Tuesday, August 31, 2010

RTT: Triumph of reason! Social networking failure! Hunger Games hypocrisy


I'm back on the random wagon!  After you read below, click above and go to Keely's new and improved site to see more random.

I'm trying to watch the kids, paint the nursery (the "real" nursery, not the walk-in closet the girls currently sleep in), and prepare for my final class at the digital arts vo-tech where I'm teaching English Lit to four pretty nice guys. So I'll be brief and prosaic.

Item 1: Three weeks after I called for the final inspection on the addition I started building several months before the twins were born, I finally passed!  Now we can legally move into the addition (in which we have been living for a year.)

The big issue, which I dramatically illustrated here, was that my AC unit is too close to the property line.  So after weeks of negotiating with inspectors, I finally got the supervisor of the whole department to come out with a couple of guys who work for the city dealing with noise complaints and check out the situation.  They were all very cool and, even though according to their decibel-measuring machinery I would be out of compliance with the acceptable nighttime noise levels, agreed that there was really no way the neighbor would ever hear the AC, what with the high ambient noise levels, his double-paned windows, the six-foot tall concrete wall and 20-ft wide driveway between us, and the fact that his bedroom is clear on the other side of the house.  Plus, the neighbor's AC (like everyone else's in the neighborhood) is out of compliance as well, so he has no room to complain.

Yeah.  That's what I've been saying.

So now I have to finish up some painting and make everything look nice for the appraiser, who's coming tomorrow to determine whether we'll be able to refinance.

Item 2:  I bumped into a woman that I used to often see at the dog park, when my previous dog, Beautiful Perfect Greta, was alive.  This woman and I had always had great conversations, and I always hoped we would start hanging out socially outside of the park.  But Greta died, our dog park habits changed, we had kids, and I hardly ever saw my would-be friend anymore.

I had seen her walking her dogs about a month ago, and we briefly caught up, promising to contact each other via the interwebs for some proper conversation.  But I couldn't find her on Facebook and didn't have an email address for her.  Plus, who wants to talk to people on boring, old-fashioned email?

So when we saw each other last night walking our dogs at the park, we slowed down, removed our respective ear buds and re-committed to our future online communication:

Her: I found your blog...

Me: I looked for you on facebook, but there are a lot of people with your name...

Her: Did you spell it right? [spells name]

Me: I tried every permutation...

Her: I'll look you up then.  How do you spell your name?

Me: [spells name]

Her: Okay, I'll find you...[gets dragged away by her four dogs]

I realized that she might not recognize me by my Facebook profile since it's a picture of me playing in a punk rock band approximately 25 years ago.  I think I look pretty much the same, but other people fail to see much similarity.  I guess I could update the picture.  Or I suppose I could walk over to her house, which is about two blocks from mine.

Item the third:  One of my many sisters-in-law stayed with us for the last couple days.  She's a cinematographer, photographer, foodsnob, obsessive gardener, and Cobra's godmother.  (A film she shot recently, called "Girlfriend," is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, so if you're in the neighborhood, check it out.)  Anyway, while she was here, my wife turned her on to this series of young adult books called The Hunger Games.  I'm sure you've heard of it.  Everyone, from Mama Pop to Slate.com, is talking about it.  So my sis-in-law--we'll call her Zi Q--spent pretty much all of her visit reading, talking about, or thinking about these books.

Here's the conversation the three of us had last night:

Zi Q: This should totally be made into a movie...

Dr. Mom: I know!

Zi Q: We should write a screenplay for it!

Dr. Mom: Yeah!!

Me: Phhht...

Dr. Mom: What?

Me: Yeah...because who's more qualified to adapt a series of novels into a screenplay than a doctor and a cinematographer?

Dr. Mom: You and I could write it.  You've written a screenplay.

Me: But then I would have to read it...

Dr. Mom: It's really good.  You should read it anyway...

Me: It's beneath me...

I have made a pretty fun hobby of mocking the books that my wife reads.  She likes a lot of fluffy fantasy, romance, sci-fi, and YA fiction.  Honestly, I can understand her not wanting to read serious stuff after spending her days dealing with people who are often sick, usually poor, and sometimes crazy.  But nonetheless, it's fun to act superior to her, and she doesn't really seem to mind my little game.

But she could have easily called me out on hypocrisy charges for last night's mockery by reminding me what I've been reading.  Currently on my nightstand is a wacky YA story involving mechanical birds, shadow creatures, water genies, and floating gardeners fighting over the fate of a body of water from which all stories originate.  I'm reading Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which I bought not realizing that it was meant for younger readers. At least I think it's meant for younger readers.  Or maybe its deceptively simple language and whimsical plot has made me think that it's for kids, but I'm just too dense to get the conceit.  Anyway, it's Rushdie, which makes it legitimate.  Not like some ridiculous fluff about a dystopian future where children have to fight each other to the death to win food for their communities.  That's just silly.

Here are some pics Zi Q took while taking a break from her silly books:

     Cobra shy smile

Butterbean: Do I dare eat a pea?


  1. God your children are gorgeous!
    PS- Post the punk rock picture! C'mon! Do it!

  2. Someone saying "I found your blog" is pretty much my nightmare.

  3. I've got the second volume of the Hunger Games trilogy on my 'library books to read' stack. It's more in a spirit of research as I'm also writing a YAF novel. Suspect it owes a great deal to an awful lot of predecessors - Battle Royale, Running Man etc. Of course, the author claims her real inspiration is the myth of the Minotaur.

  4. I'm so embarrassed by what I'm reading right now, I don't even want to tell you. I'm pretty sure it will end our friendship in one fell swoop.

  5. Have you seen the picture on www.failblog.org that has a mother with two toddlers on leashes? You should check it out it is entitled "Parenting fail" The kids are going in two different directions and she is about to fall over. Thought of you immediately!

  6. My stepdaughter has highly recommended I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I'm somewhat reticent. I suffered through reading the Twilight saga following her suggestion.

    Aakk! Everything's gone dark and I just peed my pants... I must be having another Twilight flashback...

  7. I love Haroun. Forgot all about it til now... off to locate my copy.

    I get the YA fiction thing, thought about starting the Hunger Games books... but then got sucked into some sexy dirty vamp stuff, not the Twilight crap either.


Don't hold back.


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