Friday, August 11, 2006

Hurricane Stacy Makes Landfall!

This week went by rather fast. I decided to check out Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on Monday. Being a Will Ferrell fan, I thought I was in for a treat. It turned out a bit dull. There were funny moments, to be sure, but it was certainly no Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Will does his signature screaming act, which is funny at times. Throughout most of the movie, he comes off more like his George W. Bush character as a racecar driver. Sacha Baron Cohen (of Ali G and Borat fame) turned in a marvelous performance as Ricky Bobby’s arch-nemesis, the Frenchman Jean Gerard, who was married to Andy Richter’s Gregory. Yeah, try to flush an image of those two locking lips out of your head. Leslie Bibb played Ricky’s extremely hot, superficial, extremely hot wife, Carley Bobby. This being a rise-fall-rerise story, she doesn’t last long as his wife, but she’s still great screen candy. Gary Cole gives a standout performance as Ricky’s recalcitrant father, Reese. Mediocre performances by The Green Mile’s Michael Clark Duncan and John C. Reilly (who I saw most recently in A Prairie Home Companion but you may recognize from his supporting roles in movies like The Aviator, Chicago, Gangs of New York, or The Perfect Storm) rounded out the cast. There were a few other characters, but none worth noting further. The movie had possibilities, and maybe if I were a NASCAR fan I would have seen more, but it ultimately fell flat for me. If you still want to see this one, I would definitely wait for the DVD.

What's that you see on the horizon, Ricky? High DVD sales?

Stacy and the girls flew in on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Stacy came home to a house that changed little from when she left. The lawn was still only half done and I never got around to buying ¼ round to finish the floors. It seemed I only had enough energy to keep up with standard chores like laundry, dishes, and taking out the garbage for the past two weeks. Rather than going to a ton of movies the past two weeks, I should have been fixing things up and doing more housework. I was in the doghouse for that until the tidal wave of frustration hit the shores on Wednesday. With a good fight out of the way, Stacy came up with a plan for ensuring that we do an equal share of housework from now on. I have never been able to keep a real schedule. Any time I try to organize my life in such a way, I am able to adhere to it for a couple of days before I leave it behind. Stacy has drawn up a schedule that should account for housework, homework, and work, leaving room for family time. I am not optimistic, but I’m game. I can’t really complain, I was pretty lazy for the past two weeks.

Projected path of Hurricane Stacy

On the plus side, I did finally finish Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil on the PC. I had a long spiel written here about the game both in its tabletop and computer forms, then I realized that anyone reading this doesn’t really care. The short of it is that I had a good time seeing a well-crafted graphical representation of a place I had only seen on graph paper and heard described. I know that this doesn’t sound too impressive to non-RPGers (read: it sounds ├╝ber-nerdy.) The only reason it is a noteworthy accomplishment to me is that I have started and restarted the game multiple times in the past. A very clunky interface made was almost a deal-breaker for me. Why take all the time to create a game so true to its roots and then screw it up on the interface level? I hope that 1) they keep making games along these lines and 2) they learn from their mistakes on this one.

Then I cast magic missile on the ogre!

Back to housework: Tuesday was the first day in the past two weeks that temperatures have not been in the 90’s by 11:00 AM. I finally got outside to finish the lawn. By this time much of the grass was above my waist. I waded to the shed for the mower. I felt like I should have been using a machete instead. Insect life of all kinds fled the light as I hauled open the door. There were spiders along the walls, crickets the size of my thumb hopping to the back of the shed, beetles running for the grass, and a mass of ants that would make your skin crawl. They did mine. The ants were centered on two rolls of trash bags. They happened to be the bags I had to use for grass clippings. I picked one up with the intention of shaking off the ants, but immediately dropped it. Underneath the bags was an entire ant colony. I know it was a colony because of the larvae all over the place. If I saw the queen, I would have called Brian down to stock his ant farm. She never showed up, though. I grabbed a couple of shots with my camera phone, then went inside for my camcorder. By the time I came back out, half the larvae were gone. The ants were scurrying about crazily, picking them up and ferrying them off to I-don’t-know-where. I’m assuming they’re living under the shed now. By the time I had some footage and went for the bug spray, the ants were all gone and only a few larvae remained. It was almost as if they were never there. Kinda creepy. I sprayed the crap out of the shed anyway. Damn ants.

All the black spots are ants, you can guess at the white spots

We have a tiny little electric mower that chokes at three-inch grass, so I had my work cut out for me. After a couple of swipes, it stopped working. I’m used to it jamming up, so I checked underneath; no jam. The circuit breaker on the mower wasn’t tripped either. Great, I thought, I’ve fried our mower. I trudged to the front where Stacy was using the carpet cleaner on the van. That had died too. Apparently, running the computer, fan, and clock radio upstairs at the same time as the carpet cleaner and lawn mower outside was too much for the 15 amp circuit. Go figure. I hit the breaker and got back to work. About an hour later, I had finished terrorizing all of the bugs in our yard and the grass was cut. I gave up on grass catching early on. I just let the grass fall where I cut it. I figure it will cover up the dirt between clumps of crabgrass in case of rain. That and I’m lazy. I’m also a fair-skinned, red haired bald man. Do you know what happens to fair-skinned, red haired bald men in two hours of direct sunlight? I’ll give you a hint, it’s lobsterific! To make matters worse, I was wearing a sweatband. Now I have a retarded halo of unburned skin around my head. I think I’ll leave you with that pleasant mental image. Good day.