Friday, February 27, 2009

The Dream Police

I've been taking melatonin for about a month now. Cool thing is, I get a deeper sleep, I don't wake up as many times throughout the night and I don't wake up feeling tired. Since I'm in a deeper sleep, I also get to have crazier dreams.

The first one I had this week had my wife telling me she thought it would be a good idea if we started swinging. "Cool," I thought. "I'll go pick up the stuff for our big coming out party."
So I'm at the grocery store at the chip isle.
"Let's see," I said. "I'm pretty sure these are the chips people eat at these sorts of things. I'd better get three or four bags."
I noticed a woman looking at me.
"You're really going to get those?"
"Well, yeah."
"All the beginners get those."
Then everyone in the store started laughing at me.
"Hey, I've never done this before," I protested. Then I woke up confused. What happened to all the sex in my sex dream?

Then last night I dreamt I was standing in my front yard when my friends Pat and Todd stopped by.
"Hey, you want to go to Miami with us?"
"Well, I would, but I should probably stay around here."
"Dude, all you've got to do is walk down this floating sidewalk with us. It'll take like 20 minutes."
"Huh. Yeah, sure, I'll go to Miami with you."
So we walk down the magic sidewalk. Pretty soon I notice that Debbie Harry, Blondie herself is next to me.
"I'm getting tired," Blondie said. "I want to go home."
"I'll walk you," I said, hoping my friends wouldn't hear and ruin my action.
So we walk a while until we find a little roadside stand.
"You want to go in there and make out?"
Well, alright.
So I go in there and there's all sorts of green and brown slime coming out of the floor. We should probably stay outside. Besides, I figure if I'm fooling around with Blondie, I want the whole world to see.
So we start making out, and I notice her hand is looking sort of manly. And her arms are sort of shriveled. Then she starts shrinking. She ends up looking sort of like this guy:

I set her down and wonder if I can either catch up with my friends or make my way back home. And did anyone see me making out with that little old guy?
I woke up angry and confused after that one.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

I've been eating fairly healthy for about a month now. Nothing crazy, I just noticed that after two months of eating anything that couldn't run away from me, I was beginning to get a little fatter, so I cut out a bunch of the crap I was eating. Which wasn't too hard, considering that there was a day at my parents that I drank two milkshakes.

I've had a ton of stuff to do at work lately, so I figured I'd blast it all out over the weekend. I went upstairs and got a Mountain Dew and a package of vending machine donuts, which was pretty much my diet a year or two ago.

"Yeah," I thought. "That's the stuff."

I was having trouble concentrating, but I figured I'd level off after a while. Then, after like an hour or so, all the sweet sugar and caffeine seemed to leave my system at the same time and I was sleepy and depressed.

"What's the point of doing all these evaluations anyway," I thought. "I'll probably just get fired soon, or possibly die of some unknown medical condition."

Then the next day I had to come in an hour early to fix the schedule and figured I'd go ahead and take an early lunch. And since I had sacrificed an extra hour of my time to The Man, why bother with the crappy lunch I brought, all full of boring fruit and vegetables? It was Cuban time.

The Cuban sandwich I ate was possibly the worst one I've ever had in my life. Somehow they used too much grease or butter or whatever so it was all soggy and the meat was ...well, there was something definitely off about the meat.

So it looks like nature or fate or something is telling me to stick to my diet. It kind of sucks.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Overheard Coming Home

Dude rummaging through garbage can: "Because I do not eat off the ground like an animal. LIKE A DOG, MISTER BIKE DRIVING WORK MAN!"

I didn't even realize I was in the conversation.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Curious Case of King Frat

With my work, the internet and Netflix, I have access to a wide-ranging variety of movies with just a few simple keystrokes.

Pretty much the entire catalog of film is available between the three; a world of fantastic visions, astounding tales, and, in certain films, something approaching great art.

So two weeks ago I rented "King Frat" from Netflix.

"King Frat" is a low-budget "Animal House" ripoff, without that movie's boring stuff like plot, characterization and logical narrative structure to get in the way of a strange collection of gross-out vingettes.

Although I have to admit, the newspaper headline "Big Fart Contest Announced" in 40 point type was pretty funny, especially when lead character Gross Out exclaims, "Holy shit!" as if war had been announced. And yeah, the nerd frat guy who looked like a 40 year old Robert Crumb was good for a laugh.

But after a while the hijinx of Gross Out and the gang just weren't doing it for me and I decided to cut my losses and stop watching.

And then I saw Tigert Hall. Hey! This movie was filmed at the University of Florida! I used to work in that building. From then on I was fascinated. Every location, every set - did I know where that was? Perhaps one of my old apartments was even the setting for The Big Fart Contest!

Then the end credits thanked the University of Miami.

So I froze the image of the building that started my love affair with "King Frat" and compared it to an online image of Tigert Hall. Yep, same building. Would an architect design two identical buildings for two universities in the same state? That seemed unlikely.

So I contacted my former boss at the News and Public Affairs office. After some ribbing about my taste in movies, he watched the trailer on youtube and was positive that building in the opening scene was UF's Murphree Dorm, and I've got to agree - looking at it now, I recognize the area as the one I walked through to get to my friends Jenn and Julie's dorm.

So why was the University of Florida not credited in "King Frat?" Were they embarassed? Did the Big Fart Contest headline hit a little too close to home? Was there a crusty dean trying to stamp out campus shennanigans at the time? From what the movies have taught me, I'd wager quite a bit on the crusty dean theory.

If anyone has the answers to these questions, the American filmgoing public deserves to know.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Got 96 Tears in 96 Eyes

Celebrity deaths have never bothered me that much. Sure, it's sad and all, but I always felt it was sort of presumptuous for me to grieve. That belongs to people who knew them personally. And yeah, a world without Ron Asheton, 3/4 of The Ramones, Joe Strummer or Rudy Ray Moore is a sadder place, but we still have their work, which was why we cared about them in the first place.

But Lux Interior of The Cramps? I just assumed that guy would live forever.

Mining "the old, weird America" for inspiration, The Cramps combined a love of B-movies, trash culture and early rock and roll to create their own unique sound. Fuzzed-out, simple and catchy, you just can't top those early albums, especially when considering that there was no precedent for their style of sped-up rockabilly back then. Even the later albums, while not as good, would still have at least a couple good songs. And they even got to appear on 90210!

You know how you felt a little funny when you found out that Alice Cooper played golf with Bob Hope or that dude from Metallica had a gazillion dollar art collection? Lux and his longtime wife, Poison Ivy were The Cramps 24/7, still getting inspiration from the overlooked flotsam of American pop culture, living in a house that was probably second only to Forrest Ackerman's mansion in terms of coolness.

I saw the Cramps in 1989 or so. As the band warmed up, Lux came onstage in a skintight black vinyl outfit, looked the crowd over and said, "I just talked to the sheriff of Tampa. He said you all need a goooood spankin,'" then launched into one of the best shows I've ever seen. After about an hour and half, he was stripped down to high heel shoes and vinyl pants and he climbed to the top of the speakers like King Kong. Watching him humping the top of the speakers while screaming gibberish through the microphone he kept clenched in his teeth, I realized I was in the presence of the force that possessed Elvis, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, that exciting, primal beat that so worried parents and authorities in the '50s.

It was pretty strange thinking Lux and Ivy were about the age of my parents.

So while I never met the guy, a world without Lux Interior is a world a little sadder and a little squarer. This week, before doing something lame and square, close your eyes and listen really hard. Hear that faint beat? That simple, driving, aboriginal beat? That's the beat of rock and roll. Do something crazy, something cramped with it.