Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#252 In which our hero discusses how he likes a little coffee with his sugar (HAHA! I’ve never heard that one before!)

Here’s the thing… I like my drinks sweet. I prefer piña coladas over beer, Kool-Aid over water. And, I like my coffee with lots of sugar. Is that such a crime? Well, at more and more fast food joints, it apparently is.

Starting about a year ago, I noticed that McDonalds had taken the sugar packets off the condiment area, and put them behind the counter. This was about the same time that they started heralding that they’d put the cream and sugar in your coffee for you. Which, on the surface seems like a convenient thing, especially if you’re going through the drive-thru. Now, I don’t eat at McDonalds a lot in the morning, but I’ll occasionally grab a sausage biscuit on my way to work. And with this greasy bit of heaven I enjoy a small cup of coffee.

Now, in days gone by, I’d just say “give me a bunch of sugar, please” and the drive-thru drone with grab a big handful and everyone was happy. Well, someone in upper management apparently figured out that if they gave out one less sugar packet per customer they’d save a gajillion dollars a year or whatever, so suddenly they weren’t so generous with the sugar.

And they don’t even want to give you sugar at all anymore, instead innocently asking, “how many sugars would you like with your coffee?” And, as previous mentioned, I like my coffee really pretty sweet, so the conversation usually goes like this (these are all real conversations I’ve had in the past year):
McDonalds McEmployee: How many sugars?
ME: Um… 10, please.
MM: (pause) Did you say… ten?
ME: Yes. Ten.
MM: Okay, I was just checking, because most people don’t want that many and I was just checking to see if I heard you right--“
ME: Yeah, yeah, I get it.


MM: How many sugars?
ME: Ten, please.
MM: Whoo! You like it SWEET!
ME: Um, yeah.


MM: How many sugars?
ME: Um… eight?
MM: Wow! It’s not just the caffeine for you, but the sugar, huh?
ME: Eh, yeah, I like it sweet.

Now, why should I feel like a second class citizen just because I want a bunch of sugar in my coffee? Seriously. If an obese person came up to the counter and ordered four Big Macs, would they say, “Wow! You like to EAT!”

I think not.

And yeah, maybe I should just be bold about it, and say something like, “That’s right! Ten sugars for my small coffee, mutherfucker!” but I find myself sheepish about it every time. Like I’m some sort of sugar junkie looking for a fix.

Next thing you know they’re going to start limiting the amount of sugar they provide. Limit 4 sugars per customer. At which point I’ll probably have to start bringing my own sugar. Or start demanding more than my allotted quota. I’ll suddenly be that pain in the ass customer who has to custom order everything. I’ll probably end up with some spit in my coffee.

But at least it will be sweet.




#251 In which our hero posts the first of what will undoubtedly be a long string of Watchmen-related entries.

I’m a big fan of Watchmen.

If you’re not familiar with this graphic novel, then follow the link to the Wikipedia article, which gives a thorough introduction to the story. Or, better yet, run out to your local comic book store and pick up your own copy. With the movie coming out in early ’09, they’re sure to keep some in stock.

In all fairness, I warn you now that I assume that anyone who bothers to read this blog is already familiar with the story. As such, I’m not going to make any effort to keep it spoiler-free. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The Watchmen comic book was originally published in 1986, so it’s not like it’s anything new. Shortly thereafter, talk began of turning it into a film. In fact, several famous directors began work on it… and they all petered out in the end.

And understandingly so. Even though it was originally published as a 12-issue limited series, the scope of it is immense, intimidating so. It has been said that this single comic book story forever changed the way comics are regarded. Now, that might be a bit of hyperbole, it’s not like suddenly post-1987 that comics are regarded as true literature in this country; but there’s no doubting that Watchmen is in a league of its own. It’s so dense, thematically and visually, that it really takes a couple of readings to really appreciate it. Being that I was only 17 when I first read it means that a lot of it went over my head. I think it’s a testament to the storytelling that when I read it now (in the collected graphic novel format, of course, my single issues safely bagged and boarded and set aside) it still holds up amazingly well; in fact, I suspect I enjoy it more now.

Yeah, I’m a fan.

So, back to the movie. I remember reading a bootleg copy of a script proposal in 1988 or so. It was written by Sam Hamm (a name that’s easy to remember) and someone who was no stranger to comic book movies.

The script sucked.

Mr. Hamm apparently is of the group of people who think the original story in the comic is unfilmable, so he chucked everything except the characters and created his own story; one that VERY loosely followed the original plot.

Being that I’m such a fan of the comic, I secretly wanted to see it become a film. I had assumed that it would be an animated movie, since that seemed like the easiest route to create a film that’s faithful to the comic. And, every couple of years, I hear something about the movie switching directors or a new script being shopped around… I didn’t really expect it to ever happen.

Then… it was announced that this Zack Snyder guy was going to make the film. I never saw 300, his big directing claim to fame… but I heard it was good and it was loyal to the comic. I took a wait and see attitude, since the project had fallen through so many times before.

But, a cast was announced and little bits and pieces of the production were released to the Internet (including some very convincing sets) and it seemed like this film might actually happen.

I was excited, of course. I mean, what fanboy can claim in good conscious that he wasn’t thrilled to see one frame of Rorschach in the 300 clip?

You know you were. But I was still tempering my excitement. I was excited to see Ang Lee’s Hulk, too, and that, of course, was a gigantic steaming turd of a movie.

Then Snyder released images of the cast in their costumes. I was impressed. They were updated from the comic book costumes; but I’m okay with that because if we’ve learned anything about comic book movies it’s that the spandex costumes generally don’t translate to the big screen very well. They captured the flavor of the original costumes without looking completely hokey.

But, we still hadn’t seen any real footage of the film, and we hadn’t seen Dr. Manhattan at all. Being that he was a glowing blue naked guy, the chances of him looking stupid seemed high. I was still holding out any judgment until I saw something real.

And then, the trailer was released.

Holy. Shit.

How blown away were you, you ask? Why, let me tell you, second by second, how blown away I am.

0:23 Jon Osterman in the Intrinsic Field Chamber. What’s he holding in his hand? Janey Slater’s watch, of course. Awesome visualization of what happened to him in the comic.

0:31 Owl Ship! And it looks great!

0:40 Silk Specter! Her costume is a pretty big departure from the comic, but I have to say I like it. Sexy.

0:42 Nite-Owl kicks some ass while busting out Rorschach!

0:44 Blake takes a big fall.

0:46 Ozymandias. I’m a little disappointed that they cut right to him after the previous scene. I mean, no-one who hasn’t read the book gets the significance of that, I guess, but it still feels like an unnecessary giveaway.

Speaking of Ozymandias, his costume looks like the biggest departure from the comic. And I’m not sure why… the comic book costume looks like it would have translated without a lot of fuss. But, we probably will see Veidt actually in costume only a small fraction of the movie, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter. Looks like he’s standing in front of the wall of monitors in his Antarctic fortress.

0:48 Osterman begins to reform himself! This seems like a detail that, while visually really cool, could be glossed over due to lack of time. It’s exciting to me that they’re going to include it.

0:52 Rorschach’s capture. Can’t wait to see this.

0:54 I can’t quite figure out everything that’s going on with Silk Specter’s costume. Am I seeing her nipples here?

0:56 Dr. Manhattan! And here I was worried that we wouldn’t see him until the movie actually came out. And he looks awesome!

1:05 This is the “Guess what? Not really a kid’s movie!” moment as the Comedian burns some surrendering Vietnamese alive…

1:07 … and likes it.

1:19 Jeez, okay, I was wrong, I get it, you ARE going to show Dr. Manhattan! I don’t need to see him fully naked in the trailer!

1:29 Rorschach fighting Jacobi? Another level of detail I wouldn’t have expected.

1:30 Veidt about to kill his “attacker.” For some reason I really dig this move.

1:32 Huh, what’s going on here? From the snow, I’d guess this is Nite-Owl’s reaction to Rorschach’s final demise. But he wasn’t there in the comic, and if he were, I don’t think this is how he would have reacted. Hmm, troublesome.

1:33 And if you didn’t get it that this isn’t a kid’s movie… here’s Dr. Manhattan blowing up a retreating Vietnamese soldier.

1:40 Rorschach speaks! This isn’t had I imagined his voice would sound… but then again, I realize that I don’t know what I expected his voice to sound like. The comic makes a big deal about how monotone his voice is, and there’s a little more inflection then I would have guessed. And how do you even approach that, as an actor? Your only reference is that when he talks in the comic his word balloons are more jagged than the other characters. Not much to go on. Like many other things, I’m willing to let this slide until I see how it plays out in the movie. Also, I have to add: really ballsy move on Zack Snyder’s part to include Rorschach’s voice in the trailer. This is potentially something that will really polarize the fanboys, so getting it right out there from the beginning is a bold move.

1:44 Speaking of Rorschach… the way his mask changes? Again, now how I had imagined it, but damn cool.

1:46 Holy shit… the glass fortress on Mars? Are you kidding me? Is there anything you’re going to leave out of the movie?

So yeah… I’m pretty psyched about this flick. I only hope the actual movie lives up to the images we’ve seen so far. Don’t fuck me on this, Snyder!





I'm generally not a "OMG! This video is soooo the awesome!" But this just makes me happy.


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Yesterday I seeded the entire back yard and the side yard (plus a few spots here and there in the front yard that were bare), spread starter fertilizer, then watered the ever-living hell out of it. So, if the "lush, full lawn" copy on the side of the Scott's bag isn't complete hyperbole, I should start seeing grass in a matter of days! Or maybe a week or two. Honestly, I didn't read the bag that closely. Then I threw it away. But! The point is: grass! And more importantly, no more digging or grading or mucking about with the lawn.

I hope.


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#250 In which our hero imagines the prospect of a flood-free yard.

Since I last updated the yard situation, definite progress has been made. I was concerned about getting the grading right, since if the water didn’t run toward the newly-installed drain, then it’s not really going to help the flooding situation, y’know? Fortunately, Mother Nature helped out in this regard, by making this one of the rainiest summers this decade.

Seriously, the rain we’ve gotten is just stupid. Whenever I contemplated getting back there to rake, it would pour buckets, make the backyard an impassable quagmire. So I’d wait a couple days. Then, when it dried out a bit, I’d go back there and do what I could.

The problem is that there’s a lot of clay in my soil, so unless things were bone dry (which they haven’t been in about two months) it was like racking cookie dough.

But, the good news is that this constant rain give me plenty of opportunity to see if the water was moving like it should. And it wasn’t. So I shoveled and raked some more. Still got lots of standing water. Finally, The Scientist and I pretty much at the same time figured out that we weren’t going to get the water on the side of the house to drain all the way to the street. So we needed to add another drain.

Fortunately, since The Scientist was wise enough to insist on a clean-out near the downspout, I was able to simple cut that flush with the ground and add a drain cap to it. Instant drain! Works great, too.

Then, I realized that we were getting a lot of water that was getting stuck between the big drain in the back yard and the little drain up front. I made the command decision (against the wishes of The Scientist) to add yet another drain in this trouble spot.

Here’s the thing: I don’t ever want to screw around with this drainage bullshit ever again. And since the yard is torn up already, now’s the time to do something like add another drain. If I waited until the grass was restored, then I’d have to dig up turf and reseed and it would be an ever bigger pain in the ass. This is the argument I presented to my wife. She remained unconvinced.

Her fear was that since I was cutting into the professionally-laid pipe--and I am manifestly NOT a professional--I’d leave a gap that dirt and silt would get into and we’d have blocked pipes. A legitimate concern, I conceded.

So I carefully cut into the existing pipe, carefully added the drain pipe then, just for good measure, blasted the shit out of it with expanding waterproof insulation foam. I’m certain that it won’t leak.

And since I finished the second drain (we know have a total of five drains surrounding our house, in case you’re keeping count--and that doesn’t include the existing drains in the window wells, the French drains in the back and on the one side, nor all the perforated pipe now connecting everything together in the back yard) we haven’t had any real water problems!

There’s still some puddling, but I’m hopeful that will go away once I finish with the topsoil and actually get grass growing again.

Which brings you up to date.

There’s a truckload of topsoil sitting under a tarp on my driveway because, of course, about an hour after it was delivered it started raining and didn’t stop for two days.

But the forecast is for clear skies the next couple of days. My plan is to lay all that topsoil, then seed by the weekend, at the latest.

And hope it doesn’t all wash away before something, anything, takes root.