Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gotta Have It...Not Sure Why

I like to collect things. Even when I was a little kid (with a giant head) I collected stuff. I had quite bunch of Matchbox cars for instance. I remember being about 12 or so and thinking that I had outgrown my little car collection so I gave them to my cousin who was about 5 or so. Flash forward about a month later and my family goes to his house for a cookout. And there's little cousin-o-mine sitting on the sidewalk smashing MY CARS with a hammer. "They got in a crash." he said, as I was held back by my sisters. I vowed then and there that I would hoard shit that no one really needs to be hoarding.

I eventually moved on to comic books (of course), little toys (like weird little figures and stuff like that) and music (albums, cassettes and much later CDs). This new fangled thing with digital music kinda bums me out cuz I like to HAVE the thing, be it 7-inch, 12-inch, CD or whatever. I like the physical item. Now they're just files on my computer, more convenient sure but not tangible and collectible. I also did a dumb thing (shocking I know) when I was extra poor in the early 90's. I sold a bunch of comics and records so's that I could continue to have a roof over my huge melon. I have since been trying to slowly get those things back. I don't think I'll be able to afford the comics that I sold but I can at least rip friends CDs to get some of the music back. The Wiff and I bought a record player thingie that you can use to turn your albums into MP3 files. I have yet to use it but I like the idea. Most of my records are gone now but the Wiff still has a bunch (about 500 or so maybe). I should see if there's anything good in there worth converting. She has some questionable tastes though (ahem...80's hair metal...ahem).

So collecting..yes. Back when I found out my sister was preggers with my nephew Cam I thought it would be awesome to get him a bunch of Matchbox cars (generic term for me by the way. I don't like calling them die-cast cars cuz that sounds stoopid. Say it to yourself: Bleah, right?). So I went out and did just that. But of course the collecting gene kicked in and not only did I get him some cars, but I got myself some too. And then I got some more...pretty soon I had amassed quite a bunch of them. But goddammit it if I didn't have a blast.

There is a tipping point for me with a collection. I don't know exactly what the formula is that will turn me off of the latest obsession and focus my attention on the next shiny, shiny thing but price is a factor for sure. I had started grabbing up these little vinyl figures called Dunnys from Kid Robot in NY a few years ago and I now have a bunch of them. But the price went up to $8 a piece and that just was too much for me. I couldn't justify spending actual real money on them anymore. I still really like them (they come out with a new collection or two every year), I'm just not buying. But goddamn that Kid Robot site along with Rotofugi and My Plastic Heart rope me in with the shiny lovelies. Fugitive Toys does too now that I think about it. I often find myself on those sites with a shopping cart full of stuff that, let's face it, I shouldn't be buying. I've had to tell myself "NO! Put that back where you found it! Don't MAKE me tell you again!" on several occasions. I throw a fit and make a big scene but I just tell myself that I can yell all I want but I'm not made of money. Eventually I delete the stuff in the cart and cry myself to sleep but I'll thank me later, you'll see.

There's a tiny bedroom on the second floor of our house where I have my computer and I used to have all my crap displayed (it is important to note that the door was always closed to this room because my cats would often abscond with my toys and hide them. They're mine you little shitheads. Get your own toys). I had all the cars out, the Dunnys and all my old miscellaneous toys sitting on these old pine bookcases that we bought in Allston 100 years ago. There was not rhyme or reason to the display and it was sort of overwhelming to look at. I frickin' loved it. But then last year we put our house on the market so I had to pack all my goofy stuff away. When the house didn't sell (thanks economy!) and we decided to take it off the market I thought I'd immediately put all my crap back on display...but I haven't. We took the house off in November of 2007 and I still haven't put anything back up. Nothing. Hmm.

Today I took my nephew Cam to the comic book store (Harrison's in Salem) and it was so much fun to see him get really excited about not only the comics but all the stupid little toys and figures that I love so much. I had introduced him to Dunnys a couple of years back at Christmas (you're welcome Patty!) so he was familiar with those but this place has just a wealth of dumb things that simply rule. I ended up getting him a Munny which is this do-it-yourself vinyl toy. It comes with some accessories but you get to design how you want it to look. You can use acrylic paints or permanent markers and just draw right on the little bugger. Over lunch at the 99 we used the placemats to draw faces and designs that Cam tells me he may or may not use on the final version. Tough crowd. Either way buddy, I hope you dig it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spaced & Stuff

I'm a little slow on the uptake on the whole Simon Pegg thing (just saw Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead this year) but I'm sold. So sold in fact that I just picked up the Spaced box set. I had never even heard of the show until this month (it just wasn't on my radar. Actually, mostly my radar is focused on single malt scotch but that's another story...mmmm Dalwhinnie). I stumbled across it while channel surfing on BBC America. I recorded a few and watched 'em with the Wiff. Such a funny show. It has great references to pop culture and the cast is perfect.

Speaking of which they must be on a big promotional tour because Simon and Jessica keep popping up on my shows (such as Attack of the Show, and The Soup). I can say that the show is really good and the DVD set is a good one to own. There is a little documentary on one of them about the making of the show (the show ran in 1999 I think. Hold please...I'm gonna check the always accurate and never half-assed researched Wikipedia...ok I'm back..I guess it was from '99 to 2001. Close enough). The commentaries are good too (with guest stars who are fans of the show along with the cast and of the guests is Patton Oswalt). So what am I saying here? I guess I'm saying that if you want to borrow my DVDs then that's ok with me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yes, I know I stalled. Thank you for beeping at me. That's wicked helpful.

Done and done. We are now the proud owners of a diesel Jetta. Did I mention that it's a 5-speed? Oh, and that I haven't driven one in over 11 years? Note to self: budget new clutch for car in a few months.

We picked it up this afternoon and the Wiff drove the trusty Volvo home and I took the Jetta home (I have to name this one. Let's see, it's silver and it makes stinky diesel smells. Any suggestions?). Boy, stalling sucks. At one point I had decided to go see if Bruce and Rene were home and of course they live on a hill. You know what's not fun? Stalling in front of the guy who was just nice enough to let you go. I get to this intersection and I'm just waiting for my turn to make a left. I'm on a slight incline and this one guy gives me the "go ahead" wave. I think "thanks sucker!" and make my move. My move consisted of turning the car in front of this guy and BRRG-B-B-pfhtth! I stalled. Of course I did. Right in the middle of the intersection blocking the dude too by they way. I did get it started and get moving relatively quickly but just not as quickly as I (and that guy) had hoped. Oh, and Bruce and Rene weren't home either. Hmph.

But enough of that stuf...I'm on VACATION! Hoo-frickin'-ray! I sooooo x10 need some time off. Luckily for me I have a giant zit on the very tip of my nose. Sexy stuff.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Good Night Sweet ... uh, Neon

This year is going on record as one of the most expensive to date. Frick. After close to a decade of semi-faithful service, the almost trusty Neon has to be put down. Put out to pasture. Sent to that junkyard in the sky. Two in the hat. Not quite that dramatic but we are getting rid of it. The reason? Well several really but the main one is that the transmission has decided that shifting isn't a top priority anymore. There are other issues (needs brakes, muffler, body work, mystery rattles and noises) that while certainly don't warrant getting rid of a car, certainly don't make me want to drive it either.

What car are we looking to purchase in it's absence? An older VW Jetta diesel. Or maybe a Golf diesel. I'm talking 2002-ish. Yeah, yeah, diesel is more expensive but right now if we commute in the Neon we get maybe 21-22 mpg (it's about 15 miles from home to work). A diesel VW would get about 45 mpg in the city. That's a drive to work, back home and then back to work on one gallon. Pretty sweet if'n you ask me, which you didn't.

The timetable on this purchase is a leisurely stroll. We don't technically NEED another car but it has become a convenience that I don't think I can convince the Wiff to forgo. So most likely by the end of July we'll be buying a new-to-us car. Actually we already looked at some at the place where we bought the old Volvo in Saugus. I liked dealing with the guy Miran who owns the place since he was straightforward and didn't try to pressure us.

What's kinda sad is that the Neon was my first brand-new car ever. I bought it back in 1998 for $16k (whatta dummy) and I did enjoy the little car for what it's worth. It's fairly peppy and easy to park and handles ok too. Not a bad city car all and all. But then it got older and rustier and dented and scratched. Sort of like me but with wheels. And about a year and a half ago I rear-ended a Volvo wagon (not ours) and smooshed the front bumper (and the headlights, and the turn signals, and the fog lights, and the hood latch). Instead of that happy look the Neon is famous for, it had a permanent frowny face. Permanent in the sense that I'm not going to pay to fix it.

this isn't mine but it looks just like mine

We will end up donating the car to a charity (cancer? NPR? lung society?) rather than try to sell it because I don't think it's a) worth the time and b) worth any money. I thought I'd be driving that thing until it really completely fell apart but I think that maybe I've lost my love for the Neon. I never even named it.

I'm breaking up with my car.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fun Facts!

I have hang-ups coming out of my hang-ups. Here's a few listed in such a way that it may lead you to believe that I should be medicated:

  • In high school I created a cartoon character called Herbie (The Hand With the Answers). It was essentially just a hand that sort of stood on two fingers and fought crime. No, I'm not kidding. It was a left hand too now that I look at the drawing. And no, you can't see it.
  • I have never owned a dog nor do I want to.
  • The last actual honest-to-goodness fight I was in was in the 4th grade. I lost (to frickin' Ricky Crotty) and my mom had to break it up.
  • I have been to Graceland twice. On purpose.
  • When I worked at the Malden Public Library I wrote the lyrics to Don Henley's "The Boy's of Summer" on the wall in the stacks. Not ironically either. I thought it was the shit.
  • At a party I played "air bass" to almost every song that came on the stereo and couldn't for the life of me understand why the ladies were not impressed (hmmm, maybe they go for air guitarists?).
  • I once threw up on a Christmas tree.
  • I was married in Las Vegas.
  • The Heimlich Maneuver has been used on me twice (thanks Mom!).
  • I've never broken a bone but I did have my gall bladder removed.
  • When I was a little kid, if I saw a car (or anything really) I thought was cool I would "add it to my collection" by tapping my right thumb on my right index finger. The more I tapped it, the more of that particular car/thing I would have in my collection. I would "delete" things by doing the same thing but with my left hand. What?
  • The first boobies I can remember seeing were my nana's.
  • I know all the lyrics to every song in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • I have a tattoo on my arm of a triskle. I tell people it symbolizes the three stages of life. I actually just like how it looks.
  • I wrote a short story about a guy who kills his wife with a ladle.

There's more of course but I have to go to bed now. After all, it's 9:45 pm. Paaaaaaaaah-tay!