Friday, November 30, 2007

Fragmented Friday - "Sometimes the Voices Come Together and Make a Funny"

My travel plans for Thanksgiving had been to head to Miamuh on Wednesday and head back to Denton on Sunday, but after the weather reports suggested bad weather was going to be hitting Saturday evening, I decided to head back a day early. Fortunately, this meant I managed to miss the worst of the weather; unfortunately, it also meant I got stuck in the middle of all of the traffic heading from Tulsa to Norman for the Bedlam game. The Bedlam traffic added a good hour onto my drive and caused much frustration; not as much frustration as actually watching the Bedlam game, mind you, but frustration nonetheless.

Because I hadn't planned on being back in time for church on Sunday, I had handed the teaching reigns over to The Lovable PigPen, with the understanding that even if I did come back early, he would still do the lesson; it was a little strange since, unlike my previous substitutes, PigPen was actually continuing the series on Revelation I had been teaching. PigPen will tell you that the borderline OCD part of me really struggled with letting go of my control of the lesson like that; it wouldn't have mattered if the substitute was PigPen, Papa Lightbulb, or our pastor himself, the thought of someone else covering the material that I had been preparing, eschewing my style and process for their own -- *shudder* I must admit, it was kind of nice being able to just sit back and let someone else lead the class, with me putting in my two cents upon occasion.

At one point during PigPen's lesson, Blondie Blaarrrgghhh started to ask a question, which prompted Maverick to make a smartass comment, which prompted Blondie to tell him to shut up. However, Maverick had made his comment so quietly, and Blondie didn't really turn towards him when she spoke, so all the rest of us witnessed was her saying "Could I ask if -- shut up!" Amused and intrigued, I asked "Are the voices in your head bothering you again?" This has led to many, many, many jokes about Blondie's multiple personalities, several of which have been made by Blondie herself. At lunch that day, after she cracked wise and made PigPen laugh, she exclaimed "See, sometimes the voices come together and make a funny!" A couple of days later I posted the following cartoon on her Facebook page, telling her it made me think of her for some reason:

Her reply:

Ha ha.
Hee hee.

All but one thought it was funny!
Tonight I shall be going to watch Cap'ns Disaster and Shack-Fu play dodgeball with some of their fellow FEMA coworkers; sadly, they couldn't convince Li'l Random to join in on the fun.

My good friend Shack-Fu confirmed last night while we were at the gym that my posting of the girly names Blondie gave his vehicle would indeed be tantamount to signing my death warrant, a confirmation that has only peaked the interest of Todd's Inner Death Wish, as the I.D.W. has started pondering if Shack-Fu's threats of launching rogue dodgeballs into the stands are valid, or if he will instead just decide one day to forgo his bike ride and instead let "roughing Todd up" serve as his cardio for the day . . .

Even without the girly names factor, the fact that Shack-Fu has not been able to test my battle readiness since I broke my finger on July 2nd, coupled with the fact that I am now sufficiently healed enough that such rough housing is now feasible for me again, has led to many occasions over the past month or so in which a Shack-Fu/Neurotic grappling match has almost broken out; it's only a matter of time before the siren call of "throwing Todd around like a rag doll" becomes too powerful for him to resist . . . and, of course, a part of me welcomes the approaching storm, if for no other reason than it will be a nice change to have someone other than The Lovable PigPen beat up on me.

Trouble has been giving me, well, trouble for not having her in the cast list even though she's one of the few remaining Singles from the early days; for once, someone's pestering has paid off, but don't expect it to work again.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Low-Key Singles Thanksgiving, or "Sadly, No Boot to the Head This Year"

The 2008 Foundations of Fellowship* Thanksgiving dinner was nowhere near as violent as last year's, unfortunately; well, I say unfortunately, but I'm sure Cap'n Shack-Fu is glad he didn't have to surrender his man card yet again.

The dinner was hosted yet again at Shack's Shack, which was nice, although problems arose when his oven and stovetop stopped working, forcing Cap'n Cluck to try preparing her turkey gravy in the microwave, with questionable results. One of the then-nickless Singles remarked that it need to coagulate, and then made some strange hand gestures and noises to demonstrate what she meant; the Shackmeister said "What was that again?" and proceeded to mockingly reproduce the strange gestures and sounds. This sound, in effect, became the HyperForce catchphrase of the night, pulled out anytime we wanted to get her goat. Later on, after a mental slip caused her to remark "I guess I really am a blonde, huh?" I proclaimed that as soon as I figured out how to phonetically represent the coagulating sound, she would be nicknamed Blondie Blaarrrgghhh. And so, it has come to pass.

At one point in the evening, Blondie decided that Cap'n Shack-Fu's truck needed a name, and proceeded to give him a couple of different options which he wasn't too fond of, due to their feminine qualities, but Blondie has been persistent in using her girly labels to inquire about the vehicle. What are the names, you ask? Well, there's a part of me that's really tempted to tell you, but, considering the threatening looks I was getting from Shack-Fu at lunch today when I was relating the names to Li'l Random, I think it's the same part of me that continues to instigate physical confrontations with PigPen despite the certain knowledge that I'm going to wind up bruised, battered, and possibly broken -- I like to call that part of me "Todd's Inner Death Wish**."

Probably my favorite moment of the evening came when Cap'n Peanut presented Cap'n Cluck with a special gift: a cupcake made especially for her. Well, to be more accurate, Cap'n Peanut made four cupcakes especially for the four Guilty Girls who had peppered his truck with rubber spiders the week before; each cupcake was in an individual tupperware container with its intended Guilty Girl recipient's name written on top. But, since Cap'n Cluck is the only Guilty Girl officially in our class***, she was the only one present to receive her cupcake. She asked him repeatedly what was wrong with it; he repeatedly assured her that there was nothing wrong with it at all, and acted offended that she could accuse him of such a thing. After dinner, Cluckity finally got the cupcake out of it container, scraped off all of the icing, spreading it out to make sure there was nothing lurking inside, and then eviscerated the cupcake itself, picking it apart until it was little more than a pile of crumbs, all while Cap'n Peanut exclaimed indignantly at the damage done to the baked goods he had made himself.

Good times, good times.

*Don't think I've mentioned before that that's the name our class come up with for ourselves
**This is the same part of me that, when Shack-Fu told Blondie he would only accept the girly name if it was a super-cool acronym, decided to chime in with an acronym that made the name even girlier, and almost led to me being the one getting the boot to the head this year.
***Mei-Mei and Angel (as well as the not-quite-as-Guilty-this-time-around Trouble) attend other classes in the Singles department, while Doc Jetson now attends Denton Bible on Sunday mornings, but when it comes to social events all are pretty much honorary members of Foundations of Fellowship


Rise of the Guilty Girls Pt.4 - Tempting Fate, or "Good Clean Fun, No Harm Done!"

A few weeks back we had a birthday party for Squiggly and Darth Spike* organized by Blondie Blaarrrgghhh** and held at Cap'n Bubbles' place. There was a pretty big turnout, including 4 out of 5 Guilty Girls*** and the sole un-pranked HyperForcer, Cap'n Peanut. When the Guilty Girls left early, claiming that they were all tired, it should have been a warning sign that things were afoot. A little while after their departure, we were playing Mafia, a game which requires participants to close their eyes and remain still at certain parts; during the course of the game, Peanut started to get text messages from the Guilty Girls designed to gig him about his aversion to spiders, things like "Have you ever seen Arachnaphobia?" The texting was causing some consternation amongst the Mafia players, as the Guilty Girls seemed to have an uncanny knack for setting off Peanut's text ringtone every time it was eye-closing time. Soon, they actually called him on some pretense, but the paranoid Peanut was wary of their wily ways. I'm unsure of what their pretense was, as I only heard Peanut's side of the conversation: "Uh-huh. Sure. Is that true? Because if it is, I'll come and help, but if it's not . . . Yeah, that's what I thought." He soon had to vacate the living room due to frustrated Mafia players, and so headed outside to finish up his call. A few minutes later, he burst back in, exclaimed "Oh, it's on now!" and tossed several rubber spiders on the floor. Turns out the guilty girls had placed a dozen rubber spiders all over Peanut's truck: on the headlights, on the windshield wipers, on the step outside the driver's side door . . . they had even tried to stuff several under the gas tank cover, so that when he went to get gas they'd come popping out, but unfortunately for their sneaky plan one of the spiders wound up dangling outside and so the gas tank bunch were some of the first he found. A good portion of the rest of the party was spent with all of the various party guests voicing their suggestions for pranks that Peanut could pull in retribution.

That Sunday in class, Cap'n Peanut made a special prayer request for "the guilty girls, because they're going to need it," and thus was a nickname born. Thanks, Peanut!

When we went to the main church service, I wound up sitting next to Mei-Mei, while Angel sat on the pew behind us. They told me that they had been parked across the street watching while Cap'n Peanut discovered their handiwork, which is when Angel said in her sweet little innocent voice "Peanut screamed like a little girl." A short while later, as the deacon bearing the tray with The Lord's Supper approached our pews, I felt a tap on my shoulder as Angel leaned over and whispered "I have to confess: Peanut didn't really scream like a little girl, I made that up." Yes, she had to confess her mischievous fib before she could take part of The Lord's Supper; that's Angel in a nutshell.

After church, the whole Singles department went out for a farewell luncheon for the department's intern, and Cap'n Peanut and I wound up sitting right next to the Guilty Girls. He told Angel and Mei-Mei that he had been so traumatized by the event that he had to get rid of the truck, which is when I realized that he had finally traded in his gas guzzler for the sporty little Mazda RX8 he'd been eyeballing for the better part of a week. In retrospect, I now wish that Peanut hadn't found the gas tank spiders, because the idea of one of the dealership worker's getting a surprise when they went to fill it up: priceless.

Throughout the day, Peanut keep making comments about how the Guilty Girls should be watching their backs; Mei-Mei assured him that after growing up with her brothers and all the tortures they inflicted upon her nothing he did could faze her, while Angel just cheerily chirped the same mantra over and over: "Good clean fun, no harm done!"

And thus we draw the saga of the Guilty Girls to a close for now, as we all anxiously await the next volley in the prank wars: will Cap'n Peanut live up to his threats? Will the Guilty Girls devote their energies towards others now, or simply revisit their favorite targets? Inquiring minds want to know!

*Nickname comes from his Darth Vader costume at Halloween last year, and his spiky hairdo
**More on her nickname(s) tomorrow
***Trouble was MIA on this one


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's Like It's Staring Right Into My Soul

Took a silly little personality quiz on Facebook which asks you to choose the picture which you feel most closely represents a concept. Here's what it came up with for me:

Nothing seems to bother you - you sail through life crisis free. It's not that your life doesn't have its ups and downs, it's just that you handle everything without unnecessary drama and antics. You approach each day fresh, not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. You are confident that you can handle anything that comes your way and experience has shown that you are absolutely right about this.

Oh, yeah, that's one accurate test all right. . .


TV Tues - Mohinder Must GO!!!!!!!!!

Good news: talks have resumed in the writers' strike. Not quite so good news: things probably won't be resolved super-quickly.

Monday November 19

Chuck (NBC 7:00)
: Hate that Rachel Bilson's arc was so short, but was glad to see Bryce's return, if for no other reason than the chance for closure on the "why Chuck?" question.

Journeyman (NBC 8:00): I have such a love-hate relationship with this show it's not even funny.

Wednesday November 21

Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00):
Looking forward to seeing the return of Paul Reubens as the odor fanatic; wonder just what it was he smelled on Chuck . . .

Thursday November 22

CSI (CBS 7:00):
No, I don't usually watch CSI, but since I was at my parents' place, I got to see the highly entertaining board game episode. Good stuff.

Monday, November 26

Heroes (NBC 8:00):
Today's Heroes commentary is pretty much spoiler free, and courtesy of an IM conversation between Zinger and myself:

Zinger: The Heroes formula seems to be "turn a different character into a moron each week. is this standard for comic books?
Me: Not really. I'm starting to wonder if The Haitian has given everyone around him brain damage. It would explain so much. Or maybe being around Ted and Peter-with-Ted's-power gave them all brain tumors
Zinger: good theory
Me: which wouldn't explain Maya, although I've suspected from her first, annoying appearance that she was functionally retarded, and I use the word "functionally" very loosely here
Zinger: ah yes, I forgot about her plunge into stupidity

And am I the only one hoping that the "two heroes will fall" teaser has a broad enough definition of "hero" to include Mohinder?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Movie Mon. - "Still Funny About the Sheep, Eh?"

Black Sheep: Amusing horror-comedy from New Zealand about genetic experiments gone awry, resulting in a herd of bloodthirsty, carnivorous sheep which can only be stopped by the efforts of a spacey environmental nut named Experience and a former farm boy afflicted with crippling ovinophobia (a.k.a. fear of sheep). Although most of the humor is mined from the absurdity of killer sheep and not so much witty dialog, I have admit that that was enough to keep me entertained -- watching the hapless victims get tackled by flying sheep never wore thin. And while the script might not have been filled with the great witty remarks that set apart the cream of the horror-comedy crop (Shaun of the Dead, Slither), neither was it devoid of non-physical humor. All in all, a solid little film that is well worth watching by fans of the genre.

Live Free or Die Hard: Latest installment of the adventures of John "King of Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time" McClane who this time gets wrapped up in a massive plot revolving around a coordinated attack on the transportation and telecommunications, financial, and utilities infrastructure. One of those nice, check-your-brain-at-the-door action films with fun action set-pieces and snappy banter. My suspension of disbelief was stretched to the breaking point only once, during the fighter jet sequence; the rest of the unbelievable stunts I was able to reconcile, but that one got to me. Still, a fun movie overall.

Rescue Dawn: Interesting look at the real life story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a U.S. pilot shot down over Laos and taken prisoner during the Viet Nam War, and his eventual escape. Bale does a great job, as does Steve Zahn in an unusually dramatic role. A bit of dark humor throughout, as the ordeals of the P.O.W.s leads them into borderline insanity at times. Extremely well done film, as to be expected with a director the caliber of Werner Herzog at the helm; interestingly enough, Herzog also directed a documentary about Dengler, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, close to ten years ago -- yes, it is now in my queue.

Hairspray: Fun adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, which was itself based on John Water's 1988 semi-musical film of the same name. One of the things I like the most about the music in Hairspray is how well the songwriters were able to capture the style of the times -- where the songs in Dreamgirls felt like Broadway versions of Motown, most of the songs in Hairspray felt like pieces from the period. While I was sorry not all of the songs made it in to the film (really missed hearing a full version of It Takes Two), the songs which did make the cut were all handled very well; I think that the nature of the soundtrack will make this one of those musicals that's enjoyed by people who don't normally enjoy musicals, a la Grease. I was very impressed with James Marsden's performance as dance show host Corny Collins; had no idea the Oklahoma native could sing that well, let alone dance. As for John Travolta donning the fat suit and wig to play the overweight Edna Turnblad, well, while I was never quite sure what his accent was supposed to be, I have to admit, very seldom did the thought "that's John Travlota in drag" distract me from the film.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Rise of the Guilty Girls Pt.3 - You Know It's Your Baby!

A few weeks after Cap'n Shack-Fu's house was invaded by little plastic men, I get a call from Cap'n Cluck asking for some descriptive physical details to help the Guilty Girls narrow down their search for Li'l Random's house; I, not wanting Li'l Random d to feel left out of the joys of prankdom, did what I could -- hey, what else are best friends for? About an hour or so later, I got a call from the Random One himself which caused me to issue an exclamation of surprise, since best bud Li'l Random is as notorious about not returning phone callas as best bud Flunky is for not returning emails. My exclamation caught the attention of Squiggly's sis, who was over with PigPen; she signaled me that the Guilty Girls were in the process of trying to do something at his house. I then did what anyone would be expected to do in such a situation: I began to pump my good pal for information, and then parrot it back so that Squiggly's sis might text any pertinent information learned to the pranksters. "So, you're just now pulling into the house, huh? Oh, going out into the front yard to water the lawn, eh?" Don't think my oh-so-subtle ruse did anything other than make Li'l Random wonder what I had been smoking, but oh, well.

After we'd finished our conversation, Li'l Random settled in for the night, only to have his TV viewage interrupted by a ringing of the doorbell. He opened the door, glanced around, saw nothing, and went back inside. Soon the doorbell was ringing again, and this time when he opened up, he noticed what he had missed the first go-around: a basket filled with five baby-dolls along with a note explaining that they were his kids.

He was then assaulted by Guilty Girls bearing silly string.

A bit of background: ever since a game of Loaded Questions in which having to read the word "lovers" aloud made Li'l Random blush, the Guilty Girls have delighted in tormenting him with the word. Also, the Guilty Girls have a running joke wherein one of them will roll down their car window and yell out "You know it's your baby!" as they drive by random people. Hence, Li'l Random getting a batch of babies.

Each of the babies was labeled with their name: Lola, Rupert, Stella, Shanequa and Cletus*. According to the note, along with taking care of the babies for the weekend, he was also tasked with figuring out exactly which baby belonged to which baby's mama by Sunday morning.

The next day our class volunteered at a local children's home, and Li'l Random showed up sans children; he assured the indignant mothers that their children were safely being watched by a neighbor. He also left the kids in someone else's care when he came to Cluckity's cookout that evening, saying that he was scared the young ones might stumble into the fire. But the next morning he came into Sunday School with all five of his babies in hand, a sight that had to be interesting to all of the newer members and guests who had never had the privilege of seeing Li'l Random in action. Soon, the babies were reunited with their mamas, although Li'l Random would get some visitation time during our Halloween party.

At that point, only one HyperForce 3000 member had not been hit by the Guilty Girls: Cap'n Peanut. And at first it seemed like the Guilty Girls might leave him alone, since Peanut was determined to make sure they knew that his attitude towards pranks can be summed up in one word: escalation.

But the siren call of pranking would eventually overcame the fear of retribution . . .

*Poor Cletus had his name tattooed on his forehead, which should have been a sure sign that he came from a Troubled home . . .


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful Thursday 2008

This past year has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for me. Joy over finally getting back into working out was dampened by multiple injuries; despair over the loss of the Blue Beast was tempered by the acquisition of my new car*; pleasure at finally getting a significant raise was strained by the fact that for several months I was the only one of my roommates getting a steady paycheck, and then I had car payments to worry about, and then medical bills on top of that . . . and then the bulk of the last four months I've been fighting to climb out of the downward spiral that my broken digit, subsequent surgery, and ongoing recovery have plunged me into. Yes, over the past year I've suffered through intense humiliation, rampant paranoia, and senseless depression the likes of which have not been seen since my college days; on at least one occasion I was so overcome with hurt and anger that I lost all capacity for speech and could only stand there, fighting back tears of rage. And yet, despite the pitfalls the befell me throughout the year, I am still thankful for many things, most especially my friends.

I am thankful for Cap'n Peanut who has become a really good friend to me over the last several months, and who is at the forefront of the "motivate Todd to get off his butt and get in shape" movement.

I am thankful for Redneck Diva, who went out of her way to make sure that my birthday spent away from the friends I had planned to be with was not a birthday spent without friends after all.

I am thankful for Zinger, and Poohbear, and Bubblegum Tate, and Kookamama, and Cedric the Destroyer, and all of those whose efforts to keep in touch help remind me that, depsite my paranoia, out of sight does not automatically mean out of mind.

I am thankful for new friends like Cap'n Bubbles and Mei-Mei and Doc Jetson and Blondie Blaarrrgghhh** and the other, still nicknameless ones whose presence has added new energy to the Singles group.

I am thankful for my not-so-new friends (too numerous to name lest I be accused of playing favorites) who have been a source of support through unstable times.

And, last but not least, I am thankful that, for the first time in over a decade***, I have added to the ranks of those I consider my Best Friends; it's hard for me to believe that at this time last year I was still just getting to know PigPen and Cap'n Shack-Fu, and barely knew Li'l Random at all and now they're like family to me. I am thankful for the countless times over the last year that they have suffered through one of my neurotic attacks, have patiently talked me through my black moods, have dragged me kicking and screaming out of the realm of negativity, have responded to my crazy ways with nothing but compassion, understanding, and the occasional metaphoric slap upside the head****. I am thankful that, on occasion, I have been able to offer them help and advice as well, although I can't help but feel they're getting the short end of the stick, here. I am thankful because this only child now has four people who are like brothers to him, and that's four more than he ever thought he'd have growing up.

Happy Thanksgiving, my blog monkeys; don't forget to tell those you care about how thankful you are for their presence in your lives.

*No, Li'l Random, I have not named it yet.
**Look, Blondie, I figure out how to spell it!
***Good grief, was college really that long ago?
****And the slightly less frequent physical slap, such as The Lovable PigPen delivered to me Tuesday night every time I'd apologize needlessly "Stop saying you're sorry!" [slap!] Happy Slapsgiving, indeed.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Neurotic Narrative Need

There are times I wish I kept an actual journal of my day-to-day activities. Oh, sure, the blog serves to record some of the larger, stranger aspects of my life, but there are plenty of other things that don't make it on here -- sometimes because they're too personal, sometimes because they're too sensitive, sometimes because I can't quite capture the right way to express them, sometimes because I run out of time, and sometimes because the events don't strike me as entertaining enough to warrant a blog post. And, as time goes by, those events which fall through the cracks for any of the above reasons become dimmer and spottier in my memory, which can lead to frustration down the road.

You see, one of my many, many, many personality quirks is my desire to be able to look back on the ins and outs of my life and analyze the narrative structure of chains of events. This is especially compelling during those times when I have an epiphany about a change in my life -- whenever I become cognizant of a shift in my perceptions of people or things around me, my first impulse is to scrutinize the actions and events which led up or contributed to that shift, in order to better understand it. My Secret Origin posts were basically an accumulation of this sort of internal scrutiny which had built up in my brain over the years. Sometimes this drive is a useful tool, aiding me in discovering where I went wrong in my choices or behavior; sometimes it's nothing more than a mental exercise that my borderline OCD forces me to complete in order to get any rest.

It's this latter drive which has brought these thoughts to the forefront of my mind recently, as my attempts to plot out the narrative of a significant change in my thought processes have been stymied by a lack of hard data -- data which was never tracked because the path to the change in my mind was marked by the subtlest of events. There was no sign from above, no earth-shattering catastrophe that instituted the change, no bolt from the blue to knock me for a loop. No, try as I may, I am unable to find any hard evidence to help me answer the question "At what point over the year that I've known him did I start to consider Li'l Random McEvil one of my Best Friends?"

Yes, you saw that right: capital-B capital-F. Sometime over the course of this previous year, I was finally able to batter that no-more-Best-Friend-barrier in my mind to pieces. In fact, Li'l Random is not the only recipient of this dubious honor; both Cap'n Shack-Fu and The Lovable PigPen have been added to that list of people who have been faced with the full depths of my psychotic and neurotic tendencies and not run off screaming into the night.

To be honest, I've been a little reticent to write about the whole "Best Friend" thing due to my usual paranoia -- I mean, what if one of my good-but-not-quite-Best friends read about this and is then overcome by hurt and betrayal as they wonder why in the world they didn't make the grade? Granted, the thought that anyone out there is actually clamoring to be claimed as my Best Friend is pretty ludicrous -- especially if they were to realize just how vulnerable that would make them to being overrun by my most neurotic and paranoid worries and fears at all times -- but the fact that I could conceivably see myself reacting in such a way made me gun-shy. Plus, there's that whole "too personal" stumbling block; when I wrote about my friendships with Ol' Vick, G'ovich, and Flunky, there was the comfort of many years of distance to help soften any hard feelings; by the time I started CoIM, Flunky had been firmly entrenched in my mind as My Best Friend for over a decade -- hardly breaking news. But singling out a few of the Singles for special recognition made me feel weird, especially in my role as teacher of the Foundations of Fellowship class -- what if others felt like I was playing favorites?

But, the truth remains that, while I count most of The Singles among my "good friends," in any group there are going to be people you feel closer to than others, and to try to act like all friendships are created equally borders on hypocrisy. So in the interest of full disclosure -- and, to be perfectly frank, neurotic obsession -- I find myself copping to the fact that over the past year, these three men have earned their place as my Honorary Brothers and Best Friends. Of course, that sort of brings us back to the question at hand, which is "how did they earn it?"

With PigPen, I may not have a clear picture of how and when he made the transition from "random roomie" to "good friend," but I have a crystal clear image of the night he graduated from "good" to "Best," the night he first saw my full neurotic self unleashed and responded with his pledge to help me overcome my negative self-image. With Cap'n Shack-Fu it gets hazy, although I can sorta kinda point to examples of sharing our problems with each other as roadmarks; with Li'l Random, it gets even hazier still. I can't recall exactly how he went from being Shack's co-worker/friend to being my friend to being One of My Favorite People in the Worldtm, to being one of my Best Friends. There are no inciting incidents, no cathartic bonding sessions, no nothing outside of general hanging out and a gradual realization that we share a brain. Oh, sure, there have been plenty of cathartic bonding sessions as I've unloaded my neurotic ramblings on him, but all of that came after the determination of Best Friend status, and not before.

I think.

Dang it, this is why I need a journal!

Sure, in the grand scheme of things, this is not that important of an issue; who cares if I can recall the exact moment Li'l Random went from some guy in my class to someone I consider a brother? Well, obviously, I care, but why? Because I'm an obsessive freak? Probably. But maybe there's another reason.

When PigPen first began his campaign to break me of my self-defeatist attitude, he counseled me to create a mental mantelpiece, and to populate it with memorabilia of all the victories in my life, both large and small; that way, when I start to slide into my more negative thought processes, I can take those imaginary trophies off the shelf, dust them off, and let the recollection of the positive things in life wash away the negative.

I think in a way my drive to chronicle my life serves as a companion to the mental mantelpiece, only the narrative is more of a mental scrapbook, a collection of snapshots of my life which form a timeline that serves to make the positive things more tangible to me and help stave off the dark times of doubtfulness. At those times when I'm overcome with fear and paranoia, when I read too much into meaningless comments, when I become convinced that my occasional self-loathing can't help but be reflected in how others see me . . . at those times this mental scrapbook can serve as a lifeline of sorts, something to hold on to and remind me that, despite whatever stupid minutiae may be sending me into a spiral right now, there is a wealth of events which serve as proof that, contrary to what the voices in my head might say, I am not all alone. One of the biggest paranoid delusions I've had to combat over the years is the idea that those people I care for the most don't really care about me, and that I've deluded myself by becoming attached to people who only suffer my existence grudgingly. It doesn't strike me very often anymore, but on occasion . . . But with a narrative in place to chronicle the ups and downs of my friendships, I can stave off these fears by focusing on our shared history.

Although, I'm leaning more towards the "I'm a freak" interpretation . . .


TV Tues - Happy Slapsgiving!

Not feeling all that loquacious today, so most of these will be brief.

Monday November 12

Chuck (NBC 7:00):
Loved the sequence with the gang hopped up on truth serum. Was cool to see Kevin Weisman as the bad-ass assassin, quite a departure from Marshall on Alias. Was also cool to see Tang leave the show; the character never really clicked with me.

Journeyman (NBC 9:00): Finally, some answers about Livia! Although, why she only goes to the future and Dan only goes to the past only raises more questions.

Tuesday November 13

Reaper (CW 8:00):
Think this show just gets better and better. Loved Sock's horrified waking from the dream; good stuff.

Wednesday November 14

Pushing Daisies (ABC 7:00): Nothing too constructive to say about this one, other than that I liked it.

Private Practice (ABC 8:00): One of the few things that was consistently enjoyable about this show was the Cooper/Violet friendship, so of course they have to screw that up.

Thursday November 15

Survivor (CBS 7:00): Was sorry to see Frosti go.

My Name is Earl (NBC 7:00): Pretty satisfying conclusion to the two-parter, but I do wish they'd get back to Earl's list.

30 Rock (NBC 7:30): One of the things I like about 30 Rock is that although Liz is set up as the voice of reason, she's just as fallible as everyone else. Best parts of the episode had to be the ones with Jack and C.C.

The Office (NBC 8:00): Our last new Office until the strike gets resolved would have been much more enjoyable with much less Michael, although the whole deposition was worth it just for Toby's reaction to the confusion over Michael's man-crush on Ryan.

Scrubs (NBC 8:30): Man, I'm going to miss this show.

Monday November 19

How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00):
Outside of the set-up for Barney's "relapse 5," the whole Ted/Robin storyline was just a distraction from the main event: the Slap Countdown to Slapsgiving. Three slaps down; two to go.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30): Even though last night was a rerun of the pilot, I wound up watching it because (a) PigPen had missed it the first time around because of work, and (b) I had missed a couple of parts due to being interrupted by someone at the door the first go-round. Have to say, I enjoyed it much more the second time around, possibly because I'm more familiar and comfortable with the characters.


Heroes (NBC 8:00):
Following the mildly disappointing flashbacks of last week's ep, last night's turned out to be pretty jam-packed full; I remember looking at the clock at one point and being amazed that there were 20 minutes left. If nothing else, this episode reinforced one thing for me: I hate Monhinder. HatehatehatehateHATE him with a fiery passion reserved for the most annoying and worthless of fictional characters. If you need someone to make a stupid decision, Mohinder's your man. After working with HRG for so long, then to get turned by Bob: "Gee, I'm sorry I tried to get you to inject a girl with a potentially deadly virus, but I promise things will be all better now, and since I did one nice thing you are now forced to believe that I have changed my ways and that HRG is really the super baddest of all bad guys and must be stopped at all costs, please pay no attention to my psychopathic killer daughter behind the curtain, there's a good patsy." Now that Claire's blood has resurrected him, I can't wait to see HRG seek some payback against the man who killed him . . . unless Sylar beats him to the punch and cuts open Monhinder's head in order to steal his powers of super-stupidity. Or maybe Maya will be forced to tears by his sheer jackassery and will wipe him out that way. Or, or, Parkman could finally get back at him for endangering Molly with his new slippery slope of morality psychic push powers and make him do horrible, horrible things to himself. Or . . .

Okay, maybe I was feeling a little loquacious there towards the end . . .


Monday, November 19, 2007

Movie Mon. - "Hmm, let's see... take responsiblity for my own life or blame you? Dingdingdingdingding! Blame you wins hands down! "

Actually got a few movies watched this week.

Shrek the Third: Latest installment in the Shrek series which revolves around Shrek's quest to find the heir of Far Far Away -- a young and sullen Arthur Pendragon -- while Fiona and the other princesses fight off an invasion from embittered Prince Charming and his army of fairy tale villains. Conceptually, not bad; in execution, however . . . meh. Oh, there were some funny parts here and there, mostly involving the princesses (loved Sleeping Beauty's fighting style) and the body swapping Donkey and Puss in Boots, but overall, the movie left me cold. And, for the record, I loved the first Shrek, and liked the second one quite a bit. Think this one had too much slapstick and not enough cleverness.

Meet the Robinsons: Off-beat animated tale about a young orphaned inventor who gets whisked off to the future to meet an oddball family, while a crazy man with a sentient bowler hat tries to steal his inventions. This one was a bit out there, which means, of course, I liked it. Bowler Hat Guy quickly became one of my favorite movie villains due to his addlepated state, and the general chaos and insanity surrounding the Robinson clan kept this from settling down into your typical Disney film. At the same time, I think the rapid-fire introduction of the Robinson clan was a bit too rapid-fire; I found myself wanting to see more of the family in action. All in all, my favorite movie-watching experience of the week.

Hostel II: Sequel to the successful film about a clandestine group which kidnaps young backpackers and auctions them off to the highest bidder; this time around, we get to see the inner workings of the selection process. While getting to see things from the killers' perspective was an interesting idea, I felt like the sequel had somehow lost a lot of the magic that made the previous film work. Despite all of the talk about how over the top the first film was, I never felt like it was all that gory, and outside of the scene with the eye **shudder**, there wasn't much to disturb me. This time around, the film actually felt like it was starting to live up to the label many critics have deridingly given this sort of film: "torture porn." Maybe it was just that in the first film the victims were primarily guys and this time around it was primarily girls, but I think even if it had been a guy being killed in the psuedo-Countess Bathory sequence I would have thought it was gratuitous and over-the-top. A couple of interesting twists here and there, but on the whole, the first one was a much better film.

Man of the Year: Seriocomic look at a Jon Stewart-esque political comedian (Robin Williams) who decides to run for president and, thanks to a computer glitch, actually wins. Have to say, I'm glad that prior to seeing this I had heard many, many, many people say that the previews had been misleading, that it wasn't a non-stop comedy vehicle for Williams, but actually had a much more serious tone -- that way I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was, and not be disappointed by the limited number of Williams rants or by the slow-going of the whole election fraud cover-up plot thread. Overall, just an okay movie.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Rise of the Guilty Girls Pt.2 - Shock-Fu!

During the time of the Beading of Benjiman Street, Cap'n Shack-Fu was in only in town briefly due to being called back to the home office of FEMA from his deployment in Oklahoma. One night we invited all the Singles over to our place so everyone could get a chance to hang out with the Shack-meister. A few of us were playing a game of Mexican Train before Shack arrived and, due to a shortage of appropriate markers, we had been forced to dig out my Star Wars Monopoly game and use the figures from it. Which worked out pretty well until my good friend Shack-Fu -- still a bit loopy due to exhaustion from his 12 hour days, 7 days a week schedule -- showed up and was unable to resist the lure of the figures. It was not long before the dominoes were serving not as game pieces but as a fort to house Vader, Leia, and the rest for Shack-Fu's own personal action packed space opera to the amusement of all. This would prompt Cap'n Cluck to bestow upon Shack a sack of little plastic army men the following Sunday at church, making him promise he wouldn't play with them during Sunday school or worship service before handing them over. But apparently when Guilty Girl Cluck found the army men, she also found some other figures which she used to place Casa de Shack under lockdown.

Yes, it was an full force of police officer and firefighters, battling it out for control of the Shack-man's doorstep.

Needless to say, Shack-Fu was a bit shocked at the scene of carnage and mayhem awaiting him on his front doorstep.

"DUDE! "
But while he relieved most of the figures from their duties, he did feel obligated to leave a few on patrol to keep an eye on those shifty Frog Brothers.

"If you feel froggy, jump, I dares ya!"

This time around, Guilty Girl Cluck worked primarily on her own, with an assist, I believe, from inside informant Fluffy; the next Guilty Girl strike on a HyperForcer, however, would involve the full five.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rise of The Guilty Girls Pt.1 - Beading Us Up

Following the afternoon of anonymous texting, I had headed over to Cap'n Shack-Fu's place to have dinner with him and Fluffy. When I got there, Fluffy was on the phone with Cap'n Cluck, and acting quite mysterious about it. I soon found out that around the time they were texting me, The Guilty Girls decided that they were going to pull a prank on Li'l Random. Unfortunately for them, none of them knew where he lived, since only a handful of us helped him move a few months earlier, and even those who had helped with the move, such as Squiggly, didn't remember things like street names and house numbers. Stymied by their inability to locate the House of Random, the girls decided to move to the nearest convenient target, i.e. Benjiman Street -- a fact I learned when I got a call from Maverick several hours later informing me that our front yard was covered in Mardi Gras beads

and that a strange silhouette with the word "guilty" pasted on it had been stuck to the back of the Blue Beast.*

Even if I hadn't known about the aborted prank on Li'l Random, I would have suspected it was the girls due to the fact that Trouble travels to Mardi Gras each year, and always comes back with a surplus of beads. And any doubt I might have had about the source of the beads was dissolved when I saw the silhouette Maverick had described and realized that it was it was sporting the logo from the girls' homemade t-shirts.

Of course, all of the beading took place while Maverick was at home, but he was upstairs in his room and so didn't hear them draping the beads all over the bushes outside, or wrapping them around the light outside our front door, or throwing them on top of the roof. They're very sneaky, these Guilty Girls; either that, or Maverick has the volume on his TV up way too loud.

When we confronted them at church the next day, Mei-Mei, Trouble, and Cap'n Cluck maintained their innocence in the actual deed, saying that they were only involved in the planning -- we maintained that that still made them accomplices. Cluckity later confessed that she was a participant as well, and had only claimed innocence to see if we would believe it. We left the beads up for a week or so; pretty much every visitor that we had in that time from would grab at a string or two of beads from a bush or tree limb on their way into the house.

It would only be a matter of days before the next HyperForcer was targeted by a Guilty Girl working on her own. . .

*Yes, it's still in the driveway; yes, I know I need to get rid of it; yes, PigPen bugs me about it regularly; no, I don't know when I'm going to get off of my lazy butt and do something about it.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

¡Amigas No Mas; Ahora Son Las Muchachas Culpables!

Once upon a time in the land of The Singles, whenever someone mentioned "the girls," they were generally talking about the three roomies known as The Three Amigas (Angel, Princess, and Smooth Money's Girl) and the Honorary Amiga, Trouble. However, now that two of the Amigas are married, and new girls have been added to the dynamic, there has now emerged a group which is serving as a female counterbalance to HyperForce 3000. The core of this group are the three roomies Angel, Cap'n Cluck, and Doc Jetson, plus Trouble and Mei-Mei; sure, some of the other girls in the class may get roped in from time to time, but it is these five mischievous souls who are serving as HyperForce's foils.

My first real clue that a new force was aligning against us came with the infamous finger-shaped meatloaf delivered by Angel et al following my surgery

Can't you just hear the maniacal giggling as they fix their sinister dish?

Post-surgery, but pre-Orange-Power cast Cap'n Neurotic wonders to himself "What fresh hell is this?"

The Twizzler veins were my favorite touch

And then there were the t-shirts they made for themselves just a week or two later, each shirt featuring their individual names crowned by a halo, as a contrast to the much larger logo they bore:

Little did any of us realize just how appropriate those shirts would be at the time, but it wasn't long before a series of pranks perpetrated by the crew earned them their new nickname courtesy of Cap'n Peanut, a name that will grace the new series of posts recounting the prank war, starting with tomorrow's entry "Beading Us Up: Rise of the Guilty Girls!"


TV Tues - Cherish the New Shows While They Last

The strike drags on, our shows get closer and closer to running out of new episodes, and I get closer and closer to actually being caught up on all of the shows I've taped, although I'm sure that won't last for long.

Monday November 5

Chuck (NBC 7:00):
A little closer to figuring out why Bryce chose Chuck, which is nice; gotta love plot progression. However, the ginormous library fine gag made me roll my eyes -- unless that was a really expensive paperback copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, there's no way his fine was over a hundred bucks, much less in the $400 range. Price of book + processing fees, that's the library fine limit.

Journeyman (NBC 8:00): This show frustrates me so much sometimes that I question why I'm still watching it. But there's always just enough good stuff in it to make the annoying stuff tolerable, even if barely.

Wednesday November 7

Bionic Woman (NBC 8:00):
FINALLY caught up on Bionic Woman. Wasn't super impressed with the show early on, but it is definitely growing on me. The show is always more interesting when it's focused on emotionally-stunted-Starbuck with her dark and twisty nature, although the motivations and plot lines surrounding her are a mess. I spent the bulk of the "Jamie goes undercover as a college student" episode cursing the NBC promo department for giving away that the main suspect was actually a CIA agent before I finally realized that that promo was for the next week's episode, and if I had actually watched the show when it was on I wouldn't have had that problem.

Thursday November 8

Survivor (CBS 7:00):
I was really hoping John-Robert was going to go into Tribal Council and try to use each of the non-immunity idols so that Jeff could throw them on the fire one by one, but him being voted out made the episode worth watching anyway.

My Name is Earl
(NBC 7:00):
The Randy/Earl feud was entertaining, as were the try-outs for the Scared Straight program, but I especially liked the pot-shot taken at the idiocy of trying to wedge a save-the-planet message into the show.

30 Rock (NBC 7:30): Gotta love Al Gore's willingness to make fun of himself.

The Office (NBC 8:00): My least favorite episode of the season; while I liked the reactions of the office workers to Jim's party consolidation idea, the idea itself seemed out of character for Jim.

Scrubs (NBC 8:30): Any time Tom Cavanagh stops by to play J.D.'s brother, a good time is sure to be had. Loved the "zed-word hug" gag, as well as J.D.'s pathetic attempt to get revenge.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC 8:00): As someone who has been vehemently opposed to the George/Izzy pairing -- I refuse to refer to them as Gizzy as many do -- I was incredibly amused by their awkward attempts at recapturing the magic of their first night together. I was also incredibly happy by all of the Bailey time in the episode.

Monday November 12

How I Met Your Mother (CBS 7:00):
Have to wonder if any of the annoying habits brought out in the episode will ever make a comeback.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS 7:30):
Sheldon was back to much more manageable (and entertaining) levels of obnoxiousness this week. Watching him unwittingly hitting on a girl = greatness.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Movie Mon. - Not Your Typical Serial Killer Movie

Another slow movie-watching week; I am most definitely not getting my money's worth out of my Netflix subscription right now.

Mr. Brooks: Interesting psychological thriller about a respected businessman (Kevin Costner) who is actually a psychotic serial killer struggling to quiet the homicidal voice in his head (played by William Hurt) while being hunted by a determined detective (Demi Moore) and also blackmailed by a voyeur (Dane Cook) who has discovered his identity and wants to join in on the "fun." Nowhere close to what I expected from the previews, and in this case that's a good thing; I appreciated the equal time devoted to both the hunter and the hunted. I was worried early on that there were too many plot threads, with the detective's divorce and disgruntled former collar, but in the end they all dovetailed nicely. I did have to wonder if the writers of Dexter had seen this before they decided to do the Addiction Anonymous storyline, or if it's just one of those strange coincidences.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No, No NaNoWriMo

Once again it's National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short), and once again some co-workers tried hard to convince me to participate, and once again I said "no."

There are things I like about the idea of setting the goal of writing a novel in a month; heck, that's basically what I did when I wrote In a Cabin in the Woods a couple of years ago.* But there are a couple of things about the NaNoWriMo set-up that serve as a stumbling block for me.

The first is general philosophy of "quantity over quality." For NaNoWriMo purposes, all that matters is meeting that final word count, with no regard to clarity of prose or cohesion of plot or consistency of character or the like; in fact, if you were to follow the NaNoWriMo guidelines strictly, there would be absolutely no editing or rewriting during the course of the month.

That would drive me insane.

Granted, I often used the "just write something to write something" approach on In a Cabin, due to trying to meet my artificially selected due date, but more often than not this would just be a way to storm past the writers block, and I'd then go back and tinker with the clunky stuff to make it work better. But to spend all month just pushing ahead, never looking back . . . *shudder*

The other big stumbling block in the timing; why oh why did they pick November? Not only is there a major holiday which requires major travel time for many -- not to mention all of the Thanksgiving themed activities done with friends before going off to see family -- but it's Sweeps time. Sweeps! The magical month when all of the TV shows trot out their big plot contrivances and over-hyped guest-spots and super-cheesy gimmicks in hopes of briefly sprucing up their number in an antiquated ratings system! How can I write much of anything when the siren call of crass commercialism is clamoring for my attention?

Of course, there's also my borderline-obsessive nature to consider, since it would surely go into full swing if I attempted something like this, which at this point would be a bad thing. I have recently enlisted the aid of my fellow HyperForcers to keep my on track with my goal to get in shape; the last thing I need is something else sticking me behind the computer screen for even more hours each day.

And, every time I start to waver in my resolve and think "maybe I can play catch-up," I listen to my coworkers discuss how stressed they are because their novels aren't turning out the way they want, and they really want to go back and edit, and there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done, and then the certainty that I've made the right call is reestablished.

*Man, it's hard to believe that was two years ago; how time flies, eh?


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TV Tues - America Rooooooooooooooocks!

In case you weren't aware, we currently have a Writers' Guild strike going on, which means that after the end of November sweeps, most scripted TV shows are going to be without new episodes for a while unless things get resolved soon. So, get ready for an explosion of "unscripted" TV shows. But until then, let us enjoy our scripted programming while it's still here.

Wednesday October 31

Pushing Daisies (7:00 ABC):
Still a few plotting issues here and there, but I'm enjoying the sense of humor enough to let that complaint continue to slide.

Private Practice (8:00 ABC): It was nice to see them finally humanize the "evil" doctor a bit this time around, and the scenes with her were by far the best thing about the episode.

Thursday, November 1

Survivor (7:00 CBS):
While it was no "you have to get up pretty early to fool me," the whole playing of the immunity idol which wasn't really an immunity idol sequence was priceless.

My Name is Earl (7:00 NBC): The flashback to the first post-9/11 Fourth of July celebration had great tidbits here and there (especially the "America Rooooooooooooooocks!" guy), but was I the only one who got annoyed when it broke from Cops format?

The Office (8:00 NBC): Michael reminiscing about all that Stanley brought to the office was great, as was Dwight's obsession with eyes.

Scrubs (8:30 NBC): Still enjoying Bitter Keith, and still wondering how big of a role Elizabeth Banks is going to play for the rest of the season.

Grey's Anatomy (8:00 ABC): This week's outing was only average, which I blame on very little Bailey screen time; you skimp on the Bailey, you skimp on the quality.

Monday November 5

How I Met Your Mother (7:00 CBS):
Not one of their stronger eps; couple of nice moments here and there, but overall, kind of blah.

The Big Bang Theory (7:30 CBS): Last night, my favorite character Sheldon began to loom dangerously close to the annoying side of obsessive compulsion with the whole Chinese food sequence; it didn't bother me as much as it did PigPen, but I think the writers need to be careful not to overdo his shtick.


Heroes (8:00 NBC): My biggest question right now is this: if Peter changes the past now, what happens to Caitlin in the future? I have lots of other questions, of course, but I'm hoping most will be answered in next week's flashback ep.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Movie Mon. - 30 Days of Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Extremely slow movie-watching week for me, although I did make it to the actual theater for the first time in months.

30 Days of Night: Adaptation of the IDW comic book about a small Alaskan town which is beset by vampires during its winter month of no sunlight. I had been looking forward to this one for quite a while, so my expectations were probably a bit too high; plus, I was operating on only four hours of sleep, and it was a later showing, so I would probably have had a hard time staying awake for most movies. So, it's hard for me to say if the glacial opening pace of the film was a bad thing in general, or just a bad thing for me that night; all I know is that I was in more danger of nodding off during this than Li'l Random, and that boy is borderline narcoleptic. There were some good scare moments, some of the vamp effects were uber-creepy, and Ben Foster was great as the creepy Renfield-esque harbinger of vampiric doom. Still, the uneven plotting and over-abundance of quick-cut action sequences left me feeling like the film wasted a lot of its potential . . . but, seeing as that's sort of how I felt about the comic as well, perhaps it was a sterling adaptation after all . . .


Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Dubbing of What's-her-name

A few weeks back I was hanging out at Li'l Random McEvil's house on a Saturday afternoon when I got a text message from an unfamiliar number: "You've gotta be here to enjoy this." Having gotten random text messages by accident in the past, I quickly replied "Who is this?" The response of "It's us!" made me wonder if the messages were coming from some of the girls from the Singles since I knew that they were planning on hanging out that day; Li'l Random opined that it was probably Doc Jetson, which made sense, since I knew she had gotten a new cell phone number which I hadn't gotten programmed into my phone yet. Fairly confident that it was jut the girls messing with me, I engaged in the following text conversation*.

Me: Sorry, I don't know anybody named 'us'.
Them: Our feelings are hurt . . . we can't believe you don't know us.
Me: I know, I'm a horrible person not to know who you are, what with all the specific information you've given me.
Them: Oh my goodness. Where is the love? Here's the first clue: there are four.
Me: Is it the Beatles? The Monkees?
Them: No moptops here. Clue two: hazel x2/brown x2.
Me: Thanks heavens for my photographic memory for eye colors, it's all clear now. . .
Them: Clue three: we love to laugh.
Me: The cast of Mary Poppins?
Them: Close. Clue four: there are now five.
Me: Wait you're multiplying now? Are you bunnies? Bunnies, bunnies, you must be bunnies!**
Them: No hippity hoppity peter cotton tails here. Clue five: see photo that is coming next.

This was followed by the following picture:

I responded with a comment asking how they were able to sneak into Li'l Random's office and take a picture without him knowing? Their reply was "Smoochies from your lovers," which was a callback to a running gag about how the use of the word "lovers" makes Li'l Random blush. Before I could reply, I got another message: "Care to guess? Name those girls . . ."

I was pretty confident I knew who the five culprits were, and I decided to give my answer in the form of nicknames; the only problem was that one of them was nicknameless. So, my guess was "Doc, Bashful, Sneezey, Trouble, and What's-her-name."

They replied, "Close - what's her name needs a moniker. We're all offended for her."

By this point, all you blog monkeys should know that coming up with nicknames isn't exactly my forte; luckily, I had other resources to pull from. "Hey, Randomino," I said, "I need a nickname for What's-her-name."

"What sort of nickname?"

"Any sort, doesn't matter."

"Okay . . . mei-mei."

"How do you want me to spell that?"

"I don't know, you're the English major!"

So, I sent them a text saying that Li'l Random had dubbed What's-her-name "May-may." Their response: "Um huh?"

I replied that it was a nickname courtesy of everyone's favorite random generator, and so they shouldn't expect it to make sense. In response, they said "We have high expectations. He's been out of our lives for so long we forgot," a not so veiled crack at the fact that, due to various trips and other engagement, I was practically the only person in our group who had had any contact with Mr. McEvil for about two months. Unfortunately, I had already left his place and headed over to Cap'n Shack-Fu's for dinner, and so was unable to relay that particular insult until later, but I did message them back to say that if he had been there, I'm sure he would have said "Oh, snap!"

Although she initially rejected the nickname of May-may, eventually she acquiesced, with the stipulation that we use the Chinese spelling of Mei-mei. And thus, a nickname was born; as usual, I had next to nothing to do with it.

*For the record, their side of the conversation is taken verbatim from my saved messages, while mine is mostly reconstructed from memory due to the small "Sent mail" folder on my phone
**Sadly, Squiggly was not one of the gathered group, because I think she's the only one who would have gotten my
"Once More With Feeling" ref there.