Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Friendly Boegle

RG & I hit Portlandia this weekend to visit our dear fiends Boegle and Ler, at least paritally to view Boegle's first foray into directorhood. Might I add, successful foray.

The writer did a very good job of throwing dramatic bits into an otherwise comedic evening. The final lecture of a dying theatre critic. A strange take on Bruce Springsteen's influence on the Brothers Grimm, and why copywright laws are a bitch. And the one Boegle directed, How to Have an Argument, which was a Monty Python-tinged piece of absurdia involving a lecture that never quite gets off the ground, and some very upset theatre patrons. Great fun, well-acted and generally a wonderful way to spend an evening. Especially since they tagged along afterwards to our hotel and ate and drank with us till the wee hours.

They are our best buds. There, I said it.

In many ways, having the new house is going to be the most fun, cause if they want to come up, we'll probably have room for them. Of course, if it's NW Folklife, they get first dibs on the best guest room.

(we only have one, but don't tell them)

Life improves daily. My job is gradually morphing into a day job, where even though I do have plenty of responsibility, it is keeping well out of my evenings. I'd like to think that when the house closes, I will be able to move everything that is currently in the basement of our little cottage into the garage of the new place without too much difficulty, while the contractors rid us of our sparkly popcorn ceiling.

Other highlights of the trip to Portland - Powell's Bookstore: A Reader's Mad Fantasia of Too Many Books. A lovely consignment shop where RG found a couple of items, and near which Ler and I found slices of heavenly pizza. There was the purchase of pastries.

And for another thing, I bought beer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Roulette Wheel of my Mind

Watching as the wheel goes spinning, spinning, and then waiting for the ball to drop, skitter, bounce it's way around, until it finally settles on --

a blank spot between numbers.

That's not right...

My creative juices have dried up like last year's cat barf.

Tonight, we finally see the DVD release of the movie, "Sans Vie." It will be at a bar/restaurant in Capitol Hill. I will probably meet people I haven't met before (like most of the actors), and I will have to come up with a plausible excuse as to why I haven't been able to help one of the actresses come up with a promo reel for herself. I have a few already worked up that are both plausible and accurate, so it won't be difficult.

I'm working on creating an animated logo for Post Production From The Id. I have my Mixtec death mask and the type that I want to use (though it's a little hard to read), but I'm trying to come up with a way to express it in movement that I haven't seen before, or haven't seen very recently, at least. The guys who did "Blair Witch Project" did a wonderful job with Haxan Films, with the old-style jittering film look and the German Expressionist font. Mine will look more Pre-Columbian.

Why is that, exactly? the death mask is a piece of Mixtec stone carving, the name is taken from Forbidden Planet ("Monsters, John - monsters from the Id!!!"). The typeface is Copal, which has a decorated version that looks really cool, like a Peruvian stone carving. I'm Scots, Irish, maybe German, maybe Norwegian. Not a drop of Hispanic or native blood in me anywhere. Why not go for a Norse image? That would make some sense, plus they have a nice brutal look to them.

Anyway, I don't have a good 3D program any more, and my animation program is Motion. I have Photoshop Elements and an old copy of Illustrator. Good sound program (for the musical side of it). Great to have tools, but no fun to not have an idea to use them on.

Perhaps things will improve when I can hide and work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sort of Not Out of Sorts

This last weekend was spent doing a little relaxing, a little shopping, and a little blowing stuff up (virtually). I also re-watched "Bob Roberts," which I may have to comment on in that other blog thing I do. Suffice to say, it made me feel all deja vu all over again.

Very tired of working and worrying about the house all at the same time. Christmas is coming, and while I'm trying to find gifties for RG, I have nowhere to hide them that she won't see when we move. Well, except maybe at work, but I hate using my desk as storage.


Trying to plan for this new house, which we don't have yet. Sort of foolish, but keeps one's mind occupied. Thinking about flooring for the basement spaces in terms of deadening the sound a little (already equipped with acoustic ceiling tiles), but I hate carpeting. I know I'm going to line my computer cave with sound absorption panels (which I will have to save up for, since they aren't "essential" - yet), but the main downstairs room is going to be the movie room and general entertainment space, while the living room upstairs will be the room with the other stereo, the buffet table space, etc.

So for the movie room, I'm thinking shelving across the back wall to accommodate the movie collection, and darkish walls, lined with drapery panels and can lights along the walls. Some other kind of flat panel lighting for the ceiling (the ceiling is a bit low, so I don't want light fixtures banging people in the head), but not the hideous fluorescent things they have now.

And I can't decide between a flat-panel TV (we have a relatively small one at the moment), or a projector system and a big screen. Pros? Cons? Bueller?

OK. Nap time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Series of Knobs and Tubes

Got the inspection report and we will be suffering from a case of knob & tube wiring, along with potential asbestos in our ceiling (blown oatmeal with sparklies). Neither of these things are totally earth-shattering, and we will be getting that nice fat $6,500 from Uncle Sam for selling a home after living in it more than five years, and then immediately buying a new one.

Some things take care of themselves.

Other issues include re-drywalling the garage with proper greenboard, re-siding same with newer, non-rotten siding, and fixing up the roof of said garage, which has essentially been tar-papered, but not shingled.

As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of adding another eight feet out the left side of the garage as a studio space for RG, so she has a nice outdoor space to do crafty-arty things in.

Small projects I can do myself.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get your drink on in time for Labor Day

Today: drink recipes!

Killer Kool-Aid

1-1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz amaretto
3 oz cranberry juice cocktail

In a lowball glass full of ice cubes, pour the ingredients in, in the above order. Do not stir. It's not that they won't mix, but most of the cranberry juice will stay on top, and not seem alcoholic (though there will be a pronounced peachy aroma). So, it's a nice juice drink that will knock you on your a$$, especially if you're a lightweight like my wife and I. Also helps if the vodka is very top shelf. One of the better craft-distilled vodkas from Idaho or Washington state will do very well, and they won't break the bank the way a Grey Goose or Belvedere will.

As far as I know, there is no such thing as top-shelf peach schnapps.

Cuba Libre

Juice of 1/2 lime
Shot of dark rum + a tablespoon float

In a highball glass mostly full of ice, squeeze in the lime juice and drop in the shell (making sure there's room for the poor thing). Add the shot of rum, then fill with Coca-Cola. Float a tablespoon of the same dark rum on top. Serve.

This is not your Mom's Rum & Coke mixup. The lime juice adds a pleasant tartness to cut the cloying cola flavor, and the float on top gives you fair warning of what you've let yourself in for. DO NOT USE DIET COKE. You're drinking alcohol, for cornsakes' - why cut out a little sugar when the alcohol is way more fattening and bad for you? Oh, and the alcohol itself: Gosling's Black Seal from Bermuda. A splendid sipping rum, I also like it for mixing where a dark rum won't make the drink look like mud (never use dark rum in a mojito, for example, unless it's a chocolate-mint mojito). Black Seal has tons of flavor, feels more hearty than Meyers', and it's relatively inexpensive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm seeing a shrink. A real one. Not a therapist, but a real Psychologist, dealing with cognitive-behavioral stuff. Working our way through my tangled mindfield, I have met two others of me, and they are not quite the enemy. One is my adolescent self, a bit of an anarchist, an anti-authoritarian type who lives for fun, for play, and for whining. The other is my authoritarian father, the critic, the one who knows the "right" way to do things, who suffers in grumpy silence or yells at those who transgress against the "rules." They are both useful to me, but they have each been known to take over.

He asks me to talk to them directly, and then move to their chair and talk back to me in my (now empty) chair. It's a weird experience, talking to an empty chair, and then going and occupying that space, and becoming that person. The work was awkward at first, but I'm/we're getting better at it. At first, it felt like acting - fake. But when you say something to that other person within you, what that person wants to say back is almost always right there, waiting to come out, and it can be quite surprising to find out what these people who live within your brain think of, well... you.

Not sure who I expect the end result to be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We Encourage Home Invasions!

So Thursday, our potential new home will be inspected by a fellow who can point out everything that needs fixin'. And either we say, "Fix it," "pay us to fix it," or "screw you, we don't want this pile of poop".

Big decisions.

While I like buying a house as much as the next guy (especially when the next guy is a masochist with a toilet fetish), some of this stuff really starts to wear me down. The level of paperwork is astonishing. I think wars have required fewer forms.


So this house has a decent little lot, a view (who knew we could afford a view?!), a garage that smells funny (might kill the sale), fireplaces and bad carpeting. We will probably live in the upper floor while the lower floor gets a cosmetic upgrade, and we'll need to keep the cats out of the lower floor until I find every little access to out of the way weird areas that they might hide themselves in. Not that I don't want to give them the opportunity to hide from us when they need their space, but I also don't want to accidentally wall them into the space under the stairs, or the funky storage area next to the electrical panel.

Keeping them from pooping in out of the way areas is also of paramount importance. Muzzlepuff in particular seems to have bathroom issues, though he's getting better all the time.

It's a pretty big house in a very nice neighborhood that is isolated from the rest of the city. Hard to get out, hard to get in, which keeps the neighborhood very, well... neighborly. Or is that Mayberry? My commute will be loooooonger. There are buses, though, that will take people right to wherever in the downtown, and for our yearly folklife visitors, plenty of room in the basement to play in.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Die, Yuppies, Die!

While I love a good horror jolt as much as the next person, why is it that many horror films coming out these days are of the "get yourself in a bad situation, then die slowly and painfully, until you're dead" type? I ask this, because I've just seen the trailer of yet another one, called "The Canyon." Yes, folks, you heard it here first: the Grand Canyon is a deadly wilderness of fear, terror, snakes and wolves. You're gonna die if you don't follow the rules, and maybe even if you do.

So, what have we had: "Deep Water" (death by accidental tourist abandonment); "The Descent" (death by poor cave choice and cannibals); "The Ruins" (death by carnivorous plants surrounded by multiple warning signs); "Turistas" (thanks for the liver); and so on, and so on.

While many real-life wilderness adventures are pretty grisly (the guy sawing his arm off with a Leatherman in order to not die of thirst and hunger whilst trapped by a big boulder is pretty harrowing), why do we have to continually invent stories of a) people behaving slightly stupidly, which leads to b) un- as well as necessary mutilations of various pretty young bodies, leading further to c) terrible death? Horror stories used to end with at least one person making it out alive, who then has to suffer for the rest of their lives with survivor guilt, but we don't have to watch that part... "28 Days Later" was an overall grim little movie, but it wasn't totally devoid of hope.

We're going to have slow grim death in a shopping mall one of these days, because a group of kids decide to throw a party in the shopping mall, get locked in, accidentally kill the security guard in a horrible escalator accident, and then slowly die of thirst and hunger over the next thirty-six hours (with one or two possibly trying to survive by eating the dead security guard) because the mall is - "Closed for Christmas."