Monday, November 26, 2012

My Cyber-Monday in GIFs.

I am not so good with coordination when I first wake up. 
But once I am up? Yeah, I'm up for good. 
Me + oatmeal + 1A = pretty much this.
Oh, Zola. Just because it's another dog does not mean it wants to be A Friend.
Fuck, I am SO far behind on NaNo. See also: Christmas shopping. What? I like to get it done early.
True story.
How the shit did 5 hours go by? I have nothing to show for it!!
I'm never going to win NaNo. EVAR.
I'd like to get out of the house for sanity's sake, but there are people out there. 
I will watch a movie! :D
Thirty minutes in ...
Since I can't be trusted in front of a TV screen, back to good ol' writin'. 
 And here we are. And probably will be until the end of today and until the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Plus, Three has to work until 2A, and I have a hard time getting to sleep without him in the apartment.

Apparently, insomnia has me declared as its bitch.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

People be crazy.

For those of you not yet in the know, Three and I have been trying to get pregnant, well, for the past two years. We haven't been successful, as of yet, for what I can assume are multiple reasons: stress, missing ovulation, lack of implantation, not having sex enough, low sperm count, a hostile uterus, God hates us, whatever. We haven't gone to the doctor yet, mainly because money has been an issue, and you know what, the process of trying is really, really fun.

I try not to talk about this too often to people other than close friends or family because the crazies tend to come out of the woodwork and offer their bizarre tips at becoming with child. While Three and I were at dinner with my parents at an awesome Japanese restaurant, this lady decided that she needed to preach to us about taking baby aspirin every day to get pregnant.

"It worked every time for a friend of mine. I'm telling you: baby. aspirin. is. the. answer." She was as emphatic about this aspirin thing as I am about the proper pronunciation of "manga."

After we left the restaurant, both of my parents are medical professionals and were like, "Um, nope. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

When Three was still working at Valvoline, so many women would, unprompted, offer their opinions on which sex positions were the best for conception and for what gender I wanted and ... ugh. According to a few women, doggie style is the best if you just want some good ol' fashioned baby-making, but if you want to have a boy, the women needs to not orgasm. Or something. I have never wanted so much brain bleach, especially after some of the women felt the need to, like, show me how to position myself. No, thanks.

Then there are the truly bizarre pieces of advice I've gotten:

"Go buy one of those really big turkey basters and shoot some up into your vagina. I swear, it works."

"You're a yoga practitioner; just stay in plow pose for about forty-five minutes to an hour and gravity will do the work for you!"

"Visualize having a baby in your tummy."

And when I don't show any enthusiasm for their little hints, they get all upset and like, "Oh, well, if you're not willing to try whatever, maybe you shouldn't be a parent." Because it's always awesome to treat people like shit when they don't agree with you.

I'm actually worried about what happens when I do get pregnant. And then give birth. Then I'll be lectured by the attachment parenting converts and breastfeeding maniacs*. Greaaaaaat.

* Not saying that there's anything wrong with either of these approaches. However, coming at me and telling me that it's the only and best way ever to raise your kids, um ... well, fuck you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Funerals, Dead Deer, and Traffic Cones ... Oh, my?

According to our trip into rural Tennessee on Saturday, the southern small town culture is even weirder than I thought it was, and I have lived in the South for essentially my entire life*. The closest I have ever come to small-town life is Murfreesboro, which owed its existence and success to having a university there**, but it wasn't really "rural." It does have a hefty does of pretentiousness, though, but I blame that on the university, as well. Also, my dad does own some land out in the middle of BFE, where the closest civilization is about thirty minutes away. Honestly, I kind of love it. Three and I spent our first anniversary out there, walking the various deer trails. I'm a hermit by nature, and now that I know that rural areas have their own special kind of insanity, I can't wait until I'm able to live in it.
I love everything about this picture. 
Take the fact that we saw a hearse with a casket in it go through the drive-thru at a fast food joint. Was this the final wish of the deceased? Did the rest of the funeral attendants know about this detour? I don't know if anyone was in the casket, of course (I'm hoping there wasn't); maybe it was just for show. Which begs the question: who would the driver be wanting to impress? Was this their form of advertising? I couldn't figure out why they just wouldn't close the little curtains so people wouldn't ask that sort of thing, but I'm guessing that he just really didn't give a shit. And that's probably closer to reality than any kind of rationalization could be. 

Then a few minutes later, this bizarrely specific theme of death continued when we saw a ridiculously long funeral motorcade pull into what we thought was a cemetery, but as we drove past the entrance ten minutes afterward (seriously, it was a loooooooong line), we saw that there was only a barn and a little house. Somehow, the line of cars was disappearing into this barn, which appeared to be closed on the other side, and I was like, "ZOMG, it's a Mary Poppins barn!" and Three was certain that a quantum pathway to a different dimension was inside. That just goes to show how differently our minds work. I guess it's not so strange to think that someone would want to be buried on their property, but personally, I'd be a little weirded out if I knew that Grandpappy Jones' body was rotting out next to the garden. And then I'd stock up on zombie-killing supplies, just in case. 
This is Grandmamma Jones, in case you were wondering.
As we puttered along our way***, I was noticing how cute and quaint the little town we were passing through was. Adorable little houses, a few trailers with silly lawn embellishments, a swing set with children playing around it, a gutted deer hanging from a tree ... I did a double-take to make sure that this wasn't a leftover Halloween display, although it had been, like, two weeks. But nope, I was right the first time: there was a dead buck, spreadeagled and innards-less, dangling from a thick branch of a tree out in the front yard.

It sent me on this flashback to before Three and I were married, and he was basically living at our house. I had just grabbed my to-go coffee and had pushed the button that opened the garage door, which slowly rose to reveal my dad, elbow deep in the belly of a deer. Three was just standing there, sipping on his own cup of steaming hot coffee and talking to my father like you do when there's a dead deer in your driveway.
This would have been my reaction if I were my dad, but I'm not. 
Both of them found my wide-eyed stare hilarious and, to be honest, I was more annoyed that the scene was playing out right in front of my damned car and I had an hour to drive to get to work. But it was not what I expected to see at 5A on a weekday.

Anyway, I tried to shrug off the idea that the three major things I'd seen on our little trek out to Nowhere were centered around dying and instead focused on the hilarity of the redneck aspects of the situation. I mean, who does that? It's not like the house didn't have any trees in the backyard that could have been used for deer hanging. Three mentioned that it could have been a decoration for Thanksgiving, although I was quick to discount that because Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday that involves 1) turkeys, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and hams, not deer, and 2) Native Americans getting screwed over and sent to reservations because AMERICA. He wasn't sure what to do with number two, since it really had nothing to do with dead deer at least in a literal sense, so he just conceded that he was probably wrong.

I was terrified at what I would see next. Would I see someone actually in the act of killing something? Would the car we were currently driving become sentient and, in attempts to avoid us buying a new car, start trying to run over country pedestrians? Or, you know, dogs?
It's much worse to run over the cuteness that is a puppeh. And Chiquita would totally not even care, that heartless betch.
Thankfully, the next crazy thing we witnessed was a guy having a fight with a traffic cone and losing****. It was simultaneously the most hilarious and most anticlimactic event we saw that day. But at least it didn't end with the traffic cone killing the dude. I hope. 

* I lived for one year in each Savoy, IL, and Mesa, AZ and I don't really have a lot of memories of either. My most vivid memory of Illinois was when my sister and I were having a snow fight with my dad and I accused him of cheating because he was using a snow shovel against his two daughters, both of which were under six years old. I remember stories about Arizona but my only real recollection is that it was bad to go barefoot outside in the summer. 
** It also bears the distinction of being located on the geographic center of the state, which yay?
*** Yes, puttered. That's the noise that Chiquita makes when she knows we're searching for a car to replace her, okay?
**** So he kicked it over accidentally and was trying to set it back up with his foot. Well, that failed and it fell to the side. He tripped over the cone as he was trying to pick it back up and, after he set it upright, it fell over again because ... I don't know, gravity? The cone hates him?? He caught it with his foot and then tried to straighten it out, it fell down again. He tried five more times to set this cone up and each time, he failed miserably. He gave up and walked away, flipping the cone the bird. Three and I just could not stop laughing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Have the Worst Luck with Cars, Part X: A New Leaf???

Why, yes, we do still have the Chevy Aveo. She's currently sitting in the parking lot, pouting because this past weekend, we used her to look for her replacement. And the entire time, she was acting like a whiny bitch, sputtering and making weird noises that had not been occurring before or since. It's like she just knew.

Anyway, we woke up early to go look at a Subaru that both Three and I really wanted. It was pristine: 1994 Subaru Legacy, with only 170k on it, and for Subarus? That's amazing. A friend of ours had a Subaru that lasted up until 500k, and the only reason it didn't continue onward was because the damned tires literally fell off the car. I had texted the guy selling it the night before and said we would come look at it, cash in hand, in the morning, but by the time we were out and moving, the guy was all, "Haha, sorry, guys. I already sold it."
No caption really needed.
Oh. Well, awesome. We were functioning on less than 4 hours of sleep and now we would have no new car. Both Three and I were disappointed, but I think I was a little bit more. I guess I was just tired of dealing with Aveos. I mean, I couldn't really blame the man for selling to the first person who got there. But I was definitely slightly peeved. Thankfully, we had a few more options and, after eating a little breakfast, headed down to Lewisburg to look at a 1993 Lincoln Town Car that only had 94k on it.

The drive down there was hopeful, but all of that was dashed when we saw and drove the car. Seriously, it was ... bracing. The paint job was in decent shape but the windshield had a giant crack in it (that curiously wasn't mentioned in the ad, huh), and the interior was a little on the shabby side. I'm not one for appearances, particularly if the car drives well, but it was reaching my threshold of delapidatedness: the driver's side handle was ripped off and it looked like a pack of dogs had run through, tearing up the seats slightly, before they vacuumed it out. And then the actual drive. Ugh. Within the first few minutes, the car started swerving; at first, I thought it was Three's lack of driving abilities*, but it turned out the air ride had completely gone kaput. And then the engine light came on, and THEN the engine sounded like it was struggling to run. I looked at Three and we both just sighed. Square one. And it didn't help that the guy selling it was a total asshat when we told him we weren't buying the car. He all but called my husband an idiot.
You, sir, are an excellent salesman.
We got back on the road, headed home (and for Naptime), when Three saw the car he lusted for since his teens on the side of the road: an old school VW bug that is for sale. He essentially begged me to go back and look at it, and I'm not about to tell him he can't when we've just had two giant fails in car-searching. He called up the guy who's number is listed on the for sale sign and then gleefully told me that the seller wants exactly what we have for the car. I was a little skeptical, but Three was just so thrilled and child-like that I was just like, "Well, okay! Awesome!!!"

Now, there's a little backstory to this one. Three had bought a 1971 (I think) VW Super Beetle when he was younger that he'd completely restored to what he called "cherry condition." It was bright red convertible and he loved that thing. Then his younger sister stole it and wrecked it on a dirt road because she's an entitled bitch. Then he sees this:
Not this actual image. Because ha, we were in the middle of BFE and the car was at a gas station that had pumps with no credit card swipey things.
And all those positive memories of being a teenager with an awesome retro car come flooding back and, well, man turns into boy.

So, the guy, looking like a younger, camo-wearing Santa Claus, drove out to let us test-drive the Beetle, and I saw a side of Three that amuses me: the three-year old side. He was all giddy and excited and about ready to walk up to the guy and slap what cash we had in his hand. Then it turned out that Three misheard the guy on the phone; he wanted ten times what we had.

It's a strange thing to see your husband wilt, coming down from a nostalgic high, but the guy seemed convinced he had a sale, even when Three said, "We've got a few things we need to get taken care of, but we have your number." I didn't like lying to the guy, but after the earlier encounter with the creepy used car salesman, I wasn't about to change Three's story. As we pulled away, Three stared at the Beetle with this "It was not meant to be" expression, and we then made a pact that buying another Beetle was one of our goals in life. A silly little goal, but a goal nonetheless.

After a few more busts, Three suggested that we go back to the place where he'd bought Chiquita. I gave him some side-eye - I mean, come on, look at Chiquita, look at your choices - but he was quick to remind me that the owner of the lot had told him that the Aveo wasn't necessarily the best choice for reliability. I wasn't entirely convinced and continued to look at various vehicles listed on Craigslist within our price range. But, he was driving the car so whatever. I was ready to go home and rest in preparation for some more searching, since it seemed like I was seeking the damned ark of the covenant. Should it be that damned hard to find a car that wasn't eighty bazillion dollars or flat out a piece of junk?

Well, my question was answered:
Meet the Count of Monte Cristo, aka The Count, aka Edmond Dantes.
Neither of us was expecting any kind of decent car, at least not one that we could afford. After test driving another car (a Monte Carlo that I had picked out), we hopped into the Lincoln Town Car of our dreams. Seriously, this car is amazing. They took out the air ride apparatus (thank you, GOD), so it drives so smoothly. There's climate control and a sunroof**. And hahahaha, it has a tape deck and cigarette trays. Ahh, the 90s.

Since Three had purchased his last car with them (and consistently paid and was, like, friendly and shit), the owner of the lot gave us an awesome deal (lowered the price and the interest rate) and we'll be paying off the Count in less than two years. Three let me drive the new car to get some more gas, and OMG, it was beautiful. No smoke coming from the hood, no sputtering, no bouncing from the tire that consistently (and inexplicably) loses pressure. And the sound system? It actually sounds like music, instead of music as played through a tin can. And did I mention that it will be ours in less than two years? Because TWO YEARS. Possibly sooner, especially since we're planning on paying a little more each month. We've even redone our budget, like you do as a responsible adult, to compensate.


The moral of this story is I GOT MY LAND-YACHT, BITCHES. I don't even care about anything else***.

* I love Three. I do. But his driving skills are definitely shitty. How he has not been killed before now baffles me and only proves that God loves him.
** Remember that we have been driving Chiquita for two years. And Roxy, about six years younger than the Count, was thirty times crappier. So yes, climate control instead of on and off dials is a leap in the right direction.
*** I just noticed that this is the first car ever that I'm referring to as a "he." Is it too late to rename it Countess?? :(

Actual Conversation, Dated 11/21/2012 @ 12:14A

Me: Honey, why do you have a smiley face drawn on your arm?
Three: Huh?
Me: You have a smiley face drawn on your arm.
Three: Yeah.
Me: Why?
Three: Oh, because I was making fun of Don.
Me: ...
Three: He likes to show off his tattoos because he's intimidated by my arms*, so I decided to use a Sharpie to draw a smiley face.
Me: ...
Three: It was really funny. The guys all laughed.
Me: ... I'm sure they did. How long will that take to wear off?
Three: I dunno. A few days?
Me: Yay.

* His arms are pretty epic and were a definite deciding factor on whether or not I would like to procreate with him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Life and Times After Bankruptcy

The mail has become a strange source of amusement this year, partly due to the fact that we filed for bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2012. In exchange for final notices (yay!), we are now getting loan offers and credit card applications (boo!). Damned vultures is what they are, knowing that you can't file for bankruptcy again for nearly a decade. Fuckers. 

Our lawyer and debt counselor* told us this would happen, and for the most part, we've been able to laugh about most of it. Within about a week of our court hearing, we started finding these overly enthusiastic post cards mixed in with our utility bills, telling us that we, too, could rebuild our credit! CAPS! BRIGHT COLORS!! EXCLAMATION POINTS FOR NO REASON!!! It was like all these companies hired Robert Ludlum to write their advertising. Then the auto loans came, and the various banks decided to get in on the action. See also: for-profit universities.
Because ... we obviously have money?
After the initial surge of ridiculous SPEND MONEY NOW THAT YOU'VE WIPED THE SLATE CLEAN shit, things calmed down a bit, but the amount of mail we get is still astronomically higher than before we filed. Before, we could go weeks without getting any new mail. Not even a Brookstone catalog. After? Ha. Our mailman actually came up to me one day and asked me if he could just drop our pile of mail in front of our door. To be fair, our mail boxes are about half the size of a child's shoebox, so anything more than about two letters is enough to force him to shove them in there. 

Honestly, it felt as if someone had, instead of giving out my email to these ass clowns, they gave my address and then said, "Onetwothree GO!!" I kinda wanted to point the finger at our lawyer but figured (hoped) that he wouldn't do that sort of thing. It's not like I couldn't just throw it all away, which I totally did, after I decided that my idea of making a cautionary visual tale to others who would file for bankruptcy might introduce a little thing called a lawsuit into my life and no, thanks. I've had about enough of court rooms**. Although I still kind of want to create a website or some type of educational pamphlet about our experience. Hm, food for thought.

Anyway, it was pretty easy to sort through the crap mail and the things we needed to keep, but Three and I still like to open a few of them, just to see what the company or whatever is trying. My favorites are usually the payday advance ones because they are just so incredibly ludicrous. I mean, come ON, dudes. I have no desire to pay you, like, 200% interest.
How about you burst into flame instead?
Three likes the auto loans, if only for the fact that he knows that they think we're just chomping at the bit to buy a new car***. That's what poor people do, obviously. Buy things we don't need. They're also the most obnoxiously colored pieces of paper, so they're easy to spot.

But the creme de le creme came in the mail today. The second we saw the logo on the envelope, Three and I erupted into laughter. Capital One was trying to get us to sign up for a credit card.

Capital One was one of our debts that was lumped in with our bankruptcy and one of the companies that Three had been tangling with for years. I won't go into the nitty gritty here, but let's just say that Three told them that they could go fuck themselves after the following happened: 1) they told him he could pay a certain amount to stay current and 2) the next day, they said he had to pay $2000 or else ... something. They weren't really too clear with the penalties, but Three stood his ground. He told them who he'd spoken to the day before and that he'd paid the smaller amount over the phone. He then tried to work with them to get a payment plan set up, but they were pretty firm in their "pay us this much or ELSE" stance. This argument, as repetitive as it was, was played out over about a six month period before Three basically said, "Fuck you, assholes. You aren't working with me here."  

They apparently don't keep records of people who tell them to fuck themselves, though, since at this very moment, I have a "NO ANNUAL FEE OUR LOWEST INTRO RATE****" letter right in front of me. First, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, Capital One, you are dumb. Do you not remember our epic over-the-phone fights? Hahahahahahahahaha! Now that I have that out of the way, second, there is no way in hell we're getting a credit card right now. I've talked to our current bank about our options to rebuild credit in the future, but right now, we're fine doing cash only. We're not planning on buying a house any time soon, and credit cards scare me, anyway. 

This just baffles me, though. I guess I'm naive when it comes to thinking that people are basically alright. Sure, there are the scummy jerkfaces who get off on making other people's lives miserable or focus solely on themselves, but all in all, I think most people just try to do the right thing. And then companies, which all of us know are legally "people," come around and blow my theory out of the water. They are preying on people like us. Luckily for Three and me, we're fairly intelligent people who just throw them the side-eye as we rip up their letter, but there are people out there who will be completely oblivious to the fact that raptors have them in their sights. And that just makes me hate them even more, knowing that they'll screw those people over for a very, very small amount of money in comparison to what they have. Assholes. 

I'm thinking of sending the return envelope back with coupons for Summer's Eve douches. Because I'm, you know, mature and shit. 

* Okay, it was a poorly edited online program that we were forced to complete in order to file for bankruptcy, but I like to call it our debt counselor. It sounds less sad. And yes, I spent quite a bit of time reading over the grammatical errors and thinking, "How did this get approved for public viewing? This is atrocious."
** Between bankruptcy court, which is a whole other story, and the federal child pornography case I had to serve as a jury member on for two weeks back in 2006, I'm about done with our legal system. 
*** Which we kind of are, but that's beside the point. We don't want a "new" car because we're sick of the old one. We want a new car because our current one could crap out on us at any time. 
**** It goes from 0% introductory rate to 22.9% after one year, with a penalty APR of 29.4%. I have to give them credit here, though. On all of the other credit card offers we've gotten, this chart is really small, but I'm thinking that recent legal trouble has them all paranoid. Yep, that's three different links. And they all make me giggle with glee. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Have the Worst Luck with Cars, Part IX: Yeah, I Am Officially Done with Aveos

So. We meet again, Bad Luck Car Fairy. I swear, I hate you and wish you were dead. And I don't say that about every fake fairy I come across. But you? You can rot in Fairy Hell.

Anyway, Chiquita's kind of been acting weird the past few weeks, but we were all, "Oh, lahdeedah, you are an Aveo and you could die on is at any moment and we drive on faaaaiiiithhhhhh!"
Three adds a seductive shimmy in between the jazz hands but he's a more daring physical artiste than I.
You kind of have to be that blindly optimistic when dealing with anything Aveo, as you can probably recall from my bitching about them at every chance I get.

Now, do not fear, the bitch is driveable*. It's just that there's a rag in place of the oil cap and oil nearly everywhere in the ... engine area. I don't know what it's called; I'm not a car person. Shut up. Moving on. I don't really know how the oil cap was misplaced. It could have been gone for months and I wouldn't have known the difference. Except that I probably totally could because I noted as I was driving Three into work that it was smoking a little bit more than usual**.

He pooh-poohed my concern with a, "I tell you every time what's going on and you're freaking out again," and I half-heartedly agreed with him. Ever since Roxy went out in a blaze of glory, I've been a little on edge with cars + fires, but can you really blame me? I mean, for fuck's sake, my leg caught fire once; I'm allowed to be a little skittish.

I dropped Three off at work and idled in the parking lot for a minute or two talking to one of his coworkers and one of our mutual friends, oddly enough about 1) the smoke and 2) the fact that our car is a piece of absolute shit. I made it about ten minutes away when I got a call from Three, who was a little uncharacteristically gruff.

Three: You need to come back to the plant.
Me: Now?
Three: Yes.
Me: Why?
Three: Because [friend] said that he saw a big puddle of oil left where you were sitting and the engine will lock up if you lose too much and just come back here so I can see what's going on.
Me: Are you mad at me? What did I do?
Three: I'm just busy at work and ugh. I hate our car.

After pulling into the parking lot, Three came out, looking not too thrilled with the situation, but thankfully, he's also a mechanic and yay***. With one look under the hood, he sighed, "Great." Like I said above, the oil cap has magically gone missing. I don't know who steals an oil cap or if the stupid thing just jumped shit. Maybe it's better if we're left in the dark. Anyway, the afore mentioned rag was stuffed into the hole, and we cleaned up the oil on the manifold as best we could.

Now, for some reason, I was tasked with finding the replacement oil cap. Actually, Three had to return to work, where he apparently does stuff for money, so I guess I really was the only choice. However, I am very limited in my car terminology knowledge. The only reason I know that there's a manifold (and I'm not really sure what exactly the manifold is?) is because Three told me so, and he wouldn't be on the phone or in person with me. Don't get me wrong. I can change a tire, my oil, check the pressure - you know, basic stuff, but that's about the extent of my car know-how. After spending my entire life as a woman, I kind of expect people at the car places to try and rip me off****. I do, though, have an ability to read people pretty well, so I've been able to avoid most scams. On the phone, it's a little easier to do, so I took to calling the various locations that all located at least fifteen minutes away from where I am. None are located in Cool Springs, where Three works, which is bizarre to me. They have literally everything else, but not auto parts shops. And guess what. None of them carry the oil cap. Not a single one. Not even the fucking Chevy dealer, and the dealer was the only one who could order it. Of course.
It's like they hate me as much as I hate them.
Luckily, I got all the words right and the guy didn't seem like he was trying to price-gouge me. I'm still letting Three pick up the oil cap on Friday, though. I'm planning on spending the whole day on the computer, catching up on NaNo*****.

But this just got both of us thinking about a couple of things.

First, we're trying to start a family and having reliable and safe transportation is kind of important. And Chiquita is not really either; it's small and could possibly just crap out on us whenever. I mean, look at what happened to Roxy. One day, she was working fine; the next? Dead and useless. Now, we have Three's old boss partly to thank for that, due to his shoddy work, but still.

Second, since I'm self-employed and just starting out my writing career, we're kind of dependent on Three's income right now, and if he can't get to work because of a crapped out car? Yeah. That won't work. It might be easier when and if we get a place closer to his job, but right now, that's not really an option.

So, to Craigslist we go. I've found a couple of options, all of which are awesomely 80s land yachts:
1995 Lincoln Town Car
1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88
Neither of these is the actual car we're looking at, but seriously, I get excited each time I look at them. I have wanted one of these giants since Gladys went to Car Heaven. For those of you who didn't have the pleasure of knowing the wonderfulness that was Gladys, she was a 1995 Buick Century that might as well have been one of these:
Say what you want about the Nazis; they knew how to build tanks.
It was a beautiful piece of machinery. And if I find a decent example of a Buick Century, I will probably try to persuade Three that we need that car. Except that now that I'm looking at the other cars, I'm a little torn. I love the boxy look, and the town car reminds me of my mom's parents' car when I was younger. That thing was as old as I was and it didn't stop working until ... I think I was almost out of high school? Now, it did catch fire in my grandfather's garage, but I think that was kind of a freak accident. That's what I'm choosing to believe, anyway.

And I'm hoping that maybe by buying a car that isn't necessarily prone to, oh, you know, suddenly break down because the manufacturers kind of thought it would be okay just to kind of throw some shit in a box and shake it around and then go, BOOM: CAR. Then again, my car luck tends to follow me, but I'm a positive thinker.

Damn, I just don't wanna do a IHtWLwC, Part X.

* Okay, so the stupid spellcheck on here says that both driveable and drivable are incorrect (or so say the squiggly red lines), so whatever. Ironically, so is spellcheck. :shrugs:
** For clarification purposes, a leaky valve cover gasket is the reason that the damned thing occasionally has a case of the oil-fume farts. We just haven't had the money or time to fix it. Mostly money, though. Sigh.
*** In details that will make my mother vomit, I find him incredibly sexy when he's sweaty and covered in oil. Goes back to Ye Olde Daiyes, when we were young and he was still employed by Satan R Us (aka Valvoline).
**** I'm looking at you, Firestone.
***** The election kind of kept me occupied on Tuesday, and then I spent all Wednesday trying to catch up on all the errands I was going to run before the oil cap went AWOL.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh, 80s movies, how I love you.

Three and I regularly watch cheesy action movies from the 80s as a way to unwind, and let's face it: the 80s were teeming with the cheese. The fact that films like "Robocop" were considered good (and I'm not even talking about the facts) makes me question the movie-going audiences of that time period. I consider myself a 90s kid, since my first solid memories from the 80s were in, like, 1989, and they're shady at best.* So a lot of these movies that I'm watching now were out when I was a wee bairn, but I don't remember them and probably wasn't allowed to see them. I mean, the first scary movie I ever saw (to me, at least) was "Jurassic Park," and I spent the majority of the time, particularly when the kids were in the kitchen being hunted by velociraptors, hiding in my father's armpit, asking him if it was over. I was a giant pansy.

Oh, who am I kidding? I still am.

Anyway, on the other hand, Three is seven years older than me, so he has pretty firm recollections of these. I constantly side-eye him as we're snuggled in bed with the TV on because we went into the experience with his promises that they're really good. I guess I should have learned my lesson when he told me that "Falling Down" was a happy movie (hint: it's not), but I am also the type of person that has to experience something firsthand in order to determine an opinion. As of late, he's been a little more honest with me as to the quality of the movies that he's having me watch, and he has told me on several occasions that he kept me in the dark so my incredibly sarcastic comments would be more genuine. To be fair, my commentary trends in the acerbic, anyway, but really reaches its peak when I'm angry; and really, really poorly developed movies get me a little Hulk-Smashy. Or at least slightly perturbed.

This weekend, we watched "Conan the Destroyer," mainly because "Conan the Barbarian" wasn't on Netflix. I'd never seen either and was kind of intrigued when I read that Grace Jones, that walking piece of art that she is, was in it.
THIS is what "fierce" is, Tyra. Not "smiling with your eyes."
It started out promising: music that sounded like it was yoinked directly from "The A-Team," a wise-cracking thief sidekick, outfits that made me wonder if they just straight-up stole costumes from old Star Trek episodes, Grace Jones (see above), AND Arnold punched a camel who spit on him within the first 30 minutes of the movie. It was a little weird seeing Olivia D'Abo playing a character so different from Nicole Wallace from Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but she played the genre-required Pouty Pouty Princess to a T without making me wish for her death. Win for her, I guess.

Now, the plot is ridiculous. Which, duh. It's a fucking Conan movie. That's like watching "Die Hard" and expecting John McClain to have an emotional breakthrough as to why he can't resolve terrorist actions with love and understanding, quit the police force, and become a Buddhist monk. Basically, Conan is recruited after enduring a pretty brutal evaluation of his skills where he has to fight a bunch of guys on horses to the death while at a shrine, and the lady (who when I first saw her exclaimed, "IT'S A ROMULAN!!") who had orchestrated Extreme Interview asks him to lead her niece, Jehnna, aka Pouty Pouty Princess, aka PPP, on some sort of journey to get a jewel and a horn to ... resurrect a god? They're not really that specific, although she does promise that she'll help Conan resurrect Valeria, his love interest from the first movie, which I have not seen. So Conan agrees to help; we meet Wilt Chamberlain as Bombaata and Jehnna, who immediately wants Conan (she is a virgin and is sadly inept at anything sexual - a perfect example of why Abstinence Only education is stupid). Bombaata is secretly supposed to kill Conan after Jehnna gets the jewel and the horn and blah blah blah. I couldn't really focus too much on what was happening because of two things: 1) Arnold's giant pecks and 2) Wilt's sheer height.
They could be characters separate from Conan.
No comment needed.
Anyway, then you get to my favorite part: Grace Jones as Zula makes her first appearance. I kept calling her Grace Jones, though, since she can never be anything else to me. She is kicking the ass of a bunch of people, even if she is tied up to a stake (she was part of a raiding party of which she is the only survivor), and Conan kind of helps her by cutting the rope on her leg.

Then they rescue Akiro, also from the first movie, from cannibals, who are wanting to eat his magical flesh because they want his magic ... or something. I'm going to discuss Akiro more in depth below, but he at this time is kind of useless. He can somehow find underwater doors and figure out how PPP was kidnapped by a weird guy in a glass-talc-silver castle in the middle of a lake (it was a pterodactyl made of smoke, because why the hell not?). Thanks to Akiro, they get inside this castle thing, where we're introduced finally to this wizard dude that's apparently important but hasn't really been explained. And things go like this: Conan gets trapped in a mirror room where he's attacked by a gorilla-creature-from-the-black-lagoon-uruk-hai-wannabe who for some reason is wearing a red hooded cape and then smashes mirrors and then throws his sword into one of the mirrors and kills the wizard and ... it gets a little fuzzy from there.

Then stuff just kind of happens. There are a ton of plot holes throughout the rest of the movie, which actually inspired this conversation:

Me: Wait, how did they get out of the cave? They closed the opening by removing the horn from the thing, which is guarded by the bad guys, anyway, and Barbaata -
Three: Bombaata.
Me: Whatever. Bombaata collapsed the other cave exit. So how did they get out?
Three: It's in the script.
Me: Oh. Okay.

Now, like I said above, I didn't really get too upset when it got ludicrous because it's a fucking Conan movie. The comically bloody fight scenes were appropriately ridiculous. Conan's refusal of sex with PPP was a little out of character, in my opinion, but she was a little too pure for his liking, I guess. Based on my knowledge (aka reading Wikipedia) of the previous film, Valeria was a pirate queen who was probably well-versed in The Sexytimes, while PPP couldn't really understand what Grace Jones meant by, "Go and grab him." The ending kind of reminded me of "The Phantom Menace," where the story just kind of stops, nobody learns anything, and there are hints of a sequel. Oh, and there's also no sex at all, despite the lack of clothing on the majority of the women**.

All in all, it was pretty gloriously terrible, as was expected, but I am a little disappointed that I couldn't even add it to my Awesomely Bad Movies list***. The racism was just a little too much for me. I mean, they kinda made strides with the African-American characters (Grace Jones' character's name, Zula, notwithstanding), but they completely undid that - for me, at least - with their treatment of Akiro, the token Asian. First, the character was designed with Chinese costumes and facial hair but was given a Japanese name because ... well, honestly, Hollywood thinks all Asians are interchangeable. Second, the director has the actor, Mako, who is Japanese-American and doesn't really have an accent in real life, speak in the special way that hahaha obviously all Asians speak: slow with stunted pronunciation. And of course, Akiro is a wizard who just kinda goes around, rubs his hands together, and makes grunting noises. He's basically a very, very boring Dragonball Z episode. Now, I'm not Asian, but this portrayal is still offensive to me. I know, I know, I shouldn't get so upset about something that is nearly thirty years old. But this movie was a big fucking hit when it came out in 1984, which means that attitude was shown to large numbers of people. Whether or not they picked up on it at the time doesn't really matter. The racism toward Asians, particularly toward Vietnamese due to the then very recent Vietnam War, was just so pervasive that it was almost expected in film.

Not every Cheesy 80s Movie Night brings out Deep Thoughts with Juju. Most of the time, Three and I just giggle at the insanity. A few weeks ago, we watched "The Karate Kid" and walked away with a bunch of "Sweep the leg, Juju" moments prepared, and Three showed me how the crane kick was probably the dumbest move you could do and can totally be defended against; but that's about it. "Terminator 2" had us drafting up fake propaganda for a "Kill John Connor as a Teenager" campaign and also trying to figure out what Linda Hamilton did to get so buff. The main reason that Three and I watch these movies is because we want mindless entertainment; Three wants it because he has to engage his brain at work all week in ways that just tire him, and I am constantly exercising the creative parts of mine. And honestly, we love critiquing the shit out of those movies. It's what we call fun.

I think next week we shall watch "Predator." I'm kinda in an Arnie mood lately, so it's either that or "Total Recall." Any other suggestions??

* One of my earliest memories is from when I was pretty young; we're talking two and a half or so. And it's a flash of a memory: I remember thinking, "Wow, my parents can lie? That's so not fair," when my mom was trying to pass off her schnauzer, Booshka, as a baby, wrapped in a blanket, because she didn't want to leave her in the car while we slept in a hotel room. I don't have any context, though, but there you have it.
** Grace Jones bares her ass the entire time. Well, save for a single tail that covers her butt crack most of the time. Never let it be said that Grace Jones was ever or will ever be subtle.
*** This includes "Showgirls," "Earth Girls Are Easy," "The Expendables," anything with Nicholas Cage, "Demolition Man," "Hard Target," "Surf Ninjas," "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "Xanadu," and "Waterworld." This is not an exhaustive list, just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.
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