Monday, July 31, 2006

Rock Bottom

You know you've hit rock bottom when you find yourself in a darkened aisle on the second floor of the library, browsing through volumes of The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyc.

I was looking for something I had read once about driveaway companies, services for getting your car from point A to point B without having to drive it. Basically, you pay some schmoe to joyride your vehicle across the country, while his only deterrent from motoring to Alaska and/or blowing it up is a $200 security deposit.

How can you not love a book whose slogan is "Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle," and whose cover offers tantalizing headlines like "Fool-proof yogurt making," "Diet on the cheap," "Economize with antiques," and "Mass-produce pies." I very much especially like the generic casserole recipe on page 47 (italicized comments are mine):

1 cup main ingredient (meat)
1 cup second ingredient (vegetable)
1-2 cups starchy ingredient (potatoes, noodles, rice, etc.)
1 1/2 cups binder (see below)
1/4 cup "goodie" (I'm not telling, but the sky's the limit!)

What is a "binder," you say? Elmer's glue? (According to the Gazette, binder suggestions include "cream sauce, sour cream, can of soup.") Alright poor people, get your leftovers out and let it rip. We're having "ingredient" casserole tonight! Post your creations to this blog. No need to actually make it in the kitchen. We'll do a virtual taste test, and the winner gets an entire cup of "goodies" sent via snail mail by yours truly! Don't think I'm serious? Try me.

Happy concocting!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lips detaching from face

I've built up a good store of useless judgment and have worked hard enough today that I don't feel guilty letting it out in blog form.


A big disappointment like you knew it would be.

Favorite character: stain-toothed voodoo lady. There's something strangely seductive about her, not in a particularly sexual way, that's probably part of it, but I just want to keep watching her. The sound of her voice, that iceberg grin, just understated, unlike anything I've ever seen. What an intriguing human form, absolutely delightful to observe.

Second favorite: Davey Jones. More interesting than any of the non-CG leads.

Worst ending. Yes, jaw-popping sets, props and gags. A few perfect lines from J Depp. But other than that a bewildering, unwieldly story with surprisingly little at stake and too many careless moments. One question: What the crap is going on with the heart? Am I supposed to care? It was discovered and then changed hands twice without contributing anything significant to the narrative? What was all the trouble about again? Oh yeah, it's a bloody, beating, disembodied heart. Throw it in a bag and forget about it for the last 30 minutes of the movie while Keira Knightley tries to make her lips jump off of her face and stick to an unsexed Johnny Depp who then jumps into the mouth of a grainy green-screen Return-of-the-Jedi sphincter monster while the oh-so-convincingly sad remaining cast retreats to their bayou "sanctuary" only to be greeted by a cameo of apple-eating Geoffrey Rush who I guess had been in cryogenic storage for the previous 3 hours. Orlando who? I could hardly tear myself away from his hearbreaking dad/son scene: "Don't try to but into my life now, dad. I rise above your pirate ways." - "I never wanted this for you son" - "Oh come here youuuu."


A truly magical place, despite all the instruments of death and torture. I threw caution to the wind and embraced the taxidermy in all it's postmodern glory. There are plenty of live moose in the world, it's just that I'll probably never get a chance to see them without considerable time and effort and hey, let's face it, moose-watching isn't at the top of my list of do-before-I-die activities.

I even lent my support by buying two camping pads. My justification was that there is no Cabela's in Ohio and we're probably going to want to do a lot of camping in the Appalachians. And by a lot, I mean at least once. I also bought Cabela's brand beef jerky for a little backpacking adventure this weekend with Scott and his two oldest boys. I never buy beef jerky, but it just seemed like the right thing to do. Again, the magic.

Should I lie and say I didn't want a gun? I won't. There were hundreds, nay, thousands of them. All my life I've grown up knowing that guns are for hicks and criminals, and that owning one would be far more trouble that it's worth. I'm 28 and I've never shaken the feeling that I'm too young to own a firearm. Guns aren't for kids. And yet here comes the guy behind the counter talking to me like I'm his equal, saying, "What can we do so that you walk out of here today with something?" I almost ponied up and acted the part. I wanted to. Wanted to walk out with a big silver glock pressed against my palm, or a shotgun slung over my shoulder. Didn't know what I would do with it, but wanted the world to know, for a moment, that I could figure something out. Shooting watermelons, or street signs, or aliens. I'd figure something out.