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.
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ONIcon 1998: The Con Of The Century!
Note to self 436: 06/14/2017
So this weekend I decided to try and catch up on a bunch of things that I've been putting off for a while. Things like watching some movies I've meant to watch, catching up on some TV and anime, and finally driving over that very expensive insulin to Jimmy Jammer (that he couldn't afford to replace, that he left at my house 4 months ago).
First up, I finally caught Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie, starring Jude Law as an evil douche, and Charlie Hunnam as a ripped, kick-ass version of Arthur himself. All in all, it was entertaining, just not as entertaining as Ritchie's earlier films (like Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, and even Man From UNCLE). It was everything that I thought and hoped it'd be though, meaning it was a Guy Ritchie King Arthur movie, filled with magic and knights and crazy camera work, and Ritchie's trademarked quick banter. Yes, it could have been a LOT better, but it could have been a lot worse.
After King Arthur ended, I figured that I'd movie hop into the new Tom Cruise flick in the theater across the hall. The Mummy had been getting panned by critics, and nobody I knew wanted to see it, so I figured that it might be worth it if I didn't have to pay for it. So, when the hallway was empty, I made a deliberate saunter from the bathroom that I was hiding in to the theater showing the Cruise vehicle. I figured I'd have missed the first 2 or 3 minutes due to my caution, but whatever. How much exposition could that be?
I then walked through the front door of the theater and was greeted by 5 theater employees just standing in the hallway leading to the seats. I almost froze when the fattest one closest to me looked like he was about to ask for my ticket. I kept my cool though and smiled to them all as I pushed past them, noting that the movie was already in the middle of a huge sandstorm on the screen. I then hustled to the end of the hall, and looked over to the pretty empty theater (it was maybe 1/10th full), and saw even MORE employees standing around the room, staring at a group of teenagers in the middle of the room.
Just as the fat employee who I brushed past at the door approached me, I turned and half ran, half jogged back to the entrance while muttering "Damn it.... Where IS she?!" In hindsight this made no sense (was I looking for somebody who I was supposed to be meeting for that movie? If so, why did I not just sit and wait?), but it got me out out of that pickle of a situation, and I never looked back.
This is the first time in over 20 years that I've almost gotten caught theater-hopping... It was quite the rush! But man, to get busted sneaking into an apparently really shitty movie... That would have sucked. Normally, if you theater hop, you're supposed to buy a ticket to the newest release that you plan to see that day, and then jump over to an older flick that's less likely to be guarded after that. But this time, there was only one showing of King Arthur that day, and I had no choice.
From what all my fave movie reviewers are saying though, I just saved 2 hours of my day at least. I might end up giving The Mummy a shot with the inevitable Riff Trax coverage of it.
After that, I ran to the local Sam's Club to pick up some things and eat a lot of free samples of various food and drink items. It didn't take long, and as I walked back to my truck, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that some old woman (wearing clothes that looked like they were stolen from the wardrobe for the cast of Les Miserable, and then shat on by a cow) was approaching me. I was able to shut the door behind me and lock it just as the crone knocked on my driver-side window. I looked at her (about 6 inches from my face, and uglier than I at first thought), and she raised up a large jar with a sign taped to it. It read (and I shit you not) "I am deaf. I need money. Please help!"
I wanted to say "I have a beard and need money more than you. Please give!" But I didn't. Instead I just mouthed "I have no cash. Sorry!" This was true. I never carry cash. This is mostly because when I have cash I spend it.
She grimaced and then turned away from me to start waddling towards a couple packing up their car a couple of rows over. That's when a thought hit me. I rolled down my window and yelled to the deaf woman's back, "Hey, I found a five dollar bill for you!" She turned around. I just stared at her. She flicked me off.
Fuck panhandlers. At least, fuck the lying douchie ones. "Oh, I don't want to work, but I want money!" Yeah, well, buck up, buttercup. That's ALL of us. But the rest of us usually bust our asses day in and day out to earn our fucking way. Why do YOU get to be a lazy shitstain on the underpants of society? Fuck off.
After that, I went home and met Cupcake after she got out of work, and we started to catch up on the new American Gods TV show. We both loved the book, and the casting looked pretty spot on from all the ads that we'd seen, but I think that Cupcake is giving up on it after we made it just 2 episodes in. I don't think that she appreciates the series' tone, but the only thing that nearly killed it for me was Anansi's tale of how he arrived in America. Anansi was one of the best characters in the book. He was a small, skinny old man who could charm the pants off of anybody. He was an African trickster god who never really intervened in his worshipers' lives, but gave them divine inspiration when he deemed it the right time to do so.
Anansi's TV persona went against EVERYTHING that made his character so lovable in the novel. He is now a tall, young, brash, ANGRY as all fuck, intervener who would have his worshipers immolate themselves because he can see the future, and sees that the police in the far, far future will shoot black people on the streets of America!... Oh, and he dresses like a 1970s blackspoitation movie pimp, even though it's the 1690s when he appears to his followers in the bowels of a slave ship.
Everything about that scene was both wrong and terrible. It was the first part of the TV series that changed something dramatically for NO reason. I mean, Anansi (or as his friends call him, "Mr. Nancy" in the book) was a really nice, laid back, and funny, likable guy. So much so that he got his own spin-off novel (Anansi Boys)! His portrayal in this show is a kick to the crotch. Totally unnecessary, and appears to be changed for the sake of change... Which is made even more horrible by the fact that pretty much every other character in this thing is spot on! Why change one of the best parts of the story like that? Fuck you, TV writers. I want MY Anansi back.
Other than that though, I love Ian McShane, Gillian Anderson, Cloris Leachman, and the guy who plays Czernobog. Even if Cupcake bails though, I will probably continue with the show (the good so far does outweigh the bad)... At least for a few more episodes. But dammit, I hate what they did to Anansi...
That's about been my week. Oh, and Nintendo totally won E3 2017. God how I miss going to those.
Note to self 435: 03/08/2017
This past week has been one of legendary status.
It all started out with Cupcake and I going out to Vail, Colorado for a few days to see some relatives, eat some expensive (but amazing) food, attempt to ski, and in my case, get severe altitude sickness.
Yeah, yeah, I was drinking 5-6 liters of water a day — what everybody and their brothers, sisters, and grandparents were telling me to do in order to get over my sickness quicker. It did not work. I was dizzy, nauseous, groggy, and felt like I had a "bubble" in my chest and my guts for the entire time that I was there. Not fun. But I worked through it so as not to hold the party train down. Fuck the Rockies...
As for "things to do," there is really only ONE recreational thing to do in Vail: ski. Cupcake and her friends could already ski, but they took the beginners lessons with me (supremely reduced in price due to us knowing some employees), and for 3 hours one morning I watched Cupcake and her posse ski circles around me on the slight incline of the bunny slope while I did my best to not slide into the 5 year-olds taking their lessons at the same time.
3 hours later, and I felt like I learned nothing. I couldn't stop without my ski poles (which wrenched my wrists), I could barely turn, but then could not turn back the other way, and I wiped out at least a half a dozen times. On the bunny slope. The worst part is this: the blind 10 year-old who was learning in the group next to me did better than I did. In fact, I almost accidentally plowed into him once. The problem with that would have been that there's no way I would have been able to get away from the instructors and the kids parents if I had killed him like that. I was like a fish flopping around on a frozen lake. There would have been no escape, and possibly criminal charges.
Anyway, we took a break for lunch, and then afterward Cupcake and her ski friends decided that they wanted to actually hit the real slopes instead of finishing up the afternoon beginners' lesson (which I so obviously and desperately still needed). I hinted (without outright lying to them) that I would finish up my baby's course, then I bid them farewell from the lodge at the bottom of the mountain. I returned my ski equipment and then I spent the next 3 and a half hours laying on a very comfy couch, right in front of a giant stone fireplace with an enormous blaze roaring away in its giant, gaping maw, letting my fucked up knees, ankles, and wrists heal up as best they could. Honestly, that afternoon in front of that fire was magical. Even when that rude family from South America tried to get me to move since they wanted my couch. Fuck you, Sanchez Family. I was there first. Don't make me take one of those shitty chairs off to the side that got no heat from the blaze. That was all you guys'.
Oh my god, the FOOD. Let me talk to you about the foodstuffs!
Vail may have some of the most expensive restaurants that I've ever eaten at within its resort boundaries, but they were also among the most amazing experiences I've ever had (clothed in public). And Cupcake showed me a little trick too, in order to ensure that we sampled the best of each place that we went to. She brought with her some very nice whiskey to every new restaurant, and made it a point of presenting the bottle to the kitchen staff herself before we even ordered. They loved being appreciated, and we loved the attention that they gave us afterward. While in Vail I had the best sushi, elk, duck, lamb, trout, and scallops that I've ever had in my already long life.
Oh, and while in Vail, I met some really unusual people from all walks of life. From the 77 year-old ski instructor who had been on the mountain since it opened (back in '62), to that guy who lost his foot and lower leg to a volcano in Hawaii, a guy who accidentally dumped about 3 pints of local brew on his girlfriend's lap, and a guy who had plans to buy a food truck and set it up to be a drug delivery vehicle in New York City, despite the fact that his dad is a police detective (in another state). And those last three were all the same guy.
I was also absolutely amazed at the amount of people who could afford to vacation in Vail. Vail is not for the cheap or the poor. A Quarter Pounder meal at the only McDonald's in town costs $13.99, and that's not even with cheese. Most restaurants' meals started at $35. And the Vail Village area was always packed, as were all the slopes that we checked out. The ski lifts were providing the tops of the mountains with a constant stream of adventurers too. And we were there during an "off week." Damn... Where do all these people who stay in the all the super high-end hotels, or in the thousands of multi-million dollar houses and condos get all this money?! We were there on the cheap (staying with relatives and all that that entails), and it still cost tons of cash for the few places we ate out at, and the massive discounts we got for knowing people who worked at the main resort. There were quite a few groups there with families of 6 in tow. Good fucking god, that must have cost a fortune.
Anyways, after that, our travels took a shitty turn on the way back to Georgia when a massive thunderstorm caused our flight to be diverted to Jacksonville, Florida due to low fuel. Just as we landed at 9PM we were told that the storm had passed Atlanta International Airport, but we couldn't just refuel and fly there at that time, since the pilot and crew had already put in 13+ hours over the course of the last 24, and regulations would not allow it. That's understandable, but shitty, especially since I had to get back to work the next day.
We were told that we would have to leave the plane, line up at the gate to get new tickets issued for a flight the following morning, head on down to the baggage claim to collect our shit, and then get locked out of the terminal we were in for security reasons. But they told us that it was okay, because we'd be able to get back in to the terminal again starting at 4AM the next day. Oh, and for some reason that NOBODY could explain, every last hotel room in town was booked that night.
The American Airlines gate people were trying to find rooms for us (that the airline would cover), but everything up to 30 miles away was full. I was patient and understanding when I was talking to the lady behind the counter about the lack of any rooms or plans for any of us passengers, and I made it a point to tell her that I felt bad for what the situation the weather were putting her and her colleagues through, and that my wife and I truly appreciated it... Which is why when my phone was fully charged at 11PM, and before we could even get up to leave the Terminal (when the counter ladies still had about a dozen more people in line to set up with new tickets and all that jazz), my gate lady left her post and quickly jogged over to us, handed me a voucher for a Travelodge Hotel nearby, and told me that they found us a room (covered by the airline) for the night. She whispered all this to me and told us, "Go, go, GO!" as we gathered all our shit and then booked it for the baggage claim, and then hopefully an actual bed and shower.
Long story short, we got our Travelodge room, and as we checked in and got our room key a FLOOD of displaced travelers came barging into the lobby looking for rooms of their own. I felt terrible for the front desk girl on duty; she looked like she would rather straight up quit than deal with that mob of upset misplaced passengers who were not just from our flight, but a couple of Delta flights, and I think a Spirit Air plane diverted from Atlanta too. And she told us that there were only 2 more rooms left after us. Meh, fuck 'em all.
After that, the next day we had a pretty pleasant trip home, I got a full day of work in (starting late, but working from home since a commute wouldn't have made much sense at that time), and then I got ready for the Midnight Launch of the Nintendo Switch and the newest Legend of Zelda game: Breath of the Wild.
I had previously pre-ordered two Switches back on Switch Day in mid January, just so that I wouldn't have the same issues of NOT getting a system on launch day, like with what happened a little more than ten years earlier with the Nintendo Wii. So far, as of that Thursday, March 2nd, 2 hours before the midnight release, I was still good to go with my Gamestop-ordered unit. So I donned my Zelda hockey jersey (that I never normally get to wear) and joined my fellow Nintenfags in line at the local Gamestop to pick up my first Switch pre-order. (The other one was purchased through Target.com, and I simply sold it at cost to my friends with 2 kids in the house, and no time to find a Switch themselves. I'm no scalping asshole.)
Other than waiting with a bunch of unshowered geeks outside of the store in some chilly weather for a bit, everything went smoothly. A+++, would preorder again. I even got the last Switch Pro Controller that the store had in stock too. No real story there, other than the MAD amount of Zelda that I played once I got home that night, and then over the course of the entire weekend.
My only gripe with that amazing game has to do with the fact that weapons break after seemingly using them only 2 or 3 times. Okay, I can see making a game a bit more challenging and slightly more realistic by having weapons degrade upon usage, but a "soldier's bow" that SHATTERS after only loosing a dozen or so arrows from it is BULLSHIT. Oh, and do you like that really cool elementally-charged sword from the gods? Yeah, well, it only lasts about 20 hits. Then it disintegrates. Goddammit. If the Master Sword breaks, I will fucking rage and see how far I can discus-throw my Switch........ But other than that, this game is mind-blowingly fun to play. And huge. And beautiful.
And finally, to end the week right, the Chief and I had what was to become known as the WORST cinematic experience of our lives on Sunday night at the 8:30 showing of Logan. Holy fuckballs.... Our bad times started off with some foreshadowing before the movie actually began when the guy sitting on the Chief's right started a conversation with us totally out of the blue. I forget how and why it began, but we stopped talking to him after the following exchange.
The Manchild: I can't wait for Marvel to sue Fox Movies and get all their characters back!
Me: ........Wait, what?
The Manchild: I can't wait for Marvel to sue Fox movies and get all their characters back!
Me: Um.... They signed away the film rights to the X-Men and all their mutant characters to Fox. Fox is still making MAD money off of them. They'll never give them up, and Marvel will never win a lawsuit. Why would they sue?
The Manchild: (A bit frustrated now) ....I can't WAIT for Marvel to sue Fox movies and get all their characters back!
That's when the Chief told me to chill and just get settled for the movie. And so I did... But as soon as the flick started, Manchild started with his full-length retarded commentary. "OH! That's Logan!" he'd stage-whisper above the movie soundtrack to his female companion. "Otherwise known as WOLVERINE!"
The Chief and I looked at each other in the semi darkness of the theater, both of us silently asking "What the goddamn fuck, man?" But that was only the beginning. Manchild commented on shit that people could SEE ON THE SCREEN at that moment, or make what he thought were witty references to his date (sister? white slave? masochistic friend?) the entire fucking flick.
He was shushed, and at first the shushing worked, but after a few minutes he'd get back to it. Neither the Chief nor I wanted to miss any of the movie by telling on this walking choad to the management though, and as I've found in the past, unless you're in an Alamo Drafthouse theater, it rarely does any good to tattle on a talker (especially when it's only intermittent, and not a constant conversationalist you're turning in). So we just hoped he'd shut up or at the VERY least start whispering quietly to his companion... No such fucking luck. Goddamn it, I honestly could not tell if I liked the movie or not due to being so totally distracted during every dramatic scene by that fucker. It was just an awful experience.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, here are some of his NECESSARY interruptions:
"THAT'S CHARLES XAVIER. HE CAN DO THINGS WITH HIS MIND!"
"OH! THERE'S THE ADAMANTIUM BULLET AGAIN!"
"SHE'S STEALING THAT CAR! THAT IS SO FUNNY!"
"THAT GIRL HAS ICE-BREATH.... SHE MUST BE ICE-MAN'S DAUGHTER."
"THAT'S THE SAME HAIRCUT HE HAD IN THE FIRST X-MEN MOVIE!"
"HA HA! THAT GUY ASKED IF LOGAN HAD ANY TRAINING! HE'S FOUGHT IN EVERYTHING SINCE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR!"
Like I said, it wasn't even witty commentary or riffing, he was just either very autistic or the dumbest, most inconsiderate mother fucker on the planet. Or both.
I did see the fucker in the hallway after the movie was over, and he looked normal enough (i.e. not like a total waterhead). He was in his mid-to-late 40s too; he should have been able to function correctly in society by that age. And when we made eye contact he even smiled and nodded at me... Though his ability to judge social cues was apparently shit, since I was scowling at him, and I mouthed, "I hope you die from cancer in a fire," to him.
Fuck. Guess I'll just have to see Logan again. Though if anybody talks during the next viewing, I will whip out my homemade Wolverine claws (made from Cupcake's best chef-knives. Shhhhhhh...) and gut any movie interrupter like a fucking pig. Wish me luck either way.
Note to self 434: 02/22/2017
Let me begin my tale with how my city is trying to buttfuck my new subdivision with glee, no remorse, and no lube. The road that my neighborhood is on is being turned from a 2 lane thoroughfare into a 4 lane highway. So far, no shits given. The traffic never seemed to be so bad as to warrant 4 lanes, but whatever.
What is pissing me and my neighbors off is that this is the main street from the nearest highway to our enclave, and according to the construction plans that we got ahold of, the city is going to take away our turn-lane into our neighborhood and replace it with a concrete median for no reason what-so-ever. Somebody in the past — when the subdivision was only halfway built — realized that a street with 200 families living on it would probably need a lane from which to turn from the main road into said neighborhood, and an opening from which to turn out of said neighborhood and onto the main road. But no, the new DOT architects knew better (though I'd love to see someone pull this shit on their own subdivisions and see what they'd say then).
When my HOA complained to the DOT about this shitty decision, we were told we were being a bunch of babies, and that if we wanted to turn left into our neighborhood or a left out of our neighborhood once construction was complete, we'd "only have to drive half a mile down the road and pull a U-turn." Yeah, that's fucking safe and convenient.
Anyway, only half of my subdivision is on an online community forum, but we few have already united against this stupid bureaucratic decision. I have personally tracked down the higher ups in the DOT who are responsible for this FUBAR ruling, as well as our State Representative, and we've been telling everyone in our 'hood to contact these people (politely) with all of our concerns.
This has paid off as our State Rep wants to meet with us this upcoming Saturday! Score one for the little guys.
Anyway, I also took it upon myself to print up close to 200 flyers to hand out to ALL of the houses inside our subdivision, inviting all of my neighbors to join our online society, as well as to inform them about the soon-to-be eliminated turn-lane and our upcoming meeting with our State Rep.
So this past Sunday I went around to every single fucking house and handing out these flyers (pretty much entirely by myself). I have since met some of the STUPIDEST people that I have ever come face to face with while doing it. I don't use that term ("stupidest") lightly here. These people... I'm shocked they know how to breathe or swallow their medication-laced pudding.
One late 50s dude just could not comprehend what I was saying. He couldn't even understand the concept of the word "road." We could literally SEE the goddamn road in question from his house, and even after drawing a picture of the road and its relationship to our neighborhood for him, he still could not understand the situation. I think that he said that he did at the end of me talking to him for 5 minutes just so that I would go away. I was happy to do so at that point.
I also had one middle aged latino lady who refused to open the door and who would only peer at me through her front door blinds and SCREAM things in Spanish at me when I approached to stick the flyer in the door-frame so that she could read it later. I left nothing and just ran to the next house.
I approached another residence and noticed that the drapes hanging in the front windows were all torn to shreds at about the three-foot mark. Then I heard the manic barkings of 4-5 yapper dogs coming from inside the dwelling. Then I saw the 4-5 terriers jumping at the windows and door, clawing and smashing their annoying faces into the glass. I said (quite out loud) "Oh fuck me...." while still walking up the sidewalk.
As I got to the front door, some irate man yelled from the bedroom window above the garage "Who the HELL is at my front door?!" It was 2:30 on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, and I was actually dressed nicely in slacks and a button down; it wasn't like I was sneaking up to his house at 3AM in dark grey camouflage or anything.
I yelled back, trying to make myself louder than the menagerie of pooches still yapping away at my presence, "I'M YOUR NEIGHBOR! I'M JUST HANDING OUT FLY--"
The angry man cut me off with "Just leave it on the ground!" I was sorely tempted to make a paper airplane out of the yellow flyer and try to toss it into his window. You'd be proud to know that I did not. But I did ring the doorbell before taking off just to rile the dogs up some more.
Then there was another moron who just could not understand the idea of "road construction." "Why they constructin' a road? They be a road there already?" "Yes, but they're expanding it from 2 lanes to 4," I told him for the fifth time. "And they're removing our turn lane into our subdivision. They're replacing the turn lane with a large concrete median that will not let us turn left into or out of our neighbor--" "But there BE a road there now! I just drove on it!... What you sellin'?"
MOST of my neighbors were quick on the uptake and very willing to email or call the DOT for us, but just those few... Jesus Christ....
I tried to explain the density of that one conversation to Cupcake later that night. After 2 minutes of me giving a word-for-word reenactment of the "But there BE a road there now" guy she yelled "STOP IT! I get it! I can't believe you didn't just shove the flyer down his throat and go to the next house!"
I told her that I attempted to explain it to him for like 6-7 minutes, since by then it had become a challenge to me. "Can I do this? Can I explain a simple concept to a retarded man without causing his brains to ooze out of his ears?"
God help us all. These are probably the same people who voted for Trump. "Why should I vote for somebody else? Trump says they's all liars. I don't wanna vote for no liars. My sister Loretta-Mary-Lynn lied when she done told me she weren't pregnant with my child. NO MORE LIARS!"
Note to self 433: 01/04/2017
And thusly did 2016 end its reign of terror, not with a whimper, but with a bang, taking out Carrie Fisher, her mother Debbie Reynolds, and George Michael in a last desperate gasp of attention-whore-itis, like a death curse from The Dresden Files book series.
Fuck you, 2016. I hate you so much. I haven't been this utterly miserable for a year since 1999 when a long-time friend stabbed me in the chest, ripped out my heart, and feasted on it with a smile on her face. Oh, Jesus fuck, it took me way too long to get over that...
Anyway, I've bitched about the shitfest that 2016 was (for me personally) in the past (what with being away from my wife for most of the year, the stress of moving and a new job, losing family members, paying two mortgages for a long-ass time, coming to terms with Trump and Clinton as our only real presidential candidates, and not having the shitty dog die), so I'll just let that go. We're in 2017 now. We've got to pick up the pieces and start living again.
They're will be new Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man movies this year, new concerts to go to, new restaurants to try, hopefully new vacations to experience, and probably new friends to meet. I have to focus on that now and just forget the giant vomit-fest that the universe hurled all over us this past year.
But first, here's one last recollection of all the things I've seen, read, and witnessed over the last twelve months that I have not covered on this site before:
Passengers: Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence's first film together is about a poor slob who accidentally gets woken up from cryostasis on a star ship with 90 years left to go before the cruiser reaches its destination, and everybody else wakes up for their new life on a planet 60 light-years away from Earth. After a year of living on this ship with a robot bartender as his only friend, Pratt barely stops himself from committing suicide one day, only to then lay eyes on sexy J. Law's sleep-pod. With a boner in his pocket, he selfishly wakes her up in order to woo her and bang her, and not go crazy from the loneliness.
I actually came out of the theater thinking that this movie wasn't all that bad, but then I spent some time considering all I had just witnessed. Then I read some articles about the shitty science and MAJOR plot holes in the story, and now I can see just how terrible it really is. None of the narrative makes sense if you think about it for more than a minute, and what Pratt did to J. Law is absolutely reprehensible. Yeah, everybody on the ship would have died if he didn't wake her up when he did, but that just seems like the screenwriter covering his own ass when he couldn't come up with a real ending on his own. You can skip it.
Angie Tribeca: Holy goddamn shit! How did I miss this show when it first debuted? Angie Tribeca is the love child of Leslie Nielson's Police Squad and Parks and Recreation. It's slapstick police detectivery at its finest! Angie Tribeca is the LAPD's best and toughest detective, and every case she comes across is filled with a crapload of puns, perverted medical examiners, and the nicest screaming lieutenant you've ever met. Every scene is packed with large and small jokes, which makes for great repeat viewing. I love every character in this thing, especially James Franco's Sgt. Pepper. I hope this show lives forever.
The Gentlemen Bastards: The Gentlemen Bastard book series, by Scott Lynch, is like nothing you've ever read before!... No, that's really a lie. You've probably read lots of books with this kind of setting and these basic characters: a Renaissance world filled with thieves, dark mages, and alchemy, where the main characters (a tight group of swindlers led by one uber-gent named Locke Lamora) rule the city in the night, plundering and conniving their way through the richest folk's pocketbooks with mirthy glee.... Until trouble comes to River City and they get royally fucked over by a revenge plot having to do with their crime lord boss and the upper crust of the town.
So far three novels have been released dealing with Locke and his crew, but a fourth is coming out soon... Maybe. It seems that Lynch is taking a page from George R.R. Martin when it comes to writing speed. Good shit though. Worth the wait.
Berserk: When the first Berserk anime series ended, everybody in my anime club in college lost their collective shit over that terrible cliffhanger. The show itself was amazing, but that ending... We were all pissed off more than a proverbial knight rescuing a damsel in a chastity belt only to realize he left his can opener at home. I personally tried to read the manga in order to see what happened after Guts' fall from glory, but it was taking forever to come ou, get translated, and make it to American bookstores.
But then, almost 20 years later, we were given the gift of more Berserk anime!... And I fucking HATED it. I couldn't watch more than 10 minutes of the premiere episode. The animation is the WORST shitty 3-D CGI you've ever seen. Everything is so stiff, all the character designs look awful, and the worlds are just bland and boring. It's seriously 10Xs worse than the "animation" in Knights of Sidonia, which I found terrible at the time. Who greenlights this shit? Who sees the initial CGI character models and thinks "Meh, that'll do"? Who do I need to hunt down and threaten and murder, or murder and threaten to get a mulligan on this series? I really do want to see more Berserk, just not like this... Not like this...
Westworld: HBO can really get things right when they really want to — when they just let the creative forces behind their shows do what they do best. Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight, and now Westworld. Westworld is a revamp of an old 1970s Michael Crichton written and directed flick most famous for Yul Brynner's malfunctioning Gunslinger robot in a Western-themed adult adventure park. This new HBO version is much richer (both in budget and writing), dirtier (bloodier and sexier), and better acted (with Hannibal Lecter himself running the place) than the earlier movie. It's 10 episodes of confusion, backstabbing, and time-traveling storytelling that freed my mind and made me smile in ways that only stomping poodles could previously. I recommend this show for anyboey who DOESN'T constantly ask "Who is he? Why's he doing that? Didn't that guy already die?" while watching confusing shit in the company of others.
Kuma Miko: AKA, Girl Meets Bear. A cute story of a small mountain village shrine priestess in Hicksville, Japan who wants nothing more than to move to the big city. However, her best friend is a large talking bear who constantly warns her away from this dream, claiming that she has no idea how to get along in such a strange and hostile environment. It's silly, goofy, utterly mindlessly enjoyable fun... Up until the last 2 episodes, when Machi (the shrine priestess in question) finally goes to the city, realizes that she is nothing but a small-town hick girl who doesn't belong amongst all the civilized people in the concrete jungle, and then runs back to the mountains, becoming so traumatized by her experiment to grow and learn shit that she reverts into the mind of a retarded toddler... At least that's how the ending was described to me. I only watched up to episode 10, and was fervidly warned away from finishing it. The internet apparently agrees with all those who cautioned me from wrapping this series up.
The Expanse: The Expanse book series, by James S. A. Corey, is a hard sci-fi tale that feels like a space-faring Blade Runner, only with more militaristic overtones. Yeah, it's been made into a SyFy channel show (which I will admit looks really damn good, and as of the first and only episode that I saw seemed to be a great translation of the novels), but the books are better.
The story takes place in the near-far future, and follows one James Holden, and his small crew of ex-ice-haulers (moving ice from the outer planets to the asteroid belt colonies), as they get caught up in shit way beyond their pay grade. It seems that Earth and the humans who colonized Mars are in a tense military standoff, but then Holden and his crew get caught up in a solar system-wide FUBAR event that might mean the end of life for everyone, everywhere. If you have time, I recommend it. If you just want to watch the TV show, meh, I won't stop you.
And that's pretty much all that I can think of. Oh! I guess I could tell you that Arrival was awesome, and that chick from Veronica Mars' new show, The Good Place, with Sam Malone as an insane angel, was pretty baller.... And the anime My Hero Academia was garbaaaaaaaaaage. And I somehow missed Assassination Classroom season 2. I ought to get on that.
Anyway, here's hoping that 2017 is much better and friendlier than 2016. Yeah, Trump is taking office soon with the other two branches of the government in his pocket, so Net Neutrality is all but sunk, but I'll be looking on the bright side until the universe straight up drops a deuce in my Cheerios. Gotta look on the bright side... I mean, there's no WAY 2017 can be WORSE than 2016, right?.... Oh god, please tell me I'm right....
Note to self 432: 11/30/2016
It's been a while, but I actually had a pretty damn good holiday break! It was the perfect length (not too short, not too long), I got to see family I haven't seen in a year, I got to host my nephews and a niece at my house for movie night, and I saw a ton of good movies. And something about Thanksgiving food stuffs.
It all started with my brother bringing his entire family into town (he's got like a million kids... But he doesn't own a farm in the 1800s. It's weird). We went to the UGA football game that weekend, hung out at my parents' house, and then late Sunday I drove home so that I could go to work on Monday. Monday night though my brother drove to my downtown Atlanta office and dropped his brood off with me so that I could take them to my place, teach them how to make homemade French-bread pizza and cookie shakes, and then I made them watch all of Giant Robo on my big screen, surround sound system.
Unfortunately, since the youngest nephew wasn't able to keep up with subtitles all that well, we watched the Giant Robo dub... But not the 90s Manga Entertainment dub (which although not a great translation, had some of the best over-the-top voices, and some of the most amazing lines in any dubbed production outside of El Hazard), but instead the newer Media Blasters English dub. While not terrible, the new dub is boring. They do a better job with the translation in this newer production, but most of the male voices sounded the same, and there were lines (from the original Japanese) that I know that they still left out. I wish I wrote down specifics, but I never got the chance.
Anyway, despite this, the kids loved the holy hell out of it (even the oldest boy, who's "too cool" for most things nowadays), and they openly wondered why more shit couldn't be made that was this great and insanely different from all the other crap that we as consumers normally get. I had no answers for them, as I still ponder the same existential questions myself. They also bugged me to show them the next Giant Robo chapter after episode 7 was over. I lied and told them, "Um, it's in production now." I just couldn't break their little hearts by telling them the truth: that it's been close to 20 years now and it is not looking very likely that we'll ever see any more of Imagawa-sensei's Robo... Sad Robo.
Tuesday morning I then made everybody French toast and bacon (LOTS of bacon, because I'm an awesome uncle), then we watched some American movies before the rest of my family came over to see my new house... And get frightened by my possibly possessed cat. My cat, Taiga, is the sweetest curl-up-in-your-lap cat you've ever seen, but she apparently dislikes strangers, and she can also make the most unholy, shriekiest noises I've ever heard outside of the first time I witnessed a velociraptor scream in the original Jurassic Park movie. The kids were terrified by the fluffy 9lb beast. Even my adult family members kept from trying to pet her, which in hindsight was probably a good idea. I ended up putting her in a bedroom for the remainder of the family's visit, for everybody's safety.
Anyway, during the week I got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Moana (both fun, and Maui's "You're Welcome" song is still stuck in my head), ate a buttload of turkey and ham and stuffing and pie, crippled a hobo (it was an accident!... and by that I mean a dare), and then broke my left wrist playing football with the entire family. Well, it's only "severely sprained," says the doctor, but it crunched, and a week later it still fucking KILLS, even in the sturdy brace the physician gave me.
Anyway, here's what you were probably waiting for me to get to; my thoughts on the Gilmore Girls revival, A Year in the Life, which just came out the day after Turkey Day. I thought about blaming Cupcake for making me watch this, but she would have violently denied it, and besides, I'm pretty sure I boasted about my love for the Girls back when the show originally aired.
My initial thoughts on the 4-part Netflix original Gilmore series are these: Lorelei is looking rough nearing 50, and Rori is apparently a whore now. Other than that it felt like meeting up with an old friend and falling right back into the great chemistry that we always had. Stars Hollow is still Stars Hollow, and the troubadour is still playing on the corner of the town square. It was almost exactly what it needed to be... Except for Papa Gilmore being dead, and Rori being a whore.
I realize that drama is what shows like this are all about, but did they really have to make Rori — the girl who had the world at her feet at the end of the original series — a walking disaster in this short series? And contrary to most of the critics, I loved all the cameos. From Rachel Ray, to Alex Kingston, to the Troubadour, to Dean, to Sookie finally showing up in the last ep. I think that besides just having them appear for a quick laugh or an "Oh! I remember them!" moment, they actually did something for the narrative. Dean more than anyone else, actually. His appearance made Rori realize that she'd been fucking up her life for the last few years, and she seemed to really envy what he had. That short conversation and look she had after bumping into him did more to make me sympathize for her than the rest of her screen-time where she was just bumping uglies with that rich douche she used to date in the original series (who is engaged to someone else in this revival), or scoring one-night-stands with guys in Chewbacca outfits after failing in her professional life over and over and over again.
And yes, that Chewbacca thing actually happened.
They set it up for more if this is a hit, but I'm okay with where things ended here. Maybe in another 10-15 years they can revive Stars Hollow and do something new. I'd be okay with that. That is if Amy Sherman-Palladino is in charge again (she was booted for the 7th season as showrunner, and it shows. That was a bad, bad season).
There. Not embarrassed by my GG love. Plus, when it first debuted, Lorelei was something like 32 and hot as hell. That was 16 years ago, man. Hard to hold that against her now.
Oh, and on Saturday I found out that Six Flags is open for the weekends till the end of the year, and that their 2017 season passes were 70% off, and they included free parking and access to the park for the rest of 2016. So I got me a pass and went. I rode all the roller coasters, and everything else that I wanted to in the park two to three times in 2 and a half hours. I was cold, tired, but happy. I plan to go again this upcoming weekend. And the weekend after that. It's only 10 minutes from my house, so WHY THE FUCK NOT?
And finally, I saw that first-person
video game movie, Hardcore Henry on Sunday. It was surprisingly better than it had any right to be, but the non-stop action bored me after a while. The ending though, it really had me laughing with the "twist" and just how suddenly and fantastically it ended. Worth a watch if it ever comes on Netflix.
And that's it. Nobody died this Thanksgiving (well, nobody that I personally know... I mean, law of averages, I'm sure PLENTY of people actually died this Thanksgiving), and only I was seriously injured. That's a rarity for me. I didn't even get to dress up as a pilgrim and beat Jimmy Jammer with a Bible as if he were an Indian. I guess that tradition is broken. Maybe I'll get back to it next year.
Note to self 431: 11/16/2016
This past week will go down in my own personal history book as the second shittiest week in the shittiest year that I have yet experienced. It's a well known fact that 2016 fucking SUCKS. It's full of disappointment, change, stress, death, crappy movies, terrible TV shows, and most recently the 2016 US Election (that forced us to elect either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to the highest office in the land).
This election...... Goddamn it. South Park had never been more right about us having to choose between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. Both were the WORST candidates that their respective political parties could have forced upon us. One stood for lies, scandals, distrust, misogyny, hate, incompetence, Wall Street, and the top 1%, and the other was Donald Trump.
Well, in the end, somehow, because apparently America is a lot more full of racists and sexists than I thought, Donald Trump was elected to the position of President. A man who has gone bankrupt multiple times, brought up his cock size in a national debate, has declared war on a popular comedian for pointing out how tiny his hands are, has claimed he will build a literal wall at the Mexican border (and somehow make Mexico pay for it), and who looks like he stapled a dead ginger cat to his head has become the 45th elected President of the United States... The ONLY thing that could have been just as bad would have been if Hillary was elected.
Oh well, we'll deal. We'll get past it. We always do. Hell, we (as a country) made it through Taft's presidency. Fuck Taft.
Anyway, I do find it smart of Trump to make himself Assassination-proof by appointing that religious nut Pence as his VP. If anybody wants to take out Trump, they'd have to make sure that Pence was right behind him, or else we'd reeeeeally be in the shithouse as a country. Uuuuugh. *Shiver*
Anyway, after starting the long road to recovery of the post-election world, I found some comfort in the fact that the new Nintendo NES Classic gaming system was going to drop on Friday, November 11. After the complete FUBAR of the Wii release in 2006, I was at first a little wary of how this was going to go down, but since the NES Classic isn't a new gaming system (it's just an original NES emulator with 30 preprogrammed games on it), and because Nintendo had a press release stating that they were producing so many of the consoles that anybody who wanted one would have one right out of the gate, well, I naturally assumed that I'd have one in my giant, ham-hock-sized hands by mid-morning Friday.
Even so, I found myself not taking any chances and running over to Toys R Us just as their doors opened at 9AM that morning. There was already a small line inside the store in the video game section, so I just jumped in at the end thinking, "Hey, this is easy!"
But then the lady in front of me turned to me and asked if I was there for the NES Classic, and I said, "Yup!" She then told me that they already gave out tickets to everyone who was waiting in line before the store opened, and they only had 12, and those 12 were all accounted for alread.
Fuck you, Nintendo.
I then ran over to the GameStop on the East side of town. There was a line of 18 people ahead of me, but it was obvious that most of them were groups of family members (e.g. husband and wife, or mom and 4 kids), and if this GameStop got 12 systems in themselves I'd be sitting pretty.
At 9:30AM, the GameStop manager came out and announced that they only had 11 NES Classics for sale. I cursed outloud (as did everybody behind me), but then I asked him to distribute tickets to the line so that we'd know for sure if we would get one or not. Everyone agreed that that was a great idea (thanks, Toys R Us!), and so the manager ran back inside to get some paper and a pen.
When he returned, he warned the crowd that because the console was so limited, they would only sell one unit per person. BIG fucking mistake. You see, the obese, fat-feet-pouring-out-of-her-poor-sandals wearing, dipshit, almost toothless, skanky mother who was second in line asked the man the following question after hearing his declaration.
"Uhhhhhh," she started, as if pondering whether she should start with either the two large, stuffed-crust pizzas and 4 liters of Pepsi, or the buffet at the all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant that she has brunch at every weekday first. "So, uh, mah kids is people too, right? So like, they's each of 'em want to buy that there Nintendo thing. I's gots like 4 kids... See, you kin count 'em! That's alright, right?"
The manager had nothing to say to that, and he handed Fat Alberta a ticket, and then one to each of her unbathed hellspawn, ages 3 months to 6 years.
That's when me and everybody behind me yelled out "FUCK YOOOOOOOU!" to both the manager and the bipedal blue whale in a red mumu.
I then ran to the second GameStop in town (same deal), then the FYE and Sears (neither got any in), and then Best Buy (16 units, all sold out in the first minute) before finally giving up. I then went home and put a request for any friends in town to grab me one if they miraculously found one in their daily shopping routines. And THEN I started reading up on other people's experiences that morning. All across the country people were coming away with the same conclusion that I had come to about the NES Classic: Nintendo deliberately kept supplies low in order to ramp up interest. And low and behold, ALL of the major news outlets had huge stories about the rarity of the new-old system.
This is absolute bullshirt though... The NES Classic is NOT cutting edge technology that requires the newest processors and chips, it's 30-year old tech. Nintendo had months to get plenty in the stores on day one, but that's not their MO. And it's really pissing me off.
Anyway, after grumbling online about it, Estaflowne reminded me that one could play the very games that the NES Classic was pimping right now, IF one had an actual original NES. I thought to myself, "Yeah, I could hook it up on my TV, but it'll look like crap without connecting with an HDMI cable." But then I remembered that even with the NES Classic's fancy new HDMI connection, the games it plays will STILL look 8-bit. That's WHAT THEY ARE.
And so I hooked up my NES that I got as a gift from my uncle back in 1987 (still works like a charm), played some original Zelda, blasted through Ninja Gaiden (with the help of my 1st gen Game Genie from Galoob), and then did a speed run through the first 4 Temples in Zelda 2 using my old saved game from when I last beat it (and got to keep all my spells that I earned, and levels for health, magic, and strength). I didn't need no Game Genie for Zelda 2, fool! I fucking OWN that shit!
On top of that, the original Nintendo's controllers had a 9-fucking-foot cord! Which is awesome! The NES Classic? 3 feet. What the fuck, man?
My point is this: Nintendo just lost a SHIT TON of easy cash from people like me who'd been patiently waiting for the NES Classic for the past few months. I had been storing up all my nostalgia for this weekend, and when Nintendo failed to deliver I simply plugged in the system that I already owned. Yeah, I never did own the original Kid Icarus, or Star Tropics, or Castlevania I, but I can plug in Metroid, Zelda, and Castlevania III and have just as good a time without blowing another $60. All my friends are doing this too. It's a goddamn blast! And, it seems we're getting the itch for classic gaming out of our systems too; meaning that when Nintendo "finds" more NES Classics to line store shelves with, a lot less people will jump on them.
They had our sales IN THE BAG, but they fucked it up. Fuck you, Nintendo. And fuck Donald Trump too.
Note to self 430: 07/20/2016
So Pokemon Go fever is sweeping the fucking nation. In just a little over a week's time since it's official debut it has become the thing to play by everyone everywhere — from 5 year-olds to that one old man wheeling around that 80-something woman in a wheelchair at the mall this past weekend looking for Pokestops or pocket monsters to digitally catch in augmented-reality (we're ALMOST at Dennou Coil levels of tech, folks! So close!).
Now, I'm down with the Pokemans. I'm not that advanced in Pokemon Go yet, but after 9 days of playing I've captured/evolved/hatched over 60 (out of 143) of those little fuckers. But tossing digital Pokeballs at imaginary creatures on a screen just wasn't doing enough for me. It just wasn't REAL enough.
So I went to Doctor Dave and called in a favor. I showed him a webpage that listed all 721 of the Pokemon (that I was aware of), and told him to genetically create as many of them as he could, and also create a device, like a Pokeball, that could capture the creatures in a real-world game that would put Pokemon Go to shame!
So over the course of just a couple of days (I'm willing to bet that the good Doctor had already been creating Pokemon before I called on him), Doctor Dave had done what I was afraid was the impossible: he gave the world a live-action Pokemon game with real monsters and real Pokeballs! I was amazed... And a bit creeped out by seeing all those beasts with real-world features. They are not half as cuddly as they look in the game when you see their furry, scaly, slimy, gassy, and feathery hides with bug-eyes in real life.
I then gathered Team Rossman and some of Team Greenwood to participate in the first ever real-world Poke-hunt! Me, Cupcake, the MegaPlayboy, Chi-Chi, Carl, Robot Pedro, Karen, Jimmy Jammer, Angry Amy, Kuni, Captain Rugged, Mehve, the Wolfman, Tammi with an "i", Chef Jax, Good Lenin, Shawn-G, Mikey, Psycho Weasel, and my dog Kyoshi, all lined up outside the South-side blast-doors of Doctor Dave's hidden bunker-lab at 6PM on Monday night. The doors went up, and over 700 real (genetically mutated) animals burst out from their confinement and ran for their lives! Well, one 1200-lb Snorlax ripped Jimmy Jammer to shreds and made a pillow out of him to take a nap on, but the rest bolted like a Kenyan with a Warlord's kill squad on their ass!
Carl was the first one to get over his awe at seeing these mythical creatures in the flesh (some a little more disturbing than their cartoon counterparts, but still majestic), and he threw the first Pokeball at a very impressive 20-foot long Arbok (a big, purple King Cobra-like Pokeman) before it could slip into the woods and down to the creek. The first throw connected, the 4-inch diameter Pokeball opened up, and the Arbok was swallowed into its gaping maw in a bright flash of light before closing again like a round ghost trap from Ghostbusters (the original, great Ghostbusters movie, not the shitty, unfunny, really stupid remake that I haven't even seen yet but am judging anyway). Everybody applauded!
Everybody then stopped clapping though when Carl went to collect the Arbok-containing orb (with that huge shit-eating grin on his face). He couldn't budge it an inch. He even pulled a hernia trying to look all tough in front of Chef Jax whilst straining like a constipated baboon on the toilet. That's when he kicked the Pokeball and broke his toe.
I figured out what was wrong pretty quickly. I turned to Doctor Dave (who sat nearby in a lawn chair sipping on a frozen peach daiquiri). "Hey, uh, Doc," I said. "Um, do those Pokeballs shrink the mass of the creature that they capture? Or is that one Pokeball with a gigantic snake inside actually about 2,000 pounds right now?"
"Oh," Doctor Dave said, "I may be a super-scientist, but I can't fuck with the basic laws of physics, my dear, dense boy. Not since I once ended the universe.... But luckily it restarted after a few hundred-thousand years. Wait, what? Nothing. Oh, and by the way, most of those Poke-beasts are carnivorous and haven't eaten all day."
I then jumped on top of a big boulder nearby and screamed for the crew to quiet down and listen to me (well, the remaining crew, seeing as some bug-like thing with scythe-arms [that reminded me of Gigan from the Godzilla movies] had recently ripped the MegaPlayboy in half and was laying eggs inside of his open chest cavity).
"Friends and retards!" I started my inspirational speech. "It has come to my attention that merely hunting these Pokemons down and throwing a ball at them may not be enough! So, it is my advice to switch up our operation from containment to elimination!"
I then ran back into Doctor Dave's lab and rolled out a large rack of guns and grenades that I knew the Doc kept around for just such an emergency, or if he ever decided that he wanted to snap or hold off the National Guard for a few years. Doctor Dave objected, but I passed out the guns and ammo to all those around me, and a few neighborhood kids who happened to be passing by, and promised everyone a Charizard BBQ as a reward when all the Poke-bloodshed was over! FYI, Charizards are self grilling.
The battle raged for over 15 hours, and many bullets were spent, and much blood was spilled. We got over 200 of the creatures (many of whom could beg for their lives in growling-like English, just to make sure that we all had nightmares later) before we found out that Doctor Dave actually had a killswitch on him that turned all the monsters into primordial soup with one push of a button. I knew why he waited till then to push the clicker — not to save lives or cut down on the poke-destruction, but because the cops were starting to narrow down their search to the origin of the man-eating Pokemon massacre to his hidden lab — but in the end I didn't care. Nobody of consequence died (well, a school bus filled with primary school kids going to summer camp got devoured by a Growlithe, the mayor was disemboweled by a Kingler, and a Cubone took off its skull helmet to bash in the head of the Pope who was visiting town), and everybody in my group had a great time! And it turns out that Bulbasaur meat tastes oddly like a mix of pork and a Greek salad..... We had to take a late-night dinner break to gather our strength back. Don't judge us.
Real life Pokemoning gets two thumbs up from me! A+++++++! I would highly recommend!
Note to self 429: 07/13/2016
I've bought a couple of new cars/trucks in the past. I thought that I was the baws when it came to negotiating and wheeling and dealing with new car salesmen, but apparently they are a different breed entirely from USED car salesmen. This past weekend I learned that there actually is a profession that has earned its negative accolades in movies and TV shows, and that I wish almost all used car salesmen on big dealer lots to die horrible, Zombie-Gregor Clegane-led deaths.
Things started out a few weeks ago when Cupcake's 16-year-old Toyota Camry crapped out its catellytic converter, and then its battery just up and died this past Thursday night. The battery was only a year old, which led me to believe that the alternator was the culprit, and then the ol' Camry just gave up and passed the Matrix of Leadership on to another Autobot who would rise from the ranks to lead us all till the day when all are won.
So we spent all of Friday afternoon and evening driving from car lot to car lot, looking for dealerships with large quantities of used vehicles. The first place we actually stopped at was a huge Ford dealership that I had heard had the largest stock of new and used cars in the tri-county area.
This big lug of an ex-college football player came out (one eye looking at me, and one at Cupcake), introduced himself as a salesman — but more importantly as a starting linebacker in the University of Alabama's 1977 - 1979 season — took us inside the Used Car HQ, and then spent 20 minutes trying to get us to talk about collegiate sports before even hinting at the fact that we seemed to be there to buy a car.
This guy (whom I'll call Curly) was a nice enough fellow, but he admitted right off the bat that there was only ONE vehicle in the entire lot that matched our price range and requirements (meaning something not ancient as dirt that still had a few good years left in it, with air-conditioning that worked, and power windows, that was between $7K and $10K... Yeah, we live large!). Cupcake and I looked at each other, then out the dealership office windows (where we had been sitting for what seemed like an eternity drinking little bottles of water with the dealership's logo on them) at the gigantic sea of used cars spread out to beyond the horizon.
"You have hundreds, if not thousands of used cars out there, right? And only one below 10 grand?" I asked. He nodded in sad commiseration. Then he told us that the one car he was talking about was already out on a test drive and we'd have to wait to see it.
I wanted to leave, but Cupcake wanted to see it since we were already there. So we waited. And waited. After another 20 minutes the car came back, and Curly got all excited for us to check it out. The car turned out to be a 2007 Dodge Something or Other. It had 150,000 miles on it. It had specks of rust all over the doors where it had car doors, and shopping carts — and possibly pedestrians — thrown into it. It was not a very good automobile.
So Cupcake got into the driver's seat, Curly sat next to her in the passenger seat, and I sat in the back. It was comfy enough, but had the faint smell of cigarettes (with a hint of vomit or old cheese... I couldn't be sure) permeating my nostrils from every piece of upholstry around me. Oh, and instead of a quick one or two mile test drive, Curly had us drive around (seemingly aimlessly) for over 12 miles. Jesus fucking Christ... 12 miles, in city traffic.
We got back to the dealership after a half a goddamn hour, and Curly thought he'd gotten a sale. I had to inform him that this piece of shit we were trapped in for over thirty minutes was NOT what we wanted, and that we were going to leave.
He looked apologetic, but understanding, but then he twitched like somebody flipped an on-switch to his nervous system. "Oh!" he almost screamed. "Oh no! Please don't go yet! Please just wait here and tell my boss that I showed you a car!" He ran back into the dealership before I could say "Fuck you, tater tot," and soon dragged an even older man out with him. This new guy looked skeezy as hell. Slicked-back hair, douchie smirk on his mouth, and eyes that said "I'd sell my daughter for a buck. I'd throw in my mom for a buck fifty."
Curly started rambling about how "I showed them a car, boss! I showed it to them REAL GOOD!...... But they didn't like it."
Skeezy guy looked Cupcake and I up and down and then came out swinging. "Say," he slimed, "Why don't you guys take a look at this almost new Expedition we have over here. We're having a sale, and it looks perfect for you."
"Is it under $10,000?" Cupcake and I asked at the same time.
"No, of course not, but we can get the monthly payments down to a little over $400, for a nice couple like you. If we get you on a 72-month..."
We left. I didn't even bother saying anything stupid or snarky seeing as those two fuckers' lives must suck much worse than mine, and anything I could say wouldn't have made their looking into the disappointed faces of their families every night existences hurt them any more.
Then Cupcake and I drove over to a gigantic Chevy dealership that we passed on our 30 minute test drive what seemed like a week before. As we pulled into the lot, we found that all the used cars were behind a closed-off, no-driving area, and before we could even get out of our parked car to walk over to them, we were approached by Cedric the Entertainer, who was driven up to us by a teenage girl behind the wheel of a golf cart.
Cedric took us inside the half-a-football-field-sized air-conditioned sales office and began to "smoothly" ask us what we was looking for. We told him what we told Curly. He snapped his fingers, winked at us, and said "I got the perfect ride you's lookin' for!" He was smooooooooove!
We then waited for 15 minutes while His Entertainmentness went to find our matched vehicle, but this time we weren't idle. Cupcake took the opportunity to pull out her iPhone and start searching her Car Guru app to see if there was anything we were looking for near our current location. We then made it perfectly clear to all the other salesmen around us (strange how there were zero saleswomen... I guess women can't be sleazy enough to be a used car player) that we were looking at low priced cars from dealerships other than their own. FINALLY Cedric returned and took us out to see a 2013 Nissan Altima with 53,000 miles on it. The car looked great, and when Cupcake took it for a test drive (this time only around a four block radius) she totally fell in love with it.
We got back to the dealership and Cedric led us back to his desk again. "So," he said. "How's about I gets you to sign this paperwork for a credit check... I just need your name, address, social security number, birthdate, and a few other things, and then we can get started on this sale..." Wink!
I must have had the same look on my face as Cupcake (a mix of "What the fuck is WRONG with you?" and "Is that human feces you're cooking in that stew pot?") because Cedric's smile wavered a bit, but he held strong to his training, and he then smiled even fiercer and pushed the paperwork towards me again.
"Ummmmm," I started, "No. How about you tell us the price of that vehicle first?"
Cupcake agreed with my apparently strange negotiating tactics, and Cedric seemed put-off.
"Okay, okay... I see," Cedric said, as if I insulted him. "Let me check with my manager."
"Wait, are you telling me you DON'T KNOW the price? Or are you checking with your manager to see if you're allowed to tell us? Either way, what the hell, man?"
He said he didn't know the price, but that the manager told him it was just the car that we were looking for. Then he left us alone at his desk again. We proceeded to look up more cars on Car Guru, and we made it a point to tell the couple waiting for the salesman at the desk next to ours how awesome the app was while smiling at the 50 security cameras all around us.
Cedric skipped back to us, his shit-eating-grin still plastered on his face; of which he was rubbing and wiping his nose like crazy, making me whisper to Cupcake, "Remind me to wash my hands later... I think he has a cold." To which Cupcake responded, "That's not a cold..." Then she whispered like Doctor Rockso into my ear, "He does cocaaaaaaaaiiiiiiine."
He sat down in front of us and got all serious then. "So, you liked the Altima?"
We agreed that yes, it was a nice car, but that it seemed to be a bit more car than our $10K limit would allow. Cedric said that that didn't matter, if it was the right car for us, and it WAS right for us... He could FEEL it! Smile and wink. Cupcake and I looked at eachother as deadpan as one can, then stared back at Cedric as if he just told us, "I am the king of Lollipop Land, and I am sitting on a lollipop dildo as we speak... And it is delicious." Neither of us could believe how stupid this conversation was going.
Cupcake then started to get up to leave. I laughed out loud in a short barking manner, then got up to follow her, but Cedric then literally BEGGED us to sit down again and negotiate. We asked how much the damn car was, and he sheepishly said $15,999. We then got immediately up again.
Cedric cut us off before we could round his desk to get to the door and said that we might be able to negotiate. Cupcake simply said "Ten thousand. That's it. That's the negotiation."
Cedric then got all indignant (whilst rubbing/wiping his nose) and said, "Come on, man... Y'all can't do that! That's not how it's played. Can I... Can I at least show you something else?" For some reason (that I can't explain in hindsight) we agreed to let him present us with one more vehicle, hoping this time he'd take us over to the huge lot we saw and let us look around for ourselves... We were young and stupid though. Of COURSE he went off for another 15 minutes and returned with another "blind date" car for us. This one a 2004 Toyota Corolla with 120,000 miles on it, rust everywhere along its edges, and a GIGANTIC sticker across its entire side declaring "$9,999!"
"Well?" asked Cedric smugly. "It's under $10,000, isn't it." He looked so proud of himself.
Cupcake got in, and immediately got back out. "It smells like hobo feet in there. And the upholstery is damaged everywhere, and it doesn't even have a CD player."
Cedric didn't like her tone. He got all serious again. "Look," he said matter of factly. "You wanted under 10K, here you go. This is the best you'll get anywhere under 10K."
That's when Cupcake whipped out her phone and showed him her car app. It showed 40 or so nice used cars within 20 miles, most from used car dealerships and not even janky Craig's List-like sellers. Cedric tried to tell us that we can't trust those guys, that they were all scammers, and we just looked at him like "What the fuck do you call what you've been doing with us for the last hour?" Cupcake even straight up told him, "You shouldn't have shown us that nice Nissan first. Now everything after looks like crap, and we DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY to buy that $16K car." That's when Cedric corrected her and told us that "it was only a $15,999 car." We turned and began walking to my truck.
"PLEASE!" Cedric almost bellowed at us. It startled me so much I did a doubletake at the salesman. He was terrified about us walking away. "Don't go! We gots LOTS of cars!"
I simply said, "Let us look at them then. Not one-by-one. Let us see what you have."
He said that was against the dealership policy, so I waved bye, and we got in my truck and departed. I didn't even shake his hand goodbye seeing as he was wiping his nose again. I then had Cupcake slather my hands with that germ-killer stuff she keeps in her purse for just such an emergency.
Long story short, Cupcake found a used car dealership 10 miles away that specialized in Nissans and Infinities bought from the manufacturers. These were cars that dealerships traded out with other new cars for their buyers because a door alignment was off, or they were making a funny sound. The manufacturers then fixed that issue, and then sells it to this shop pretty cheap. The salesman we talked to at this place told us everything wrong with every car that he had (and they had over 600 cars on three lots), and everything the manufacturers did to fix those issues. He told us he makes $200 per sale. Whether he sells a million dollar car or a $5,000 car: $200. So he just wanted us to be happy with our choice.
It was such a different experience for us, and we were so taken aback by his honesty... We even test drove 5 cars by ourselves (our salesman, Shawn, didn't even come with us to tell us about how spectacular any vehicle was). Only when Cupcake found a 2014 Sentra with 15,009 miles on it in almost perfect condition, with all the options (including backup-cam, blu-tooth phone and audio connections to her phone, satellite navigation, XMS radio free for 6 months, and air-conditioning and power windows) did we even begin to talk money and financing. We even got the manufacturer's 100K mile bumper-to-bumper warrenty thrown in. All for a little over $10K... We splurged a bit for something with so little mileage on it.
All in all, it was an insane day, but one with a happy ending. And if you hear anything about a large Chevy dealership having all its used cars blown up and the sales-building burned to the ground, I swear it wasn't me. It was probably Cedric after they fired him for being a sucky salesman and for doing coke on the company's dime without sharing with his manager.