Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Be that way...

I called to wish my friend Req a Happy Birthday today. I asked if she liked her birthday present... as we had some snow on the ground and I was taking complete credit for it. She gushed on and on and ON about the purity and loveliness that is snow and how blessed her day is because of it.

Then I realized my birthday is in August. The most I could hope for is a tornado or hurricane passing through.

Req's birthday gets a pretty blanket of fluffy white stuff. My birthday gets death and destruction.

Life is so not fair.

Happy Birthday Req!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Are You Dressed...

... like a dead country music icon?

1) Because its Valentine's Day

2) Because I am having a bad hair day

3) Because my face has broken out

4) Because I started my period

5) All of the above

So BACK OFF before I hack you to pieces with a kitchen knife AND feel good about it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

"You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat"

In the summer of 1975 I was 11 years old and there was the newest sort of horror film on the big screen. It was horrific not for men dressed as women and stabbing through a shower curtain, but because the film depicted something that the 11 year-old brain could conceive as a possibility.

Especially in the summer. Especially right before a family vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida.

I am talking about the movie Jaws. Like most young people, I watched the commercials advertising this movie – complete with the creepy music – and wondered at the mysteries of the deep blue ocean. I never thought my father would actually deign to take my family and me to this film, but away we went.

We traveled to the old Belle Meade Theater in Nashville one evening and plopped ourselves down in the cushioned seats with soft drinks and popcorn perched precariously between my younger brother and myself. The theater darkened. The creepy music began and film life was recreated for me in an instant.

I watched an almost-nude woman swim through the ocean as her drunken boyfriend passed out on the shore. I sat transfixed as said woman thrashed about and clung to a buoy for dear life and my eyes widened when she went under and never came back for air. I laughed at the dialogue between a group of fisherman and Matt Hooper and came out of my seat when the disembodied head popped out of the hull of a stranded boat. (I think popcorn went flying through the air).

The following week my family was indeed on Daytona Beach and I flatly refused to enter the water. My father, never one to cower to fear, promptly threw me over his shoulder and marched to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. And. Dropped. Me. In. It. He stood in my way and did not allow retreat and I accepted that while I could indeed become shark bait, perhaps Jaws would see my father’s bulk and determine that I was not worth the trouble when there was such meat food to eat. Selfish of me, I know… but it is a shark-eat-shark world when you are up to your neck in the briny deep.

However, I loved the movie. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I will still watch it to this day if I am surfing the channels and happen upon it. I have my own DVD whenever the mood strikes to relive my childhood or to quote a movie. Thus began my love for this film and for all the actors and characters attached to it.

I loved the sarcastic, yet intelligent wit that was found in Matt Hooper’s character. My favorite line of his:

“I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE _____!!”

I loved that Robert Shaw appeared in this film (as I had seen him as a villain in a James Bond movie) and he gave a stunning performance as he described having been on the Naval vessel Indianapolis that sank during WWII:

“… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'.”

But the most memorable quote from that film (for me) comes from Chief Brody, who has finally seen the shark for the first time (with the rest of the audience)

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Roy Schneider, Chief Brody, died today of a staph infection. He was 75 years old. He had been treated for cancer over the past years and the acting world as well as the community at large will surely miss him, as he was a proponent for arts in education. He was a fine actor who received a couple of Oscar nominations, though the trophy itself eluded him.
A well-loved actor left his mark on the world and the community around him. His talent will certainly be missed.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gotta Love Super Tuesday

While I was huddled in the hallway of my home praying the storms away, I had family members in Arkansas oblivious to my pain and fear.

But, at least, they stood close enough to be caught on film. The bottom left is my cousin, who is standing in front of my aunt (hogging the limelight! Ha!) The little boy on the front row is her oldest son and the man in the denim shirt behind him is her father, my favorite uncle. (Of course, he is also my ONLY uncle.)

But where, oh where, is her youngest son? He'd be right about here:

Not even the promise of a political landslide victory will keep him from snoozing away.

Poor little guy. Ah well...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Be Careful of that 75th year!

I am typically not one to warn people of impending birthday doom; however, if your 75th birthday is even remotely comparable to my mother’s 75th birthday… you are going to want to plan ahead.

1) Plan ahead to "fake out" your true age.
As my maternal unit approached her 75th birthday, it appeared she wanted to make sure the world didn't "realize" she had reached such a milestone. So, two weeks prior to the birthday she felt she needed to move a microwave and a stand-alone freezer. By. Herself. She did pretty well until she twisted the wrong way on the knee she'd had surgery on. This found her propped up in the bed with a large amount of pillows under her knee and ice packs over her knee. She hobbled along for a few days with a goodly amount of determination that she was "better" and had no need for a physician.

Having finally achieved her walking status, the week prior to her 75th day found her moving a large space heater from one room to another. With. No. Help. This became problematic when she dropped said space heater On. Her. Bad. Knee.

Strike Two. Back to the bed for a few days. Alternating between ice packs and heating pads and swallowing Advil, as if it were the finest chocolate. No plans for medical treatment in her future.

Never let them see you age.

2) Plan ahead to receive pornography on your computer.
Considering that she has recently retired, the maternal unit made a decision to cash in her 401K plan. About two days prior to her 75th birthday, she made an online request for the necessary forms from her 401K provider. So, when she received an email with the subject line "Here's What You Requested" she logically assumed she was receiving her requested forms.

Never assume.

What she received instead is nothing that she has ever requested online before. Namely still photographs of writhing bodies in various stages of ecstasy and completely unclothed. Those artistic works also attached a virus to her computer and now she cannot seem to get away from said writhing bodies. Nor can we seem to remove them from the hard drive. (Attach tacky comment here)

This wasn't the most disturbing of developments for me; rather, my father's interest in said writhing bodies. My father, who is only eight months younger than my mother, never comes near the computer.

"What kind of porn did you get?"

"What do you mean, what kind? It was porn."

"What did it look like?"

"Nekkid people."

"What were they doing?"


"Were they still pictures or was it moving pictures?"

"Still pictures. It was pictures of (_______)"


Thankfully the discussion ended there before I had to intervene with a lecture to my very adult parents. Some things I remain grateful for.

3) Plan ahead for Home Repairs
A 75th milestone is not one to move about with stealth or guile. It will smack you in the head with the reminder that you are not invincible... and neither is your 40 year old home. Gremlins will attack and they may head for the electrical system.

I have warned my parents of the inevitability of our failing electrical system at Casa De Bell for some time now. I said this because we have replaced the roof (thanks to a hail storm), replaced the plumbing (thanks to some frozen pipes), and replaced the heating and cooling system (thanks to the age and condition of the old unit). It only stood to reason that the next phase would be the electrical wiring.

Our home is very old. I believe it was originally built in the 50s. Then, the owner built onto the original structure two more times. We are powered with fuseboxes. Five of them. When we first moved into the house, we went through and mapped out which fuses went to which lines and we keep a piece of paper with notes telling us which fuses operate which rooms, etc.

We replace fuses all the time. We could probably take the amount of money we have spent on fuses for the past twenty years and build another addition on to our home. Or a swimming pool in the back yard. One was never certain what caused the fuse to blow. Perhaps you were running a load of laundry and decided to make a pot of coffee. Or you were watching TV and turned on a lamp. The fuse would blow. There was no rhyme or reason.

So, when the lights in the living room started flickering recently I said that all encompassing phrase: uh-oh. (It stinks to be a prophet, when you know said prophecy is going to cost a lot of money!) We lived with flickering lights for a couple of weeks before we actually lost all power to the living room and kitchen.

On. The. 75th. Birthday.

The maternal unit did not take this latest blow very well. But, she was able to do an internet search (beyond the porn) to find an electrician.

Mr. Sparky.

(Insert bad attempt at humor over the name in light of the recent pornographic material here)
Mr. Sparky is a company that does work on electrical problems for the home. The representative we had was a wonderfully nice fellow who braved hurricane conditions to travel to our home and see what he could do. We had a number of problems, all of which were fixed in a goodly amount of time, and Mr. Sparky left with the intention of returning the next day to give us an estimate on what it would take to bring our electrical system into the 21st century.

It will take a lot. It is taking place even as I type. It will take an electrical crew an entire day to complete. But then we will love life and everyone in and around our circles of influence as the gremlins will have been exorcised back to the pits of hell.

The youngest of the siblings took the 75th celebrant and his two older siblings out to dinner to celebrate. He took us to a Sushi bar/Hibachi grill for good food and relaxation for the maternal unit who was inundated with emotions from having received porn and a large estimate for electrical work. But, all was well with the world as our Grill Master sliced and diced before us.

Until the cell phone rang.

The power was back off at Casa De Bell and Mr. Sparky was nowhere to be found.

But, we have held the gremlins at bay for the past two days. Our freezer was emptied and foodstuffs were taken to the church for storage, and we figured out how to keep the power on in the two affected rooms.

Turn on the stove.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. When the lights and power go out in the living room and kitchen, simply turn the knob of any stove eye and the power will return. For approximately 15 minutes.

Gremlins. You gotta love 'em.

Happy Birthday Mom.