Devil Dog 2005

Glorious absolute indolence. Sweet.

I woke Saturday morning after insufficient sleep – kid clatter, dog bark, dish crash, cupboard thumps. One of those times when you open your eyes against their will, and try as you might to get back to sleep, you can’t. Very well then. Up. But the unseen Duty Genies were lashing me as I walked down the steps: all the things you have to do today; however will you get them done with a head full of schist? So I was grumpy and annoyed until I realized that if I didn’t get anything done, it would be okay. It would be just fine. See, Friday night I usually lay out the pages for the week to come; I put on an old radio show, and do mindless resizing of the pictures, scan the stuff for the weekly update, write the matchbook, do the headers that say The Bleat and the day of the week, etc. If I do this Friday I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. One less thing. But my wife was busy Friday night; Gnat and I stayed up playing games, and my precious pre-positioning work time was wasted on parental interaction. Wasted!

Well, not really. We played Sorry, a wretched game that rivals Monopoly for the duration of its gameplay, but lacks the colorful urban flavor, unregulated capitalism, and imaginative landscape. I am a Giant Hat, recently freed from Jail, running past the Waterworks to buy a hotel! I love Monopoly. I was always one of those players who bought the cheap stuff and put up hotels ASAP, but even though I trusted my strategy I still felt inferior to the people who owned Broadway and Park Place.

Sorry is a vision of hell, frankly. Who designed this game? Sisyphus? It teaches several valuable lessons, such as the pleasure of revenge and the uselessness of initiative. But we played by Daddy Rules, not Mommy Rules, which is to say there were, in fact, rules. Then we did puzzles, played a game about the states – nothing more boring to an adult than a game about the states, but you can’t let on - and we were about to get out Uno when my wife returned home. Now: before newcomers to this page upbraid me for begrudging my daughter a few hours of daddy time, I should note that Friday she had no school. Another one of those “teacher training days,” where they cha-cha around the lounge and make pitchers of margaritas and perform withering, cutting impersonations of the most brown-nosing students. Or so I cruelly presume. (This was in addition to the two days off a few weeks ago, for a convention. You know, I’m a union member; I’m sure we have a convention, but it’s hardly mandatory. And in any case we still put a paper out. We also have had training up, and through the other side of, the wazoo at the paper. And we still put out a paper every day. ) We had knocked around all day doing this and that; we went shopping, made lunch, went to piano – and I had five radio interviews AND two newspaper deadlines as well. It ended in pizza, as all Fridays do; it ended with one for me and one for her and her alone, which was a tremendous thrill. Oh, we had a wonderful day. Period. But it was a relief to be relieved.

I was, however, oddly depressed. After a great & triumphant week, after the big publicity push, after all the hype and hoorah, it felt like nothing had happened. As if I expected bales of money to come thundering onto the lawn, or something. As if I expected the New York Times to review the silly little book. Well, actually, the New York Times will be reviewing the book next Sunday, as it turns out. So there’s that. But no money from heaven. No film offers from Hollywood. Hell, if they did option the book, they’d probably change the terrorists to Eastern European Neo-Nazis. Not that I have terrorists in the book. They’d probably put them in. Fargin’ Hollywood.

So I bade goodnight to all and watched a movie: “Judgment at Nuremburg.” A nice light little musical comedy. Why, three hours of Nazi trials just fly by. Went to bed around three. Yes! Three AM. That is my preferred hour to sleep, if I have a good head of steam. Before I hit the hay I walk the perimeter, check the doors, set the alarms, string the tripwires, and play find-the-dog. He’s usually on the sofa, a big warm dogpile ending in four ragged paws. Take a good faceful of that before you go up to bed.

It’s fine if your day doesn’t start with dog, but it ought to end with dog.

Saturday, as noted, I woke worried whether I’d get everything done. Weekends are like that: they’re all workdays, without the daily need to file two or pieces. Saturdays are the better of the two, since I can write all afternoon and feel as though I’m getting ahead. Well, to hell with it. I painted the tunnel vestibule. Months ago, you may recall, I dropped a 1.5 liter bottle of red wine down the steps, and the wine indelibly stained the white walls. I repainted with water-block paint, but it was the wrong hue. So off to the hardware store. It goes without saying that I got the wrong finish – semi-gloss, as opposed to flat. So now I have to repaint all the walls of the vestibule, but it needed it. Next week’s project.

Gnat came home from a Mommy Day shopping trip with a Barbie Pizza Hut restaurant set – cheap, unstable, prone to falling over, heavily branded with corporate logos. We spent half an hour putting it together and an hour and a half playing with it – but that’s next Saturday’s newspaper column. I got out the camera, and Gnat decided to do a commercial for the restaurant. Priceless: she parrots back all the bullet points of commercial-speak in fractured kid versions. “We have all the flavors your heart desires! It’s so hot, and hot, it burns you up, and it’s SO GREASY! So call 1-88. Or come by and take it away and don’t pay anything.”

I’d put the commercial up, but I get gently upbraided by people for putting her images up on the web, and I’m wondering if they’re right. And if I’m stupid for even wondering.

Come the evening, I just nerded out. Backed up, weeded, arranged, sorted, cleaned up the Closet Museum – why, I upgraded my FTP program, because that’s just the caution-to-the-wind kind of fellow I am. I assembled album art for 100 or so iTunes additions. I finished editing the October movie. I even replaced my desktop picture. This is no small thing. I make the change seasonally, to reflect, well, the seasons. But I used a frame grab of New York in the 30s from the new King Kong movie, and then decided: what the hell. Why not replace all the application and disk icons with retro images? Why not replace that godawful Word icon with a 1937 typewriter? And so on. By the time I was done my room was clean, the Closet Museum was perfect, the computer was backed up and rebacked up and super-organized, and the Barbie commercial was not only edited but set to music, converted, and moved onto the video iPod so I can bore people with the thing at work tomorrow. It’s rare, but it was one of those days when you can stand back from everything and say: ahh. Yes. Take a picture. Now die. Die happy!

Went downstairs, turned on the TV, looked through the Tivo menu to see what it had recorded for me: Yes! YES! “They Live”! Roddy Rowdy Piper’s finest movie! Although I have to say: if one says, as Roddy does, that “I came here chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum,” well, not only have you revealed yourself as a rather poor master of your own itinerary, you open yourself up for an offer of bubblegum from someone else.

Here – have some!

No, no thanks, I’m going to kick ass now.

But you said – perhaps – how about if you chew the gum, and then kick ass if you find yourself still inclined?

Shut up! Bend over! Present hindquarters! Brace for impact!

I’m just saying, you seemed to set up a false premise, and your tone indicates that ass kicking is somehow predicated on your lack of bubblegum, and – OW!

t’s not as good as I remembered, and the political allegory is ham-fistedly stupid, but it has its charms. And Roddy Piper is good. I’m sorry, but he is. I’m not sure what he does is acting, but he hits the marks and makes the right faces and has a certain quiet decency about him. Unlike the wretched Steven Seagal, he can narrow his eyes to indicate inner turmoil without looking as if he’s trying to pass a peach-pit through his urethra. Why, the IMDB biography says it all:

He hosted Pipers Pit which saluted the bad guys of professional wrestling. The most famous of which involved him smashing Jimmy Superfly Snuka over the head with a coconut. He was wrestlings most popular villan because of his feud with Hulk Hogan that culminated at Wrestlemania I. Piper has acted in action flicks since he went into semi-retirement after Wrestlemania III when he beat and shaved the late Adrian Adonis.

I think that puts Olivier in his place, no?

Sunday – well, nothing much. Wrote. And now I must write some more. Today: new matchbook & Quirk. Tomorrow: Screedblog returns, with highlights from my union newspaper. See you then.