Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Apparently, I'm an Enigma

Yesterday I got an email from Rebel Monkey inviting me to take a "who well do you know me" quiz she'd made on Testriffic. After bombing her quiz horribly, I decided that I would construct my own quiz that all of my friends and family could horribly bomb in turn. Okay, so that wasn't my real goal, but apparently when I decided not to make it too easy, I went too far in the other direction.

I think part of the problem is that I don't have any "life-long" friends who've been a part of my life non-stop from elementary school on. After high school I lost contact with almost everyone from Wyandotte until about 2003 or thereabouts, so there's at least a 10 year gap that most of them won't know about except through the blog; similar knowledge gaps apply to each of my other groups of friends. To be honest, about the only people I truly expect to score high on this are my parents, and even then there are a couple at which they'd probably have to guess. Maybe I should have created multiple tests: "Cap'n Neurotic: The High School Years"; "Cap'n Neurotic: The Parkerite Years"; etc.

While coming up with the questions, I thought that most of them would be obvious to long time blog monkeys*, but after seeing some of the scores, I went back and tried looking up some of the answers in the CoIM archives. Turns out that only half of the answers were stated directly in previous blog posts; there are three or four additional answers which could probably be extrapolated from other posts, but even then that leaves six or seven questions which have never been addressed here at all.

Since the quiz only tells you what you got wrong, and not what the right answers are, I'm planning on posting the answers with some explanations sometime next week.

*I will admit to making the final question a bit of a toughie which only readers of In a Cabin will have a chance of knowing 100%, and at least one other question was made purposefully tricky, and has been successful in tripping up almost every person who's just tried to make an educated guess.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Movie Mon. - I Now Feel the Urge to Watch All of Guest's Good Films . . .

Guide to Recognizing Your Saints: Gritty drama about a writer (Robert Downey Jr.) returning to his old stomping grounds, which conjures up memories of his troubled youth and the reasons he left. Good performances from Shia LeBeouf as the younger version of Downey and Channing Tatum as his temperamental best friend, but overall, I didn't care much for the film. No glaring problems, jsut a mismatch between the tone of the film and my tastes. I'm starting to discover that while I like things dark, I don't necessarily like them gritty.

Infamous: The lesser known version of the story of Truman Capote's quest to write In Cold Blood. While this version was totally overshadowed by the critically acclaimed Capote, I think it has much to recommend it. Yes, the tone of the film is much lighter than that of Capote, but that's one of the things I enjoyed about it. I also much preferred Toby Jones' gadfly Truman to Phillip Seymour Hoffman's more dispassionate turn. I do agree with the critics who felt the talking head segments interrupted the flow of the film at times, but then again, the talking head segments also provided some great lines and background on Truman's life. The other big complaint from people is that this one wasn't as subtle as Capote; again, there may be some truth to that, but for me, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. While Capote might be a better film in technical terms, Infamous wound up being a more enjoyable one for me.

All the King's Men: Drama about a reporter (Jude Law) who gets drawn into the service of a good ol boy politician (Sean Penn), who turns out to be not so good. Having never read the novel nor seen the 1949 version, I can't speak to how well the 2006 version adheres to either one; I can say that the performances were very well done throughout, and that I was totally sucked in to the story. A bit long, but I think it's worth the time.

For Your Consideration: The latest effort from Christopher Guest focuses on the cast of an indie flick who find themselves catapulted into the spotlight after a random comment on a movie web site sparks Oscar buzz. Usually, I love Guest's films; Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind are three of my favorite comedies. Unfortunately, For Your Consideration falls far short of the standard set by the previous films. Which is not to say that the film didn't have its moments; there are quite a few laugh out loud scenes, most of them involving Parker Posey or Catherine O'Hara. But this time around, the characters didn't gel for me the way they usually do in Guest's films; while it may seem strange to suggest that his brake from the "mockumentary" style* had an affect on my enjoyment of the film, I do think that that may have contributed to it. I have such high expectations of Guest's work that I probably am much harsher on this film than I would have been if it was directed by someone else; maybe I'll enjoy it more if I watch it again later.

Amazing Grace: Interesting film about William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffud), the 18th century politician who spearheaded the abolition movement in Great Britain. I didn't know a thing about this one going in (went to see it as part of a Dinner & a Movie Night with the Singles), so I was surprised when we found out that the movie wound up selling out; I was even more surprised by the quality of the actors involved (inculding Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, and Albert Finney) in this film I wouldn't have heard of if not for my church group. A bit preachy at times (in the "up on a soapbox" sense, not the "repent you sinners" sense), but there is enough of a sense of humor in the script to keep it from being bogged down by its occasional bouts of pretension. All in all, I'm not sorry I paid full price to see it on the big screen, which is saying something since we're dealing with a period drama bereft of FX and action scenes.

*I know Guest hates this label with a passion, but his insistence that his films be referred to as "documentaries" is a bit too much for me.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Free-for-all: Singles Snapshots

  • On Wednesday PigPen decided that we needed to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go throw the football around; against my better judgment, I agreed. After feeling the weight of him silently judging me every time I clumsily threw or tried to catch the ball, I've decided that I will entitle my collection of stories about life with PigPen "With Friends Like Wes, Who Needs Neuroses?"

  • Last night the oddest thing happened: PigPen insulted me, and then, seconds later, said "I'm sorry, that was harsh." And, later on, when I tried to remind him of something he said "Yeah, I know . . . but thanks." That's right, an apology and a thank you, both in one night. Of course, the sincerity level of both was hampered a bit by the fact that, after each event, PigPen made sure to point out that he had, indeed, just apologized/thanked me. Upon further discussion, it appears that it was nearing the end of the month, and he hadn't yet met his quota for miniscule, singular good deeds to wipe out all the accumulated Eeeeeeeeevil weighing down his black, black heart.

  • Also last night, Shack-Fu and Fluffy stopped by the racquetball courts to watch PigPen trounce me yet again. Afterwards, we were visiting with them when PigPen and Shack-Fu started going off on some strange tangent involving undercover work while wearing fake mustaches, which led to the following exchange:
    Fluffy: Oh, great, another inside joke.
    Cap'n N.: Actually, that's not an inside joke; it's totally spontaneous.
    Fluffy: What, you mean that's not a reference to some movie you guys watched?
    Cap'n N.: Nope, that's just the HyperTwins feeding off of each other's randomness.
    Fluffy: [face freezes in a "what have I gotten myself into" look]
  • Tonight I shall be attending the birthday party of a new, still-nicknameless Single. There's a good possibility that the party will be of the Murder Mystery variety, although we're really not going to know until we get there, so, no time to prepare a character backstory or rent a costume. As for what the theme of the possibly mystery might be, that's also up in the air; quoth the birthday girl last Sunday "it could be Star Trek, or it could be 1920s." Of course, this resulted in much discussion on, if it was a Star Trek theme, who would be playing what character. So, a very productive Sunday School lesson, as you can imagine.

  • I recently discovered that Shack-Fu participated in Competitive Speech in high school; honestly, it explains a lot. We subsequently bonded over the joys of performing H.D.s, and the drudgery that was the Miamuh speech tournament.

  • The Singles group as a whole has been battling depression for the last couple of weeks as we've been without the presence of Li'l Dill Wonderboy, who was shipped off to Chicago for work; we've tried to lessen the gloom by frequently calling him and passing the phone around the class, causing the nickless birthday girl to say "I don't even know Li'l Dill and I miss him -- so much for his quest to be The Grey Man. But, we shall despair no more on his behalf, for I just got a call letting me know that he's back in town; unfortunately, the same call carried the sad news that there's a possibility that FEMA worker Shack-Fu might get deployed for 60 days to help out with disaster relief. Can the ranks of HyperForce 3000 survive 2 months without one of the primary hyperforce generators? Here's hoping we won't have to find out.

  • There's a blog post that's been percolating in my head for months now; I'm determined to actually get it written within the next week, if for no other reason than to stop some of the key phrases from rebounding around my brain ad nauseum. Maybe if I can finally get this one written, it will open up my brain for other possible post topics.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

So Much for Rocket's "I'm Sure He Means It in the Nicest Way Possible" Theory

For those of you who missed out on PigPen's response to my post yesterday, here it is

Oh no, I'm trying to be an Ass. It's just too much fun giving you hell and watching the rage build up. I keep asking myself, "I wonder when Todd's head will explode?" The pool amongst my multiple personalities is up to about $500 right now. I'm interested in seeing who will win. The reason I gave you so much hell is because you felt the need to whoop up on a female as a way to compensate for the constant thrashings that you get at my hands. Don't get me wrong, I would have beat her 2 of the 3 for sure, but I would have tried to give her a chance, a good one at that (I know what you were thinking Todd), to take the 3 one. I could have played it off as sickness, exhaustion, or my asthma. I'm glad that you finally did win some games tho. Maybe that will boost your ego a little.......that is untill you play me again.

It's a relief, really. See, here I was, thinking that I was letting my usual paranoid, neurotic tendencies blow PigPen's innocent jabs all out of proportion, unfairly ascribing sinister motives to a friend, when really he's been coldly calculating how best to drain what little joy I've found in life and beat me down until I'm a sullen, depressed, miserable excuse for a human being.

So, yeah -- what a relief.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The PigPen Paradigm

Recently, the ranks of regular racquetballers have increased, with Trouble and The Anti-Cap'n joining in on the fun. So far my win-loss ratio against the newcomers has been good, which has been a pleasant surprise; should have known that the pleasant surprise was just a precursor to less pleasant things. And by "less pleasant things" I mean, of coure, PigPen.

We'll let one example stand for the rest: a few days ago, PigPen started berating me for "beating up on" Trouble after he found out that I had won all three games against her earlier. Now, I briefly considered pointing out the hypocrisy of PigPen getting down on anyone for winning too much, but then I remembered that trying to use real-world logic with PigPen in those situations (i.e. torementing me) is often akin to banging one's head against a brick wall . . . covered in six-inch spikes . . . which have been dipped in rubbing alcohol . . . and set on fire . . . but I digress. So, I just endured his tirade until the siren call of his recently acquired Tecmo Super Bowl was more powerful than his desire to annoy me.

Now, after much thought, I believe I've discovered the root cause of PigPen's attitude. You see, from PigPen's point of view, it is only right and just that he defeat everyone on the racquetball court, for he is PigPen the Mighty, master of all he surveys. However, for someone the likes of myself to win more than once every 30 games is obviously an abomination and against the natural order of things -- quite possibly even a threat to the very fabric of reality itself. Therefore, whenever I'm playing Trouble or The Anti-Cap'n, and PigPen is sitting up above, constantly mocking me, booing me, and reassuring my opponent that every time I score a point it's only because of luck and not skill, all he's doing is trying to save them from the mental anguish of losing to the likes of me (obviously a fate worse than death) and, quite possibly, keep the universe from unravelling around us -- and not just being an [expletive deleted].


Monday, February 19, 2007

Movie Mon. - For the Record, Sin City, Road to Perdition and 300 Are Comic Book Movies Too

The Quiet: Strange, dark, and often depressing film about a deaf-mute orphan who moves in with her highly dysfunctional god-parents and their equally dysfunctional daughter and finds out some pretty disturbing family secrets. Well done film, with a great performance by Elisha Cuthbert as the troubled (and a bit twisted) daughter.

Zoom: Academy for Superheroes: Kiddee-oriented film about a washed-up superhero (Tim Allen) who has been pulled out of retirement to train a group of super-powered kids to go on a top-secret mission. While it had a few worthwhile moments, this one was a big strike-out for me: horrible plotting, horrendous pacing, and one too many gross-out jokes. My advice is skip this one, and watch the similar themed, but much superior Sky High instead.

13 Tzameti: French film about a down-on-his-luck roofer who stumbles across an offer to make a lot of money which turns out to be a ticket straight into a dark game of life and death. An interesting film which was well made, but in the end, it left me a bit cold.

Ghost Rider: Surprisingly enjoyable comic book movie about a stunt driver who sells his soul to the devil to save his father's life, and in turn is cursed to become the devil's bounty hunter. I have to say, I had horribly low expectations going into this one, due to the incredibly lame and cheesy nature of most of the trailers. But, at the same time, I do have an affinity for cheesy films at times, and I was morbidly curious about just how bad it could be. But, in the end, most of the truly bad lines were already shown in the trailers, and their were enough cool FX and genuinely funny moments to make this one a fun ride. Were there plot holes? Sure. Were the fight scenes anti-climactic? Almost always. Does Nic Cage need to go to Overactors Anonymous? More than likely. My only complaint is that it's exactly the sort of film that inspires the "Of course it was cheesy, what do you expect, it's a comic book" type of comment -- a fact I know firsthand since it was one of the first things Peanut said after the movie was over. *sigh*


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cap'n Moody

For the past few months, I've been waging an ongoing battle with what, thanks to the film Fierce Creatures, I always think of as my "black moods." It's not a constant thing, with the moods waxing and waning at alarming rates; if we could somehow harness the potential energy of my mood swings, we could probably power Denton for a month.

For the most part, the black moods tend to strike when I'm all alone. If I'm at work, or church, or hanging out with HyperForce 3000, I'm usually pretty safe; it's when I'm driving, or trying to go to sleep, or trying to get up in the morning, or even trying to blog that the downswing sets in. A lot of it is worry: I worry that I've ticked somebody off, and try to figure out how I can rectify it; I worry about friends who are at odds and try to think of how I can mend fences; I worry about friends who are going through rough times, and try to decide how I can help; and, of course, that old standby, I worry about how other people perceive me and act towards me and try hard not to care, with limited results. Oh, sure, there are other worries that creep in from time to time (money, work, etc.), but those first few are the most consistent.

Recently I watched Dane Cook's Vicious Circle special, in which he did a routine about how women are brain ninjas, able to make the tiniest comment which will embed itself in your brain, only to detonate at a later date, causing all sorts of mental havoc. I can relate to that*, except for me pretty much everyone I know is a brain ninja, throwing little timebomb comments at me without ever realizing it. Heck, it doesn't even have to be a comment, it can be a look, or a gesture, or a general vibe that I've probably conjured up entirely in my head. And let's not even get started on the "Cap'n Cellophane" moments, of which I've had a few recently. It's kind of depressing just how easily my mental equilibrium can be upset.

Of course, since I've already said that the black moods tend to dissipate when I'm around others, you might be thinking to yourselves, "What's the big deal?" Well, I will admit that the black moods can be banished fairly easily these days as opposed to during my younger, more neurotic days.** However, while the fun and fellowship of my friends can alleviate the black moods***, that doesn't mean that there are no adverse effects when the moods do strike. When the darkness sets in, I have trouble falling asleep, and am not well rested even when I do; it's a struggle getting myself out of bed to face the world; I can't focus on anything productive; all in all, until I can get some interaction to pull me out of my funk, I'm a miserable excuse for a human being. At times, I think that part of my problem is that I am inherently self-destructive, and that I'm so uncomfortable being happy that I find ways to make myself depressed; it’s like I can’t fully enjoy the good times because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, or like I keep waiting for the people around to realize that they really don’t want me around after all. Paranoia, thy name is Cap’n Neurotic.

As usual, this post is more for my benefit than anyone else's; consider it a bit of metaphorical trepanation, with me opening up my skull to relieve some of the pressure that's built up there. Like they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and boy, do I have a problem. But, baby-steps to mental health and all that; with luck, getting this out of my head and onto the web will speed up the move to happier days ahead.

Otherwise, it’s on to the Prozac.

*I can also relate to his "sometimes you just have to cry" bit, which struck just a *bit* too close to home
**The fact that I've been having my head handed to me regularly at racquetball by PigPen and have yet to have a total meltdown should be testimony enough to this
***With the irony, of course, being that most of the black moods stem from things that happen during these happy-go-lucky get-togethers.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What I Watched Wednesday - Getting to Know You

Employee of the Month: Mediocre comedy about a slacker (Dane Cook) who decides to become a productive worker in order to become employee of the month and win the heart of the new cashier (Jessica Simpson). Some laughs here and there (many of them centered around Andy Dick's legally blind character), but all in all, pretty predictable and lackluster.

25th Hour: Drama about a convicted drug dealer's last day of freedom before heading off to jail. Surprisingly, I liked this one. Why surprising? Because it was a Spike Lee movie, that's why. In fact, this now makes a whopping three Spike Lee movies that didn't evoke feelings of violence and revulsion; who'd have thunk it? Yeah, it's a tad over-long, and some of the scenes with his friends could have been left on the cutting room floor with no ill effect on the plot, but all in all, a good flick.

Hollywoodland: Film about an investigation into the mysterious suicide of George Reeves, TV's first Superman. Ben Affleck does a good job as Reeves, and the cutting between the investigation into Reeves' death and his actual life is fairly effective. A solid, if not spectacular, film.

Science of Sleep: Surreal romance from the mind of Michel Gondry, the man responsible for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and countless bizarre Bjork videos. The film follows a young aspiring artist with a rich dream life who can't keep it from bleeding into his waking life. While I enjoyed parts of the film -- especially the dream sequences with their distinctive visual style -- the editing and pace were a bit choppy, making it difficult to get into at times.

Running With Scissors: Off-beat film about a young man whose high-strung mother decides to ship him off to live with her eccentric psychiatrist and his equally eccentric family. Well-written and well-acted film filled with quirky characters; the humor is tempered a bit by the obvious damage inherent in the characters' lives, especially if you know that it's all based on a true story. Not for everyone, but I liked it.

The Gathering: Interesting horror film about an amnesiac (Christina Ricci) who begins to have frightful premonitions about the people around her, premonitions which seem to be linked to a recently excavated church filled with strange carvings. I don't want to say too much, for fear of giving something away, but I will say that the basic conceit of the film was fairly original, which is a rarity these days. Another solid film.

The Motel: So-so indie about a young Chinese boy experimenting with teenage rebellion, which is fostered by a self-destructive Korean American staying at the boy's family's motel. Some funny and touching moments, but overall the protagonist wasn't all that likable, which made the movie difficult for me to enjoy.

This Film is Not Yet Rated: Interesting documentary about the MPAA and the hypocrisy of their ratings system. The movie examines the history of the MPAA, as well as devoting time to hiring a private investigator to discover who the members of the ratings board were; we're also privy to the process through which this film gets rated with an NC-17. A must-see for movie buffs.

Sherrybaby: Mildly depressing indie about a recently released junkie ex-con (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who struggles to get her life together so that she can reclaim her daughter from her brother and his wife. Well-acted film, but watching Gyllenhaal's character constantly self-destruct was a bit wearying for me.

Smokin' Aces: Action flick about a wide range of federal agents, bounty hunters, and assassins who all converge on a single target at once, resulting in much carnage and mayhem. This one was sabotaged for me by my own expectations; from the ads I had expected it to be non-stop action; such was not the case. Don't get me wrong -- there was action aplenty, but it was not what one would call non-stop. Now, the non-action moments weren't a drag on the film by any stretch of the imagination, but since I was in the mood for a constant thrill ride, and didn't get it, I was a bit less enthused about the film than my fellow HyperForce 3000 members who saw it with me. A good movie, and one which I will probably enjoy more on a subsequent viewing; if nothing else, the scene with Jason Bateman has provided HyperForce 3000 with the "bones it, lock it, put the chain on" handshake.

Unconditional Love: Little known off-beat comedy about a recently separated housewife (Kathy Bates) whose love for a Tom Jones-esque singer (Jonathan Pryce) leads her and the singer's "valet" (Rupert Everett) on an adventure after the singer's death at the hands of The Crossbow Killer. I stumbled across this one while looking up Meredith Eaton (Bethany on Boston Legal) on IMDB. Thought it sounded kind of interesting, put it in my queue, and thought no more about it until it showed up at the house; I then let it sit on the coffee table for well over a week, not really in the mood for it. Finally, one day I decided to watch part of it during my lunch-break; PigPen came in about 20 minutes into it, and sort of rolled his eyes when I told him the title, but sat down to eat his lunch in front of the TV anyway. Then, when it was time for me to head back to the office, he practically snapped my head off when I pressed stop: "You can catch up later!" Long story short, we finished the movie as soon as we got home that night, took a brief break to recover our breath from having laughed so hard that we erupted into coughing fits, then watched certain scenes over and over again, and then two nights later forced Li'l Dill, Shack-Fu, and The Anti-Cap'n to watch it, and then added several pieces of dialogue from the film into the HyperForce 3003 lexicon. In other words, we liked it. So, if you hear me break into "Getting to Know You" after witnessing some reckless driving, or witness a chorus of HyperForce members chanting "normal*" anytime someone uses the word, or hear PigPen declare "Oh, bugger off," you know you can blame this movie, which I will undoubtedly be purchasing sometime soon so I can force it upon everyone I know. Consider yourself warned.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'm Not Dead, But My Brain Is . . .

Brain fried.

No wantee make words come out good.

Try write later.



Friday, February 09, 2007

Fun with Flixster

Thanks to a link from The Anti-Cap'n, I now have a new obsession: Flixster. In essence, Flixster is a website which allows you to rank movies, and then see how your movie watching sensibilities match up with those of your friends. And, if you click on the link above when you sign up, you will automatically be added as one of my friends, and then get to see just how incompatible my tastes are with the rest of the world. After all, how many of you out there would see this

and think "Man, I've got to see that!"

Or, see this sequence in a film

and think "The whole movie was worth it for that scene alone!"

And then there's these clips

which I've mainly just included because I want to be able to say "I'm hep!" and "Don't I wish!" and have people know what I'm referencing.

So, if you have some time to kill, head on over to Flixster and find out just how strange my tastes really are.


"I love inside jokes. I’d love to be a part of one someday"

A few weeks back, Squiggly complained that the blog had recently become over-run with inside jokes; however, she didn't provide me with any specific examples, which makes it a little difficult for me to rectify, since there's a good possibility that what she referred to as "inside jokes" actually fit into one of three categories:

1. Obscure references: More than likely, most of what people might think of as inside jokes are actually more along the line of weird, random references which practically nobody else will get; it's a definite danger when your author is someone as hopelessly addicted to pop culture as myself, especially when you factor in my odd and eclectic tastes. So, things that sound perfectly normal* in my head, come off sounding like an example of inside jokery to those not familiar with the source material. I think the bulk of my obscure comments manifest themselves in my blog titles, and I do my best not to inundate all you blog monkeys with comic book references or Cibo Matto lyrics or quotes from Donnie Darko, but when the rambling gets a-rollin', it's hard to stop the obscurity from seeping in; sometimes I don't stop to consider that not everyone is going to know a Minbari from a Klingon, or Richard Kelly from Christopher Nolan.

2. Running gags: Another possibility is that what might seem like an inside joke is actually a call-back to an earlier blog post; as a long time comic book reader and fan of serialized television, I'm a big believer in the power of continuity and world building, and the call-back and running gag are easy tools for this. However, since 99% of the insanity captured here on the blog springs from my own mind, there's always a possibility that what seems like an obvious reference to an earlier post to me will instead read like some randomly generated weirdness to someone who either (a) missed the previous post or (b) read the post but didn't commit that one particular portion of it to their long-term memory. Which is perfectly understandable; as a long time comic book reader and fan of serialized television, I’ve also noticed that many running gags slipped past my notice the first time through, and it’s only when reading/watching several installments of the material consecutively that the continuity jumped out at me. I do my best to link back to the original posts when I think of it, but that's not going to happen every time.

3. Actual "inside jokes" Now, I try to keep the number of truly inside jokes to a bare minimum around here; hard enough for CoIM to break out of its niche market without peppering it with references that I know only one or two people will get. That's why, when I do throw a full-blown inside joke into the mix, I try my best to denote its inscrutable status with a footnote along the lines of "That one's for Zinger" or "I know only PigPen will get that, but it's too good to pass up." Basically, I weigh the suitability of the inside joke for the specific blog post against the possible alienation of the rest of the blog monkeys, and then decide whether it's worth the risk or not. Rarely is it worth it, so the inside joke tends to be MIA from CoIM.

But, that’s just talking about inside jokes on CoIM. When it comes to the real world, there’s a whole different standard.

For the last month or so I've been Hanging Out With the Guys quite a bit. The usual crew is PigPen, Peanut, Shack-Fu, Li'l Dill, and The Anti-Cap'n; for ease of referral, I shall dub us HyperForce 3000. Now, it's rare for the full HyperForce contingent to be present at once; Peanut and The A.C. are the most frequently absent due to issues with work and travel and the like. However, once you get a group of three or more of us together, then the mysterious process known as Male Bonding kicks in, and we begin to indulge in the HyperForce specialty: fixating on random, goofy things and incorporating them into our group vernacular. The sources of our internal lexicon are varied, from movie quotes to misunderstandings to misspoken phrases to whatever random phrase has just popped out of Li'l Dill's mouth -- anything that strikes us as funny is fair game for assimilation.

Last week, following a couple of Guys Night Outs with multiple movie viewings, someone remarked on just how many inside jokes we had accumulated in such a short period of time; within seconds of this statement being made, we began planning the most effective way to utilize these arcane phrases and esoteric hand gestures to bewilder and frighten any and all Singles on Sunday morning. Sadly, learning that we were having a large group session instead of our usual small group did nothing to deter us from unleashing the Big Trouble in Little China hand-sign, the Smokin' Aces hand bump (“Bump it, lock it, put the chain on”), or the Unconditional Love chain reaction word repetition. We got some strange looks, but I assure you, what we were doing was perfectly normal.**

Squiggly was nonplussed, especially when we were cagey about the origin of our "normal" chanting, but Fluffy was much more philosophical, admitting that, for the longest time, our class has been dominated by the girls and their own brand of fixations (mainly dance), and that while it was the Guys' turn, they shouldn't worry, since such things are cyclical. Squiggly seemed mollified by this theory, although after PigPen and I entertained each other with some other inside jokes early on at the Super Bowl party that evening, she proclaimed "I don't think you guys living together is a good thing."

Trust me, Squiggly, there are times I'm right there with you on that one.

But, back to the matter at hand: inside jokes on CoIM. I know that this blog is never going to reach a vast audience; let's face it, to most people who stumble across it, CoIM is about as insider-centered as you can get. Parkerites? Spawn of Flunky? The Popular song? CAPN'S? Eeeeeeeeevil? Most of that won't make any sense at all to the random schmoes who stumble across the blog while googling "raabs russian bride" or "don vito galoon" or "the dudesons car smash" or any of the other trillion hits my site gets thanks to that single Viva La Bam! post G'ovich had me do many, many moons ago. That being said, I don't want to alienate what few blog monkeys there are by making them feel like outsiders. So, if you come across a reference or comment that makes absolutely no sense to you whatsoever and you'd like some clarification, feel free to leave a comment; odds are good that, if you're confused, somebody else is as well. I can't promise to resolve everything to your satisfaction, but I can promise to try, and what else can you expect out of any normal red-blooded American blogger?***

****More on the origins of the “normal” gag later.*****


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Li'l Dill isTrying to Kill Me

After a month's worth of wheedling and guilt-tripping, PigPen and I finally convinced Li'l Dill Wonderboy to make it out to the racquetball courts with us, a decision PigPen regretted the first time one of Li'l Dill's serves nearly took off his head, and one I regretted as soon as I realized that I would have to play him next. After playing against Li'l Dill a couple of times, I've realized it's probably a good idea for me to update my will.

But it's not through high velocity impact by which Li'l Dill will cause the demise of myself; no, it's through utter exhaustion. You see, both PigPen and I have discovered that our percentage of non-stop running increases by about a factor of a zillion when playing against Li'l Dill as compared to when we're playing against each other, or any of the other Singles who have managed to make it out to the courts with us. Why so much more running? Well, for me, it's because Li'l Dill doesn't make as many out-and-out kill-shots as PigPen, giving me more opportunities to attempt to return the ball; for PigPen, it's because Li'l Dill can actually return most of his shots and keep the volley going, which, after a month of playing primarily against me, is obviously a foreign concept to PigPen. There were several times last night when I noticed PigPen stopping in his tracks, secure in the knowledge that he had just won a point, only to scramble across the court seconds later as he suddenly recalled that it was Li'l Dill "The Skill" Wonderboy he was playing, and not Cap'n Couch Potato.

I enjoyed watching PigPen and Li'l Dill play, since Li'l Dill's skills forced PigPen to step his game up quite a bit; there was one highly extended volley that received a standing ovation from Shack-Fu and myself due to the number of great shots and at least one occasion where PigPen landed flat on his back but then got back up in time to make another shot. But, while it was fun to watch, throughout the whole match I had in the back of my head the nagging thought that, thanks to the challenge Li'l Dill provides, PigPen's game is going to improve drastically, until soon he will be able to crush me so consistently that I will serve as little more than a brief warm-up and comic relief before the real game begins.

So long, ability to not totally embarrass myself on the racquetball court; it was nice knowing you, even for such a brief period of time.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Magic Pants and "The Battle Hymn of the Taurus"

Recently, Magic Pants decided to remove herself from the world of MySpace. For the most part, this decision has had very little effect on me, but the one thing that her announcement did do was spur me to capture her single blog post, which was a recitation of the lyrics to a song she wrote while dealing with her old, temperamental car; I couldn't let her decision to delete her MySpace profile deprive future generations of her song-writing genius, now could I? So, without further ado, I give you Magic Pants' composition -- which she swears is all true -- "The Battle Hymn of the Taurus."

In the afternoon I sometimes have to drive all over town
My alternative to A/C is to roll the windows down
The amount of sweat I'm pouring makes me wonder if I'll drown
The Taurus still drives on!

I can see the coolant squirting from the radiator hose
I know it is leaking all over the heated Texas roads
How my car is still functioning I know no one really knows
The Taurus still drives on!

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Praise the Lord for Triple-A-ah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah
The Taurus still drives on!

My car tends to leave its tread behind while I am driving fast
Right amounts of powering steering fluid is too much to ask
I know not the speed I'm going or how much remaining gas
The Taurus still drives on!

As I turned the corner coming home I heard an awkward sound
I could see the axle broken and the bearings on the ground
So I sold it for a hundred to a fix-it chap in town
The Taurus still drives on!

Glory, glory, hallelujah
Praise the Lord for Triple-A-ah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
The Taurus still drives on!


Friday, February 02, 2007

In the World of Blog Tagging, 2 out of 5 Ain't Bad

Surprise, surprise: some people actully responded to my recent blog tag. So, if you get bored, go check out ten random facts about Delinda and my mom; sure, their facts might not be able to match mine on the weirdness scale, but let's be honest -- there aren't many who could.

So, points to the two Wyandottians on my list, and heaps of scorn upon my cousin and the lazy Singles. I mean, I expected such lack of work ethic out of Slacker Mcghee, but not industrious Squiggly; oh, sure, she'll probably claim that she's been too busy doing more important things, like working on her doctorate, but come on, what's more important than amusing me?