously signifies Scotland.  I see evil dermatologists wearing kilts and prowling the moors.  I'm getting a strong aura of Gerard Butler.

Please tell us, small-but-capacious music player: will David's character have a love interest?

iPod: "Haitian Divorce" (Steely Dan).

Mmm-kay.  I guess that would be "no".  Hey, I thought this movie was set in Scotland?  What's this about Haiti?

iPod: "Don't Worry Baby" (Beach Boys)

We'll try not to.  We just need some geographic continuity, is all.

This character of David's, does he die in the movie?

iPod: "Partita in D minor for solo violin" (Bach)

Uh oh.  That sounds sad.  How does he die?

iPod: "Peace Frog" (The Doors)

Death by frogs?  What?

iPod: "I Started A Joke" (Bee Gees)

Oh.  You were kidding? Does that mean he doesn't die?

iPod: "Candy Man" (Sammy Davis Jr.)

MUST you pick the most embarrassing songs?

iPod: "You Have Terrible Taste In Music"

Very funny.

iPod:  "And You Also Have A Mustard Stain On Your Shirt"

That's it.  I'm filling your hard drive with Yanni.

So to sum up:  David's dairy-farming, lovelorn cop feuds with a clan of Highland dermatologists, then splits up with his wife in Port-au-Prince.  Quaker frogs kill him, but (psych!) he isn't really dead, and everyone has a hearty laugh.  Gerard Butler, in a cameo appearance, offers him some candy.  All of this is a mystery to Roy Orbison.

Coming soon to a theater near you!

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 1:30 AM EST
Updated: February 22, 2011 3:52 AM EST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
January 25, 2011
You can't have your kayak and heat it too
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: "Learn Inuit In 30 Days!" (Berlitz)

The tundra is beautiful this time of year.  Two days ago, Mother Nature brought us eight inches of taqqilikkiquik (fluffy dry snow) on top of a foot of hard-packed kiqqitaqasikkiniq (granular pellet snow).  Near the seal hunting grounds, it's melted into likkinukkiqalikk (snow that squeaks when you walk on it) with a light coating of ninivuqatikkit (snows of yesteryear).

Tomorrow night we're expecting 8 - 10" of pinqanunavikkinik (sideways blowing snow that gets driven into the hubcaps of your car at 719 mph, necessitating a $29.95 front-end alignment at V.I.P. Auto).  We've laid in a supply of blubber and are building up the sleeping platforms.

I bring this up because, just as the Eskimos are famed for having dozens of words to describe snow, it occurs to me that we denizens of Daisy Nation must have a similarly nuanced vocabulary to describe David.  He is, after all, an actor of many disguises and moods, changeable as the snowfall.  No two performances are alike: sparkling like diamonds in the moonlight one minute, tying up traffic on the turnpike the next.  And always, always, blanketing the familiar world with a smooth layer of awesome.

Whenever two David fans get together, you'll often hear specialized words that have evolved to describe his ever-shifting personas.  For example:

heroikka - noble, long-haired, medieval type of David (e.g., Faramir, Gerold)

heroikkendammp - noble, long-haired, medieval, bathing-in-a-lake type of David

owweebooboo - wounded type of David

starkkers - character who does not trouble himself with clothes (e.g. Josh, Dilios)

blekkh - morally rancid character

phlecchblekkh - morally rancid character named Fletcher

phlecchblekkhlecch - morally rancid character named Fletcher who also makes passes at the ladies

hootenkyoot - feathered/winged type of David

sydekikk - variety of David who isn't the main character, but steals the show anyway

nikkipikki - character in a troubled marriage (e.g. After the Deluge)

muckabuck - character that wallows in the bizarre and tawdry (eg Audrey, Jerry Springer)

blamalammarama - character who mostly lets his gun do the talking

marysoo - character who inspires fan fiction

larrystu - character who inspires hot Gondor-on-Rohan slash fiction

gerrydrew - character who inspires hot Frankish Knight-on-Possibly Pseudonymous-Deadliest-Warrior-Narrator slash fiction

jerrywhooo - character who inspires hot Talk-Show-Host-on-Burrowing Owl slash fiction

I would go on, but I need to find a spear and enlarge the ventilation hole in the igloo roof before it gets too stuffy in here.  If you don't hear from me in four weeks, send a sled team with emergency rations of manlymanlymensch (strong, principled, world-saving David characters).

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:32 PM EST
Updated: January 26, 2011 12:09 AM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
January 17, 2011
Boxing Day
Mood:  on fire

Terribly sorry for the hiatus in posting!  It's been a busy holiday season.  I'm taking a break from sculpting individual busts of Gerold out of cloudberry gelato for tomorrow night's dinner guests, to hastily check into the Grove and see what's doing.  (Actually, I've really been upstairs pulling gunk out of the bathroom sink drain, the pipe of which, judging from its propensity to dam up gross toothpaste water, has been reduced to the diameter of a ladybug urethra).

So, dearest Grovepudlians, how have you been?  Well, I trust; and I hope you all had lovely holidays.  2011 arrives with the enticing prospects of Killing Time (assuming the real-life trial wraps up soon) and Oranges and Sunshine.  It's been too long since most of us have seen David on screen, though we did get to hear him in Guardians of Ga'Hoole.  Here's hoping that Glenn Owen Dodds will circulate more widely, too.

Life proceeds as usual here.  This past weekend, I saw "The King's Speech", and I punched my company's founder and CEO.  These two events weren't causally connected, and yet both were kind of strangely satisfying.

The CEO-punching is a long story, which is best summed up by "office Christmas charity raffle".  You know, the kind where you buy a string of tickets, and co-workers donate prizes, and then there's a drawing.  I was hoping for the wine basket or the sailboat cruise on Lake Winnepesaukee, but instead I won "two minutes in the boxing ring with the CEO".  Our CEO is a passionate amateur boxer, all sinew and grit, and every year he donates ring time to a lucky sacrificial victim raffle winner.  It's not a genuine bout, of course; he doesn't do any punching.  He uses it as an opportunity to practice defending himself, while the raffle winner uses it as an opportunity to flop around like a fish, flail impotently against the CEO's washboard stomach, and network.

It wasn't as awful as you might think.  The gym instructor was very conscientious about wrapping my hands, showing me some basic punches, jamming gloves onto my fists and shoving me into the ring. Thanks to him, I now know five ways to incapacitate someone.  (I'd tell you, but then I'd have to incapacitate you.)  It all felt very sweaty and Mark Twight-ish, though I enjoyed bopping the punching bag to warm up.

I'll have to recount the full, exciting tale later, because it's really late, but here's an excerpt from my forthcoming rags-to-riches Rocky underdog memoir:

"Innnnn the white corner, weighing in at 215 lbs...The Executive!"

"Innnn the blue corner, weighing in at One-Dainty-Three-and-a-Half....The Proletariat!"


..."That's for not having an independent ISO-9000 certified quality assurance process!" the Proletariat snarled, driving her fist into the Executive's arrogant solar plexus.  "And that's for not sufficiently focusing on customer delight!"

Oh my.  That's enough excitement for one entry.  I don't want to overtax your sensibilities.

On a parting note, you probably heard the kerfuffle in the news last week about how they're moving all the Zodiac signs due to shifting of the magnetic poles, or some such.  The constellations no longer match the seasons.  Most people have to move back one sun sign and they've inserted a 13th sign into December called Ophiuchus.  People with Capricorn tattoos are understandably outraged at now having to be Sagittarii.  I didn't quite get the full story: are we expected to change our personalities too, to match our new star signs?  I don't know if I can handle being a Gemini, after all these years as a Cancer.  It's like having a birthday-change operation.  On the other hand, it would be nice to be a zodiac sign that isn't named after a deadly disease.

I seem to recall that under the new system, David would still be a Virgo.  Thank heavens some things in this world are consistent.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 11:28 PM EST
Updated: January 18, 2011 1:37 AM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
November 27, 2010
Hobo Thanksgiving
Mood:  hungry

Thanksgiving!   It's a great holiday.  No presents to buy, no cards to send, no carols to sing, no tree for the cat to pee in and knock down.  All that's required is to eat a delicious meal of turkey/ tofurkey/ turducken/ turcowshrimpporklomeinmooseburger, bask in the love of your family, and give thanks for all those little things that bring sunshine into your life.  Twinkle lights.  Ibuprofen.  Glee.  Your generous snowblower-owning neighbor.  The downside is having to wash 65,000 dishes afterwards, but that's your own fault if you have 22 people over and insist on eating off of real plates.  A communal metal trough is much easier to hose out afterwards.

I celebrated Thanksgiving Part One (aka Thanksgiving: The Stuffening) with my brother, his wife and two daughters the weekend before, at their cabin in Godforsakken, Maine (not its real name).  It's wayyyyyy up in the Great North Woods, on a high bluff overlooking the Penobscot.   To get to it, you have to bump several miles down a dirt logging road, then careen down a set of faint tire ruts through tangled overgrowth for another mile or two.  Normally they use it for summer camping, but my brother got the idea that it would be great to put on an entire Thanksgiving meal there.  The cabin has no running water, no electricity, no beds, and no kitchen to speak of.  No bathroom either.  There's nothing like peeing on frozen, leathery oak leaves and then realizing you forgot to bring along toilet paper. 

Since I wasn't doing any actual cooking, other than showing up with rolls and pie, I was more or less agreeable with this plan.  The turkey was roasted outdoors for 6 hours inside a 55-gallon metal drum, while we all huddled around it, shivering.  I felt like a hobo.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash were also boiled outside on the fire.  There might have been peas too - my memory is a little hazy due to smoke inhalation.  By the time the little plastic turkey thermometer popped, it had been dark for quite awhile and I couldn't feel my feet anymore.

The main point to this story is that inside the cabin, on the table, I discovered a copy of Guardians of Ga'Hoole "Guide Book to the Great Tree", an encyclopedia of characters and place names from the books.

"Ah!" I said to my nieces.  "You've read these?"

"No," they said.  "We just like reading about the characters."   (Did any of you ever see Metropolitan?  There was a character in it, Tom Townsend, who never read actual books, just literary criticism.  I think this is the situation we're dealing with here) .

So I flipped through to see what the Digger entry said. This is how they described him:

"Digger is quiet, the philosopher of the group...."

Now, I thought....I mean....wasn't that...wasn't Digger kind of hyperactive and talkative??    Or is it just the turkey smoke playing tricks on my memory?

I think it would be helpful to do the same thing for other characters David's played.  Some of these movies, it's probably been awhile since you've seen them, and at this time of year, with all that juicy tryptophan coursing through your system, it's easy to forget who's who.  So here's the expanded Grove edition of Misleading Character Summaries.

Neil Fletcher:  Unassuming.  Gentle. Wouldn't harm a fly.  He's the one everyone trusts to cow-sit while they're away in Darwin. 

Dilios:  Enjoys dressing in warm, snuggly layers.  Gets really upset if you wash his Pookie Bear or if any of his foods are touching one another on the plate.

Jim DoyleLoves banks.  Banks + Jim 4ever.  Can't get enough of those banks.  Jim's got a fever, and the only cure is banks.

Josh: Devoutly Shaker.  Also, gay.

Gerold: Totally shallow.  Addicted to "Farmville".

Mark Waldman: War profiteer.

By the way, if you hanker for owl pellets (and who doesn't?), there's a virtual owl vomit simulator that lets you dissect your own cyber-pellet and figure out what the owl had for dinner.  (Answer: not Stuart Little. And not those mystery metal flecks either.)  Go to KidWings and click the Virtual Owl Pellet button.

Hey, you know what?  Maybe the owls Spartans would have won the battle of Thermopylae if they hadn't kept breaking into slow motion in the middle of battle.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:47 PM EST
Updated: November 28, 2010 12:57 AM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
October 17, 2010
I'll have decaf, please
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy with Bruno Mars

As another election season approaches, I'm starting to feel like the one townsperson in the zombie movie that isn't infected with the undead brain-eating virus.  All around me, people are intoning "" and putting signs in their yard in support of candidates from the planet Xkzlatoltl.

It isn't just Maine, although we're about to elect a governor who wants to teach creationism in schools, "eliminate literacy", and last week announced his intention to punch a PBS reporter.  Nationwide, we've been overrun by Tea Party candidates espousing the sort of lunatic paranoia that you'd normally see stapled to lampposts, or yelling to itself in the park.  For example:

* Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, who believes scientists have created hybrid mice with functioning human brains, has admitted to dabbling in witchcraft, and is an outspoken opponent of masturbation.  (Yes, America, that's your biggest problem right now.  It's not global warming, Afghanistan, or the recession.  It's the fact that you can't stop tickling the pickle.)  According to her, "It is not enough to be abstinent with other people.  You have to be abstinent alone.  The Bible says that committing lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can't masturbate without lust."

So apparently, even daydreaming is off-limits, and all of you who saw 300 are going straight to hell.  My question is, isn't adultery only possible with real people?  Does it still count if your fantasies are populated with generic archetypes?  Like, the one about the fireman.  Or the one about the priest. Or the one about the Brawny Paper Towel Man.  Can adultery be said to have been committed if the other party is a completely fictional, cardboard character with sensational biceps and no name, who exists only in the depths of your filthy, filthy gutter mind long enough to see you through a boring wait at the dentists' office?

My other question is, who cares?

*Tim D'Annunzio of North Carolina, who claimed to be the Messiah, tried to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000 mile high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland, and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.  Not to mention heroin dependency and jail time, but those are just trifling details.  Next to this guy, Johnny Spitieri looks like a Rhodes scholar.

*Art Robinson of Oregon, an ardent proponent of something called hormesis (the belief that low levels of radiation are good for you).  He believes radioactive drinking water from California should be used to "enhance" Oregon's water, that public schools should be abolished, and that government regulations caused the BP oil spill.

In other words: Eddie Harnovey's worst nightmare.

* Glenn Urquhart of Delaware: "The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State, ASK THEM WHY THEY'RE NAZIS."

...Hey, you know who else used poorly fact-checked, eliminationist hyperbole? ADOLF HITLER, THAT'S WHO!!

* Trent Franks of Arizona: "[Obama] has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an ENEMY OF HUMANITY."

*Sharron Angle of Nevada, who at one time subscribed to the notion that HIV could be spread through water, wants to abolish the Department of Education, and bring back Prohibition.

*Carl Paladino of New York, who proposes to eliminate Medicare and has suggested that welfare recipients be placed in prison, "where they will learn hygiene". 

* Louis Gohmert of Texas on hate crime legislation: "You'd have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you're oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions."

* Some guy I heard on the radio running for state senate in New Hampshire, ranting in ugly language against immigrants who come into this country to have "anchor babies".  I never know that was a problem around here, but yes, it seems millions of Canadians are sneaking over the Quebec border at night, lured by lucrative potato-picking jobs, for the express purpose of dropping babies and overrunning our native culture.  Next thing you know we'll all be laughing with a French accent ("honh-honh-honh") and saluting the maple leaf.

I, for one, welcome our new Tea Party overlords, and agree with them completely that fzxg glorn fleeble blurm SCARY SCARY PEOPLE WITH MORE MELANIN THAN ME dinklefwat bleeble SCARY GAYZ ffnord glapple glopple OBAMA WAS BORN IN A UFO zfx fxfzffx xfzfx.

It's easy to poke fun, but it's actually not that funny...these are all symptoms of a growing movement dedicated to turning us into a more brutal, less informed, less caring society.  The anger of average middle-class taxpayers is being misdirected against minorities and the poor, instead of against politicians who sell off our resources, our health, and our future to the highest corporate bidder.  The problem isn't big government; it's owned government.  Like Oz behind the curtain, it takes increasing amounts of twisted logic, inflammatory rhetoric, and campaign funding to keep people distracted from the genuine issues facing this country.  Meanwhile, corporations and billionaires quietly go on awarding themselves hefty tax breaks, dismantling regulation, stifling competition, shipping jobs overseas, and amassing obscene piles of wealth.  Thus, the recent proliferation of nutty-as-a-fruitcake candidates railing against masturbation and evolution, backed by millions of dollars from undisclosed donors and foreign corporations.  Without any common consensus regarding facts, history, or rationality, we are on the verge of becoming an ungovernable nation.

And now that our overseas readers are thanking their lucky stars not to be living in the U.S. at this moment in history, let's link to some cheerful, factual, reality-based, sciencey news:

Ancient DNA Reveals That Some Neanderthals Were Redheads

Ginger cavemen - how cool is that?  I should think they would have been worshipped as minor deities.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 10:11 PM EDT
Updated: October 18, 2010 2:05 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
September 27, 2010
A Parliament of Owls
Mood:  lazy

Whoooo?  Whoooo?  Whooooo loved Legends of the Guardians?

Why, I did!

Yes,  yes.  I know all the standard raps against Legend of the Guardians.  It's too dark and violent for kids.  The plot is too complicated.  Not enough fart jokes.  Too much of a ripoff of (insert George Lucas space trilogy here).  Won't do well at the box office.  Blah, blah, blah, mwah mwah mwah Charlie Brown teacher mwah mwah.  We've all heard the objections.

Piffle, say I.  This film is visually beautiful - no, gorgeous - no, stunning.  And quite original.  That's no small achievement, in a world crowded with brightly-colored, frenetic cookie cutter kids' movies.  Legend of the Guardians doesn't elbow you in the ribs with its own cleverness, or jump up and down for attention, or bully an emotional response out of you.  I'd describe it as an intimate adventure.  It lets you breathe and relax and soar with the owls on your own terms. (I'm sure it's no coincidence that the main character is named Soren).   The dialogue unfolds naturally, without feeling rushed or forced.  Every feather is beautifully detailed and beautifully lit, every leaf meticulously rendered.  It's like Avatar Junior. Except with owls in gladiator masks.

Of course, the film retains many Zach Snyder touches.  There's lots of shots that abruptly brake to super-slo-mo (particularly when talons are within an inch of slashing nastily at someone's face).  Camerawork is heightened by a full chorus and a woman ululating along the Aeolian scale.  The color palette, particularly for the battle scenes, is "burnt somber", with slashes of red here and there.  Yet the message is the opposite of 300.  In 300, only the strong were worthy of survival, while the weak were left to die in the elements.  In this movie, the Guardians' stated mission is to mend the weak, heal what is broken, and vanquish evil.  (I guess the Spartans were all about vanquishing evil, too, but they did it with abdominal crunches).

So, the story, in a nutshell: Soren, a fluffy young barn owl being raised in a big tree, thrills to the bedtime stories his father tells him of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole.  After a gravitational mishap, in which Soren and his brother Kludd fall out of the Cute Tree and hit every branch on the way down, the two find themselves kidnapped by a band of evil owls called the Pure Ones.  They are taken to a bleak mountain lair, where Soren is put to work dissecting owl pellets and picking out flecks of metal which the evil owls are using to construct a humungous plasmatic gizzard-zapper.  (What these fragments of metal are, or why mice eat them, goes unexplained.  I just assumed it was cheese-flavored unobtanium, and didn't worry my pretty little head about it any more.)

After his capture, Soren befriends a tiny elf owl named Gylfie.  Together the two of them resist the indoctrination ritual known as "moonblinking", in which the owls stare up at a beautiful object for hours until they forget who they are and where they came from.  In certain circles, this is known as "davidblinking".  The sensation will be familiar to viewers of Pope Joan.

Meanwhile, Hugo Weaving secretly teaches Soren and Gylfie to fly and then helps them escape.  On their journey to Ga'Hoole, they meet a pair of owls called Twilight and Digger, and this is where the film gets really interesting.  And it wasn't just me - the rest of the audience perked up noticeably when Digger arrived and raised the energy level.  Digger is just the cutest lil' thang ever, from his white eyebrows to his spotty head to his hoppy, nervous personality.  He's a bit exhausting to watch, but I suppose burrowing owls (Squeeus caffeinus) do have a tendency to twitch around a lot and act agitated.  And boy, can he ever dig.  I'd love to hire Digger to plant some rosebushes.

It's a testament to David's skill that when he first spoke, I didn't even recognize his voice.  I'm not sure what I was expecting - an owl with an eerie Spartan relish for violence, maybe - but Digger's voice fits perfectly with the character and the tone of the movie.  He doesn't sound like a child, but he sounds childlike, if that makes sense.  He also had great lines and got some of the biggest laughs from the audience: "Just because it's sound, doesn't make it music.".  The little girl behind us whispered "That owl is my favorite, he's the cutest one!" and I thought, "You don't know the half of it, my small friend".

Unfortunately, Digger sort of disappears for the remainder of the movie, which focuses on the relationship between Soren and his mentor, Owlby-Wan Kenobi - er, Ezylryb - as the young owl learns to "trust his gizzard" to fly through windstorms, lightning,  and blizzards.  There's a climactic battle scene, Guardians vs. Pure Ones, in which Soren uses a flaming teapot to disable a winch that shuts off the electrostatic plasma lamp which is paralyzing the Gahooligans' gizzards so they can't move....or something.  OK, maybe the plot isn't the strong point of this movie.

Digger, being a burrower, isn't exactly at home in the sky, so he doesn't feature hugely in the battle scenes.  But at the end, along with the others, he is rewarded for his valor with a Purple Hoot medal.

Oh sorry, that was really bad.  Even Digger would be ashamed of that pun.

Posted by dessicatedcoconut at 7:29 PM EDT
Updated: September 27, 2010 10:29 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older