Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Red vs. Blue quote of the day/week/pick your time increment:

Time...line? Time isn't made out of lines. It is made out of circles. That is why clocks are round.

Thank you, Private Caboose. I mean...it...almost...makes sense. As does most of what he says. Heh.

I love this show. Suck it, Blue!

Grif rules!

Yeah. I'm really tired. I think you can probably intuit that from my incredibly important and poignant post tonight.

At least the yearly audit is over (for my department, at least), and from all accounts, we got us another no-refund year. Sweet. And it's over for another year, which is super-sweet.

And...God in Heaven...but I totally don't ever want to do it again. I know I'm just the records person and it was a group effort, but I put in entirely too much overtime these last two weeks (haven't had a day off since Monday before last) and really...REALLY...don't want to go to work tomorrow, even just for a couple of hours. Guh.

Sleeeeeeeeep. Muuuuuuuusssssst sleeeeeeeeeep.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Odd Sidebar:

So, I'm pausing in my workaholic, over-time-inducing, DMH-audit-time-of-the-year fog to bring you a...well, I suppose you'd call it a public service announcement.

Now, we all know I don't like to rant here. I can count the number of times I've done so on one hand without using all the fingers. Or the thumb. However, sometimes, even I reach a breaking point.

Some asshole hacked my sister's website and blog. Yeah.

My sister, who is stressed to the max right now because That Man is a potty word not worth adding to my considerable cuss-debt and decided that they needed to move just as he's had hernia surgery and magically can't help. And doing so without Sis's express permission until the deal was all but done. And generally being a shit about the whole deal.

The new house is a mess. It might have been designed by either a retard or a drunk. Or a drunk retard. Either way, I've never even heard of a house so ill-suited to habitation. But he wanted it, so she's stuck with it. For at least two years, because they can't afford to move again.

So, she's having to move, can't spare the time to write (which is her only escape valve and is becoming her second mode of income), having all sorts of trouble with her internet connections because she relies on said connection to...ya know...WORK HER MAIN JOB...and some asshole hacks her site while she can't do a damn thing about it.

Why do people do stupid stuff like that? What possible thrill is there in stepping on someone who is already down? And who has never done anything so mean to anyone else?

Sis is one of those rare people who is just genuinely a good person. She's nice to waiters and waitresses. She chats casually with cashiers at the store. She makes people smile because she's simply kind. She's an excellent and loving mother. The best sister that has ever walked the planet. A loyal and understanding friend.

And some asshole had to throw just one more log on her personal bonfire.

Luckily, she's savvy enough that, when she finally got her connection working, she got almost everything back the way it's supposed to be. She's working out the kinks, but those are minor.

But still....

I'm not monumentally naive. I know people suck. I say it all the time: I can like individuals, but people as a whole just suck.

But...why? What possible thrill is there in sending out anonymous and random attacks against people who haven't so much as blinked at you? I can understand revenge. I can understand a challenge. But...where's the insult? Where's the difficulty?

I just don't get it. And it pisses me off that my sister, who doesn't need this stupidity making her current bad situation worse, had to spend her valuable and lamentably short spare moment fixing shit that should have never been messed up in the first place.

Good luck finding a sympathetic shoulder when someone bitches up your site, asshole. Whoever you are. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your pubic hair. May someone piss in your cereal. May you some day become aware in a painful and hopefully embarrassing place of the folly (and consequences) of your actions.

And may you get genital warts.

I'm just sayin.

I love you, Sis, and I'm sorry that people suck.

/rant

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dear Charlie:

So, we saw The Dark Knight.

Everyone and their grandma will tell you it's excellent, and they'd be right. So, instead of an unnecessary (and probably gushy) review, I'd much rather talk about the Joker. No, not about Heath Ledger, though his portrayal is particularly wicked.

The Joker. The ultimate villain.

See, I think I've finally determined what makes the Joker so impossible to beat (and why he's my beef with Tim Burton's Batman, and that only because they killed him). It's not that he's chaotic. It's not that he's heartless. It's not that he's not in it for profit.

It's that he's right.

Don't get me wrong. His strength does lie in chaos. The Joker in this flick carefully outlines why making a plan is fruitless. It's fruitless because it limits. If things don't go according to plan, they only have one way to go -- wrong. And therein lies his righteousness.

Because we humans are creatures of The Plan. When one little thing in The Plan goes wrong, we fall apart. Very few of us are capable of adjusting to that kind of fall-out-of-the-cracks, land-in-your-lap-and-wiggle chaos.

And when we find ourselves in chaos, we tend to turn on each other. In that, we're worse than animals.

And why?

Because we can reason. Because we can think ahead. Because...well, because we can see the worst case scenario, and very few of us can live with it.

The Joker, now...he's different. It's not that he can't see that worst case scenario. It's that he...can live with it. He has imagined the worst possible consequence of his actions, and he finds that risk acceptable. He wouldn't even hold it against whoever carried it out. That's just the way it goes, in his mind.

And because he has decided that he can accept the consequences of his actions, he is free to do as he wishes. He's free to upset The Plan.

He doesn't have to plan, see? He knows that we will. All he has to do is mess The Plan up. Stir the pot. Make us choose between our pseudo-civilized conscience and our baser instinct to save our own all-too-human asses.

That is why he's so chilling. That is why he's so effective as Batman's opposite. That is why they have to be so careful who they cast. And that is why I'm finally touched in some personal way by Heath Ledger's death.

Because no one else will nail that chaotic, beautifully logical freedom so well. I see that complete acceptance in his eyes, in his every move. Death doesn't scare him. Being maimed doesn't scare him. Being caught doesn't scare him. Having to improvise doesn't scare him. Thus, he always appears to be in complete control, contrary to the seeming randomness of his actions.

That control, that calmness in the face of chaos just lives in Ledger's eyes. Every moment he's on-screen.

Plus, he has a wicked-cool laugh. And that magic trick?

To die for. Ba-dum chink!

Heh. Sorry. Couldn't resist. You'll get it if you've seen it. Best. Magic Trick. EVER.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Funny Sidebar:

"You slap me again, and I'mma throw you a beatin."

God, I forgot how hilarious this movie is. I'm having a weird "haven't seen you in a while" kind of movie day. Man on Fire. 300. xXx.

Good stuff. Great for the ol' adrenaline rush. And for the seriously kick-ass music in all three flicks.

And, while the image of Vin Diesel dangling helplessly -- though Xander Cage is never actually helpless, I'm sure -- from the rafters with those guns of his strung up over his head and letting loose that whiskey-voiced chuckle in mocking defiance will likely give me a few sweet dreams tonight, I have to admit that I love this movie more for the snerkability than for the eye candy. Heh.

And I have always...always...wanted to use that line. That and "I gonna go down there, I'm gonna find this guy, and I'm gonna put him in a hurt locker" from Demolition Man.

I'm just sayin. *snerk*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bizarro Sidebar:

Okay, we all know I'm not thrilled about the upcoming DragonBall movie. Admittedly, it's not DragonBall Z, which is the series I'm more familiar with (and thus more over-protective of), but still. I'm...nonplussed. To say the least.

However, this gives me the tiniest fraction more hope.



The hair still...bothers me...but at least he's wearing a gi instead of a t-shirt. Looks like someone who might be able to kick some ass while still grinning like an idiot. Could be worse.

And WAS. Ugh.

Anyway...just...trying to stay upbeat. Really. Because they're planning on a trilogy at least, so if this movie makes even a marginal profit, they WILL be moving to my beloved DBZ.

At which point I will probably sob like a rabid-dog-gnawed toddler. Ugh. I don't look forward to that, people.

So...upbeat. That's me. Upbeat.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Just watched Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and I have two very important things to say about it.

1. Pesh and I are agreed that we could cut out the first minute or so of the movie, loop it to play repeatedly, and watch it for hours. Maybe days. Prince Nuada is perhaps the most manly-beautiful poetry I've seen in a long time. Not as buff as I usually like, but his fluidity of movement manages to make wirework look effortless and almost delicate.

2. Pesh and I also agree that it's kinda hard to root for the good guys in this one. Not Hellboy and Co. but the Feds. It's not that we wanted the Golden Army to bring about humanity's annihilation, but even a non-liberal non-tree-hugger like me has to admit that they have a point. If there were a truce between the races, we have most certainly broken it.

Otherwise, it's fun, fun, fun. The fight scenes are stylish, fast-paced, and energetic. The snark is thick enough to hack through with a machete. And Del Toro is once again a visionary. I gotta agree with Roger Ebert when he says that it'll be worth buying the DVD just to watch the Troll Market scenes in slo-mo. Who knows what you'll see when you can actually look at each creature at your leisure?

And Nuada is absolutely fine. I'm just sayin'.

And I think that, as much as I loved the first Hellboy, I have to say that I love the feel of this one more. I love the fantasy tone. The things that go bump in the night. The epic feel of humanity in opposition to pretty much everything else. And one lonely group of misfits at the center of it all, not belonging to either camp because one side hates them and the other wants to use them.

And it's Ron Perlman. Seriously. I'd watch that man in a soap opera. And I'd pretty much rather remove my own spleen with a toothpick and a blowtorch than watch a soap opera.

Good times. Highly entertaining. Was it perfect? Nope. But damn if it wasn't fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Interesting couple of days. "Interesting" having the same meaning here as the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

Guh.

Mostly, just a Windows update that disagreed with my firewall/antivirus program. I haven't had any problems with ZoneAlarm in like three years. Suddenly, one automatic update from Windows and bloop. No internet.

Of course, I didn't know that at first. After rebooting both my laptop and my cable internet modem, I tried a few system tools before giving up and calling my ISP's tech support. Trust me. Tech support is a FINAL option. Guh.

The first guy I talked to thought I was the usual user idiot. Thankfully, his headset fizzed out before I got irritated, and I called back and got another guy. He was pretty willing to listen to my assessment of the problem. I told him I'd already tried the easy fixes and was at a loss. He believed me, bless his heart, and we started troubleshooting other stuff.

We tried messing with the TCP/IP settings. That kind of thing. Rebooting about four times with different options each time. Pinging -- though we did determine that I could ping out but no one could ping me. *snerk* Sounds almost dirty, don't it?

Finally, he finally admitted that it was probably my firewall causing the problem. To be sure, I had to shut it down. Problem is, there's no way to shut down ZA's firewall without shutting down the antivirus, too. Oh, well. It's only for a few seconds, right?

So I shut it down, and...yup. Internet.

He asked if I'd updated ZA lately, and I said no. Never had the time. But Windows had done an automatic update overnight, and I bet that had something to do with it. He told me that he couldn't really suggest any help for that, since it wasn't an ISP problem. But since he was so helpful with everything else (and talked to me like I might understand him, which is MUCH better than usual tech support), I thanked him very much for his help and said I'd take care of it myself.

*sigh*

An IS friend at work -- thanks again, Darcalus! -- suggested a system restore to undo the update. It worked...until the stupid update loaded automatically again. I didn't have time to mess with it this morning, so I just shut down my computer and said hell with it. Work, and all that.

But when I got home, I tried another system restore. Didn't work. Dammit. So now, I had to find the update and just remove it. Unfortunately, my add/remove programs function in my control panel wasn't showing the updates. Guh.

I tried a few more things -- mostly just searching for wherever those updates were stored and another system restore from earlier that failed just as spectacularly. Finally, I got to looking around on my A/RP screen and found a check box for "show updates". Duh. God.

Clicked it. Removed the update. Gee, whaddya know, but my internet works now.

Three days, people. It took me three days to get this fixed. And it's really only a temporary fix, though I did also change my update settings from automatic to "download but don't install until I say so, stupid thing". I hope I don't end up needing that update. I mean, I know people who never update their operating system the whole time they have it and don't have any problems.

...

*twitchtwitch*

It's a non-critical update. I'm just gonna keep reminding myself of that. Guh.

But I fixed it, dammit! All by myself. Who needs tech support?

Oh, and...perhaps the funniest quote from a movie lately? From DBZ's Wrath of the Dragon:

"Waaah! Scary eyes!"

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dear Charlie:

Great weekend. Bad Monday. *snerk*

I went to the hometown this weekend. I love going to the hometown, but it kinda sucks, too. See, I always figured I'd move back there someday. I'm not one of those people who hates their hometown and spends their life trying to escape it. I have great memories of the place, and every time I visit it, it's harder to leave.

Not that I don't love where I live now. It's...complicated.

So anyway, I went home to see Kristi, Sean, and their twins. The twins are...*gasp*...three years old. Three and a half, actually. They're not babies anymore. Hell, they're not even toddlers. They are small children, and they are boisterous. Heheh.

I learned about such lovely novelties as face-wrestling and the utter necessity of Bass Pro Outdoor World in a three-year-old's daily life. They need it. Heh.

Anyway, between cupcakes with sprinkles, a few beers with one of the best friends I've ever had, and enough smoke bombs to scare off every mosquito in the Midwest, I think we had a pretty good time. I even managed to pick me up some peach Nehi, which is quite difficult to find anywhere but the old general store I worked at for several summers in high school.

And...I know it's stupid, but...I love those old roads. I remember them so well. And the scenery. The open fields and rolling hills. The great, spreading trees. The old, dilapidated barns and sheds. The livestock. Even the flooded areas that are so deep the treetops dot what seems like a lake.

What can I say? I'm a country girl at heart. I miss the solitude. The distance.

At any rate, all nostalgia aside, I did manage to tear myself away once again. Maybe someday I won't have to. *snerk* Maybe when I hit that PowerBall jackpot I'm always talking about. Heh. I'll hold my breath, shall I?

*turns blue*