Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cat People

Well, as I hitchhike down the road of self-discovery, I'm constantly surprised at what I stumble across along the way. Let me tell you about something that I guess should have been obvious but wasn't.

I got my first pet cat when I was still a boy in short pants. I remember naming her, even though I can't remember where the idea for the name came from. If I recall correctly, she was from a litter that my aunt's cat had. This cat was with me until I was almost out of high school, & is still buried near my folk's house. But for some reason, I always bitched & kvetched about not having a dog. Everybody else had a damn dog, it seemed. Why not me? Bear in mind I had no concept of picking up a dog's fresh feces or pulling fleas & blood-gorged ticks off of a dog's belly. All I was thinking about was...I dunno, playing fetch, I guess.

Years went by & I found myself living in a house just off the 2, in Glassell Park. It was a family-owned 3-house duplex, & guess what? They had 3 dogs. A pitbull, a german shepherd, & some curious beast that can only be described as a midget sea-lion with the head of a muskrat. Well those were some of the worst times I've ever spent. Dogs have a nasty habit of pissing on things you hold dear, & if you think dog food smells bad, imagine what their farts smell like. Not to mention, they keep their own hours & have no qualms with barking all night outside your bedroom window just to pass their miserable time on this earth...mangy curs! They chew on your only pair of shoes and snap at you when they're cranky. Of course if you shove a dog in a harpooning motion with an umbrella you're some kind of sadistic monster. Hm, what's that? That's right, in a harpooning motion, people! If an upstart canine throws the gauntlet I don't wait to be asked twice. Oh, & going to the dog park? Rubbing elbows with a crowd of buffoons who enjoy the company of these pea-brained pests? Thanks but no thanks. Some advice for a pet-owners first trip to the dog park...Watch your step, people; the hills are alive with the sound of music. By "the sound of music" I mean the hills are alive with dogs defacating, urinating, & dry humping on everything in sight.

In any event, I had an epiphone...a moment of clarity, if you will. My friend over by Dodger Stadium has a cat that had a litter, & was looking to move them out of his house asap. I was watching the game & enjoying a civilized drink when I mentioned that my girlfriend wanted a cat, even though, technically, she wasn't allowed to have one at her place. Long story short, now she has the kitten. Siamese markings. Strong resemblance to the cat my grandmother had when I was just a boy in short pants. And what do you's relaxing having a cat. They like being around you & can be easily trained to use a goddamn litterbox. And then it hit me. My parents have a cat, they've always had a cat. My friend in Vegas has a cat. My friend by Dodger Stadium has a cat (of course). When you're around a cat, it's difficult to stay in a pissed-off state of mind. For me, at least. It helps that my girlfriend's cat has the temperment of a circus clown.

So now I know. I'm a cat person. Me, a cat person! Who'd a thunk it?

Man's best friend? Sorry, Fido. Like Bob Dylan said, "You're gonna have to find yourself /another best friend somehow."

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hammer of the Blogs

You know, I'm not exactly what you'd call an internet enthusiast. Yeah, I check the Dodgers scores online, & the results at Hollywood Park/Santa Anita, & loosely follow the MMA scene, & read the Onion every Tuesday, & check to see if GWAR is making a new record, but that's about it. Well, mostly, at least. Anyways, I don't really keep tabs on other people's blogs. And hoo-ee, look at what I've been missing! Apparently I'm not the only dork who feels obliged to espouse his most trivial views as if they were gospel. Well guess what, people...your blogs suck!!!

My friend at work sent me a link to some dude who thought it would be cute if he kept a blog & acted like he was Darth Vader (yes, back to Star Wars, just for a minute), so the posts were like an inside look at his mind. And you thought Star Wars fan fiction was bad! Darth Vader's diary. Even if the concept wasn't a terribly misconceived abomination, he routinely strayed from the story & took cute little "liberties" in order to make the dreary reading a bit less painful to it's readers. So he couldn't even do that right.

Then my girlfriend shows me some site, "Blogging LA" or something, which is basically a journal of terrified West-siders & Midwest transplants who can't accept the fact that their fashionable SilverLake duplex is in reality on a block that some homeboy lives on who just did a drive-by on 18th Street & now they want a piece of him. Do your homework before you move into a strange new city. Here's a hint: if you have a bunch of loud Nissans & Civics on the street & you're not in a Chinese neighborhood, lock your doors at night. If you see any shiny Imapalas, buy a gun. Oh yeah, & when people spraypaint their gangs name over another gangs name, it doesn't mean they're challenging them to a spelling-bee. If you look closely you can see where the grafitti has been painted over by the city or the neighbors...did you want the local gang to bring a fruit basket to your house when you moved in? I read one hilarious entry on there; this guy was complaining that there had been a shooting near his house: "I heard gunshots, & when I shot a glance out the window to see where the gunshots had been shot from & who shot the gunshots & where the gunshots were coming from & who was shooting a gun, I saw a gunman running down the hill, holding a gun, & after the gunman & his gun who had shot the gunshots got in his car, he gunned the engine & shot away." Ok I'm paraphrasing but that's what we call poetic license here at the OK Corall.

I'm not going to even dignify the countless blogs about people's day-to-day humdrum existences. The whole slice-of-life thing works great for Harvey Pekar, but there's one Harvey Pekar & ten million people whos slices of life could stand to be a la mode, or maybe even have some American cheese melted on top. And of course, these are the people who feel compelled to blog their hearts out. Why do they bother? Have they not seen the glorificent (glorious/magnificent) modern-day sermon on the mount that you, yes you, have the pleasure to be reading this very second? To quote Mike Tyson, "How dare they challenge me with their primitive skills."

Yes I'm aware of the irony of me writing this in my blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

You have failed me for the last time, Admiral Lucas

Well...not to make Star Wars the dominating motif of this esteemed collection of my innermost thoughts & feelings, but I finally got around to seeing Episode III. And man oh man, what a steaming pile of crap it was. I had been putting off actually going to see it because I knew that once I had seen the last installment, there would be no more to look forward to. Well, except the constant stream of re-releases, redigitized version, 3-D versions, DVD versions & so on & so forth. But I couldn't put it off any longer, co-workers were talking about it in front of me & I pretty much knew what was gonna happen inthe damn movie so I drove out to the stadium-seating multiplex in Alhambra & plunked myself down in front of the screen, armed with peanut M&Ms & a gibungous soda.

Right away I knew there was going to be trouble. This may sound dumb, but the opening theme song sounded really...weak. It just didn't have that power, that resonance or what have you, that lets you know you're about to see an epic saga. It sounded like it was a junior high school band playing halftime at a pop-warner football game. Why they would record a version like that I don't know. And to tell you the truth, throughout the whole movie, the score really failed to get me interested. Maybe John Williams was having a bad day. Hey, we all have 'em.

But the actual story? About as engaging as Pokemon. I was starting to get annoyed. I mean, Episode IV was the first movie I ever saw & thusly, it had tremendous influence on me. Maybe I had too much emotional baggage going into this, but surely Lucas must have realized the pressure, the, the scrutiny this movie was gonna be subjected to.

So this was supposed to wrap up all the loose ends, but the only contributions to the overall plot took place in rapid-fire succession at the absolute very end. The creation of the Darth Vader persona is frustratingly reminiscent of Abbot & Costello meet Frankenstein. And Yoda calls the Senate "Congress", for christs sake! Since when did this become a story about democracy?!?! Not to mention democracy had yet to be conceived by the Ancient Greeks. Yeah, the beginning of Episode IV reveals the Senate has been dissolved. If I knew the prequels were going to be the backstory of a fictional political upheaval I would've just read War & Peace instead...which, might I add, would've taken a lot less time & cost a lot less, & would involve a lot less dizzying CG. And speaking of which: Why is it that novice actors Harrison Ford & Mark Hamill, circa 1977, can get you emotionally involved in the story by making you believe their spaceship is navigating its way through a dangerous asteroid field, when they're sitting in a small prop being shaken by bored stagehands. Meanwhile I was more interested in what color M&M I was eating than watching an intricately detailed CG space battle in Episode III that literally costs millions to produce.

Eh, what can you do. Doesn't mean I can't sit back with a Heineken keg-can, pop the original trilogy into the VCR & let it take me back to a more civilized time...before the Empire.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Beer Hunter

Let it be known: today starts the dawn of a glorious new era; an age in which light beer (or "Lite Beer" as it's known in the common vernacular) is only a disturbing memory, a campfire story told to frighten unruly children. A little over a year ago, I set out on a bold & daring experiment, in the same vein as the Curies, or that dude who discovered you could cure Polio with mold. Or was it cure VD with mold. I know mold cures something even though we always throw away bread the second we see a speck of green on the crust.

Now what the hell was I talking about?

Oh yeah...Anyways, I vowed to only drink light beer, in the desperate hopes of enjoying the euphoric side-effects of the fermented barley, without the inconvenient after-effects of the distended-abdominal-syndrome more commonly known to the layman as a "beer belly". This, I discovered, was a harsh reality that was harder & harder to ignore the more "Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor" I consumed. Well, that & eating Jack in the Box @ midnight every night. Hey I worked the night shift, ok?

Ok so anyways, I decided the solution was ridiculously simple: swith to light beer, of course! And after a steady regimen of Miller Lite, I was happy enough. And yet, there was something amiss...I had to drink more than usual amount of beer to feel the soothing effects it's renowned for. And that soothing effect wasn't quite what I remembered it to be. Imagine, regularly putting the premium gas from Chevron in the tank, then suddenly switching to the cheapest pump at the AM-PM/ARCO. The difference is subtle, but not entirely intangible. And when I would splurge on paydays & buy a half-rack of Tecate (I know, I'm a regular Donald Trump), it would be a somewhat jarring experience. But hey, I'm not afraid of committment. I stayed on course for a year, a full year! I ended my freakin' twenties staying on course. See what happens when you throw yourself at a cause with blind devotion? You leave yourself vulnerable to the watered-down swill of compromise: Miller Lite, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Coors Aspen, Rooling Rock Green-Light, even Pabst Blue Ribbon light.

Well, finally, the shipmates on this tragic voyage have revolted, & turned the bow towards more esteemed waters.

I'm going to swallow my pride & let go of my dogmatic loyalty to domestic beer while I'm at it. Hey, with W in office, I only feel obligated to support the local (city & state) economy. St Louis & Milwaulkee are far away lands that will have to learn to survive without the allowance I've been doling out to them all this time.

After a bit of deliberation, I've decided to start with English beers, & then I'll see how long it takes me to get tired of them & move on to, oh I don't know, Mexican beer, then Japanese beer. I'll probably skip over German beer (try some if you wanna know why) but maybe Dutch beer will make up for it, isn't that in the general vicinity? It's a mission of world diplomacy, & I can say with a straight face that I now consider myself the James Bond of lagers & ales (& the occasional stout of course), on a perilous mission to stop the sinister, shadowy group known only as Anhueiser-Busch. Wish me godspeed, & have a drink on me.