Archive for April, 2012

That’s Just Freaky

Take a look at this photo of The Beatles. Who does that fellow the red arrow is pointing at look like to you?

That red arrow.

And in case you’re having trouble…

Now do you see it?

For anyone reading this who doesn’t recognize that guy (Hi, Mother Dearest! :waves:) it’s the Eleventh Doctor from the Doctor Who series. I found the photo on the official Doctor Who website, a fan found it and posted it through Twitter. It’s an actual, undoctored :snerk: photo, there just happens to be a guy who looks a bit like Matt Smith in it. Unless he really is a time traveler, which would be meta-awesome.


Simon sometimes has trouble figuring out how "sleeping in a sunny window" works.

His name is Maurice. He says "Hi!"

Like a lot of financial institutions, [ghostbank] has started using radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in debit and credit cards. It’s a pretty new technology for us and not all of our customers are sure what the chips are actually supposed to do. Earlier this week I recieved a call that just confused the hell out of me.

I answered the phone and the customer wants to track down her card. At first I assume she means that she ordered a card and wants to know when it will arrive, so I ask her when it was ordered.

Customer – I lost it last Tuesday.

Me – So you cancelled the old card and ordered a new one on Tuesday?

Customer – I never ordered a new one, I just want to find my card.

Me – :pause: Did you want to go ahead and cancel the old card and order a new one?

Customer – :big “You’re an idiot” sigh: No, I don’t need a new card. I want you to find MINE.

Me – Do you mean you want to know if the card has been used anywhere since you lost it?

Customer – NO! I already know it hasn’t been used because I called [other ghostbank location]. I just want you to get me my card!

Me – :silently curses other location: I don’t really understand what it is you want me to do, ma’am.

Customer – :another big sigh: Listen to me; I have a [ghostbank] card, okay? And I want you to find it.

Me – :realization dawns: You want me to physically locate where the card is right now?

Customer – Yes! God, is it so hard to understand English? Find. My. Card!

Me – Ma’am, I’m not able to do that. If your card is used at a location I could tell you when and where it was used, but I  can’t tell you where it is at any given moment.

Customer – But it has one of those chips in it. You can just … scan for it.

Me – :pause: Ma’am, that’s not how the RFID chip works. It’s just for …

Customer – :interrupts: Yes it is, I saw it on TV. Just call your satellites and find where my card is. You know, triangle the signal or whatever it is you do.

Me – :repressing urge to scream: Ma’am, that is not how it works.

Things sort of went downhill from there and I really started wishing I could locate her damn card with a satellite and target a laser to melt the damned thing.

The Changeling Child

Time for another dream! I can’t tell if I’m having more dreams or if I’m just remembering them better because I write them down, but this one is kinda odd.

I dreamt I was living in a hole in the ground with my family – my parents, GhostSister, GhostBIL and their brood. It was a pretty nice hole in the ground, there was a main room and what I will assume were smaller rooms off of it, the front door was in the ceiling and accessible only by a ladder. All around the tunnel leading up to the door were shelves where we kept books and things. There was also a small window at about knee height  that was covered by a screen and left open from time to time for ventilation on the far side of the main room. The hole was on a hill, that’s why the door was in the ceiling but the window was only knee-high. We were only living in this hole temporarily while a house was being built nearby. The whole family was going for a walk near the river (because the hole was near a river) and I found a matte black plastic violin in the woods. GhostBIL found the bow for the violin and we decided to take them back to the hole. I have no idea why it took both of us. GhostBIL went first and he poked me in the ankle with the bow as I was standing on the surface when I told him to be careful on the ladder. He put the bow on a shelf in the main room and went back up the ladder. I went down and then back up so I could turn around since I was going down the ladder the wrong way, and finally back down into the main room where I put the violin beside the bow. I then decided that it was too stuffy in the hole and I should open the window. I had to lay down on my stomach to open it, when I did there was a black cat with bright blue eyes sitting in front of the window screen. We stared at each other for a few seconds and then the cat asked if Thing 2 was home. I told the cat that everyone had gone for a walk but they should be back soon. The cat nodded and jumped off the windowsill. This whole conversation seemed strange – it was a talking cat! – but I shrugged it off and climbed out of the hole.

A short time later everyone gets back to the hole after taking a long walk and we find a woman and young girl standing by our hole. Thing 2 is happy to see her friend, whom she introduces as Chloe, and the kids play while the adults chat for a bit. I very casually ask the woman if her daughter is a changeling, which surprizes her. She confirms that Chloe is a changeling and asks me how I knew. It was because the girl and the cat had the same eyes and voice. I offer to take the kids into town, which is some distance away, and we start walking. On the way I start making small talk, asking Chloe how old she is. She is very evasive and when I asked her if she would age like a cat or a girl she became very upset. Chloe accused Thing 2 of sharing a secret with me, which we both denied. I insisted I was just being a nosy grown-up and didn’t want to hear her silly old secret anyway. I illustrated this by sticking my thumbs in my ears and singing nonsense until the girls giggled at me.

When we reached town, which looked like one of those tiny towns you see in old westerns, we went to the general store, which had strangely empty shelves. I showed Chloe how a stapler worked, she had never seen one before, and we walked around the store and looked at the empty shelves. There were about six small blue and white boxes on one shelf, they had what looked like wedding bells on the sides, and the girls wanted to buy one of the boxes. I wouldn’t let them, telling them that they were too young to get married.

That’s where it ended. I’m very intrigued by the character of Chloe, she was very odd. I’d like to figure out more about her and possibly put her into a story.

O-kay …

I understand that sometimes I can sound like a crazy person to those who don’t know me. (And probably to those who do) While out yard saling I came across a plastic tool box full of Matchbox cars. The woman running the sale told me that I could have the whole thing for a dollar. I didn’t really want all of the cars, only a couple, but the tool box was decent so I bought it.

Her – “You must have a little boy.”

Me – “No, this is for me.”

:odd look:

Me – :taps top of box: “I like toys.”

:odd look intensifies:

Me – “… I’ll just go put this in the car.”

Imagine the look I would have gotten if I had told her I just wanted the tool box to keep my boiled My Little Pony heads in.

I bet you’re thinking “I didn’t know they made three Paranormal Activity movies.” Well, neither did I. I don’t recall seeing many advertisements for it when it came out back in October but Netflix offered the title up as a suggestion so I added it to my queue.

The posters for all three movies are almost identical.

Up front I’m suspicious of the film, sequels are rarely as good as the original and in this case the original wasn’t really all that good.  I like Paranormal Activity well enough, the idea is novel enough but I found it to have serious pacing issues. If you’ve never seen it, the premise of the first film is simple – the girl (Katie) has been experiencing some “strange events” so her boyfriend decides to set up a camera to catch anything that might happen. Eighty-five percent of the film is the two of them sleeping in bed, which is about as exciting as you can imagine, interspersed with the two bitching at each other and the occasional lamp swinging around or loud thumping noise. Nearly everything interesting happens in the last fifteen minutes. The second film followed the family of Katie’s sister Kristi and there was much more “activity” as well as the introduction of an actual motive for the events. In the first the invisible “demon” that torments the couple really doesn’t have a reason for doing so, but in the second there is some discussion about why this would be happening. One character theorizes that it would be possible to sell or bargain the soul of a first-born son to gain power or wealth, but that no male children had been born to the family for several generations until Kristi’s son is born. Weird, but odd things are happening so it’s logical that people would be looking for any explanation.

The third film is a prequel and takes place in 1988. The rationalization for this is a box of VHS cassettes that Katie brings over to Kristi’s house that later vanish. This also brings up the first problem I have – if the cassettes are missing, where did all the “found footage” come from? With the exception of a few minutes, most of the ’88 footage is far sharper and crisper than what it should be, but I guess there is such a thing as being too accurate. It’s also kinda absurd that so many members of the same family would be so obsessed with filming themselves sleeping – especially back in the late 80’s when there wasn’t really any consumer technology available to do this. There is a throw-away line when one of the little girls asks about the tapes and the mother’s boyfriend (a wedding videographer) explains that the tapes only last six hours. This would mean that he would have to be changing them four times a day and there are eventually three cameras in the house. That’s a hell of a lot of tape, a lot more than there appears to be in the box Katie brings over. Even though Kristi’s husband makes a few comments about watching the tapes, it’s unlikely any of the family members watched them as two deaths and multiple odd events occur over the course of the several days filming occurred and none of the characters from the first films ever mention any of it.

The invisible demon, who is also the youngest daughter’s imaginary friend Toby,returns and is much more active than in the first two movies and there are a couple of pretty clever scenes. I have two particular favorites, the first occurs pretty early on. After their attempt to make a sex tape is mercifully cut short by an earthquake, the camera gets knocked over and forgotten as the couple rush out to check on the girls. Dust falls from the ceiling and settles on … nothing – a nothing shaped somewhat like a person. A few seconds later the shape shakes off the dust. A simple effect, but very well done. The second occurs near the end, when the mother is still refusing to believe that anything odd was going on. The boyfriend had altered an oscillating fan to act as a rotating camera mount covering the living room and kitchen. The mother is on the phone and walks into the kitchen when she hears a sound at the front door. She goes to the door as the camera slowly pans over the kitchen, showing the usual mess you find in most kitchens, and then slowly pans back to the living room where the mother finds no one at the door. She walks back towards the kitchen (as the camera just happens to be following her) and is shocked to see that all the mess – the countertop clutter, the appliances, even the table – are all gone. She stands there for a few seconds before everything falls from the ceiling with a loud crash as the camera pans back towards the living room. This of course freaks her out. The editing is good, the fan-mounted camera’s motion is smooth, and as a movie nerd I’m impressed at the effort it would take to rig up such a practical effect. The rest of the movie is pretty forgettable, I just watched it before writing up this review and I’m having trouble recalling specifics. Towards the end there is a coven of witches introduced and it is implied that they brainwash young girls into having sons for reasons that aren’t really clear (but are probably demon-related) and that’s about all the reasoning the audience gets.

Overall it’s not a bad movie for what it is, but it suffers the same slow pacing as the others in the series. It’s to be expected, watching the “real life” of a family isn’t much fun, but if I wanted to watch “boring stuff-boring stuff- something slightly interesting-more boring stuff” then I’d just watch one of those ghost-hunting shows on TV. If you liked the first or second movie then you would probably like this one, but I’m indifferent to it.

Saturday proved to be another fine yard sale day, a bit windy but the rain held off until later that night. While digging around in a box I found a cache of women’s size nine wide shoes, which is the size that I happen to wear. It is difficult to find them and I have a hell of a time locating shoes. I pick up a pair of Timberland boots to take a closer look and see something inside the shoe. At first glance it looked like fine gravel but it wasn’t. The shoe was full of a mixture of mouse berries and birdseed.

Meh, close enough.

The woman having the yard sale, seeing me dump this stuff out, explained it away as “Something must have fallen into the box when I was moving it around.” Um, no. Mouse nests don’t just fall into shoes and lodge themselves into the toes by accident. Even though the shoes were only $2 I did not buy them, I can stomach wearing used shoes but not used shoes whose innards have probably been soaked in rodent urine.


It’s What?

In Ye Olden Days when I was dead-broke, I would occasionally buy food items of questionable veracity. Once I bought sour cream from the local dollar store that had the following lid.

I have no idea if this was actually food.

I don't remember seeing this in the catalog.