Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Good Grief

The other night, I was scanning the ol' tube for some entertainment and came across a presumably new Charlie Brown special called "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown". I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Charlie Brown specials are kind of sacred to me. At least the old ones were. Once they started to introduce new characters and take on topics heavier than what to do when you get a rock for Halloween, well, then, "You Jumped the Shark, Charlie Brown!"

But, on the other hand, I was encouraged that whatever Peanuts crew was left decided to address something as serious as bullying. Then I read the description:

Premise: Charlie Brown tries to win back ReRun's marbles at summer camp, by challenging a bully.

First of all, I wasn't aware that Peanuts decided to join the cast of What's Happening?! I got news for you Chuck. This guy's marbles are lost. For good.

Anyway, it got me thinking. What other new Charlie Brown episodes could they come up with to stay current and also address social issues? I came up with some. I expect you will see them soon.

  • "Why Don't You Get Your Dad's Gun From The Closet and Fuck Him Up, Charlie Brown?" (this episode, I imagine, will follow the bully episode, because I'm sure that Charlie Brown couldn't stand up to a bully, so Sally would have to kick the bully's ass, which would really steam ol' Squiggle Head, and then, completing the trilogy...)
  • "Here's An Idea. Why Don't You Try Growing a Sack, Charlie Brown?"
  • "No, I Don't Know Where You Can Get a Copy of the Britney/K-Fed Sex Tape, Charlie Brown"
  • "You Need a Cochlear Implant, Charlie Brown" (alternate titles: "Everyone Else Can Understand Your Teacher Except For You, Charlie Brown" and "Do You Have Shit In Your Ears, Charlie Brown?")
  • "No, Snoopy Really Isn't a World War I Fighter Ace. He's Just Looped Out On X, So Grab Him a Red Bull, Charlie Brown"
  • "The Gym Teacher Isn't Supposed To Touch You There, Charlie Brown", which is followed by...
  • "No, I'm Not Sure What It Means If You Liked It, Charlie Brown."
  • """ " " """ '' ' " '' """ ' ''' "'" (Written and directed by Woodstock)
  • "...And That's Why Peppermint Patty and Marcie Moved To Vermont, Charlie Brown."
  • "Shermy's a Narc, Charlie Brown"
  • "Oh sure, It's Perfectly Normal To Cling To a Blanket And Have an Oral Fixation at Linus' Age. Freud Can Go Screw, Charlie Brown"
  • "Of Course it Stings. They Don't Call it 'Chlamydia' Because it Feels Like a Soothing Summer Breeze, Charlie Brown", which is the prologue to...
  • "Well, You Should Have Thought About That Before You Nailed Frieda, Charlie Brown" (Hey, it takes more than 30 minutes for Franklin to explain why Chuck needs to wear a jimmy hat, yo.)
  • "Snoopy Isn't Really a Beagle, Charlie Brown. And While We Are At It...You Were Adopted."
  • "Joe Shlabotnik Is On The Juice, Charlie Brown"
  • "Prozac Will Get Rid Of That Black Thought Bubble Of Dismay Above Your Melon, Charlie Brown. Just Don't Knock It Back With a Fifth Of Bourbon."
  • "You Want a Chick Like Lucy? Play the Piano. You Want To Party with the Red-Haired Girl? Get Your Ass An Electric Guitar, Charlie Brown!"

Well, that's all the Charlie Brown specials I have. I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving. And, for the love of all that's holy, PLEASE don't call it "Turkey Day".

- Dim.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I Hate the Internet

If it wasn't for the news sites, sports sites, music sites, the fact that I can buy pretty much anything I want without leaving my house, midget porn, entertainment sites, blogs, e-mail, and youtube, I'd REALLY hate the Internet.

The reason?

The fucking ads.

Here are two that drive me crazy:

  1. The "roll over". The concept of this kind of internet ad is that it places a small, unobtrusive banner on the page in which you are viewing and, theoretically, if you move your cursor over the banner, it expands to an ad that is roughly the height and width of a movie screen. That's how it works in theory. How it actually works is like this: This slim, non-assuming banner is usually placed in close proximity to a field that gets used kind of a lot. Like a text search field on an Internet browser. You know, that thing that you pretty much use all the time. Well, what the ad folks don't tell you is that there is a little "buffer zone" around the roll-over banner. So, just in case you were thinking of seeing their retarded commercial for why you should watch "Two and a Half Men" on Monday nights, but have serious visual spacial issues, it says to itself "Hey, even if they don't roll directly over the banner itself, if they are in this space, we'll assume they want to watch the ad." "This space" is actually the entire width and height of your monitor. So, I go to enter a text search like "dwarf sex tapes", uh, I mean, "How to help the environment" and the "roll over" banner grows to Incredible Hulk proportions saying, "Hey, fuck the environment! Try Cialis!" Not cool.
  2. The other ad I hate is the pop-up box, which exists despite the presence of about 839 different pop-up blockers I have. These ads usually appear at the most inopportune times in your Internet search. Oftentimes, they blink and flash with such ferocity, you think you are at a rave. They also congratulate you on being the nth visitor to that site and if you click "OK", they will send you a trillion dollars, no strings attached. Personally, I have no possible use for a trillion dollars and would really prefer to get back to watching the lurid activities of carnies, uh, I mean, educating myself on civil rights. So, I click the button that is the supposed antithesis of "OK". That would be the "Close" button. Guess what? It doesn't work! Actually, that's not true. The Close button does work. But it doesn't close. Instead it brings me to a site, again congratulating me on my newly won trillion dollars and to herald my luck, decides to reward me with approximately one pop-up window for every dollar I have "won", which reproduce with the vigor of a thousand rabbits after watching a couple hours of midget porn, when I try to "x" out of it. Come on, Internet ad people. No means no. I find your subversive trickery annoying and the ruination of my buzz when I am trying to find clips of the Britney/K-Fed tape, uh, I mean, the words to all of the verses of "The Star-Spangled Banner".


- Dim.

Oh, by the way, just noticed. This is my 100th post. For all of you who are down with milestones.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It's That Time Of Year Again

Great. It's that time of the year again.

Rather than rehash all of the crap I did last year, I've found some new things in my shopping experiences this year that I would like to complain about.

  • The music. OK, sorry, but I have a hard time getting my nads pumped for lighting that yule log when I have been forced to endure 3 months worth of Christmas songs, even when I am just going to the local CVS to pick up some friggin nasal spray. Guess what? It's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Santa Claus might be coming to town, but not for like a hundred days, the weather outside isn't frightful, it's seriously not THAT much fun to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, Rudolph is a whiny little bitch, and I still don't know what the fuck "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum" means. Let's hold off on the good cheer until, say, two weeks before Christmas, OK? I hate nothing more than going to the supermarket on Halloween to buy my customary bag of apples and package of razor blades, only to be serenaded by The First friggin Noel. Serves us right though. We need to come up with some Thanksgiving tunes to break things up a little. And no, "Indians" by Anthrax and "Run To The Hills" by Maiden don't cut it.
  • There should be some lie-detector set up at the register and they ask you if a certain frivilous purchase is for yourself. If you lie and say no, it refuses you the sale of said purchase. Xteen and I went Christmas shopping over the weekend and managed to spend about as much money on ourselves as everybody else. Xteen bought herself a pair of earrings (which she also bought for someone that a faux pas?), we collectively got these two wine goblets at one of those import places, which were undoubtedly crafted by some 6-year-olds in some -stan country or another, but they sure did look cool, and I walked out of a joint with a framed print of an Absinthe Robette print (to go along side our Sandeman poster and our Maurin devil). Totally needless. But to add salt into the buyer's regret wound, we get it home and Xteen asks, "Hey, is that a nipple?" Now, usually, that is a question that will turn my head around faster than Linda Blair in the Excorcist. But instead of my hope of turning around and finding Poppy Montgomery and Without A Trace on my TV, I find Xteen holding our Absinthe poster. CRAP! Yet another piece of art banished to the bedroom when the folks come over. It can go up next to my autographed and highly provocative Queens of the Stone Age poster and my autographed 8x10 of Luis Tiant. Don't nudity on the Tiant pic, but man, that stache is obscene!!
  • I'm a sucker for those local pottery places as I love goblets and bowls and stuff like that (hey, I also like monster trucks, so fuck off). But let's get a little realistic with prices, shall we? These things are just ridiculously off the charts. A tiny bowl that would hold like, a thimble, for $45. Huh? I don't give a shit if it is the actual bowl that Demi Moore and Swayze humped out in Ghost. I'm not paying $45 for a bowl that can only hold a thimble. Now, a shot glass that can hold like 4 drops of any light-colored alcohol (cuz dark liquid would indelibly stain it) for $30?? Sold American!
  • Shipping and handling. Well, you all know my issues with the delivery part of shipping and handling. But, I have a few issues with the on-line store-side of this too. First of all, I love buying things on-line because it means that I don't have to deal with real people, which is always a BIG turn-on for me, but way too many of these places charge way too much for shipping...and all of these places have different methods to come up with their consistently gargantuan numbers. For example, one site that sells some pretty cool stuff (albeit light in weight stuff) decides that they are going to charge you for how many items you buy, instead of how much the things weigh. So, theoretically, I could purchase 8 feathers, 3 sheets of tissue paper , and a dozen coriander seeds and expect to pay upwards of $75 to have it shipped, while, on the other hand, I could conceivably buy, say, a cinder block , and have it cost $3.75 to get to my door. Not sure about that one. Then you have the ones that tantalizingly offer you free shipping, somehow, someway. I ordered Xteen's Christmas gift and, upon choosing it, I saw a badge of honor emblazoned across the description: "This product qualifies for FREE SHIPPING!" Complete with the cap lock and the exclamation point. I look arrived on my face, not unlike when the Grinch's heart grew the three sizes it lacked, and I smiled and nodded. "Yes, dear Web site! I too am excitedly yelling that I don't have to pay for shipping!" Yahoo! Well, not exactly. All I thought I had to do to obtain this Yeti-like free shipping was: click off the FREE SHIPPING option in every single place it asked me how I wanted it shipped. Sure, they send the thing by dromedary and there's no guarantee that it will arrive in time for Christmas 2012, nevermind this year, but it's FREE! So, I click everywhere for the free shipping. I get prompted "Are you sure you want the free shipping?" Yes. "Are you really sure you want the free shipping?" Yes. "You do realize that there is a moderate-to-high probability that you will never see the product your purchased if you select the free shipping, right?" Yes. Send order!! Nice!! Two days later, Brown showed up at my door. It's what I just ordered. They must have some speedy dromedaries in Battle Creek, Michigan, I think to myself. I check the order on-line, just to be sure and there it is, on the receipt I neglected to inspect following my FREE SHIPPING euphoria: Express Delivery (2-3 business days)...$14,943, plus one limb. What the fuck? Evidently, I didn't perform the necessary routine to collect on my free shipping, which goes way beyond just checking off "free shipping" everywhere it appeared, but apparently, before clicking on "Send Order", I needed to perform a series of right and left clicks of the mouse that, in Morse code, read "I can't believe I am falling for this shit". After that was complete, I needed to orchestrate six armpit farts, 4 on the left, 2 on the right, and then stand on one leg, click "Send Order", and yodel. So, no free shipping for me. I always forget to do the yodelling part.

We're not yet done with Christmas shopping, so I'm sure I'll complain about more as we go along.

Still in therapy after seeing Mommy kissing Santa Claus,

- Dim.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A New Feature and a Pet Peeve

First off, I want to thank you all for your nice messages commemorating one full year of Dim City. Truth be told, I was very much thinking of going on a blogger hiatus, since I really don't think that Dim City is fulfilling what I was hoping to be its "special purpose", but I think I'll put my hiatus on hiatus for the time-being because I really can't let you lovely seven people down.

Now, for my pet peeve. I got an e-mail from a friend of mine today which read something along the lines of:

"Hey, R U going 2 the party?"

No, my friend isn't twelve years old.
And no, my friend isn't Prince.

So, why, you ask is he writing like that? I have no idea. How many key strokes are you really saving? It's not like he is abbreviating a word like antidisestablishmentarianism or anything. Anyway, please do me a favor and spell out words like "are", "you", and "to". And if you just can't for the life of you, bring yourself to do that...well...I just gotta say that I don't care what anyone says. "Purple Rain" ruled. Thanks for that.

Now, onto the new feature.

I'm a nostalgic dude and ever since I have been attending sporting events and concerts, I would save the ticket stubs. These would collect in various engorged envelopes in even more various dresser drawers. Each show would come and go and the stub would be stuffed in the envelope, like an additional and ill-advised forkful of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Then, about a year or so ago, I found some albums on-line that I could buy that would house my ticket stubs all nice and neat-like.

What does this have to do with my new feature?

Well, from time to time, I am going to break out the ticket book and write about a particular event for which I have a stub. Some might be brand new writings (like today's). Some might be rehashed reviews I did for a long since defunct e-zine of concerts of yore. Hey, at least it's something.

I call the debut of this feature:

The Geek Is Out There

The date: Saturday, May 2, 1998
The place: South Weymouth Naval Air Station, Hangar 1
The price: $27.00 (face value)
The event: The X-Files Expo

OK, shut the fuck up.

Let me explain. I was stalking Gillian Anderson.

Well, not really, but I can't think of any other non-embarrassing reason to why I went to this.

Back in 1997 or so, I used to hang out with a buddy of mine practically every weekend at a local bar. We had just met at our job and had a lot in common, so we would spend hours hanging out, buttering up the bartender so she would give us free drinks, and watching sports and talking shit. One day he asked, "Do you watch the X-Files?"


"Oh, you gotta watch it. It's great."

Now, I was never a Sci-Fi guy. Sure, I liked Star Wars and Close Encounters, but I was never one to give myself a bowl cut with a Flowbee, put on prosthetic pointy ears and attend conferences where I could tell fellow idiots to "Live long and prosper". The idea of getting into the Cult of the X-Files was not attractive to me in the least.

Then, during re-runs, I saw this episode. Not even one of the better episodes of the series, but I was immediately hooked. I started taping all of the episodes and had them all in a library. And I severely lusted after Gillian Anderson.

Fast forward to 1998, when I heard that the X-Files Expo (with the alluring tagline "Experience the Intrigue") was coming to town.

I convinced a different buddy to come along (OK, I bribed him with beer) and we made our way to this Expo. Now, I would never have imagined myself going to any kind of show or movie convention EVER, unless maybe back in 1981 if there was a "Bosom Buddies" gathering just so I could then profess my pre-pubescent love for Donna Dixon, but most certainly not as a 26 year old man, despite my infatuation with Special Agent Dana Scully.

We got there pretty early. The ticket said the event went from 11 AM to 8:30 PM. I figured that we would be in and out of there in a couple of hours and that would be that.

Oh no no no.

First off, there's an insane amount of standing in line at these things. If you want to get in the venue...wait in line. You want to buy some overpriced merchandise? Get in line. You, god forbid, want an autograph of someone who played "Goverment Official #2" in Episode 2-11? Well, better start praying for lost time and get in the queue, Special Agent Dumb-ass.

As if waiting in line for an ungodly amount of time isn't enough, what's worse is with whom you are waiting in line. In no particular order:

  • People dressed as characters from the show, complete with fake FBI badges (which would get you a nice stint in Gitmo these days)
  • Those who believe in alien abductions
  • Those who believe they have been involved in alien abductions
  • Those who inexplicably want to be abducted by aliens
  • Those who think they are, actually, aliens
  • Paranoiacs
  • Reformed Trekkies
  • Stalkers of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (present company not included)
  • Parent's basement-dwellers
  • Dungeonmasters
  • Those who, when filling out information about themselves, put in the "Sex" field "Hopefully, one day".

At this "Expo", we were promised that some members of the cast would be available for autographs. This wasn't entirely untrue. What was more accurate is that you would have to wait in line, like cattle being led to the slaughter, for upwards of an hour, to have the actor (usually a fringe guy, like some dude whose only line in one episode was "You really think this was an alien abduction?", which is actually a line that was uttered in nearly every episode) sign something that you had to buy at some outrageous price. I swear I paid more for an 8x10 of the Cigarette Smoking Man than some Moscovites doled out for blue jeans during the Yuri Andropov administration.

So, long story long, I waited in line for autographs by:

  • Dean Haglund (Richard "Ringo" Langley, one of the conspiracy theorists, The Lone Gunmen). He was a very cool and affable dude.
  • Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers, another of the Lone Gunmen)
  • William B. Davis (the Cigarette Smoking Man). That black-lunged son of a bitch was all business up there. Then again, I wouldn't have wanted to talk to us wackos either.

Shortly after we were in line for the autograph sessions (2 at a time...and the whole process probably involved waiting in line for 2 and a half hours for about 15 seconds of face time), we started hearing rumblings of rumors that Gillian herself was going to be making a surprise appearance. I think this was just interference which made some people give up their place in line and run back to their cars to get the bouquet of flowers they brought just in case. I, most assuredly, was not one of those psychos.

I just brought a single rose.

Anyway, the star attraction for most of us was Nicholas Lea who played the diabolical agent-for-hire Alex "Ratboy" Krycek. Of course, he was beyond late getting there, which resulted in people wandering aimlessly around, shelling out money like labotomized automatons for the chance to get a picture taken in front of a blue screen onto which they superimposed a photo of Fox Mulder's office or answering nad-pumping X-Files trivia, like "Who gave Scully her dog?" (The answer is Clyde Bruckman, by the way). Seriously, what some of these friggin nutjobs would do...

Finally, Rat Boy shows up and I have to give the guy props. He's dealing with a bunch of fucking weirdos. I mean, I've-only-kissed-a-pillow nerds to the power of a parsec degree who actually believe the X-Files is Science Non-fiction.

He was eating his lunch when I got to him. We were all instructed not to ask for personalization on the autographs and to keep the chit-chat non-existent, so the wait for each person would only be 2 hours and 58 minutes instead of the horrifically unacceptable 3 hours.

I decided to try my luck with Mr. Lea and plopped down my 8x10 which I stupidly bought earlier (after figuring out I had enough money for a "I Want To Believe" UFO poster as well, if I bought the 8x10 of all three Lone Gunmen together, rather than 3 individual 8x10s).

Like I said...the wackos at these things.

Anyway, Lea apologized for having a mouthful of a sandwich when I approached him and I said that it was no problem and I complimented his work on the show. I also asked if he could make out the autograph to (my name). I like to have things personalized. It makes it more...personal. Go figure.

So, the "handler", who was some chick working the Expo and standing next to him in case some lunatic decided to lunge at him with makeshift shank that he whittled from the laminate of his faux FBI badge for causing Scully's abduction in season two, leaned over to him and said, "You're not supposed to personalize the signings."

Now, my name can be spelled one of two ways. Lea leaned over and asked me, "Do you spell it this way, or that way". I looked nervously at the handler (who was like a 85-pound high school intern...I was terrified of her), who emphatically told him again that he couldn't do this.

Lea asked me the question again and I said to him, "Look, man, I don't want to get you in trouble". He laughed and assured me he wouldn't get in any hot water, so I told him how I spelled my name. He autographed the 8x10 with my name and I felt fulfilled. I really think that Nick Lea fucking rocks, and I mean that in a totally heterosexual way.

And thus, the whole shabang ended for me. Many hours after we walked into the hangar and, with most of that time spent just standing in a fucking line, we decided to leave the Expo: tired (instead of "Experience the Intrigue, the friggin tagline should have been "Experience the Fatigue"), broke, disillusioned, Gillian Andersonless, and scared that these many whackjobs were actually in the same place at the same time.

But it's something to tell the grandkids. "Hey, Nick Lea once defied his handler to sign my name on an autograph. Betcha the other granddads can't say that!"

"Who's Nick Lea?"

"Ah, go frig, ya brat."

And in case you need proof that I was dumb enough to do this thing, here's my ticket stub:

Oh, and here's a pic of me after I got the chance to get a picture taken in front of a blue screen onto which they superimposed a photo of Fox Mulder's office:

The truth IS out there,

- Dim.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

One year ago, Dim City was founded.

Shower me with your love.

Or your apathy. Whichever comes more naturally to you.

- Dim.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape