the twisted gardens of the mind


10 things that tv makes seem much easier

10. jumping a car

this one seems obvious, unless you’ve actually done it for real. in an actual car, without stunt modifications or whatever, it is a much more terrifying experience than you would think. at the moment wheels leave pavement, all bets are off. one-eighth of a second later, when you bounce the bottom of your car off the road, leaving a chunk of it embedded in your pan, and your vehicle picks up a bit of rotation for its next bounce … well, i’ve done it twice, but the second time was only because i’d forgotten how much i nearly wet the driver’s seat the first time.

9. being a lumberjack

buttered scones and women’s panties? doesn’t seem that hard. i only got as far as splitting fireplace logs for my grandparents. the following week i was a whiny smell-o-vision advertisement for tiger balm.

8. bullying the president (of the united states)

this is one i have not been able to try. but everyone seems to do it on tv. francis underwood (kevin spacey) & cyrus beene (jeff perry) make pushing around the man in the oval office look like pizza day in the middle school cafeteria.

7. being an spy (super or otherwise)

so burn notice is was a great show, with plenty of HGTV-style tips on how to be a spy.

sprinkle a mixture of flour and dayglo powder on your floor before you go out, and you’ll know whether you’ve had any visitors and what they were after. – michael weston (jeffrey donovan)

besides making something of a mess, what i have come to realize is that all of the so-called “intelligence services” started somewhere outside the scope of the advice given on the show. i have my own intelligence service now, but apparently what my cats are doing or how much time i spend on a level of portal is of very little interest to military or government organizations. to raise interest, however, i am planning a wiki-leaks style internet exposé of top secret cat-oriented conversations. stuff like “get off the counter!”, “get out of my ice cream!”, and whatnot. my baby kitten walking down my hallway youtube video has only 117 views, so that’s sort of like still having a secret.

6. home renovations

property brothers and mike holmes. i’d like to mix in some of the tips from burn notice with the style and quality home improvement know-how of these guys. i’m pretty sure that this endeavor will end up with “hidey holes”, secret rooms, and other nonsense totally fucking up our ability to collect our deposit when we move out. unless by some chance my partner fixes them all up (after stuffing my corpse into one of them for, you know, totally fucking up the walls).

5. creating a kill room

dexter does it in like 5 minutes, so how hard could it be, right? i tried wrapping a roommate’s stuff in foil once, but i lost interest after about 3 items. total time spent: roughly 90 minutes. foil used: 2 rolls, most of which lay in giant balls of shredded or ripped segments on the floor.

4. managing a conspiracy

here’s another one we see all the time. conspirators on scandal or house of cards manage a conspiracy like its a waterbed. once it’s popped, you better kill all the occupants of the house, so that no one will ever know the waterbed existed. everything is either under-kill or overkill. i am currently managing no less than [REDACTED] conspiracies, personally, and i do not have a waterbed.

3. flipping (houses, storage units, furniture, etc…)

all of these people have way more time than i do (or motivation). but i hate the people who flip houses most. how do they get anything done with all the whining about flipping the house? for me, this really feels like an extension of #6. i think if the roof was good and there were no spiders, i’d be all fuck it, it works great! and sit down to watch some tv. generally though, i tend like the people who do cool things with recycled furniture (mary, from storage wars: texas comes to mind) and recently bought a set of power tools in an effort to motivate myself to do some home improvement projects. i built a cat-landing that attaches to my bed-frame and allows the cats to glare out the bedroom window at wildlife crossing through the backyard. two of my cats fight over it, and now, pleased with my obvious success as a cat-furniture artisan, the tools have sat mostly untouched in the two months since.

2. having sex in the shower

all dramatic television has this. it might actually be law somewhere that there’s a shower-sex scene, tastefully obscured of course, in an episode around the third season. i think where this goes wrong for me is the whole shower-but-bathtub thing. bathtubs are slippery, there’s nowhere to get a leg up, soap tastes like .. well soap, and i worry more that i’ll end up with a broken arm than on the task at hand. which brings me to the question: why do showers not have safety harnesses? or better yet, padded showers with heated cushions? now that i think about it, why has no one done a combination shower/ball-pen? (note to self: have mike holmes build us cushioned ball-pen shower)

1. lasers

because lasers, that’s why. i have several for cat-toys, but once the cats are done with them, they are useless. i aimed 2 of them at a piece of room-temperature butter once, but even their combined force was inadequate to overcome the simple task of melting a dimple into (forget cutting) the butter. i realize i could scavenge some blu-ray players for their more powerful laser, but my skill with a soldering iron is roughly equivalent to that of a three year old with a crayon. i would also like to reference burn notice one last time, because michael weston was always soldering something, from cool spy gadgets to cell phones, and i am convinced that i will brick everything my soldering iron comes into contact with because that shit is hard.


more #comcast fuckery

last week, on irregular polytopiary

[close-up shot]: i sit by the computer, drumming my fingers. bored.

[another close-up shot]: i pull the phone away from my face. i look shocked and annoyed.

[shot, starts close, but pulls out, showing the rest of the room]: i sit at the computer, playing angry birds.

[shot, a building outside of a generic metro area]: an explosion rocks the building, all windows are blown outward in a spray of glass.

[shot, camera moves upward but stays centered on my face, slow change of focus to my fist]: me, standing in the middle of the living room, addressing the cats (one is sitting under and one is stretched out on top of the coffee table, and another off to the side, quietly cleaning her paw with her tongue), shaking my fist at the sky.

[shot, my kitchen]: my expression goes blank and i drop the pot of coffee. [cut to close-up of the coffee pot, inches off the floor, falling in super slow motion]: it hits the floor and breaks.

and now, the next exciting episode…

thu / – i receive an update from the 2nd tech i twittered with. he says there was signaling issues and asks if a tech had been out. i respond (at the more reasonable hour of that the issue had cleared up on its own, and asked if there was a problem with the modem. he responds that “it could come and go. we’ll keep an eye on it.”

thu / – i  receive a comment on the last comcast post: an apology and request for details of my experience. i find some of the comment baffling, as she asserts that their social media/support reps are online until EST.

sun / – i get home from brunch and am having the same packet loss problems as before. i send an email to the address provided in the comment, and cc: the 2nd tech that i had sent stuff to before. as i have a project deadline looming and cannot work on it, i, annoyed, proceed to annoy everyone else (cats included) in the house.

sun / – magically, the problem disappears again.

mon / – i receive an email from an executive customer relations person. she would like to contact me regarding my complaint. i’m, of course, at work, and completely forget to respond.

tue / – i receive a 2nd email from this person, asking to contact me. i respond that i can talk to her on wed (today).

wed / – working from home today, and guess what? high packet loss. i call the number provided by the executive customer relations person, but get only a recorded message that the offices are closed and that business hours are …well, right now. i send off an annoyed email about the phone recording, as well as mentioning that i am supremely frustrated that i now have to go into the office to work.

really, what i want to say is that right then i should be logged onto the VPN, coding, wearing a tshirt & boxers, with a kitten on my lap, and a beer resting near my mouse.

she responds back, asking if there’s a number she can reach me at. at this point, however, i am running out the door and have a train to catch.

wed / – after several increasingly terse emails, a technician is scheduled to be sent out tomorrow to check out the line. of course, this means i will be super-late for work again (like i was today).

and just because i’m on the subject, the longest standing thorn in my side about comcast is that their stated speed (for our package) is 20Mbps (~ 2.5 mb/s). i don’t think i’ve ever seen it push past 16Mbps, which is the rated speed of the next lower package – and $10 less a month (it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s almost an entire month’s internet+cable bill over the course of a year).

trailer trash

i have a serious neurotic twitch: i hate trailing spaces and tabs, and will ruthlessly reformat documents or code in which i have found them.

OH! totally ON TOPIC: i tripped over snooki‘s twitter today (it hurt), on which she describes herself as a reality star.

a reality star. just consider that for a few moments. it’s fairly brilliant, even if by accident.

criminal minds: suspect premise

i believe thomas gibson as special agent aaron hotchner in the original criminal minds series. he’s uptight, anal, icy, precise, and driven – exactly the qualities that i would expect from an FBI profiler.

so now there’s another profiling team in town, but i’m just not buying it. criminal minds: suspect behavior is made up of agents who got kicked out of profiler school in the first month. they are a supposed FBI “red cell that operates outside the bureaucracy” (although this seems slightly disingenuous as they are part of the federal bureau of investigation, right? just sayin’).

forest whitacre operates his team out of a badly lit gym office – apparently operating outside of the bureaucracy has some problems, like the lack of a paid-up electricity bill. similarly, his phone is out of minutes, so the head of the FBI comes down to the gym to give forest his marching orders in person. like any good leader of a rogue team, forest’s management style is a mixture of arbitrary decision making, kicking in doors without a warrant, and voodoo.

CM portrayed a modicum of due diligence – showing up at places with a warrant, or at least yelling at the occupant “we can be back in 5 minutes with one”. CM:SB tosses that unnecessary step out the window, because really, if you want to see serious legalese, you should be watching LA law. as for solving a case, i’d say it’s split about 50/50 between kirsten vangsness’s sexy awesome hacking skills (so important to the franchise that they had to import her from CM), and forest’s ability to go into a holy trance where he becomes the serial killer and somehow lands an amazing intuitive triple lutz that helps track down their target.

janeane garofalo plays angry girl. the only character to have created her own nickname (in my mind), she’s defiant and likes to talk sternly at her superior officers. i think she moves about 4 facial muscles per episode, and would be the only believable character on the show.. if she wasn’t so angry. in a recent episode, they even tried to build her back-story as angry girl by having forest pull her aside with a comment like, “i know you got kicked off your last team for talking back…”, to which she angrily replies “but i was right!” forest mumbles something like “i know” and the matter is considered settled.

then there’s:

  • an ex-ira sniper, who has the potential to be an awesome character, but really needs to shoot more peeps.
  • feels-the-need-to-prove-himself guy, who “proved himself” in the pilot, but still acts like there’s more to prove.
  • blond-girl-who-calms-other-people-down, who has yet to be (or do) anything else.
  • and the amazing kirsten vangsness, as i mentioned previously, moonlighting from CM.

IMDB doesn’t yet list any “memorable quotes” from CM:SB, but i have one:

“as a profiler, we’re not supposed to jump to conclusions, but…”

i don’t remember who said it (and it may not be word-for-word), but i think it accurately wraps up this series so far. i’m not going to jump to any conclusions here, but i think they need some better writers.