Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thug Life.

I pride myself with having very few run ins with the law. To date I have never been pulled over while driving, I've never even been given a parking ticket. What I'm getting at is simply this: Despite my bragging, I have not lived the thug life. I can think of two specific run ins with the police that I would consider even remotely exciting, and one of those times I hadn't seen them, they were just called to deal with us ( a big misunderstanding that perhaps I'll write about some day.) The instance I will re-iterate to you today happened while I was in school at the Master's College in Santa Clarita California. I won't use any names, but I'm sure those of you reading this that were involved will know who you are.

I graduated from college with a degree in Communications with and emphasis in Electronic Media. As such I was required to take classes in which I had the opportunity to work on and lead various video production projects. The class I had taken this semester was Video Production II, which required a group of students, as well as myself to work under the direction of another student in bringing together one ambitious project. Our director (We'll call her Stacy) knew a gentleman (Whom we'll call Sam) that played the guitar and sang songs. It was Stacy that decided we should make a music video for Sam. I have no problem with music videos, as a matter of fact I quite like a few music videos (I'm particularly keen on the music video for Twisted Sister's "We're Not Going to Take It".)

The Master's College has no Film major. I break away from the story to tell you this because it's important to know that about half of the people involved with electronic media minors at the school fancied themselves "Film" Majors. They were not, I was not, there was simply a Communication Major with and emphasis in Electronic Media. In my experience, Film majors (and those that fancy themselves as such) are a bit more artsy than myself. Certainly I learned to appreciate artistic expression more than before, but that didn't mean I intended to paint myself red and film an abstract video showcasing the horrors of American consumerism in a completely abstract way. There were a lot of very talented people at Master's that considered themselves part of the Film Major, Stacy was in that camp.

The music video, it was clear from the get-go was going to be artsy. I was given the task of creating a junk yard scene in which two young children would dance and then fall down amidst a cloud of billowing smoke and die... or something. Anyway, when all was said and done I was quite proud of the set I had helped create. The entire video was shot inside a warehouse, each wall had a particular set and we simply created numerous sets and moved the camera as necessary. Needless to say, we made a huge mess in that warehouse. So, when shooting was just about done, we started to throw all the junk we had accumulated away. Cleanup was the most fun part about the entire class. I was commissioned to break down some set pieces so they would fit in the back of the pickup truck better. I was allowed to destroy couches, cabinets and numerous other pieces of furniture by kicking it. it was bliss.

We took multiple trips to a large dumpster within the industrial complex that we were filming in. The trips meant that three people sat in the cab of the pickup truck while Sam and myself sat in the bed of the truck amongst the garbage. I want to emphasize that with all previous trips to the dumpster never required us to drive on a main road. I'm no thug life I don't ride in the back of pickups on main roads. So imagine my shock when, instead of turning left, we turn right, directly on to a main road and directly in front of two Sheriff cars.

My immediate reaction to seeing two squad cars with a total of four officers within was completely idiotic. In an attempt to avert the justice of the law, I had decided to duck in the bottom of the bed of the pick up. A bed that was piled about three feet high with junk. What was supposed to be a stealthy maneuver turned into me smashing myself against pieces of broken chairs and book shelves unable to hide anything, especially my guilt.

As we were pulled over into the middle of a parking lot of a gas station, I understand from the others in the cab that the driver, Stacy, had decided to fill up on gas. I was, irritated at the situation, to say the least. The officers took Stacy across the street (as she was the driver) and lined the rest of us up on a curb. They questioned everyone, one at a time. When they got to me the officer asked what I was trying to do when I attempted to duck into the bed of the truck. Knowing from TV that police officers can spot a lie a mile away, I gave him the most truthful answer I could. "I was being an idiot, officer" I said with an embarrassed grin.

We were told that Stacy did not have her driver's license on her, despite the fact that she was driving. This sounded bad. We were asked to show our driver's licenses, I immediately complied. The funny thing was, I was the only one out of a group of five people that complied, because I was the only one that had the foresight to have brought it with me. Not that it did me any good, because the officer asked if I could drive stick since someone needed to move the offending vehicle to an actual parking spot. Legally, I was the only one allowed to drive it. I offered my services to push the vehicle if he would be kind enough to steer. Instead of take me up on my offer he asked permission to drive it himself. I allowed him.

As Stacy was separated from the rest of us, we wondered what was happening. All the officers had joined our little group and were talking to us, when we noticed something funny. Namely that Stacy had completely collapsed, very nearly hitting her head on the curb in the process. The officers ran to revive her, which they did easily. She had fainted from the ordeal.

Amazingly, we were let off with a warning. All of us. I don't know if they found the situation amusing, if they felt bad for us or what. We had to call a friend that actually could drive stick shift to come and drive the car (I had to drive his back to the warehouse since I WAS THE ONLY ONE LICENSED TO DO SO.) Stacy was distraught. In tears she profusely apologized to all of us, especially me. In her reasoning the police now had my name on a list, since I was the only one that could be identified.

Everyone came out alive, certainly a little flustered, but alive. The music video was completed in all it's artistic glory. Stacy was had minimal harm done after her fainting spell. The end result of the whole ordeal left us in exactly the same situation we would have been in if we hadn't broken the law. Well, almost exactly. My name is almost certainly on a list of people to watch out for. Thug life.

Friday, November 30, 2012

This Amazon Review of Elf on the Shelf Made Me Laugh



Apparently there is a fairly common Christmas tradition called "Elf on the Shelf". The gist of the tradition is that children are told Santa sent an elf to watch them and report back about their behavior. The elf itself is a small stuffed toy that you are required to move to a different position in the house every night. The "Rules" stated in the children's book that you purchase with the elf are as follows. 

 * The children cannot touch the elf or he will lose his magic
* The elf can listen to what the children tell him, but cannot talk back, that's Santa's law.
* The elf flies back to the North Pole each night and tells Santa what he has seen - when he comes back he goes to a new spot in the house.

The children involved are also required to name the elf. A name that will stick with the elf for the duration of the tradition. It's been a long time since an Amazon review has made me chuckle the way this one did. So without further ado, a review of Elf on the Shelf by Amazon reviewer "Pi"

So, I bought this adorable elf, whom my three precious children named "Buttface" last year at Christmas time. Before Buttface arrived in our home I was at my wits end. My children would write on the walls with markers, crayons and even oil based paints. They would swing from the light fixture above our dining room table until it finally was pulled out of the ceiling. We had been dining by candlelight even since until Joey decided to light little Jimmy's hair on fire one night as they fought over who got the red fork at dinner. We couldn't even have a Christmas tree because Jack would try and climb it, or we would catch Jimmy swinging at it's trunk with his Boy Scouts ax. I didn't blame the dear child of course, he was merely using his vivid imagination to play a game of "Lumberjack". Instead we would have the Christmas Shoe Box for Santa to put the presents in. I don't care what anyone says, it was just as festive as any old tree. Eventually though I realized that my children were not behaving in a socially acceptable way when the FBI showed up at my door because the boys had called in a bomb threat to get out of a spelling test at school. Terribly upset, I consulted my pediatrician and we both agreed that my children's behavioral issues were no fault of my own and that the ONLY solution to my discipline problems was "The Elf on The Shelf".

I brought Buttface out of his box the day after Thanksgiving. For the entire month of December Jimmy, Joey and Jack were perfect angels. Cowering in abject fear over this tiny stuffed doll they behaved as well as the baby Jesus himself. It did make for a few night time bed wetting accidents as they were afraid to get out of bed at night for fear Buttface would be lurking in the hallway. Not once did they bite the dog, cut my hair while I slept or try to hotwire the car. It was a new record in our home. We actually got to have a tree that year and I thought my parenting troubles were over!! Bless you Buttface!

However, on December 26th, giddy with all the loot Santa had bought, which was a lot since they had been so extra good with the help of Buttface, my children knew they were off the hook for the next 11 months! They were back at it again, tipping over our refrigerator, trying to bathe the cat in the dishwasher and scamming old ladies out of their retirement by claiming to be princes from Nigeria in some email scam they had running.

So, in despair, I am asking that there be an elf of this nature to spy on my children and keep them on the straight and narrow year round! I know it would make my life a whole lot easier to know that I had an inanimate object in my house that was keeping my children on the straight and narrow and could take over the parenting duties on a daily basis, not just at Christmas time. Parenting is very hard work and we need all the help we can get. If I don't have a toy such as this to teach my children right from wrong under the guise of spying on them and denying them presents if they behave badly, how will they ever learn?? Please, please, won't somebody think of the children!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mud to Suds

I'm afraid I sometimes have a tendency to jump right into things that interest me on a whim. I have a largely unused pile crafting supplies, including  pearler beads, some accrylic paint, Mod-podge, a hot glue gun and a pair of completely unused knitting needles. Lately I jumped head first into "Magic The Gathering" which is quite fun, actually. But this tendency just caused me to pay 30 bucks to enter a 5k at the end of the month. Oh, and instead of just being a regular 5k it has a series of 17 obstacles in between the starting point and the finish line, most of which include mud pits with the occasional climbing wall thrown in.

I should let you know, I don't exercise much. So, when I signed up for this (after paying the non-refundable entry fee) I looked into the "Couch to 5k" training plans. To my dismay they all required about nine weeks of prep. I have a little over two. I attempted running a little less than a mile yesterday and collapsed when I got home, firefighting my cats in the process. I'm exited at the idea of training for something like this, and it honestly sounds like a blast, so basically you should all do it too! It's on September 23 (2012) here is the link for more information.

http://www.mudstosuds.com/

Also, here are my new kittens



Monday, August 27, 2012

Penpal



Penpal, the novel by Dathan Auerbach was originally written in a series of posts to reddit ( you can read the stories here but I would suggest you purchase a copy of the book. It became increasingly popular due to it's realism and eery, yet familiar imagery that was all too relate-able to almost anyone. It began as a series of posts that detailed creepy events from the "authors childhood". As the stories progress you learn that these spooky incidents are not at all unrelated. After reading the first three stories in one night I found something happen that hadn't happened to me in years: I couldn't sleep. It was too scary. As someone that relishes fear through literature and movies, this was a blast.

     Though not as scary the second time through (partially because I read the entire series only at nights the first time through) the novel is one of the finest examples of horror I've ever read. It isn't supernatural, it isn't overly gory or explicitly violent, however it is too familiar. The story centers around a boy as he grows up. The descriptions, the locations and the events are very familiar to anyone that grew up in North America. The author relates things that we've taken for granted such as hearing the pulse in our ears or the noises one might hear when exploring the woods. He takes these things and gives them a completely rational explanation that is more horrifying than you might expect.
   
     After encouragement from the online community, Auerback posted a proposal on Kickstarter to turn his series of terrifying short stories into a novel. His goal was met and surpassed almost immediately. The stories change very little, mostly in formatting from the web to the novel version. However there are some juicy alterations and extra tidbits in the book that were later additions. Self publishing has come a long way, and this book is a prime example of how someone's hard work can certainly pay off. This is a story that people love and voiced their desire to see it turn into something that they could support. If this sounds like something that interests you I highly recommend reading the original reddit thread (linked at the top of the post) and then buying it off amazon by clicking here. It is available as both a paperback and a kindle version.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sea Otter Vs River Otters

It has been almost no contest in my mind that River Otters outweigh Sea Otters on the cuteness scale. That is until today. Nellie the Sea Otter has upped the ante with her cup stacking ability.


Just because this little guy (gal) is capable of putting a few cups together doesn't mean it's a landslide; all it means is that the playing field is evened out. Sea Otters won this battle, but if I keep seeing stuff like River Otters playing piano duets, we're in for one long war that I'm eager to cheer on.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mistakes I've Made part 1

Mistakes I made as a child:

1. Examined the heat of the exhaust pipe of our family van after a long trip by touching it.
2. Roller-bladed in the rain.
3. Tried to fly.
4. Used a frightened cat to test my inflatable raft.
5. As a young boy quoted the line from The Three Amigos "We raped the horses and rode off on the women" to my mother. (At the time I didn't know what it meant, just that it made people laugh when he said it in the movie)
6. In a failed attempt to get a game of "Smear the queer" going, I announced to the church potluck that I would be "the queer"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Popcorn and Peril

Just wanted to give a quick announcement about a new blog I started. This will probably come off as redundant, considering my readership base is about 7 people and I'm sure of those 7 maybe 1 is unaware of this second blog I've started. However, I would like to formerly introduce Popcorn and Peril where I talk about movies. I would love for you guys to take a look and maybe leave a comment. I hope it can become a place where some of us can discuss movies. If you get a chance, take a look.

About Me

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In 2010 I graduated from The Master's College in Santa Clarita California with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. My love for movies has motivated me to continue my education in the form of writing essays and reviews on the film industry and the products it produces.