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Hope you all enjoy my possibly daily thoughts. Comments? E-mail them to me or IM me, that way I dont get ads.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

AT home, at work, for fun (An update on June 21.)

Ok, so I haven’t written in a while and everyone is wondering what I’m up to. First of all, remember that I’m on a three hour time difference than the rest of you. So when I wake up, you’ve been up at least 3 hours and have probably, or hopefully, already started your day. By the time night comes along and I would be ready to sit online and talk, pretty much everyone is asleep or out drinking. Also, Caitlin and her family keep me pretty busy. I’m only writing now because I didn’t go take the dog for a walk tonight. So, how to break this up? I think I’ll do “at home”, “at work”, and “for fun”. Does that work for you too? Good.
At home:
Well home is Los Gatos, a suburb of San Jose. Netflix, Google, Yahoo, eBay, and a bunch of other internet and computer companies are all based in this county. That means there are people with a ton of money that are inflating prices for the people that have lived here 20 plus years (like Caitlin’s family). I don’t know what this has to do with being at home, but I had to put it somewhere. Most days there’s a ton of stuff to do. Well, not so much a lot of stuff, but no where is close by. For my NY brothers and sisters, it would be like going to buy groceries in Sackets, the mall in Carthage, and then back for Subway in Watertown. I probably complain too much, since I’m used to doing things when I get around to it (never). However today was quite busy as I plugged up both the toilet and the shower. I only took a dump in one of those spots though. Guess which one. Play along at home. I’m trying to read for fun, research, and motivation. Plus we signed up for Netflix so every day we have a new DVD to watch. We’re currently making our way through Charmed Season 1. There’s always a ton of stuff to do, which means I’ve lost a little weight but not enough to show yet. Actually, there’s too much to do. Since I’ve been here there has been an MMA tournament, Lucha Libre, a Book convention, and porn star autograph signings. All of which I missed because there was other stuff we had to do first. I’m actually nearly 2 weeks behind on my wrestling.
At work:
So I’ve been hired by the wonderful company known as Rite-Aid. I get to wear a nice gray polo shirt and black pants in 100 degree CA weather. The first two days I did nothing but straighten up the aisles. I started to dream about it. I was ready to quit. Then they trained me on register. I have never seen more MILF types with fake breasts in my life. Well not since Mel discovered MILF Hunter. Or was it Bang Bus? Either way, you get the point, there’s a lot of fake ness. So now 5 days a week, 8-9 hours a day I work the register and 90% of the customers are fake tan, fake hair, fake breasts women. Or Mexican. Also, unlike NY all forms of liquor can be sold in grocery stores. There are a lot of people buying vodka and brandy at 10am. They honestly need to hire more people. There were only 2 people closing the other night, including me (the newbie). It is also the home of Thrifty ice cream, the little ice cream stand that has been there for generations. And generations at a time come up for their 99 cent scoops. Like any retail job there are some great people that come in and some you just want to punch in the face. By the way, pseudophedrine is about to be an illegal chemical. You have to be ID to buy it, (over 18) and can only buy 2 grams worth of it a week. Why? Because Sudafed is used to make meth. So this family, who acted fresh off the boat from, I don’t know, Russia, come in and try to buy 5 huge boxes of Sudafed. They only have a passport, no state ID, so I cant sell it to them. And even if I could, I cant sell that much. The woman, in her stilted English, goes on and on about how unfair this is. They just moved to this country, yet they’re buying $100 worth of de-moisturizing stuff for the basement of their house. (They have a house already.) Because no one has been in the basement for 8 months. (They’ve been in the country for 8 months.) Then the woman asks if she can use her Costco card (much like Sam’s Club) as her state ID. (She hasn’t been here long enough to have any US ID but she does have her Costco card.) Now let’s see, immigrants, buying in bulk, with a room sealed off that they don’t go into for 8 months. Yeah, I would say that’s exactly the type of people that might be making meth.
For fun:
I’m working on my novel, short stories, and my big essay/article/book on comics. As I post on my blogs, I’ve read a ton of graphic novels this year with more to come. We take lots of walks with the dog, Rascal, which I think are really walks for me and the dog is an excuse. Lots of DVD watching, as I said. And lots of eating out. No, no, not like that. The food here is amazing. I’ve been meaning to post a blog reviewing the places we’ve eaten at. Mexican, Chinese, and the sushi. Oh my. The sushi. I keep up on Watertown thanks to www.newzjunky.com (cheap plug).

I think I’ll stop for tonight. It is incredibly hot here right now for some reason. We install an AC tomorrow, then I get to enjoy it by going to work for 9 hours, until 1030pm, then going right back at 7am. I cant wait until I’m a famous writer and don’t need to do this retail job stuff anymore, but by the time I’m done for the day I’m too tired to write. Maybe I should start taking more caffeine. Or meth. Where did that Russian family go?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels for a project I'm working on. I'll do a few reviews at a time instead of a lot of small ones:

Conan: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and other stories by Kurt Busiek
Conan is more than just the muscle bound barbarian that only thinks of women and riches, which I think is the opinion many who have not actually read a Conan book believe. He has a sense of honor and loyalty to his friends, even those he just met. Granted, he does get to indulge in the pleasures of life, but only after great suffering. He is a man that wants to have his food, drink and women and be left alone. But when the times come that he needs to step up, he will, and you’ll regret waking the barbarian within.

Cryptozoo Crew Volume 1 by Allan Gross and Jerry Carr
This book is a cute read, quick but cute. It’s really just filler with a couple of funny ideas along the way. There’s not too much depth to it. This idea would be good as a daily comic strip but is too close to a one trick pony to last the length of a graphic novel.

Common Grounds by Troy Hickman
Phenomenal book! I’ve been quoting and explaining scenes from this book to friends all week. In five pages these characters are given more depth than many new characters have in 5 years. Many twists, different genres of story telling. This is more than just a superhero book, it’s a great book, period. Every story (or chapter) has a different artist as well, which gives each character their own feel. Each character could support their own book. Sometimes when many heroes are introduced quickly like this, the stories fall apart soon after (Ultraverse, early Image); but these characters are so well rounded you actually care and can’t wait for the next issue.

Thor: Lord of Asgard by Dan Jergens
This is a good attempt to do something different with Thor, but ultimately a boring book. There are two ways to tell a Thor story, either have it happen on Earth, or in Asgard. It sounds like a good idea to do both at the same time, but even two Thor’s don’t make one good story.

Livewires: Clockwork Thugs ‘Yo by Adam Warren
Marvel attempts to do manga. It’s not a bad idea, a robot special-ops team, but then that’s when the good idea stops. The characters have a ton of potential, and the art is pretty good too. But, it seems like the story was written before there were any characters created. “Hey, here’s a cool story, now I need to come up with some characters to put in there. Hmm, who can I create to further my story’s plot?” I do look forward to seeing more of these characters, but only if there is some character development along the way.

Amazing Spider Man:
Coming Home
Until the Stars Turn Cold
The Life and Death of Spiders
Happy Birthday
All by J Michael Straczynski
Through reading these and other recent Spider-Man books (25 issues worth) one thing comes to mind: even through bad stories, Spider-Man is still the man. It may be controversial but I like the idea of Ezekiel, Morlun, the Spider totem, all of it. Spider-Man has to be changed up every once in awhile and this is a much better way to do it then killing people off, or a new costume. As Straczynski’s run goes on he shows a new side to Spider-Man/Peter Parker, MJ, Aunt May, even Uncle Ben. Spider-Man is firmly in the Marvel Universe in this series, with random comings and goings from other heroes. On the other hand, Peter Parker is firmly in the real world during this run. Peter Parker in college has been tried before, but Peter Parker (as an adult of course) in high school? Well, that’s different and incredibly entertaining. The new villains are memorable and the older cast reminds you why you loved them to begin with.

Many more to come later...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Kevin and Caitlin’s Cross Country Travel Journal Part 3
Monday May 29, 2006

- We keep seeing signs for this hotel/resort/ whatever called “Little America”. I think it’s for white supremacists, or at least racists whites. Its everything you need in one area, and out of nearly 50 huge road signs for it, there was not one non-white on any of them.
- This led to a fun game for you too to play in Utah. “Count the minorities”. We found 1 in 8 hours, and that was at a gas station.
- Caitlin starts to sing the “Salad Pants” song. Damn I wish I could remember some of it now.
- I see a grocery store called “Loaf N’ Jug”. This becomes the greatest store name ever in my mind.
- An 18-wheeler in front of us is missing the “D” off of part of its paint job. The sign now says, “we hire safe rivers” instead of drivers. This leads to many jokes about how safe a river can be, and if rivers can drive.
- We spend a few hours driving through the desert. There are tons of rocks on the side of the road that people have made words out of. A lot of I *heart* you, and so and so was here. We drive too fast to see all of them, but its cool nonetheless.
- Salt Lake City area, the Great Salt Lake, all of it is beautiful. Probably one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.
- The audio book we’re listening to today had a line that I had to make a joke out of:
CD- “The house is dark and foreboding.”
Me - “There’s a lake?”
Caitlin - “What?”
Me - “For boating.”
- There is a chain of fast food places out here called King Kong burgers. I ask if the chicken sandwich is called Kong Cock or if when Kong sheds they all have Fur burgers.
- I try to stretch and accidentally punch myself in the butt. I’m talented.
- My attempt to bother Caitlin leads to the Kumquat-Patties story.
Me - “How about now? Now? Now? What about now? Now? How about now?”
Caitlin - “Know what I pride myself on? Being able to ignore you.”
Me - “Know what I pride myself on? Having balls the size of kumquats.”
Caitlin - “Do you know how big kumquats are?”
Me - “No. But they sound big.”
We tell Patti this story on the phone…
Patti - “Well Caitlin calls me “Kumquat Sasquatch Beardface””.
Me - “Aha! See, when I said Kumquat, I meant my balls were the size of Patti.”
Caitlin - “No, I don’t think that’s what you meant.”
Me - “Sure it is. Look at me, I’m carrying two big ole patties in my pants.”
Caitlin - “Ew honey, ew.”

Tuesday May 30, 2006
- For some reason we decide that Charlie, the teddy bear key chain, has a gas problem. Now he makes bear farts every time someone picks him up.
- We meet a charming gay guy at a Pilot gas station.
Me - “Maybe the gay kid at Pilot was impressed with me trying to suck a Frosty through a straw.”
Caitlin - “Maybe. Maybe he said, ‘hey that Frosty is a lot like my cock -- brown and cold.”
- I have something written down about the Lake Tahoe story, but I have no idea what that means. Maybe I’ll remember later.
- I know we’re in California when I see a license plate that says “FOR SHIZ”.
- I suggest that next Halloween Caitlin and I dress as Willow and Tara from Buffy. “Then I can sing and float whilst you perform oral sex on me.”

Kevin and Caitlin’s Cross Country Travel Journal Part 2
Saturday May 27, 2006
- Today’s big stop was at the Mississippi River. We stopped at the usual tourist traps, selling postcards and local flair. After a quick shopping trip to an Irish store and seeing something called “Our Lady of the River” school, we took some pictures and took off.
- I ask Caitlin if cows in the Caribbean practice “moodoo”. She, surprisingly, does not throw me out of the car.
- We stayed in some place called Kearney in Nebraska. Why did we stay there? Because the hotel had free wireless internet -- which was out because of a wind storm.
- I inform Caitlin that our pet elephant, Samir, paints with his hoofs. This is called “hoof-arted”.

Sunday May 28, 2006
Ah the day I realized I’m retarded.
- 8AM. I get into the shower and Caitlin hears a yell of surprise. She comes running in to see what’s wrong and I say, “there’s water in the tub!” Now I know that sounds stupid. The thought process was that the tub looked empty and when I put my foot into what I thought was an empty tub I was surprised that there was a pool of water there.
- Last night I told my Mom that Caitlin finds it annoying when I put the hotel room card key into my wallet when I know I’m going to have to take it back out in two minutes. Then this morning I don’t put it in my wallet and what happens? Both of us forget our cards and lock ourselves out of the room, thus necessitating getting a third card.
- However the stupidity continued. I put 75 cents in a machine to get the day’s newspaper. Silly me I thought I had to press a button to get the door to open and retrieve my paper. Then it doesn’t work. I get mad and start shaking it. Caitlin, wonderful gal that she is, informs me that I pressed the coin return button and that I don’t need to press anything to open the door, I just open the door.
- People in passing cars wave at our one-eyed pet monkey. His name is Howard.
- I become amazed at the amount of cows in a nearby field.
Me: “Wow, look at all of the cows.”
Caitlin: “That’s a slaughterhouse.”
Me: “Oh… I’m not hungry anymore.”
- I come up with a brilliant idea for a dollar store type chain. Senor Discount. It’s for old Mexicans.
- We pass a sign for some place called “Points of Rocks”. Myself, Caitlin, and Howard all point at some rocks.
- I come up with the Wyoming song:
We’re in Wyoming.
We’re in Wyoming.
I don’t know what
Wyoming has.
We’re in Wyoming.
We’re in Wyoming.
We’ll probably only
Stop for gas.
- We pass a lot of horses with saddles on. I say, “it looks like a horse theme park. No, I mean lots of horses to ride, not lots of rides for horses.” I then proceed to draw a picture of two horses on a roller coaster.
- Caitlin starts to talk about “Stampy the Platypus”. I believe she has finally gone insane.
- Towns start appearing out of nowhere. It’s like the old Off Road video game where the closer you get stuff just, boing, pops up out of nowhere.
- While in the hotel room I get up to answer my cell phone. Which is currently without a charge, or minutes, in a bag in the car. Oh. The cell phone on TV has the same ring tone as mine.
- While talking to my Mom on Caitlin’s cell phone, my Mom informs me that sometimes after work the nurses have squirt gun fights with syringes full of saline.

Part 3 later…

Kevin and Caitlin’s Cross Country Travel Journal Part 1
Well, it’s taken me a week to finally write this up. I don’t know why I waited so long (laziness you say, and are probably right). Anyways, six days, 3000 miles, and an infinite number of times playing the Buffy musical CD (which, the longer you listen to it the more parody lyrics one comes up with. Also, I can’t stop mocking Anya’s line “Beady eyes is right, we’re needed” by saying it in my most annoying and nasally way.) On with the notes on the trip. I think it might be best to do this in bullet points because there was really no rhyme or reason to what caught our eye.
Thursday, May 25, 2006.
- For some reason I think that “Ram-slayer” is a good name. For a child? A pet? An angry animal that eats rams (chupacabra)? I don’t know. But Ramslayer is there.
- We stop for a good while at the Country Junction, otherwise known as the “World’s Largest General Store”. And when they say large, they mean it, 4 acres of land full of crap. Wonderful, “I need to spend money now” crap. This included a giant statue of an ape with a button that reads, “Press here to hear the sounds of Africa.” Being a button-pusher, I push, to hear the delightful sound of about 2 minutes worth of ape farts. This immediately becomes the greatest store ever. In addition to crap to buy, there’s a haunted house, fair rides, and a mini golf course. Another trip is planned for the fall.
- We pass a sign around mile 111 of I-80 in PA that reads, “Highest point on I-80 East of the Mississippi” This leads to a few minutes of enthusiastic clapping because we were high (buh dum dum). It might be more interesting if I wrote down how high up we were, but that would have made sense.
- We drove from Monmouth U. in Jersey to Brookville, PA this day.

Friday, May 26, 2006
- For some reason I look over to Caitlin and say, “your eyes match your ass, because they’re both beautiful.” I am then thrown out of the car.
- We were listening to a lot of audio books on this trip. One of them, Homicide Special, had the great line, “I’m temporarily unemployed because my prostitute is dead.” I loved it so much I had to share.
- Some radio station advertises a night club with “DJ Sticky Boots”. We have either officially run out of DJ names or some bar needs to hire a janitor. Now.
- Caitlin almost punches a cashier at a rest stop. It went something like this:
Caitlin - “Do you have any stamps?”
Cashier - Silence
Repeat this 4 times! And its not like Caitlin was just being quiet, although she is at times. No, this woman just decided to flat out ignore her. Then she rings up our order (postcards for which we needed said stamps), smiles and says thank you. You know, I want to retype that to get the full humor across but maybe it just wastn that funny.
- This was also where the “find a license plate from all 50 states” game started. We found 44 out of the 50 by the end of the trip. I’m sure we would have found all 50 if we started the game a day earlier.
- We see a sign that says “Family Harvest Center”. To which I say, “Mmm… looks like a good crop of cousins this season.” Caitlin attempts to throw me out of the car again.
- This is also where we notice that my testicles keep trying to escape from my shorts. Some would say no, its that my shorts ride up when I sit down. But no, I instead believe that it is because my testicle is an escape artist by the name of Harry Ball-dini!
- We see a sign for a Skydiving Resort which leads to this exchange:
“Do you have any reservations?”
“Only about jumping out of a plane.”
- There are vending machines for both Coke and Pepsi in front of a 24 hour Adult video store. For those that are bi-soda.
- Caitlin pees next to a man in a restroom. Read that again. There are 3 stalls, left to right is Caitlin, an empty stall, then a waitress at Chili’s. Someone goes into the middle stall and Caitlin and the waitress notice that the feet are pointed the wrong way. Caitlin is too scared to come out, but the waitress does.
Waitress: “Sir, do you know you’re in the ladies room?”
Man: “You’re shitting me.”
Waitress: “No. Do you see any urinals?”
Man: “Oh my God, no!”
The man runs out, Caitlin and the waitress share a laugh. I have more complimentary nachos and guacamole dip.

This is long and I’m only a couple days into it, so I’m going to break off the travel log into sections.