Friday, March 09, 2012

Friday Random 11

It’s one more random than 10!

Last Saturday evening, The Lovely Becky and our lovely daughter were supposed to go on a trip. TLB’s parents are retired, and every winter they take off for the Carolina coast for a couple of months. TLB and Libby were going to see them for a few days. I was staying home, so I offered to serve as the chauffeur. I drove them to the airport to catch a 7:00 PM flight. I came back home and did the kind of thing I can only do when I am home by myself. No, not that, you perverts. I threw in a Rush concert and cranked the sound while I ate sushi and sugar-free ice cream donuts. What’s got two thumbs and knows how to party? This guy.

I was just getting through the foreplay portion of  my Nerdgasm when I got the text that TLB’s flight got cancelled. She was stuck in a line waiting to get rebooked. I turned off the concert, changed out of my sweats (aka party pants) into my jeans, and went out to O’Hare to help Libby-wrangle.

It took almost FOUR hours for TLB to wait in line to get rebooked. The Day After Tomorrow storms that ripped through the South screwed up everyone’s travel plans, and apparently the airline known as U Numbnuts Impressively Deliver Excess Dumbfuckery just happened to have a new computer system installed, which played a major role in this one-act play behind the counter:

1) Ticket agent types on computer keyboard for 17 minutes.

2) Agent interrupts adjacent agent and asks if that agent has any idea WTF is going on.

3) Adjacent agent stares at screen for six minutes past the moment where silence becomes officially uncomfortable and finally points.

4) Original agent types for another 17 minutes and then tells customer they need to see the other agent.

5) Repeat.

When I first lived in New York City, I took the subway, which often resembled cattle being shipped to the abattoir. I remember during one extra-packed trip where the car’s AC was out and the mass of Manhattanites was being extra pushy/sweaty/stinky, I had a vision of running through the subway car with a chainsaw, cutting down everyone in my path like Speed Racer’s Mach V sawing through a forest, leaving just a bunch of shins standing on the floor. That was tame compared to what I was thinking while watching the biggest airline in America attempt to reroute passengers. I wondered if perhaps they had upgraded to Windows 95.

Anyway, after all that time, TLB finally had her chance to speak to an agent. The agent then told her that she had already been rebooked on a 7:45 flight the next day. That would have been really great information to know FOUR FUCKING HOURS AGO. Oh, hi, major airline, I’d like you to meet my friend, e-mail. Have you two ever met? Here’s his friend, text messaging.

So, it was now late and we had to go back home and get an abbreviated sleep to get up and get to the airport in the morning. Still, no big deal: the trip would be persevered and I would resume my Rush-fest. We got up at 5:30, trudged out the door, and I again dropped off my wife and my daughter.

I returned home. I had just pulled off my boots when my cell rang. “Guess what?” TLB said. “We were rebooked on the 7:45 PM flight.” Now, granted, it did say 7:45 PM on the boarding pass TLB got. However, it is also good customer service to point out, when rebooking someone, that you are putting them on a flight 24 fucking hours later than when they are supposed to leave.

Of course, with this being a brief trip, it wasn’t really worth going at this point. TLB got her tickets refunded and I headed back to O’Hare to pick them up. Four round trips to the airport and no one left. The only consolation prize was that we all stopped for McMuffins. And that Libby behaved in such a stellar matter that I’m worried I may screw up her good nature and leave her with visions of treating annoying subway passengers like virgin timber.


1) “Relayer,” Yes. I apologize for this twenty-two minute session of arpeggiated reacharounds (thankfully held to just eight minutes due to YouTube length restrictions). I’m perfectly fine with long songs that go somewhere, but even though this is supposed to be some kind of side-long suite on the futility of war, it comes across like five pasty dudes making the musical equivalent of an o-face for a third of an hour. Although it is a perfect candidate for heavy rotation on 3Bulls! Radio.

2) “Jacob’s Ladder (Live),” Rush. In the second installment of Harry Peter and the Goblet of Hypocrisy, our hero drinks deeply from a mystical Canadian well while saying that what he just wrote above totally does not apply to a nine-minute epic about sunlight peaking through storm clouds being framed as an atmospheric battle.

3) “The Weaver,” Paul Weller. In the concluding part of the trilogy, Harry Peter and the Magical Mod Suit That Miraculously Still Fits, a noble Englishman rides in on his Flying Vespa of Graceful Aging and rescues our hero from the ravenous Wanking Troll that lives in the Musical Library of Chaos.

4) “Touch,” Bright Eyes. So goddamned earnest it should be called “Jim Varney.”

5) “Hypnotize,” Notorious B.I.G. And now for something completely different. I know that being able to know the date of your death would be an incredible burden. I am precisely the kind of person who shouldn’t know that. It could be fifty years from now and I would be doing something like calculating how many videogames I might be able to finish or how many times I can reasonably expect to have sex (adjusting for age and Viagra use). However, the big advantage is that you would know exactly when you could stop giving a fuck. Have six months left? Bye-bye job, bye-bye gym, I’m taking the family to the buffet for breakfast every morning before we hit the music store so I can buy that drum kit I always wanted, followed by a trip to the movies/amusement park/beach every night. Plus I’d know whether to keep up my insurance premiums and whether I should be a completely vain tool and dye my graying chest hair.

6) “It’s a Curse,” Wolf Parade. As I just demonstrated, pretty much a theme song for my brain. In fact, when the trip got cancelled last weekend, I was relieved. I used to do the “mine” dance like any spouse/parent when left alone for a few days of adolescent ID indulgence. But after a few years of working at home, it has lost its luster a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about working at home. I’m not brain damaged, it’s awesome. However, seeing as I spend quite a few stretches stuck alone with this just this neurotic sponge between my ears, I relish my TLB and Libby time more than ever.

7) “Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen. Still gets me thirty years after being in the target demographic for this, although my 41-year-old self abhors the way Ms. Physical Education conducts herself in the cafeteria. Mostly because, in her demonstration of stripper dancing, she’s really only reaching visual learners.

8) “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” The Ramones. As I mentioned on The Facebook, the hoopla surrounding The Simpsons 500th episode sent me on a quest to pick my favorite Simpsons episode, because what better way to spend my time that arbitrarily determining something that no one other than myself could possibly care about. I dug out my Simpsons DVDs and, after watching the five episodes on my top five, picked the “Rosebud” episode where Mr. Burns finds his long-lost teddy bear, Bobo. The thing that put it over the top was the cameo by The Ramones (as well as the call for the murder of The Rolling Stones). I wound up listening to the DVD commentary for the episode, and the funny thing is the Simpsons staff said that The Ramones were huge Simpsons nerds and, after they made their appearance on the show, would contact the staff to ask the kinds of detailed questions only true nerds would do. Which in turn reminded me of this famous SNL sketch. Which in turn pretty much demonstrates how I turn my amusing little hobbies into a colossal waste of time.

9) “Mlàdek,” Russian Circles. I really do think there is a right way and a wrong way to wank. If you’re going to have me listen to a rock song for more than five minutes, it better take me somewhere. Good Yes does that—throw on some “Roundabout” and I will follow you both in and around the lake. A good jam will do that, too. Something like Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” can take its sweet time because every minute is another 60 seconds of my Q-zone being stimulated by Jimmy Page’s slide guitar and John Bonham’s groovy drums. This Russian Circles album is good wank. It’s sort of instrumental metal (I’ll pause for a moment and just say to any female readers who made it this far, I’ll see you again at song ten) but there’s a lot of texture to it. It shifts because you can’t just hammer home a riff for seven minutes, but those shifts don’t feel like a taking a trip through the various exhibits of the Museum of Prodigious Musical Proficiency and Excess (especially the Yngwie Malsteem wing). So if you dig this, give the album a try.

10) “Good Times,” INXS and some dude. I remember buying The Lost Boys soundtrack on cassette because I loved this song and also really liked the movie. The song still holds up. The movie, not so much. For all my white-hot hatred of The Goonies, this movie is pretty much The Goonies during adolescence, complete with zits and attention deficit disorder and uncontrollable erections courtesy of Jami Gertz (who I had a star-crush on back in the days before star crushes transformed into those dream list things where I’m supposed to let TLB have sex with Jon Hamm if the opportunity presents itself, assuming I don’t bed him first). I’ll tell you what I wish I could do, though: make a video mash of Jack Bauer vs. Teether Sutherland. How shocked would vampire Kiefer be when he goes to drink Jack Bauer’s blood and gets a mouthful of ice water? Suck on that, Sutherfucker!

11) “Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads. I know they are celebrated art rock pioneers blah blah blah. But there is something about David Byrne’s ‘Head persona that always reminded me of one of those nerdy serial killers, that guy riding the subway who has an actual chainsaw in his gym bag and is just waiting for the right moment to use it so he can show those goddamned arrogant squirrels who’s got the biggest pair of walnuts now. You may ask yourself, how did this head get in my duffel bag? You may ask yourself, what is that smell coming from the crawlspace? You may say to yourself, I am actually not the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. And you may say to yourself, my God, what have I done?

On that note, have a good weekend.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

speaking of familial departures and nerdgasms, Young Zombie went off on a FIRST Robotics out-of-town regional competition on Wednesday. High school kids playing with robots! Talk about Nerdgasms!

He went to Pittsburgh.

...yeah. The competition is being held on the opposite side of the block that the shooting occurred. We got a phone message last night 'mandated by the school', saying that the arena was under lockdown, and everybody was OK and just working on their robots.

Kids. They don't deserve the crappy world we're leaving to them.

But at least the Republicans and the NRA will make sure they have all the guns they might ever want.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Four round trips to the airport and no one left.

Two men enter, one man leaves!


11) “Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads.

8) “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” The Ramones.

I'm from the government, Brando.

Brando said...

Yikes, ZRM, that must have been nerve-wracking. Sounds like you guys should work on the Robocop prototype.

Thunder, I almost picked that Ramones vid but I have this soft spot for Us Festival footage whenever I'm picking a video. I don't know why.

And LOL at the Thunderdome reference. I (over)use that all the time.

fish said...

So goddamned earnest it should be called “Jim Varney.”

I am just setting this up here on the shelf so I can admire it some more.

Brando said...

Thank you, fish. I had to double-check to make sure that I hadn't made that joke before on the blog.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

it's a joke worth making repeatedly.

Substance McGravitas said...

Long long ago I had a super-fancy double-cassette (!) deck that could play songs in programmed order and do double-speed dubbing. It could also do sound-on-sound recording, so I'd play a riff, shift the tapes around and add a riff on top of it, but skip a beat so the riff would go out of phase and come back around again.

I now realize that I was pretty much playing the end of Jacob's ladder.

Mandos said...

To me, Jacob's Ladder was a recent SF trilogy by Elizabeth Bear.

You guys were just balancing the scales. Jennifer will confirm that I landed in Chicago in the middle of a horrendous snowstorm with all the other flights cancelled in December 2010. I preempted a sports team by calling the phone agent. I am a bad person.

Von said...

Sad the trip got cancelled. But you are one hell of a story teller!

Kathleen said...

I'm sorry I'm so late on the plane story Brando. it delivered as a story, though I'm sure not as an experience. I would also like to say that I admire you b/c I would definitely be too drink to drive to the airport if left alone in the house for the evening.

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