Friday, March 23, 2007

When "I Love You" Is Not Enough

Police said the man they arrested lived a few blocks from Crystal and may have had a romantic interest in the girl.

I have to wonder about this guy's thought processes: send cute notes or flowers anonymously? Nah - too cliche.

Talk to her and ask her out? I want to set myself apart from the other guys.

Kidnap her dog, behead it and send the severed head to her in a gift box? Eureka!

Somehow I can't see this elderly couple staring into each other's eyes while reminiscing about how he courted her by acting like Kevin Spacey in Seven.

I suppose it could have been worse - he could have decided to kidnap her grandmother. I hope he's given a little quiet time as a guest of the state.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Much Ado . . .

Turns out I was wrong - it was a leaky water supply after all. Took five minutes to fix. My visions of cracked wax rings and cracked plumbing stacks weren't true after all.

I still don't trust the house. It's looking at me all shifty.

Monday, March 19, 2007

We'd Prefer You Call it a Pee-Pee-Soaked Heck Hole

So I was cleaning the bathroom Saturday afternoon. I know - some people hit parades on St. Patrick's Day; others get stinking drunk; me? I clean my bathroom.

As I'm cleaning around the toilet, I notice water on the floor. Water. On the bathroom floor. I've been there before - many times. You want leaks in the bathroom? I've had them all - the tub has leaked due to cracked caulk and grout, the way the shower head was set up caused water to flow onto the floor of the bathroom, the roof leaked into the bathroom, the faucet leaked, the toilet tank leaked. Generally, it all wound up in the same place - on the kitchen ceiling directly below the bathroom. For a compound that we need to survive, water has brought me an awful lot of grief.

But I digress - there's a little water on the floor. I wipe it up and determine that there's a little water condensing on the water supply for the toilet. No big. I can deal with it, and deal with it I do. I head off to my room to clean in there - because it's how I choose to spend my Saturday. Huzzah.

Later, I return to the restroom to get some other cleaning paraphernalia, where I see a much greater amount of water on the floor - all around the base of the toilet.

Over the last few years, I've become more of a plumbing expert than I ever thought possible. I'm not ready to go pro, but I can usually look at something and say - with pretty good authority - that that's not right. And water pooling around the base of the toilet? Not right.

I wipe it up, flush and see if anymore water pools. Nope. Maybe it was a fluke, but there's one more test. One more test that will prove whether I'm going to fall into my old habit of worrying myself nearly to death about it when nothing is wrong, or whether I have a problem.

Yep. I had a problem. The wet spot in the plaster ceiling confirmed it. A few minutes later, the water to the toilet is off and we're headed off to greener pastures for the night. Darcy only had to spend a few minutes to talk me down from my idea of getting the can of gas for the lawn mower, splashing it around the first floor, lighting a match and walking off into the sunset. Apparently, there's laws against that sort of thing. Who knew?

Frequently, I'm accused of worrying things to death. What can I say? I'm only truly happy if I have some problem to solve - the more Gordian in scope, the better. I complain about my house, and do want to divest myself of it. But I'm trying to be more optimistic about this. A friend once told me that if the water damage to my house was as severe as I feared it, my bathroom would have long ago fallen into the kitchen. So far, that hasn't come to pass.

But the house - and bathroom follies haven't been all bad. I know what to look for in the next house (two bathrooms, ideally) and will be prepared to deal with them.

Of course, it'll be the entirely new set of problems that will tear off and kick me in the junk.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

So Bobby, Do You Like Gladiator Movies?

“So the Spartans fight in their underwear?” asked Darcy after I showed her the trailer for 300. Earlier in the day I received a free pass to see in on the IMAX, so I figured I’d give her the right of first refusal – a right she accepted – something about watching 300 scantily-clad men slaughter thousands of Persians didn’t do much for her.

On the other hand, I was looking forward to seeing it – the impossible odds and fighting thing, that is – not the men fighting in underwear thing.

There are many reasons to see 300 – it’s a beautiful film, with scenes that look like they were lifted straight from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Sometimes that doesn’t work too well (HULK SUCK! -errr SMASH!), but Zack Snyder, the director, and Larry Fong, the cinematographer, chose bright color and high contrasts to bring the pages to life.

Gerard Butler did a fine job as Leonidas, the king of the Spartans, pulling off a nice combination of regal authority and almost homicidal bloodlust.

And the fight scenes were spectacular if not a little repetitive. There’s only so many ways that you can show people being hacked to pieces, and this is where the movie started losing me.

On the one side, you have the Spartans and other Greeks, who all look like they came straight from the modeling agency. On the other side, there’s the Persian army, which looks like the casting call specified circus freaks and lepers. Persian soldiers range from eight-foot-tall ogres with blades replacing their hands to an unholy cross between humans and pigs, and don’t get me started on Xerxes, the Persian king. Rodrigo Santoro was apparently channeling Jaye Davidson in Stargate as he played Xerxes. (For those of you who haven't seen Stargate, let's just say that Ra, Davidson's character, was a very bad - and disturbing - "man").

I also had a problem when the Greeks – the Spartans especially – started spouting off about how they were fighting for their freedom. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I seem to recall that the Spartans weren’t exactly known for their open society.

And finally, I realize that movies like this are not historically accurate. I know this. I understand it, and yet it still irks me. If memory serves, Thermopylae was actually fought between a small Greek army and the Persians. The 300 Spartans stayed behind with a few hundred other Greeks when their position became untenable because the Persians found the goat trail, so the Spartans stayed behind to allow the remaining Greek army a chance to escape. I would have preferred they stuck to the idea that the Spartans were sacrificing themselves to save the beleaguered army rather than cries of FREEDOM! LIBERTY! EQUALITY!

But I nitpick. Overall, I enjoyed the movie for what it was – violent eye candy of the check-your-brain-in-at-the-door variety, and I can safely say I didn’t hate myself for having seen it.