Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Brittany: Agent From G.L.E.E.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012


I just had a fantastic idea for a spin-off for Glee.

Most of the time I sit watching Glee, I’m questioning why I’m sitting watching Glee. For the most part, I hate the characters and I want them all to perish. Then, oddly, I find myself pulling for them to break through the thin veil of First World problems that seem to constantly hover between them and the shallow happiness of recognition and validation they so desperately seek. Then I experience a rush of self loathing. Then I go back to wanting them all to perish.

Except Brittany, of course. Brittany is Amazing.

I also spend a lot of time wondering what the poor, ignored, band geeks must feel like. How can they stand listening to these whiny bitches for hours on end, every single day and not slap the living shit out of them? What sort of problems do they face? Are they as trite? Probably not, or they would likely be just as loud and obnoxious about them as their singing, dancing counterparts. No, those band geeks have real problems.


Go ahead, cry about your first world problems.

Then it hit me: those geeks are international secret agents.

It all makes sense now.

The premise for the show is that the Band, code named G.L.E.E. (Global League of Executive Enforcement,) headed up by their fearless leader Brad the Piano Player Guy, is actually a top secret paramilitary organization that answers directly to the President of the United States (played by Gary Busey,) sent to Ohio to fight a ruthless secret organization hell bent on world domination. This group will be, unbeknownst to G.L.E.E., secretly headed up by the nefarious Elektra Skorpio (code name: Emma Pillsbury.) The only person to suspect this will be a rogue operative and mercenary, code named: CHEERIO. Emma Pillsbury will secretly work to destroy the band as they feverishly attempt to uncover her identity. Her love affair with the knappy-headed Will Schuester is just a cunningly contrived cover–her loathing for him knows no bounds and is the basis for several musical solos that attest to that fact.

With the exception of Brittany, none of the other main characters from the original show will actually suspect that anything unusual is happening at their high school. Brittany will play the lead role, starting as a normal (if slightly retarded) cheer leader, just as she is portrayed in Glee. She will accidentally stumble upon the G.L.E.E. secret base under the floor of the music room and be thrust into a world of intrigue, betrayal and other nefarious goings on.

This will explain why she joined Glee (to be closer to the band geeks and their secret lair.)


I find your lack of faith disturbing.

The original Glee series will be analyzed and re-filmed so that the parts where the band geeks are visible in the show are blocked to be filmed in the exact same spots in a new episode that they were in the original. The timelines for the shows will coincide exactly.

All of the camera work will focus on the band. The original Glee cast will reprise their original roles, but will be more or less silent other than singing and dancing in the background. All of their loud, pedantic conversations about their bullshit problems will be replaced with something similar to the sound that the teacher makes in the old Peanuts cartoons.

The band geeks will use sub-vocal mics to communicate and plot their strategies for defeating whatever crazy plot they face that week while they play their instruments and the annoying kids sing and dance in the background. They will use the combined noise to assure that their conversations can’t be listened in on by covert surveillance.

Brittany will end up as a full member of the G.L.E.E. task force. The show will end when Emma Pillsbury forces G.L.E.E. choose between rescuing the Glee Club from a burning house or stopping her ultimate plan. They will, of course, be forced to sacrifice the Glee Club to the flames for the greater good.

The last musical number will be Burning Down The House by the Talking Heads.

The Death of a Bodhisattva

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011


(Not actually my Grandmother.)

I didn’t cry when I heard that my Grandmother died. It was in October of 1996. I was nineteen at the time and living in Oahu in a run-down, one-bedroom apartment on Kanekapolei Street. My roommate was this slimy, French coke-head named Dave and my new (now “ex”) girlfriend Amber had already claimed a couple drawers in my dresser even though we’d only been dating for a couple of months. I was selling T-shirts to tourists in Diamond Head crater for pennies an hour–making just enough to keep me in cheese sandwiches, Mini-Thins, Newports and Coca-cola. My grandmother was very proud of me. To her, I was perfect; to everyone else, I was a broke, going-nowhere loser–which was actually quite a bit closer to the truth

My mother was the one who was hit the hardest; my grandmother was not only her mother but also her closest friend. When she called me she was crying so hard that she was completely unintelligible and I had to calm her down before she could even tell me what was going on. Even then, all she could choke out was “Your grandma is…” over and over again.

“Dead?” Dead is a good word for dead. It’s so final, so perfectly monosyllabic. My mother couldn’t bring herself to even say it. I sat on the other end of a scratchy, staticy phone line two-thousand miles away and tried to talk her down, to sooth her, to be her little hard plastic shoulder to cry on. I was stoic; I couldn’t crack up now. Tomorrow, perhaps.

Two days later, sans tears, I boarded a red-eye from Honolulu to Seattle chasing a ten AM funeral for the person I loved the most. With only a plastic cup of Coke and a few bags of peanuts to keep me company, my mind began to wander back to my grandmother. The past few days had been a mad rush and I hadn’t had any time to think which, in retrospect, was probably on purpose. I had responsibilities. Who was going to take care of my mom if not me? Self-indulgence was hardly an option. I stared thoughtfully at the little plastic phone mounted in the back of the seat in front of me. Maybe a call to my mom would redefine my role as the unwavering rock of dependability that I had cast myself in. Maybe. It would certainly drain the thirty or forty bucks I had left in my bank account.


(Not actually my Grandmother.)

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that dependability, responsibility and most other -ability suffixed adjectives are not words commonly associated with me. I remember thinking that this was pretty funny. My grandmother had a way of bringing out the best in people. I had thirteen hours to kill so I spent most of it thinking about her. My grandma is worth remembering.

She was born in nineteen ten. Unlike some octogenarians, my grandmother was not grumpy, not sad or self-pitying; she wasn’t tired, she wasn’t bored, she wasn’t afraid. She was never old. I have a great sepia tone picture of her from the twenties. She’s leaning up against a wall, smirking and wearing this really audacious flapper outfit. I’ll never forget that picture… I don’t think she ever forgot it either. My grandmother was something else.

She survived through the Depression, clipped coupons and eeked by on social security and a small pension. Yet, for some reason, she always thought it was a good idea to try to slip me a twenty whenever my mom wasn’t looking. And, though she couldn’t afford it, she was strangely obsessed with feeding people. While at her house one was obligated to eat something. It was an immutable law. There was nothing anyone could do about it. She had to cook something and you had to consume it. Not to imply that she was pushy. She was always extremely sympathetic to whatever excuses you might have. “I’m just dropping off a magazine from Mom,” “I have a doctors appointment,” “I just ate a huge dinner,” these were all met with an understanding smile and then a resigned shrug, as if to say, “I understand and I am truly sorry, but the Gods demand it; you will eat pot-roast before you leave this house.” Then, with a few artful, disarming remarks she’d have you reclining in her ugly Laz-Y-Boy while drinking her apple juice and watching her television. My grandmother was selfless.

During World War II, my grandmother worked for the Army and helped develop underwater camera’s that were used in strategic reconnaissance. After the war ended her career prospects were dimmed by men returning to the workforce. She had many different jobs including working at Newberry’s, being a checker at Fred Meyer, being the manager of the Baghdad Theater and several others that I can’t recall. My grandfather (who I don’t remember too well) got sick some time in the 70’s and it was my grandmother that had to provide for him. She often worked fourteen hours a day between several jobs to make ends meet but she was never bitter about it. After she retired and my grandfather died she kept herself busy with her garden, her prodigious cookie production operation and her grand-kids. She saw adversity as a project, defeat as an annoying setback and if she ever thought someone had it better than her, she never mentioned it to me. My grandmother was unstoppable.


(Not actually my Grandmother.)

I caught my transfer in Seattle and made it to Portland on time. My mother and stepfather picked me up from the airport. They both looked terrible. We all hugged and got in the car. I think I remember my mother trying to make some sort of chitchat to show me a brave face, but the bulk of the ride to town was spent staring out the window in silence. I felt bad for them. I really didn’t know what to say.

The funeral was your typical affair. Big funeral home. Faux Victorian furniture. Sleepy music. People cried. All the while soft-spoken funeral directors gently nudged the proceedings forward. Managing a funeral must be a lot like dropping off a kindergartner on their first day of school. They know the moment has to come but they just don’t want to say goodbye yet. I saw a lot of family that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we exchanged “I’m sorry”‘s and “Are you OK”‘s. Theirs tearful, mine not. By this point I was starting to get a bit paranoid. I spotted my stepbrother and stepsister; drawn-faced and red-eyed, milling about in a foyer full of people they didn’t know. I supposed that they must have felt oddly out-of-place being at a funeral for a step-grandmother. That didn’t stop the water-works, however. They didn’t know my grandmother very well and to this day I really have no idea why it hit them so hard, but I remember them being pretty broken up about the whole thing. My step-siblings didn’t interact with my grandmother very much. She was a bit player in the cast of people that made up their lives. So why were they standing by the door sobbing and choking like a couple of world-class hired dirge singers? Or maybe a better question is why wasn’t I?

I don’t really remember the funeral itself, which means it was probably unremarkable. What I do remember was approaching the casket afterward. Seeing someone dead with your own eyes really cements the idea in your head. There is an eerie, coldness and a stillness that rubs off and sticks to you. It is a moment that punctuates the finality of death and forces us to contemplate the nature of mortality. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I fully expected that this terrible moment that I saw her laying there was going to be when it all came pouring out. Just as Gilgamesh did at the side of Enkidu, I would gnash my teeth and pull out my hair. Instead I just stood there and stared.


(Not actually my Grandmother. (But close.))

I used to ask my Grandmother a lot of questions because she was the only person whose opinion I trusted implicitly. Perhaps another reason I asked her is simply because she had such great answers for everything. When I asked her if there was a God, she said:
“I don’t know, maybe.”
When I asked her if she was afraid to die, she said:
“Nope, I’ve already done everything I wanted to do.”
When I asked her if she had that chance to be young again, whether she would take it or not, she said:
“No. I already was young; I’m going to try being old for a while.”
And it was always like that. I’d try to corner her with some annoying, open-ended question and she’d cut me short with her Buddha nature. My grandmother the Bodhisattva.

She died in my mother’s arms in the back seat of a car. It was quick and painless. She wasn’t afraid. I imagine if I were to ask her if she had the chance to be alive again, whether she would take it or not, she’d say something like: “No. I already was alive; I’m going to try being dead for a while.” That’s just the way she was. The more I think about it, the more I believe that the reason I haven’t cried is because there really isn’t anything to cry about.

She didn’t suffer and die in a nursing home. She didn’t waste her life. She had no regrets. She wasn’t torn from us before she was ready. She lived a long, full life and in the process brightened up the lives of everyone she knew. She has influenced me from the way I visualize the workings of the universe to how I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and everything in between. I don’t mourn her because she never went away. I’ll keep her in my thoughts and save my tears for tragedy.

The inadvertant stalker

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Nothing makes me as keenly aware of being a man as being behind a woman. It’s a weird place to be being behind a woman. I don’t mean in line or in general, I mean happening to end up a few steps behind a woman I don’t know on a street when there isn’t anyone else around. It’s especially unnerving when it’s dark and the lighting is bad.


Stop following me!

So there you are, headed the same direction as this woman, it’s dark and for whatever reason there you are, plodding along a couple of steps behind her. She is never not uncomfortable with this arrangement. You are going to get either the bunched up shoulders or the over-the-shoulder glances or both. It’s a pretty awful feeling knowing you are freaking someone the hell out but who can blame her? It’s a rough world filled with shitty men. Realistically your options are pretty limited in these situations. There typically isn’t a lot either one of you can do other than ride it out.

  • Sometimes, if it is practical, I’ll cross the street. That does the trick, but it is kind of silly to do if your destination is on the side that you’re already on.
  • Sometimes, if she’s moving slow and there is plenty of room, I’ll speed up and pass her. Granted, she probably suffers heightened discomfort by my new velocity, but once I am past, I can go even faster and we can both stop worrying about it. Like ripping off a band-aid.
  • If she’s truckin’ I can slow down and jingle my keys or whistle a tune or something so she can tell she’s outpacing me.
  • A couple of times I have thought about just saying, “hey, I am not going to rape and kill you, we’re just headed the same way.” But that might make things even weirder and more uncomfortable.

Last night I headed over to Safeway to buy cat food, milk and bread. It was pretty late, so the store was almost totally empty but I ended up walking in right behind this girl. She had a pretty short, tight dress on and fishnets and boots. He hair was curled and she looked pretty done up. She was probably no stranger to dealing with guys and their unwanted attentions. Just a guess, obviously.

At first she goes off to the right, which is good, because I am going left. Then she cuts across behind the left-over Halloween candy display and ends up in front of me again, only now she’s like five feet away. She makes as if to go up the chips isle and I veer to go around her but then she stops and resumes her original trajectory so that now I am two feet away.

Of course, she turns up the cat food isle.

She stops at wet food. Obviously, she loves her cat more than I do because I blow past her like a race car driver taking the inside lane on my way to the purgatory-of-dry-food-for-cheap-people-who-don’t-appreciate-their-pets.

I feel better because I am no longer crawling up this poor chick’s back and start looking for the giant bag of weight control food for ancient, fat-asses. My cat is seriously about the size of the the entire Chicago Bears defensive line duct-taped together. Maybe slightly larger.


Be reasonable madam, I mean you no harm.

But then I can’t find it. She walks past me toward the back of the store as I finally settle on a smaller bag of Iams for fat-asses and head off to get milk.

Who is also getting milk? Same girl. Now I just feel really awkward. At this point I think about cracking a joke and informing her that I’m not following her but think better of it. I grab my 2% quickly, hoping I can regain the lead but am too late, she’s already off.

To the baked goods section… Of course.

Screw it! I’ll just get bread on Monday. Kai can have hot lunch. I head for the checkout hoping that she doesn’t have the ability to teleport.

It’s late, so there is only one lane open. She ends up in line behind me. She has grabbed a loaf of the exact same potato bread I buy. I now feel double glad that I didn’t decide to buy bread. The poor woman probably would have been forced to mace me.

I pay and flee.

Where am I going with all this? I have no idea.

Maybe: sometimes they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

And then sometimes they really are stalking you.

So I guess our dance of paranoia continues.

Backsplash? Not any more.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

It took me over thirty years to figure this out on my own. I made a diagram. If I save just one person, it was worth it.


Spread the word. You don’t have to be a victim anymore!

–Joe

I think I am done.

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Well that was easy. I suppose if you don’t expect too much out of your blog, it is pretty easy to set up.

I put a bunch of links to stuff I love on the right. There is some pretty entertaining and/or useful stuff over there. Perhaps I’ll go through and talk about why I love them. Huh…

My Blog

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Well, I suppose since I have the domain and now have what amounts to a virtual hosting account for all my crap, I don’t have any excuse any more, so I stuck up a little blog dealy here. Just for fun.

We’ll see how much use it gets.

I am going to make a post for each category just to test things out. This is from my “Ramblings” category. For my ramblings. Pretty self explanatory.