the Daily Rossman

The Daily Rossman (est. 1975) is the world's oldest web B.L.O.G.G. (Bitchin' Legendary Online Godcomplex Gazette). Not that I live an extraordinary life or anything (the government hit squads and the Ninja Assassins Guild have all cut back on their programs directed at ME lately, mostly thanks to a couple of well-placed letters in Jimmy Jammer's handwriting threatening all of their mothers), but sometimes I do accidentally maim a couple of dozen people, or unwittingly have my robot kill an assload of old folks; and I find that I want to share these happy stories with you, the general public.

Note to self 428: 04/21/2016

I work at a pretty big organization, and to show all us lowly peons how much we're appreciated, the higher-ups threw us an Employee Appreciation Carnival. It was actually loads of silly fun, and soon after I arrived I was having a blast eating cotton candy and popcorn, playing little carny games for cheap, shitty prizes with the company logo on them, and throwing balls at the bullseye for the Dunk Tank that Angry Amy was stationed on.

After hanging out with some coworkers, and throwing a few more balls at Angry Amy, I decided that I wanted something to remember the day by. I had my choice between a balloon-animal made by some guy on stilts dressed like Uncle Sam, or a visit to the fortune teller sitting in a little booth in the back. The Uncle Sam balloon man had a huge line though, so I chose the fortune teller

I got in line for the teller and quickly noticed that I was the only male there. And the only one under 50. And the only one under 300lbs. I thought nothing of it though, and just believed that all everybody in the short queue wanted was a great photo op with the teller and her plastic "crystal ball," and a fun story to tell to our friends about our "amazingly inaccurate fortune" that we got from somebody dressed in a Walmart gypsy costume at an office festival. I was wrong.

I was first tipped off to the fact that George Carlin's theory on human retardation was spot on (his famous quote being, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that") when the large woman in front of me turned around and asked, "You think she fo' real?"

I was caught off guard and just chuckled thinking that this lady was yankin' my crank, but that seemed to annoy her and she turned away from me in a huff. Then the walrus-sized woman who was at the table with the fortune teller this whole time (grasping the plastic ball, and staring deeply into it while the soothsayer gave her her predictions) suddenly started yelling at the gypsy-clad diviner. Then she smacked her meaty hands on the table with a BANG, pushed her girthy self up and pointed at the jovial teller while declaring to all us line waiters "SHE BULLSHIT! SHE BUUUUULLSHIT!"

I turned to the woman behind me and started to say something like, "Oh my god... Can you believe how fucking stupid some people are?" But I stopped myself when the land-whale I was going to direct this question to threw her hands up in the air and said, "I knew it! She a FAKE!" before she stormed off too.

Soon it was the Michelin Man's sister-in-front-of-me's turn (she was determined to see for herself if this seer of the astral plane was "fo' real"), and she took her seat and proceeded to grill the every living shit out of the poor woman on the other side of the short, round table.

The lard ass proceeded to ask her stuff like "Will my Uncle Clarence be okay?" and "When I gonna get a raise?" To which the still smiling fortune teller would reply with "I see that your Uncle Clarence... He is doing well," and "You can help yourself to get a raise by working your hardest and putting in some extra effort at your job."

The tub of Crisco thought she outsmarted the gypsy queen at that point. "Ah-HA!" She bellowed. "My Uncle Clarence was in a accident last week! He not doin' well! And I know how to work hard! I just need to know when I gon' get my raise! You ARE bullshit!"

Then she somehow respositioned her many folds in order to get off the chair and stand up on her leg-trunks, and then she waddled away, cursing under her breath that she just wasted so much of her precious life on a bullshit fortune teller.

The Rossman and the Walmart Fortune TellerI was stunned into silence, and the woman on the other side of the glowing orb on the table had to call out for me twice to get my attention. I finally walked up to her and said, "Ma'am, I fear the dark powers that you channel and represent like one of the mages of old, so therefore I do not want to gaze into your crystal ball and see my future — no matter how good or bad it may be. I'd rather experience it for myself, as a mere mortal... But, could I get a picture with you? Like, could you pretend that you just saw the WORST possible future in the crystal that you've ever seen?"

She thought that was hilarious, and so I got this great shot that you can see to the right. Afterwards, I shook her hand and thanked her, then asked if she was just another employee volunteering for this gig, and if she got many crazies like the few I noticed before me.

"Honey," she said, "You are the first one who didn't automatically assume that I was for real. They ALL cray-cray." She then directed the following at the few other blimpy women in line behind me. "You ALL crazy! You all need to pull your heads out of your asses! Especially you, Shaquanda! I have to wonder about our accounting books if you're in this line!"

The funniest part came as I was walking away from the queue, one of the women in the back asked, "She fo' real?" And the woman in front of her said, "She got to be, look at her clothes! And she gots that crystal ball!"

I then wept for our culture and went back to work.

Note to self 427: 03/02/2016

So Mehve and I went to Jim and Nick's BBQ for some tasty pork products last night. Our waiter looked extremely familiar to me, but I just couldn't place his face.

Too many cooks serial killerHe was old, he had weird-looking eyes, a beard, and was slightly balding. He was acting a bit strange too — a bit off — and had a creepy grin. He was a nice enough guy, but he was constantly trying to hold some sort of unreciprocated conversation with us, which made us feel a bit stalked. I swore I knew him from some place... Then it hit me! He looked just like the serial killer in Too Many Cooks!

I cautiously watched him throughout the meal, and was so convinced that it was the same guy. We were in the Atlanta area, home of Adult Swim... It wasn't that crazy to think so... 

Then came dessert. He asked if we wanted something, and I asked what they had. He started naming off like 4 different kinds of pies and then a banana pudding.  I then said "Wow! It sounds like you have TOO MANY COOKS back there making all that stuff."

I swear that he paused for a bit, like "Damn! He recognized me!" But Mehve said no, he was just catching his breath as he just got super excited over being able to explain what was in each dessert is all. He explained for 5 whole minutes. Like a crazy person. Like the serial killer in Too Many Cooks.

Still.... I believe. I believe.

Note to self 426: 12/30/2015

And thusly, 2015 comes to a close. A lot has happened this year: we lost a cat, we gained a new cat, Cupcake and I got married at a Doctor Who convention (don't judge us), then we honeymooned in Paris, France (envy us), lots of friends had babbies, I spent a lot of money on my truck, I got excited over a Star Wars movie again, and my site (what you're reading right now) turned 20 Fucking Years Old. Impressive, no?

Anyway, over the course of 2015 a whole lot of stuff was experienced by me, and because I'm a busy guy, and I can't always write about every last detail on this site, I'm going to take the time now to go over a few things that I saw, read, or otherwise experienced over the last 12 months in shorthand form, mostly for my own records. Bonzai!

Jurassic World: Like Star Wars did with The Force Awakens, the Jurassic Park franchise was revitalized earlier in the year by pretty much remaking the original movie, but with a much bigger budget. It was fun, it was loud, it had Chris Pratt and a T-rex acting all awesome... I found there was a lot to like in this movie. It didn't take itself too seriously, it had a lot of winks and nods to the first film, and it made me forget the shitty second and third flicks in the series. And man, Bryce Dallas Howard is hot as fuck. I LOVE when women run in heels. So sexy!

Every Single Mother Fucking Bland Anime Series That Features Kids Being Taught Magic That Aired This Year: Jesus-titty-fucking Christ... Just how many goddamn anime series were put out this year featuring this basic plot synopsis? Cupcake and I started (but never bothered to finish) at least SIX. Off the top of my head I can name Asterisk War, Anti-Magic Academy, Magical Warfare, Wizard Barristers, and Pandora Hearts. Most are about kids being taught how to wield magic in order to fight other magic wielders, but all of the ones we watched and gave up on were dull or featured the most pathetic and lame "heroes" and antagonists. There was nothing that separated any of these shows from any other series with the same setup. None of them were even as all-out awful (and therefore memorable) as The Irregular at Magic High School from last year. They were just boring.

Wizzard BarristersNo, I take that back, Wizard Barristers was terrible. It was so terrible that I actually declared "What the FUCK?!" out loud on a number of occasions while watching it. I don't do that lightly. Its first episode actually got my hopes up that it could be a fun anime, but then the second episode was only moderately enjoyable. Then came its third chapter, and with it, I witnessed one of the single dumbest 30 minutes of storytelling that I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Wizard Barristers HURT me. Mentally, emotionally, and it gave me a headache, so PHYSICALLY as well, it hurt me. The only reason that I didn't finish it to give it a full review and rating is because my life was in a good place at the time and I didn't want to spend any more precious seconds watching something so atrocious just so that I could shit all over it. It's simply that bad.

The Magicians: This is the first book in a trilogy written by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is a fun tale of an adult Harry Potter world. Magic is real, but magicians aren't sought out and trained until they're adults and about to go to college. This is the tale of one such brilliant young mage-in-training, Quentin Coldwater, who is placed into the freshman class at Brakebills College for Magic and Whatnot. It's all about Quentin learning magic, and pining for a life that he just can't have. I won't write any more here for the sake of spoilers (since any talking about the last 1/3rd of this book ruins the absolutely brilliant final act), but I will tell you to STAY THE FUCK AWAY from the SyFy Channel's god-awful TV adaption of this tale. They ruin the entire fucking ending of the book in like the first 5 minutes of the first episode. Not to mention that they turned Brakebills' serene, castle-classroomed grounds into a 1960s-era tacky campus, fill it with waaaaay too many kids (there are only supposed to be 100 or less students on campus at any given time), and none of the characters look or act like they do in the book. It's like what they did with The Dresden Files series. And it's a crime. Read the book, shit on the SyFy series.

Paris, France: My second trip to Paris, and this time, since I was traveling with Cupcake instead of Little J and Big D (whom I found out I had NOTHING in common with when it comes to sightseeing and museum-hopping), I got to relax more and see more cool things that I wanted to see. We did Versailles, a shit-ton of museums, the top of the Eiffel Tower, lots of exploring of side streets, and LOTS of French food eating. One small tip for anybody planning to go to the City of Lights in the future: Watch out for the scams. The Gypsy girls and the African men are the worst when it comes to these cons.

Paris, France Gypsy girls scam

The Gypsy girls stake out the Louvre and several spots in the city gardens, near Notre Dame, and on the main Champs-Élysées. They come up to you with clipboards or something that looks like a folded map, and with a friendly smile they ask "Do you speak English?" in broken English themselves. You think they're looking for directions at first, but they're looking to get you to sign your name to a list for "Gypsy deaf/mute rights," or somesuch bullshit. They're not having their rights as humans or as deaf/mutes — or anything else for that matter — trampled (nor are they actually deaf or mute), but what they are doing is pickpocketing you while getting in close to show you where to sign, or they'll ask for a donation once you do sign, and they'll swarm around you (they travel in packs) in order to terrify you into "donating," or to pick your purse or pockets while you're distracted. They are all assholes. If you meet one, when she asks you "Do you speak English?" yell back at her (in as GERMAN a voice as you can muster) "NEIN!" They apparently are terrified of Germans. I can't imagine why :)

The very-limited-English-speaking Africans at the Eiffel Tower or at the Sacre Coeur overlooking the city will approach you if you are a woman, and try to impress you with a shoddily-made string bracelet. It's a crappy friendship bracelet, like you used to make for your little friends in the 4th grade, only not as well-constructed. Anyway, they approach you, and ask if you want to try it on, because "It beautiful, like beautiful lady!" Then they surround you (pack creepers, again) and demand you pay them WAY more for the "souvenir" than it is worth. It's extortion out of fear, plain and simple.

Some guy at the Sacre Coeur, overlooking the city, actually grabbed Cupcake's hand to put a bracelet on her wrist, telling her the whole time, "Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid..." You have never seen me more furious. I slapped the shitty accessory to the ground (after originally being very polite in my telling him, "Thank you, but no"), and while towering over him, I stuck my finger in his face and said in a low growl, "You do NOT touch the lady! Now BACK OFF!" I was honestly lucky that he and his friends did not swarm me or attack me. Assholes. All of them.

Oh, and if they start giving you trouble, just yell out "POLICE!" and they'll scatter like the filth that they are. That goes for any of the scammers you'll find there.

What We Do in the Shadows: From the guys who gave us Flight of the Concords, this is a vampire movie that takes the documentary feel of The Office, and Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family, and every other show on TV, and actually makes the style funny again. We follow 4 immortal vampires living in an old, shitty house in New Zealand as they try to live their undead lives in peace, make friends, pine for old lovers, insult local werewolves, and battle "The Beast." I have not laughed as hard as I had while watching this flick in fucking ages. Hell, even most of the special effects of this ultra-low budget production look really good. I don't care who you are, if you get the chance, watch it. Yule love it!

What we do in the shadows movie

Comet Lucifer: So fucking stupid. At times it tries to be a serious mecha anime, but then it flip flops in the very next scene to something that has impossible physics and the dumbest characters possible. For example: our lead plucky teenage male protagonist has his hover-Vespa commandeered by the town's cutest girl, who's being chased by the town's biggest douche and his douchie sidekick in their suped-up hover hot rod. Douche 1 and Douche 2, then RUN THEM OFF THE ROAD, and our noble guy and pretty girl hit every pipe and building along the way to falling down a giant mining hole in the middle of the burg. They then fall at least 1,000 feet into a giant cavern, but are totally unhurt at the bottom... Then the military sends in a giant war mech to fish something out of the hole, but a magical giant mecha suddenly appears to protect hero guy and nice girl, oh, and the ethereal girl with two feathers on the top of her head that just came out of a giant crystal in the middle of the impossibly enormous cave. Then Douche 1 and Douche 2 find the two that they recently tried to murder, and help them escape like they were all just a bunch of old friends who would never try to murder each other. That was 1.5 episodes in, and I gave up on it. I kept cringing every 30 seconds out of disbelief and embarrassment for anybody involved in this production. This show was all over the place, couldn't figure out what it wanted to do or be, and I hated it for being so lazy with its own mythos and storytelling. I do not have enough spare time to piss away on shit like this.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Yet another book series for teens about wizards and creatures with magical powers.... But this one is actually good (unlike the fetid garbage that was the made-for-toddlers Artemis Fowl). I'll give any popular book a try, it doesn't matter if it's aimed at kids, women, or retards (or all of the above, as is the case with Twilight). And sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, as is the case in Jonathan Stroud's very entertaining Bartimaeus series. These books are about a young magician-in-training named Nathaniel who through tenacity, ingenuity, and luck, is able to summon a medium-sized djinni (one Bartimaeus) from the other realm, and with this demon's reluctant help, help save the Glorious British Empire from destruction from both within and from the outside... Well, sort of. Bartimaeus is a sarcastic, ancient being who's rubbed shoulders with great magicians in the past, and he's got something on Nathaniel, which allows him to be anything but fully subservient (as all other summoned beasts are forced to be). Together they combat dark magicians, usurpers to the leading powers of the nation, soulless golems, and hexes and curses a'plenty. Oh, and a girl named Kitty who's partially immune to magic just may be the one to lead the voiceless and powerless to equality.

There are lots of deep themes in the Bartimaeus series, and lots of grisly death and destruction. The magic in the world also makes a lot more sense than anything in JK Rowling's universe, and the ending is very satisfying, if not pretty damn depressing. Not for youths who can't handle tense situations (like those who used to hide behind the couch when Swiper the fox showed up on Dora the Explorer).

And that pretty much does it for 2015. It was a pretty good 20th anniversary, and I look forward to 2016, when my college anime club, UGAnime, turns 20!... Goddamn. I'm ooooooooooold. Fuck you, Father Time! Stop speeding shit up like this! Let me go back to when the whole month of December leading up to Christmas felt like a lifetime!

Note to self 425: 11/05/2015

This is a totally random Daily, but that's what happens sometimes when one's life is as fortuitous as mine.

First up, Cupcake and I went to a couple of Halloween parties this weekend, with me dressed as Hipster Pikachu, and Cupcake as Hipster Rule 63 Ash Ketchum... Only after a half an hour at the first party Cupcake got too warm, and took off her blue Ash vest and green Ash gloves, and then it just turned into Hipster Pikachu and Regular Cupcake.

Hipster Pikachu and Hipster Ash KetchumThere was tons of booze at both gathering, and about 60 costumed awesome people at the second, wilder shindig. Oh! And I did finally get to see something I've heard about for ages at the second crazy party we went to: "Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf"! Mother of God, that is one of the greatest things ever put to film. The Citizen Kane clapping scene at the end cemented it for me as such. We also saw a bunch of other random stuff YouTubed to the big TV in the living room of the second party (like some inbred, albino, South African group singing random shit; a music video made using Fritz the Cat footage; and a tribute to "the Benny Hill" fast-motioned chase scenes featuring zombies, video game characters, naked hookers, screaming girls dressed as Powerpuff girls, and a Hipster Pikachu ripping the clothes off of everybody as he kept screaming "Pika PIKA! PIKACHUUUU!"...... Waitaminute... Maybe the TV was turned off at that point of the evening.

My point: good times. Which brings me to the second bit today. Dreams. Now, these dreams were all from before Halloween, mind you, even though one took place in The Walking Dead universe.

Firstly, on Thursday morning, I woke up, took out my earplugs (if you don't sleep with earplugs, then you don't know real sleep), took a shower, and got dressed. Then, as I was exiting my bedroom, I saw a white cat with black stripes at my bedroom door. I remember thinking to myself, "That's funny, I don't own a black and white cat," but thought nothing more of it as I scootched the cat along and continued around the corner to the kitchen to feed my dog. Only there were 3 dogs there, and two more cats. Something was wrong, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I know this is what Cupcake really wantsI then heard a commotion in the back of the house, and went to the guest bathroom to find it PACKED with cats and dogs, each going nuts, making a huge amount of noise with their meows and barking... And there, in a giant litter box was a teenage kid, sleeping.

The first thought that went through my mind was "What the hell has Cupcake done?! Did she adopt all these animals and that teenager?! Goddammit! We can't afford this!" And that's when the boy woke up and started making like he was going to take a dump in the litter box.

I freaked out and yelled "Stop! No! Jesus, boy, what's wrong with you! You're getting kitty litter all over the damn place!" Then I forced him to go outside to brush off the kitty litter on his clothes, and do whatever else he needed to do. That punk got all surly on me and was cursing me out under his breath as he dusted himself off, which made me angrily think to myself that we were definitely returning him to whatever orphanage we got him from the next day. Then, as I was walking back to my house, absolutely FUMING, I slipped and fell on a muddy hill, and as is wont to happen in such situations in dreams, I found it extremely difficult to actually get back up. But luckily i woke soon after that... And then took my earplugs out, showered, got dressed, etc... No extra pets in the house the second (real awake) time through.

In the other weird dream that I had, I was walking around downtown Atlanta (which is strange enough as it is, since I DETEST downtown Atlanta), but I very quickly realized that I was all alone. This was extremely odd, since if you're ever walking around Downtown Atlanta you're usually being stalked by at least 5 or 6 muggers or murderers.

I began to hear a strange mixture of something dragging and something moaning, and then I started seeing months-old zombies just popping out from every alley, doorway, and broken storefront windows on the block. That's when it took everything I had to keep my bowels in check, and get my survival instincts flowing again.

I ran for the nearest store I could see — which happened to be a bookstore — and I rushed inside, and barricaded the glass door and windows as best I could with bookshelves and tables and chairs... Anything I could find. Then, when I felt safe, I turned around and noticed for the first time that there was a little troll of a woman in there, and she kept pressing me to buy The Watchtower, but I kept telling her that I was expecting some Jehovah's Witnesses later in the day, and I'd get it free from them. Bitch would not stop pushing me to buy it though, so I just walked away to the back of the store.

Then, right in front of me, the back door opened up, and a woman I'd never seen before came out and told me that my plane was about to takeoff, and if I wasn't in my seat in 5 minutes I'd be left behind! I didn't know where I was going, but anywhere was better than where I was (even though I had already forgotten about the zombies), and so I ran to the boarding gate.

It was there that I realized that I wasn't wearing a shirt or shoes, so I got out of line, and hurried around the corner to a very large mall and spent waaaaaay too much on a sweatshirt and some dress shoes. And then I rented a car for a day, even though I still knew I was going on a trip to a foreign nation in just a few minutes. Cupcake and a few other friends were there, and they all tried to tell me that renting a car at that time made no sense, but I assured them that it was a steal, since the car only cost $10/day! Such a deal!

I then ran back to my departure gate, but as I made my way to the front of the line I started to panic. I began patting all of my pockets, but couldn't find my passport! Oh fuck! I left it on top of my dresser! The airline personnel shot me a look of grave disapproval, but then turned to her manager to ask him a question about my situation, and that's when I dropped into a sprinter's starting stance, and then BURST past everybody, down the corridor, right on to the plane, never looking back.

Yay! A trip to Korea!Nobody came for me to try and remove me from the plane, and then the jet finally backed away from the terminal and took off. It was only then that I found out that we were going to Korea (Yay!). But I was immediately corrected and told that our destination was in fact NORTH Korea (D'oh!).

As I looked out the plane's window — as we were descending to the Pyongyang International Airport — I could see the entire North Korean army standing at attention, and then I got pissed when I noticed them aiming all their guns and tank barrels right at us! I woke up just as I freaked out and ran to the other side of the plane — which, in dream logic, I thought would protect me.

If I didn't wake up though I'm sure I would have simply ended up in my closet with a piece of cheese on my head, hanging out with Xander and Willow. I wear the cheese, it does not wear me.

Note to self 424: 10/21/2015

This past weekend I went to go see Spielberg's newest movie, Bridge of Spies, starring the always excellent Tom Hanks. Watching this drama of the first publicized spy exchange between the US and Soviet Union in the early 60s made me remember a similar incident that occurred in my youth.

It all started out one winter when I was 7 years-old living in Michigan. We always got a ton of lake-effect snow every season, which led to feet upon feet of fresh accumulation blanketing our town almost constantly from November till April.

Even though it was a fully renewable resource, this snow was sacred to all the kids in my neighborhood; we did not allow outside incursions to our yards' borders, messing up our precious commodities without our permission. Snow was serious business back then.

As it stood, there was another neighborhood behind ours, and the kids who lived there were assholes. All of them. The way the districts were set up, you had our neighborhood, some public greenspace, then a small creek, then the dickwad neighborhood on the other side of the creek. There was a small pedestrian bridge over the creek that was about 6-feet wide. It was a pretty cool setup for kids — which led to a lot of great games, fishing, and hiding from our parents when we didn't want to go home... but I digress.

Anyway, the Dickwad neighborhood was constantly starting raids, over the bridge, onto our side (even though the greenspace was not a part of either neighborhood, from what I recall, we still declared it as "OUR Land" since it was on our side of the creek), the second that snow started to fall. They were notorious for using up all of our snow for their own snow forts, snowmen, and snowball fights. Those fucking assholes...

What was worse though is that the Dickwad neighborhood kids had members aged all the way up to freshmen in high school, helping them to wreck our snow on our side of the creek, whereas our neighborhood could only muster one 7th grader who didn't find hanging out with 1st through 5th graders as "beneath him." Granted, 7th grader Gabriel was kind of a loser, and his mother actually bribed his classmates' mothers into making them play with her son all the time, but the fact that we didn't mind having 7th grade muscle on our side made him the strongest kid in our gang, and Gabriel ate up all the attention that we gave him.

The Great Battle of the Bridge, 1982So our story takes place during my last winter in Michigan. I was in 2nd grade, as was my neighborhood friend JJ, and another kid named Aaron. Then we had an assorted group of 1st through 5th graders in our 'hood, and of course Gabriel. In total we had something like 11 or 12 kids who would always gather at the greenspace at times snowfall (we typically used up the No Man's Land snow first, before our own houses' stockpile of the icy powder). We were all able to make it to the greenspace pretty early that day since it had snowed so much the previous night that they had to actually close the schools. Closing school was almost unheard of in Michigan, where the roads would always be plowed clean well before the buses started their routes... but this day there were on-going blizzard-like conditions, and we were very happy to enjoy our frigid freedom playing around in that glorious white wonderland.

JJ and I made it to the greenspace at around 9AM, but when we got there we found two of our side's kids were already at the location, crying, while about 5 of the Dickwad Land kids were running around our beautiful 2 to 3-foot tall snowfall (with banks up to 4-5 feet high), sliding in it, throwing it, and probably snorting it like the little crackwhores that they were. The Dickwadders were trampling our treasure while we could clearly see across the creek that they hadn't even begun to use up their own supply in their own yards. We were as pissed as any gradeschoolers had ever been pissed, and when two more of our side's kids showed up, together we pushed and shoved and name-called and and threw snowballs at the Dickwadders in order to make them retreat back over to their own side of the world. Open war had just been declared.

Before we knew it, we each had several snow forts on our respective sides of the bridge, the occasional white missile thrown across the expanse of the creek (or as close to the other side as we could manage with our 5 to 10 year-old arms), spy incursions to find out what each side was planning to do to use up ALL the snow, and whenever possible, we'd ruin the other's plans (which basically consisted of one side yelling "We know you're planning to cross to our side! But we'll pelt you with ice balls if you try!").

At one point we had heard rumors that they were planning to pee in some snow, make snowballs out of the yellow slush, and use them as a final weapon. We did not want to pick up any pee-snow to make yellow snowballs ourselves as a nuclear deterrent, so instead we had a 4th grader sneak across the creek around 50 yards upstream, at its narrowest point (on an inflatable inner-tube that he had brought for sledding) to find out if there was any truth to the matter. There wasn't, but he found out that the Dickwadders had a mom who was providing them all with hot cocoa and toasted Pop Tarts (our spy partook of the meal as part of his espionage duties). Goddamn it that made us angrier than them actually using up our snow! We didn't have any mothers that considerate!

After sending kids on our side home for lunch in a spaced-out manner so as to never be understaffed (one or two at a time at most), we found out that more than half of the Dickwadders were called back home by their parents for their midday meals at the same time... This was our chance!

With a force of 10 or so kids (including our personal Balrog, Gabriel), we rushed across the bridge. We proceeded to stomp their forts to the ground, and dismember their snowmen in acts of savagery that keep me up at night to this day... But our cheering and celebrations were quickly silenced when a few of the Dickwadders had run to their high school freshman standby members (they must have been the brothers of some of the younger kids), and the newly introduced teenagers proceeded to put the smack down on us something fierce! Looking back I am just amazed that no real beatings occurred (to anybody who mattered) that day, seeing how enraged and sugared up we all were. Every attack only consisted of snow in some way or form.

The Battle of the White Walkers, 1982By the end of the melee that the Great Battle of the Bridge became that winter, we crossed back to our side with one of their 3rd graders as a hostage (threatening to dump snow down his shirt and pants if he gave us any trouble), but the Dickwadders had captured Aaron on their side! We sent an unarmed negotiator to the middle of the bridge to meet with the Dickwadder's most level-headed man. A temporary truce was called, and an exchange was ironed out... But we had a secret weapon on our side. We had 7th grader Gabriel change coats with our hostage (who had a hooded jacket with a big fake-fur halo around the head when pulled up, along with a bright scarf that he could wrap over his nose), and we planned to have him hunch over as he walked across the bridge for the exchange, in order to look like a kid at least a head shorter than he himself was. When the two hostages would meet in the middle of the crossing platform, Gabriel was to grab Aaron and bolt back to our side while we would beat any fucker with snowballs who tried to follow. Things did not go as planned...

The time of the exchange was upon us, and even though Gabriel was playing his part of a crying 3rd grader, we could already hear murmurs from the Dickwad side that they were suspecting us of something... The Dickwadders let Aaron go though, despite their apparent apprehension, and Gabriel started whimpering his way across from our side too... But then, in the middle of the bridge, Gabriel changed the strategy and kept going. Aaron finished up his march and ran over to us while we continued to watch Gabriel in curiosity, then outright horror as he made it to the other side of the bridge, where the entirety of the Dickwad forces were waiting.

Gabriel then stood up to his full height, threw back his borrowed hood, pulled down the scarf, and laughed in their douchie faces. Then he whipped out two water pistols that he he had been concealing in the coat's pocket and yelled out "Drink PEE, losers!" while spraying the Dickwadders with what we could only assume was his own urine... Their cries of "He's shooting us with piss!" seemed to confirm this.

Most of the Dickwadders ran home screaming "PEEEEEEEEEE!" while some of the younger ones just broke down crying then and there. But the two high schoolers who remained steadfast ripped the water pistols from Gabriel's hands and proceeded to beat the ever-loving fuck out of him with their fists and their boots before pushing him into the creek. Our side just watched... And then slowly turned around and walked to our individual homes without saying a word. I don't know what happened to our hostage, but I think he just went home on his own to pass the story down to his eventual grandchildren.

We had a couple more snowstorms that year, but none of our side went near the greenspace after the Great Battle of the Bridge (aka The Battle of Piss Water). I don't think the Dickwadders attempted any further incursions either... That beautiful snow lay untouched by man for the rest of the season. My family moved to Missouri in the spring, and so I don't know if that truce continued past then or not, but I do know that everybody on both sides only referred to Gabriel as "Piss Boy" from then on out. It followed him back to school, and as far as I know, into college and his professional life.

Note to self 423: 09/02/2015

I had a dream last night, one that I remember vividly but can't understand.

It all started out with me on the Moon. Well, it was possibly another planet's moon, but the feeling of solitariness was palpable. I vividly remember looking up into space above me and being amazed by the vastness and beauty of it though.

I then began walking and found myself at home. Nothing out of the ordinary. I found myself talking to a friend, and he convinced me to go to Tibet and climb a mountain in the Himalayas because, why the fuck not, I guess. He did say something about never seeing the stars as clear at night as I would there, so there seemed to be some connection to my Moon walk earlier, but I never even once thought to myself, "You know, seeing the stars from space was probably infinitely more impressive than any place on Earth."

So I booked a flight to Tibet, but didn't experience any of it; I was instantaneously in the Tibetan airport looking at the map showing the walking route up the mountain I was going to climb (Not Everest. I remember thinking that Everest would take all day, but THIS mountain showed on the map that it would only take around 5 hours).

So I began my hike and got to a camp site about halfway up that had 3 or 4 small shops and restaurants set up, and I noticed that there was a ton of snow on the ground, and some flurries fluttering down from the heavens. That's also when I realized that I was climbing a Himalayan mountain while only wearing jeans, sneakers, a T-shirt, and a flimsy flannel shirt. I then immediately knew that I was freezing, so I ran into the first building I saw in order to get some supplies and help.

As soon as I opened the front door I realized that something was wrong. People were running around frantically, grabbing their food and hustling out the door like ants set into a panic by a boy peeing on their ant mound! I threaded my way to the front counter where I saw the TV broadcasting (in English) that a huge blizzard was about to smash into the Himalayas, and that everybody on the entire mountain range needed to bugger off for their own safety.

I didn't freak out at this news, but instead thought to myself "Hmmmmm... This storm probably won't hit for a few hours... It'll only take me another 3 or so more hours to reach the peak, and then another 5 to come back down... I can make it." And so I asked the woman behind the counter if they had any hats, gloves, and winter coats to sell. She pointed to an empty shelf behind her to indicate that they were sold out, but then she directed me to the store across the street (again, in perfect English) and told me they would probably still have some in stock.

I went outside to cross the road to the other shop and immediately noticed that the wind had picked up, and the clouds in the direction that the wind was coming from were very dark and scary-looking. The only thing I thought to myself was "Oh shit! I better hurry, or I may have to stay in this 3-building burg if I get snowed in and stranded on the way back down!... I can easily last through the storm (which the TV said would drop 27" of snow on us during the night) if I just sat on the East side of any of the buildings here (the tempest coming from the West)." It all made perfect sense to me in the dream, and I had already seemed to have forgotten the only reason for me climbing the mountain in the first place was to see the stars at night from its peak, which would be impossible during a snowstorm.

The second shop/diner I went into did have winter wear for me, which I immediately purchased with my Amex card (they had a working Internet connection and credit card reader, and everybody there spoke fluent English as well). They tried to talk me out of the rest of my climb, even though the shop keepers and the customers (who all dressed and looked like big-rig truckers, and were sitting at the counter on the half-dozen swivel chairs available) didn't seem to worry too much about the inclement weather themselves. I brushed off their wimpy warnings, put on my new gloves, coat, and hat, and headed back outside. I then pulled out my map to make sure that I was back on the path to the top.

Yeti dreamThat's when I found myself at the edge of the dinky "town" with the route heading right and up, up, up. I stopped though, and looked around, and began to realize that everything looked familiar, like some crazy Tibetan deja vu. I had been at this exact same place before, during a day off on a business trip (I just KNEW it!), but back then this was as far as I had ever made it.

I absolutely HAD to go all the way now. There was no way I could fail to climb the mountain again, storm or no storm! So I put the map away and continued my deliberate but determined march towards the heavens, knowing that the feelings of accomplishment and awe from reaching the peak would be unmatchable!.... Then Cupcake woke me up by rolling over and slapping me in the face with her open left palm.

Goddammit... Someday I'll make it up that not-Everest Himalayan mountain! And hopefully my next attempt I'll check the forecast and pack better clothes and equipment.

Anyway, I don't understand this dream at all. For starters, whenever that Josh Brolin-led Everest movie trailer appears in front whatever film we go to see in the theaters, I roll my eyes and laugh at the retards who are climbing the mountain, and who get caught in that giant epic blizzard that they fall ass-first into. I mock them and say "I have no sympathy for those fuckers. I hope they die. Why would they do something that ridiculously dangerous with families at home who depend on them?" They all act like world-class asshats in the trailer too. I WANT the mountain and the storm to murder them.

So my question is this: Why would I ever want to do the same thing myself in my subconscious dreams? I HATE mountain climbing. The only nature I like is the beach! What is my brain trying to tell me? In the dream, I knew I'd survive, even if the storm caught up to me. I just had to wait it out, I thought. Is that what those Everest movie people thought too? Am I a giant hypocrite? Probably, but I doubt in this instance.

I even saw a bald eagle while climbing the mountain, so make of that what you will. I mean, if I know that seeing a bald eagle in the Himalayas is ridiculous when awake, wouldn't I know this while asleep too?

Oh, and I'm severely disappointed that I did not get to see a Yeti while there. I was in their own fucking backyard, and my imagination was apparently running wild, so why no Abominable Snowmen? What the fuck, me?

After that I got back to sleep and then dreamt that Cupcake and I won a trip to go up in a blimp and watch them detonate a nuclear bomb (safely, apparently) in the Mississippi River just under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO.

I just don't get it.

Note to self 422: 08/05/2015

I just found out that Hayao Miyazaki is a total asshole in real life. I'm not even joking. This destroyed my world...

I watched the Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki documentary (The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness) on Netflix this weekend, and I came out of it with a lot of knowledge that I wish I never learned.

During the course of the year-long filming of all the goings on of Studio Ghibli in this documentary, we discover many things. Things like the reason Miyazaki's most recent films were so sub-par when compared to his earlier masterpieces is because HE DOESN"T WRITE ANY SCRIPTS anymore. He just makes up the storyboards as he goes. I shit you not. During the entire movie, all we see him doing at the studio is drawing the storyboards to The Wind Rises and complaining that he has no idea if he even has an ending, let alone an entire and cohesive plot. He straight up states that he made up all of the major points of the protagonist's life, even though the character was a real person who had a real and very strange story to tell!

MiyazakiAnyway, as I said, Miyazaki is totally mean spirited in real life. Every time the camera is on him we find him insulting the shit out of fellow Ghibli directors and producers, as well as stating his hateful views on his fellow Japanese brethren and the world as a whole. At one point he straight up states rather matter of factually that elderly people who have trouble moving around on their own should just die. "They're useless," he says, "And they should just give up already and die." Wtf, Hayao?! That's seriously not cool, man.

Miyazaki smokes everywhere too, even in the animation studio where he shares a giant open space with a lot of middle-aged animators, and at times he openly blows smoke in people's faces, apparently just to see if they'll say anything. He does this knowing full well he's on film doing so. No shits given.

Oh, and Miyazaki talks so much crap about his long term Ghibli collaborator Isao Takahata (the famed director or Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and the producer of several of Miyazaki's own films), and gets his cronies to mock the poor guy too. Throughout the movie, and for no reason, Miyazaki will just start insulting Takahata behind his back, claiming that he doesn't know what he's doing as a director anymore, and that he's too slow getting his movies completed... Even though Miyazaki himself in the previous scene is shown telling the camera that his movie that he's currently working on (The Wind Rises) might be awful because he's just throwing it together as he goes. And you know what? It was awful. It was a terrible movie, and Takahata's Princess Kaguya was almost impossibly better in the end. Fuck you, Miyazaki, you hater!

To give you an even greater idea of how much of a turd-blossom Miyazaki is, at one point in the documentary they bring in famed Studio Gainax director Hideaki Anno to voice his role as the main character in The Wind Rises, and Miyazaki is the only one who looks like a douchebag in these scenes even though Anno is supposedly infamous for being a sack of dildos himself. In this movie, Anno actually comes across as very respectful and charming, as Miyazaki tosses around insults like a lap dog that can't stop barking at its own shadow, and I swear I saw an instance of Miyazaki actually knocking ash from his constantly lit cigarette onto his lowly assistant's hand.

You have broken my heart, Hayao Miyazaki.... My world is shattered.

Note to self 421: 07/08/2015

I saw the original Terminator at the impressionable young age of 10. I loved it at first sight. I remember being blown away by its use of circular-time-travel-theory (aka "time cannot be altered — it always is, was, and will be, with events caused by time travel always having happened, leading to future events.")

Then my dad took me to see Terminator 2 when that hugely hyped mutha came out in '91. The special effects (as well as the practical effects) were ballz-droppingly amazing at the time (and they still hold up very well today), and the look of the film was so slick, yet still so dark and bloody. I was a little confused by the change in the use of time travel in this flick (now time could be altered, leaving giant paradoxes that a T-1000 driven semi-truck could haul ass through), but the rest of the movie made me forget that and just repeat the mantra "There is no fate but what we make."

Terminator 5I was content with the Terminator story as it was, but Hollywood was not, as it is a greedy somabitch. Eventually the rights to the franchise fell to a new film company, and after they slapped Arnold in the face with $30million (and 20% of the final take) he agreed to come back more than a decade after T2 for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. I liked how this movie said that the time travel used in both T1 and T2 were viable (i.e. time can be changed, but the time-stream will always try to revert to its original course), and the ending was phenomenally awesome, but the rest of the movie was only "meh."

Then came Terminator: Salvation. No time travel, and it sucked.

And finally, in 2015, Terminator: Genisys was released. Mick and I went to see it this past weekend, and I just have no goddamn idea what the fuck kind of time travel story it was trying to tell. Its view of time travel was something totally different from any of the first three movies: Time cannot be changed; time CAN be changed; time can be changed, but the time-stream will auto-correct to its factory settings. In Genysis, we find out that time has NO FUCKING RULES AT ALL. Characters time travel, jump through established time-lines, and ultimately destroy their own existence temporally, but they still exist with no explanation other than they might be "marooned in time." I don't even what that means.

Things start off terribly in Terminator: Ganysis when we find ourselves reliving the beginning of the first Terminator flick, with a CGI young Ah-nold, an old Ah-nold, Daenerys Targareyn looking pretty much like a young Linda Hamilton, a T-1000, and a Kyle Reese who looks absolutely nothing like Michael Biehn (who played Kyle in the first movie, of course) all running around L.A., doing their own crazy reinterpretation of the events of the original movie, only with alterations that are never explained (like a changed time-line that killed off Sarah Connor's parents in front of her 9 year-old eyes, and giving her an Ah-nold T-800 Terminator of her own to protect her while she grew up).

So anyway, the Ah-nold T-800 and Kyle Reese show up in 1984 L.A., where the T-800 promptly gets into a fight with an older T-800 of the same Ah-nold model, and then blown away by an already battle-weary Sarah Connor. Then Sarah and Pops T-800 save Kyle from the cops who chase him into the clothing store as seen in the first movie... Only this time one of the cops is a liquid-metal T-1000 because *No reason cited*. Then they easily kill the T-1000 with a premade acid shower trap in Sarah's and Pops' base of operation, and then Sarah tells Kyle that she plans to jump into the time machine she and her robotic buddy built (because why not?) to the year 1997 to stop Judgment Day (aka the day the evil computer Skynet launches nuclear war against the world and kills over 3-billion people, which occurs on August 29, 1997).

Terminator duuuurpFirst of all, WHY jump ahead to RIGHT BEFORE Skynet goes live? As we saw in 1991's T2 (which took place in 1995), they barely destroyed everything that would eventually create Skynet with a full two years before it became a global problem. So why skip ahead in time to right before Skynet becomes self-aware and can think and defend itself? Why not do what Skynet tried to do with its Terminator-time traveling in its quest to eliminate John Connor as an enemy, and kill the problem's parents before there's even a threat on the board? No time travel necessary.

Second of all, Sarah plans to jump to 1997 before she gets knocked up with John. This would bone the human resistance if she fails in her mission to 1997 (and Skynet still lives), since if she only has John after she gets to 1997 (which is also a major improbability, since if she doesn't conceive him with the exact same sperm and egg combination that originally occurred it won't even BE the real John Connor, resistance leader), he might be too young to raise the resistance that he originally led, not to mention her plan just throws a giant monkey-wrench into the gears of history and possibly dooms mankind for no real substantial benefit. As it stands, Sarah and Pops have the original T-800's entire body (of which the CPU chip and arm led Cyberdyne to develop Skynet in the original history). Why not just destroy them and get it on with Kyle, and then raise your son John together in peace with no Skynet or machine war. End of story.

But no, Sarah and Kyle end up time traveling.... But not to 1997. Instead they go to 2017 because Kyle suddenly has new memories of a new time-line where he was alive BEFORE the Machine War (originally he was born 5 years after the fighting started), and his memories tell him that Skynet is a new Cloud-based app for the iPhone called Genisys (I'm not shitting you, this is for real), and that when it goes live in October of 2017 the world is ducking screwed.... So instead of traveling to 2014 or so to get a leg up on the whole incredibly crafty Skynet thing, they jump to TWO DAYS before Genasys launches and fucks the world......... Whut?

Anyway, while in 2017 the two come across a grownup John Connor who looks the same as when Kyle left him after the fall of the machines in the future year of 2029 (which is impossible now since that time-line is absolutely fucked thanks to Sarah and Pops killing the original T-800 (and obliterating its CPU) and then jumping past John's conception back in 1984, but at this point, whatever. Oh, and now John is a total a-hole who is rooting for Skynet to win. John even helped Cyberdyne to create Genasis (and hidden in the code, Skynet) since he apparently time traveled (from a future that couldn't possibly exist) to 2014 with his new robotic marching orders. And did I mention that John is now a micro-bot Terminator too, with abilities like the T-1000, only he's really allergic to magnets? Because turning a flesh and blood body into a robot, molecule by molecule, is apparently easy for Skynet... I have no idea how this A.I. ever lost the war in any time stream.

Terminator dumbWe'll ignore the fact that one of the best known and most heroic characters in the Terminator universe is now nothing more than Skynet's bitch, move past the incredibly shitty helicopter chase to Cyberdyne HQ in San Francisco 2017, and jump straight to the fact that none of the time traveling cast in this filmatic Cleveland Steamer could be the same as they were just before jumping (if they existed at all) thanks to the paradoxes that would have pushed the war with the machines back a few decades at best (making them much older, if they could possibly justify their presence to the universe at large). The "two memories" thing that Kyle experiences is just retarded too. Especially when after they "kill" Skynet (by blowing up an underground facility in Cyberdyne HQ that housed yet another time machine for some reason that's never explained) and our pretty dimwitted heroes think that all is well and good, they travel to see young Kyle Reese in order to make him remember the message that older Kyle now recalls (that couldn't have happened in the first time line, but somehow did, because Kyle's now a child of both timelines, even though one time-traveling Kyle would be much older, but he's not). But with the war not happening, or just postponed another decade or so, why would this message to young Kyle matter? That possible outcome is no more, so Kyle's knowing it wouldn't matter, since the whole time-line with Genisas being Skynet never occurred.

Brain. Hurting... Not over keeping track of things, but over wondering just how stupid the writers of this series think we are.

This is the exact opposite of GOOD time travel storytelling. Think Back to the Future, or Stein's Gate for how confusing, but cool, a story about skipping about through (or just changing) history can be. Terminator: Ganises is as retarded as its misspelled title. Seriously, not even Doctor Who plays with time this freely and pathetically, and they've been making shit up on the fly on a shoestring budget for 50 years!

I was going to tell you how making Bob From the Future watch this 5th Terminator flick made him literally go insane, rip out his hair while running around the neighborhood while shouting "Game over, man! Game over!" before disappearing from existence in a blink, but that happens almost every other Tuesday.

Note to self 420: 06/24/2015

A group of us saw Inside Out this weekend, and it really affected me. I've been a pretty emotional schlub my whole life, and it was interesting to see somebody's interpretation of what emotions go through in a person's head when they encounter any sort of heavy issues.

This made me want to experience the same thing for myself. So I went over to Dr. Dave's mad science lab and told him what I was looking for: e.g. the ability to have my separate emotions take on anthropomorphic form in my mind's eye so that I could see them just like in that new Pixar movie that's so popular nowadays. Dr. Dave said "No problem!" Unfortunately Dr. Dave doesn't get out much anymore, and he misunderstood what I was trying to replicate. Instead of hitting me Up with some Inside Out inner spirits, he used the only thing he had personal reference to, and I ended up with my own personal Herman's Head.

My first clue that something was wrong happened that night after the pain meds finally wore off. Cupcake made me a steak, with sautéed vegetables, and a loaf of homemade cheesy-bread for dinner, and I was expecting a visual of the 5 adorable emotions from the Pixar movie to appear in my thoughts, or even in my actual vision, with "Joy" taking front stage and raving about how delicious the meal looked, and how loved I must be to have somebody do this for me... but instead I saw Herman's Head's Angel praising the time it took to cook the meal, Animal telling me to... do something to the meat that was never intended to be done to food, Wimp cowering in the corner, fearing that Cupcake was too good for me and she'd leave me, Genius high-fiving himself and stating how awesome I was, and Bobcat Goldthwait's Jealousy complaining I should be able to make such succulent food myself, and it wasn't fair.

Now, truth be told, I wasn't too put off by all this Herman's Head semi-hilarity (I admit it, I watched it when it first aired. I'm a TV junky), but what truly pissed me off was that Dr. Dave inserted a spot-on, fucking awful laugh track that would erupt into applause and unearned guffaws after every single line that my Herman's Head emotions would sputter.

Rossman's Herman's HeadImagine, if you will, me stubbing my toe on the coffee table in my family room, and as I'm cursing in pain I can see and hear Wimp howling in wimpy pain, Animal wanting to flip the table and throw it at the dog who made me walk into it in the first place, and Bobcat Goldthwait's Jealousy getting all crazy that Cupcake was more worried about the dog than my toe. And after Bobcat would scream something like "UuuuuWHAAAA! Why does she care more about the dog than my, my -- OOooh NO! -- my little piggy!?", a ten-second, totally fake, contrived, and repetitive bit of canned laughter would reverberate in my noggin, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

So after dropping a box of books on my head hard enough to knock me the fuck out (this didn't work... Dr. Dave apparently had fail-safes installed to keep the Herman's Head emotions constantly running, even in case of a coma), I went to Dr. Dave's shady lab the next morning to have him remove my failed Fox sitcom actors from my subconscious. I must tell you, it was very dangerous driving across town with each of those assholes narrating their own desires, and the canned studio audience dying from laughter from the shitty lines they were forced to recite.

Anyway, the good Doc apologized for his confusion, and I then took him to see Inside Out so that he could fully understand what I wanted (yup, I was still in to have the procedure done... I love that movie!). Then Dr. Dave put me under again, removed whatever chip or brain implant he originally put in for my Herman's Head trip earlier, and then reprogrammed everything to be my own personal little Pixar simulation.

It worked! And it's amazing! The only issue now is that all the emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust) all sound like Lewis Black's Anger... Wait, did I say "issue?" I meant "AWESOMENESS."

Herman's Head...

Note to self 419: 06/10/2015

I go to my cheap-ass, $15/month, run-down gym 3-4 times a week at lunch. I always bring my headphones with me and either listen to an audiobook or a music playlist. Yesterday I forgot that I brought my earbuds into my house the previous night and hadn't put them back in my truck after I was done with them. This brought forward the following conversation between me and the late 50s, 4'7" blob of a woman behind the front desk at my gym.

Me: Excuse me, I forgot my headphones today and, well, I was hoping you could turn the radio to something a little, um, different.

Blob: (Absolutely flabbergasted) .....What on earth for?!

Me: Well, you see, Christian 'music' really isn't something that gets people pumped up and ready to work out, and --

Blob: (Smiling like a lunatic. Picture Jack Nicholson as the Joker, only creepier.) But it's good for your soul!

Me: (I stared at her for like a minute without being able to articulate a response.)

Blob: ...Is that all?

Me: Wait a minute. Does ANYBODY in here actually want to listen to this stuff other than you? (I pointed to the rest of the gym members who are all heavily tattooed, ripped, gangsta-looking tough guys, most are listening to hard-core rap that you can hear blasting from their headphones from 10 feet away.)

Blob: Doesn't matter, it's what's on. (She turns away and starts to pretend that she's reading the front page of the newspaper that's already 3 days old.)

Me: I'm putting in a formal request. Can you please turn the station from whatever this is to the classic rock station in town?

Blob: Sorry, that's against policy.

Me: WHAT policy?

Blob: (No response. Still pretends she can read.)

Me: May I please speak with the manager? (I peek around her to the back office to see if the gym manager is there. I know the guy and have talked to him on a number of occasions.)

Blob: (Sticks paper in my face to block my view before realizing he's not back there.) I am the manager on duty. What can I help you with?

Me: Okay, first of all, you're just a customer service rep. You're not an official mana--


Me: ...... Whoa. Okay, calm down. (I say this whenever I want to rile somebody up.)

Blob: I have the power and authority to turn the radio to whatever the majority of the gym wants to listen to...

Gym musicMe: AHA! Okay. Hey, you, sir! (I called to a huge young man with two full sleeves of tattoos and a really bad scar above his right eye.) Would you prefer to listen to this crap (I point to the speaker above his head in the ceiling) or to a classic rock, or (I added quickly) an R&B or rap station. Shit, I'd take that over this crap.

"Tiny" Lister's Big Brother: Uh, what? Yo, man, I ain't even.... Whatever, uh, turn to (whatever the local rap station is) then. (He turns away and goes back to lifting a Volkswagen above his head.)

Me: Yes, please tune to that station. I want to listen to it too. That's 2 to 1.

Blob: I... I'm afraid that's against policy. You should listen to Christian music more, you know.

(Just then the lyrics "And Jesus will looooooove you so. Oh yeah! JESUS will love you soooooooooooooOOOOO!" come on. I cringe, Blob closes her eyes in ecstasy and slowly sways back and forth while humming the shitty little tune to herself. I get ready to run if she looks like she'll orgasm.)

Me: ...... This garbage is melting my brain. Look, please, I just want something a little faster tempo'd that'll get me into the exercising spirit. Slooooooow music talking about Jebus' love for us kills any drive to actually lift heavier or run faster. It's a body-boner killer, if you get my drift.

Blob: Feel free to write a complaint and put it into the suggestion box. We read through them and make changes when appropriate all the time. (Blob then dismisses me by pretending to read again, while instead concentrating on having a Jesus-orgasm.)

(I then go over to the suggestion box and draw the "Dickbutt" cartoon on one of the provided cards, write "You're a cunt," under that, and then sign it "Patrick Swayze." Then I go back to my weights and try to only do exercises near the guy whose headphones are blasting gangsta rap loud enough for me to almost block out the Blob's music. I am just grateful that she didn't turn the volume up any.

The last time that I looked over at her, the Blob had snuck over to the suggestions box and was reading my suggestion. Then she looked at me with an expression that would turn a lesbian straight and started muttering something that wasn't a prayer for my soul under her breath. I consider that a victory on my part.)

Note to self 418: 04/22/2015

I was in the mood for a horror movie this past weekend, and so I got the MegaPlayboy, Carl, Angry Amy, and Jimmy Jammer to check out It Follows with me on Saturday night. Overall I thought it was a fun movie with a great antagonist, really strange (but interesting) setting (not knowing precisely when it takes place and all), and lots of creepy stalker fun going on. I wasn't particularly phased by it though (the evil mirror in Oculus unnerved me more than the invisible shape-shifter in this flick), but I noticed that Angry Amy and Jimmy Jammer were both a little jumpy and looking over their shoulders as we left the theater that night. So I did what anybody else would do and immediately called up Carl and the MegaPlayboy as soon as I drove away, and told them to meet me at Martin Chris Brown Park at 11PM in order to figure out how we could freak out the other two with some sort of ghost-stalker prank.

We agreed to take on Angry Amy first. Our plan was to reenact a scene from the movie where the "It" in question hurls a rock through a front window of one of its victims and then attacks the poor schmuck by appearing to him as a half-naked, drugged-up version of his mother.

I put the MegaPlayboy in charge of finding a picture of Angry Amy's mother on her Facebook profile (I'm blocked from her feed, and so are all my fake profiles), whilst Carl and I found a large rock. We then printed up a mask of Angry Amy's mother's face, dressed the MegaPlayboy up in some grungy old lady underwear and a used white (well, it was white at one point) nightgown, and stuffed some socks under his nighty to look like sagging breasts.

It was around 1AM when we were ready to rock, and we found ourselves at Angry Amy's house. Carl hurled the fuck out of that rock through Angry Amy's living room window, and after the sheet of double-pane glass was transformed into an open door, we shoved the MegaPlayboy inside and watched as he slowly marched down the hallway to Angry Amy's bedroom, improvising with lines like "OOOoooooOOOOOoo! I'm coming to get you, Barbara! OOoooooOOOOoooo! Spoooooky invisible evil monster here!" The Pepe Le Pew-like demon in the movie who slowly chased its victims without ever stopping never uttered a sound, but the MegaPlayboy was in the moment, so I just let it go.

It FollowsCarl and I were guffawing to ourselves just outside the gaping window hole when we saw and heard something that made us think that we may have fucked up just a little: a very loud *KA-CHUNK* seemed to come from out of nowhere, but it was soon followed by a bright beam of light, Angry Amy yelling "Who the fuck are you, and why are you dressed up like my mom's lesbian lover?!" and the MegaPlayboy running back at us while mumbling to himself "OhShitOhShit OoooohShit OhShit!" Then the sawed-off shotgun that Angry Amy apparently kept under her bed for just such emergencies erupted into flames as very fast pellets turned the MegaPlayboy's masked skull into Hamburger Helper (with noodles) in front of our eyes.

That's about all we saw before we turned and high-tailed it to the MegaPlayboy's Glam Rock Wagon that we parked two blocks over in case such a fuck up occurred (which we usually factor into our plans nowadays).

I wanted to go home after that incident, but Carl insisted that we try it again, this time with Jimmy Jammer because Jimmy Jammer owns no fire arms. I hesitantly agreed. This time I took it upon myself to look up Jimmy Jammer's Facebook profile and look for a picture of a family member that was clearly marked as so. I found a picture of his father and made a mask of his face for Carl to wear. We then pulled up to Jimmy Jammer's neighborhood, parked, and hiked over to his house at around 3AM, but this time Carl got a little caught up in the excitement, and instead of just throwing a rock through his front window he took a running start and dove head-first through the glass... Not quite making it the whole way through. Storm-windows are apparently very thick, and glass shards are apparently very, very sharp.

So there we were, me outside Jimmy Jammer's house looking appalled, Carl in nothing but dirty boxers and a wife beater, wearing a paper mask of an old man, half in, half out of the house, bleeding-out while impaled on a glass stalagmite still left in the window frame, and moaning shit like "Gonna getcha.... Gonna getcha, Lil' Jammer....." when I decided that it was all or nothing, and I just hurled the Molotov Cocktail I'd been holding for Carl (he said it was "Just in case") through the already opened window. I didn't quite get it far enough though, and the bottle smashed itself on Carl's head. It didn't knock him out like in the movies, but it did set him on fire and make him start wailing like a 5 year-old girl whose family Doberman just decided she smelled of Kibbles and Bits. That's when Jimmy Jammer came running out of the front door, staring back at the building fire in disbelief as he just kept muttering to himself, "Who?... Why?.... What the fu...?"

Then, amid the fire crackling, the remaining window glass tinkling down, Carl still screaming, and the fire engines bellowing ever closer, Jimmy Jammer just looked at me as if I had just resurrected his dead, beloved pet — the golden retriever, Fonzie — and took a giant shit in its mouth right in front of him. Then I kicked Jimmy Jammer in the nuts, pointed at him while he was squirming on the ground, and yelled "You should have lost your virginity, man, or this would never have happened!" Then I ran. I even left the Glam Rock Wagon where we parked it, and I locked myself in my police-proof Panic Room in case the cops or the feddies came for me. It is Wednesday, right? It's hard to tell with no sun, clocks, or any kind of human contact. I think I'm good. I might come out on Friday and check.

Note to self 417: 04/08/2015

This weekend was a strange one. First of all, I had a few "use it or lose it" vacation hours left over from 2014 that I had to take before the fiscal year ended for my company, so I made it an extended weekend for myself. But instead of catching up on Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, The Flash, Breaking Bad, and Aldnoah.Zero season 2, I spent most of my free-time setting up Cupcake's garden in the back yard (putting in drainage, setting up a fence, digging, constructing a gate, killing rabbits with my bare hands). So each day I found myself even more exhausted than if I had just gone to work... But Saturday night we decided to just chill out and meet Mick and Min at the local Macaroni Grill (I had a gift card I had to use up) for some booze and pasta.

As I turned off the Parkway and came off the cloverleaf for our exit, I almost shit my pants in disbelief and glee! There, before us, in the crap-mall's parking lot (the almost empty mall in our town that mostly just has second-hand suit shops, wig stores, and chachki sellers in the places that aren't vacant) was an oasis of flashing lights (every color of the rainbow) and circus-style sounds, with several giant wheels turning, and screams of people of all ages reaching our ears, even from as far away as we were!

As we drove closer, I just could not take my eyes off the carnival that had mysteriously and suddenly appeared in my little burg. I even told Cupcake to let me know if we were about to crash into something/somebody since my eyes were simply cold-glued to that marvelous sight! We of course didn't crash, and we did make it to the restaurant, but the whole time we were there I was actually already mentally riding the Tilt-o-Whirl.

Over dinner I told Mick and Min about the last summer I worked at Blockbuster video, and how one week in July the carnies came to our parking lot, and how the carnival owner's son would trade us free tickets for the carn' in exchange for free movie rentals. Then, how during my breaks during the night I'd run out the door while yelling to my pretty awesome manager, Corie, "I'm gonna be taking my smoke break now!" Even though I didn't smoke, but smoker's were allotted time off to do so. And then I'd spend an extended lunch or dinner riding the mini-rollercoaster they had, or the octopus twirler-spinner, or I'd make a speed-run through the funhouse... Good times. GREAT times.

Anyway, Cupcake had heard these stories before, but I don't think she fully understood my absolute love of all things CARNY. I was so obsessed with the visiting carnival that Mick finally asked, "So, uh... Did you want to check it out after--" I yelled out "YES! Of course! We're all going, right?" Totally forgetting to see if anybody else wanted to, and forgetting that Min was 3 months pregnant and probably wouldn't get much out of it anyway. Fuck it. CARNIVAL!

We headed over at around 9PM and the place was still kickin' it on all cylinders! It was an unseasonal mid-40s night (due to a rather angry thunderstorm that rolled into town the previous day), and even though nobody else was really dressed for the weather (I did give Cupcake my flannel shirt, because I am a gentleman at heart) I made us do things there. Terrible things. Things that required Dramamine and Pepto Bismol.

I ran off to the ticket counter after we made our initial tour of the place (it was a pretty big carn', what with 15 full rides and a shit-ton of crappy ring-tossing and balloon-popping games, as well as several concession stands selling sweet-smelling funnel-cakes and corn dogs) and bought 22 tickets for $20, but just as we were about to queue up for our first ride I noticed that it cost 4 fucking tickets to get on! Jesus! So I ran back to the ticket stand and bought myself an All-You-Can-Ride pass for $20 and raced back to the Flying Swings where my crew was waiting for me.

Cupcake was the only one still there though, seeing as Mick and Min ran off to Walmart to pick up some cheap sweatshirts for themselves, but we rode the shit out of the Flying Swings that night! That ride lasted around 5-6 minutes, so at least they gave you your money's worth for that high ticket price, and the thrill of not knowing if the chains were going to snap and send you flying into the Fun House or into the windshield of an SUV in the parking lot really added to the adrenalin rush!

Carny Rossman

We then rode the Sky Diver (a Ferris wheel with a passenger cart that can be swiveled around in a full 360 while going around and around) before our friends returned covered in winter gear. Mick, Cupcake and I then did the Tilt-o-Whirl (which came dangerously close to making me lose my previously digested Italian 3-course meal), Mick and I rode the Flying Swings again, then Cupcake and I did the regular Ferris wheel (and got to see an older couple get all hot and heavy in front of/below us), and I then hit every other ride there by myself, except for the carousel and the mini kiddy roller coaster.

I was a little disturbed by how motion sicknessy I was at the end of it, but then I figured out why. I rationalize that when I go to Six Flags or Universal Islands of Adventure I mostly do roller coasters and things that actually haul ass in more than one direction than just "around." Here, at the portable carn', all they really had was rides that ran around in a circle, very, very, very fast... And that last one I rode was like a mix between the Tilt-o-Whirl and the Flying Swings... It was powerfully barf-inducing... But I held all my cookies in. Didn't puke once. I didn't even feel the need to pre-puke-spit. I was just a little dizzy is all.

Afterwards I burned the carnival to the ground so that my memories of it will never be tainted by me trying to out-do myself the next time it came to town. Gotta hold on to those memories!

Carny Rossman

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