Saturday, July 31, 2004

Tree Trauma Trun'k'ated

Stop the presses! Light the fireworks! The tree trimmers finally arrived (Thursday) and trimmed the tree in my backyard! As I mentioned in the July 1st post, my next door neighbor, Ms. Fossil has been losing sleep over my tree's branches hanging precariously over her storage shed in her back yard, like some dark evil. She's been relentless in calling me to check on the status of the trimming. Thank god, they came when they did. I was beginning to search online for Jim Jones' Kool-Aid recipe.

So, the guys (5) show up at 8:30 and I take the guy who seems to be in charge, to the back and we go over which branches are to be cut. I'm kinda nervous, because (again), English isn't his forte, so I end up using my hands a lot, when talking to him about what limbs need to be removed, etc. I inadvertently pick a large branch that wasn't one of the ones that was included in the original estimate, and he said it was way too big and that it would cost more, so I just told him to go ahead and cut the ones closest to her shed's roof and that that should be fine. So, before they can get to work, I have to call Ms. Fossil and let her know that they have to get into her backyard. I call and alert her and then all systems are go.

I don't want to be under the tree trimmer's ass the entire time he's working, like my mom used to do whenever we had service men out, or breathing down their neck, like when the clerk at the grocery store was ringing up the groceries (that was "quiet time" and any conversation from me was met with a "Shush!" through gritted teeth. Thanks, mom). However, I had to keep vigil on Ms. Fossil's yard, via the den window, in case she decided to waddle out there and "coach." I told the guy when he first got here, that she might try to come out and dictate which branches to cut, but reminded him that she ain't payin' for it/ So, should there be any doubts, just come get me and I'd be more than happy to help clear up any misconceptions. Well, Ms. Fossil must have realized it was in her best interest (and health) that she stay safely indoors. Afterall, we wouldn't want any of those nasty branches driving her sweet, little body into the ground, like some sort of gray-haired tent spike, now would we?

So, about an hour and a half passes (I had lots of brush piles, too), and the guy comes to the door to let me know they're finished. He goes with me to the backyard to check it out, and 'lo and behold, who do you think magically appears, like some sort of geriatric leprechaun? You guessed it. Ms. Fossil. She's already there, inspecting. First off, let me say they did an amazing job. It looks really great and made a world of difference. They picked up ALL the debris from trimming the tree and even got the few dead branches (all 5) that had fallen from my tree (the ones she's been obsessing over and repeatedly reminding me of, for the past month).

I'm really pleased, but guess who has 2¢ to contribute? Right, again. Ms. Fossil. Instead of having something positive to say about how good it looks, she points out the one branch (the one that I had originally picked out and was subsequently told was way too big and high and would cost more) and says "I don't know... don't you think that one should come down, too? It's still hanging over the roof of my shed and I'm worried what will happen if it falls." Well, short of a 300lb squirrel deciding to use it as a trampoline or a stray bolt of lightening, it ain't coming down. It's healthy, it's at least 50ft above the roof and doesn't show any signs of being thin and/or brittle. I tell her "Not anytime soon. He just finished trimming what I can afford. That's it for today (I was tempted to add a "buy-bye now. buh -bye," but didn't)." The guy even says that he doesn't see any reason for concern. I then tell her (to deter any future phone calls or impromptu chats, on the way to my car) that "should there be any more branches fall in her yard, to just have her yard men toss them over into my yard", not unlike the little pile she had them deposit near my A/C unit. Fuckin' petty old dwarf! And she (get a load of this) looks to the tree trimmer guy and actually has the gall to say "Oh, I'm not worried about the branches that fall in the yard, just the roof of the shed." WTF? I have to control myself from leaping over the fence and giving her an enema with her own lawn angel. Sideways! She's been bitching about the fucking branches from day one. Geez. She then continues repeating her concerns all over again about the roof. I whisper to him "she needs some alone time, let's go get that check I owe you," while making "she's cuckoo" eyes in her direction, and we walk away, leaving her to commune with nature. Good riddance.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Confessions of a Beefmeister

Okay, I admit it. I'm guilty. That's right, I readily admit that I have rented and/or sat through movies I cared nothing about, just to get to the beefcake. I have no regrets. Don't look at me like that, I'm sure you've done it before too. I know for a fact some of my friends have done it. My friend, Nathan, for example, just admitted that he's actually going to pay money to go see Halle Barry's new litterbox fodder, Cat Woman. But who am I to scoff, I've sat through worse. Much worse. At least his movie will have big name stars, cutting-edge special effects and a budget that rivals The Matrix. While, the movies I've sat through were lucky if they got on set catering from the likes of Hot Pockets.

Growing up gay in a small town, surrounded by less-than-accommodating hicks, kinda limits your access to gay-themed movies, much less all-male action. I had to be creative and just a little bit sneaky. Having a muscle/bodybuilder fetish early on, I'd rent movies like:

• Ator The Fighting Eagle

• Hercules In New York

• Deathstalker

• Campus Man


• IronMaster

• Stay Hungry

• Killer Workout

As you can see, more than a few of them were those godawful "sword and sandal"-type movies and a couple of them starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has masterful pecs, but whose mentality is for the birds. But then who really cares how big a hot guy's brain is? Looking back at some of them, I realize how my tastes have evolved over time and also come to the realization just how bad 80's hair really was. I still buy/rent the occasional movie for the voyeur in me, but I've noticed that more and more of the actors I like, leave me cold in the bod department, but have beautiful faces and/or aspects to their personalities: Vince Vaughn, Richard Gere, Jude Law, Antonio Banderas, Johnny Knoxville, Craig Bierko, Nicholas Brendon, Carson Daly (I know. Everyone thinks he's a tool), Eminem, etc. Don't get me wrong, I still like the bods, but the faces & personalities seem to have moved up on the priorities list. Who knows, maybe I'm evolving.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Recent DVD Purchases

Final Cut. Starring Jude Law. ©1998
The camera never's a pity about friends
Synopsis: The film opens with the cast gathering after the funeral of Jude to see a film he had been working on for two years. It turns out that the film is secret videos of all those gathered together in their most despicable moments including thievery, spousal abuse, adultery, etc. The revelations remove the masks from the so-called close friends.
Comment: Since I pretty much own all Vince Vaughn & Jude Law movies available, adding this one to my collection was a no-brainer. Initially this film wasn't available in the US in any format. I bought a bootleg version of it on VHS on eBay and was happy to finally get it on DVD.

Cruel Intentions 3. Starring Kerr Smith. © 2004
The 3rd time's a charm...
Synopsis: Cassidy Merteuil, the distant cousin of Kathryn Merteuil, arrives in Santa Barbara, California to attend college where she meets Jason Argyle, a former friend from her high school also attending the school, while Jason gets a roommate, Patrick Bales, whom he and Jason form a mean-spirited partnership of seducing and dumping various young women on campus. When both of their latest conquests bore them, Jason bets Patrick if they can bed out a particular newcomer under the wing of Cassidy. But nothing is what it seems as a triangle of Cassidy, Jason and Patrick forms with each one scheming to outwit the other.
Comment: I loved the original Cruel Intentions and the movie it was a remake of, Dangerous Liaisons. However, I find the concept of making straight-to-video sequels, pretty lame (i.e. Bring It On, Wild Things, etc.) and really have no interest in most of these so-called "sequels," until I saw that Kerr Smith is in the 3rd one. He purty.

The Triplets of Belleville. © 2003
Synopsis: Adopted by his grandmother Madame Souza, Champion is a lonely little boy whose only friends are his loyal puppy Bruno and his tricycle. As an adult, Champion enters the world-famous cycling race, the Tour de France. In the midst of his race, Champion is kidnapped by two mysterious men in black and when he does not cross the finish line, Madame Souza and her faithful dog Bruno set out to rescue him. Their quest takes them across the ocean to the giant megalopolis of Belleville where they encounter the renowned "Triplets of Belleville," three eccentric female music-hall stars from the '30s.
Comment: The DVD contains the music video for the infectious theme song: Belleville Rendez-Vous, sung by "M," whose real name happens to be Mathieu Chédid (see inset for picture). For some strange reason I find him hauntingly attractive, with his French Flock of Seagulls 'do.

Classic TV Commercials. © 2003
Synopsis: Those classic ads from yesterday are back once again for your ultimate viewing pleasure! This DVD is devoted entirely to commercials with more of a feminine mystique associated with them. These unintentionally hilarious ads were written by men and directed at women, in a time when male chauvinism was a way of life! So sit back, relax and enjoy loads of commercials not interrupted by that irritating regularly scheduled programming!
Comment: Picture quality on these is TONS better than some other shit disc I bought a year earlier, though I wish there were more "fun" ones that I remember. i.e. "Ancient, Chinese secret, huh?" (Calgon), cereal commercials, etc. However, some favorites on this disc include: Bewitched's Elizabeth Montgomery for Clairol, QT Quick Tan, Pringles, etc.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Friendship, a Perfect Blendship

I was dusting the bookshelves the other day and decided to sit down and look through some old scrapbooks and photo albums. For someone who detests having their picture taken, I sure take a lot of pictures. Anyway, as I started looking through the albums, I started thinking of how many people I've befriended and subsequently lost contact with and/or have fallen outta like with. Starting from 1990 (the year I entered Junior College), here's the list of friends of the past:

• Chad
• Lacy
• Dan
• Nathan
• Dennis
• Kelly
• Nancy
• Tomm
Kelea & John
Robyn & Steve
Frank & Steve
• Yolanda & Xander
Sonny & Robert
• Starla & Michael
Blake & David
Arnie & Jon
Dru & Dean
Vickie & Steve

I estimate that approximately 9% of my past friendships eventually ended once that person/couple moved away. 2% mysteriously ended with no explanation. 4% ended after a falling out and the remaining 10% ended due to lack of communication, etc. The "etc." ranging from one friend who turned out to be a needy stalker (Imagine 7-8 phone calls a day + if i didn't answer the door, he would go from window to window, trying to see if I was home!) to one couple who I finally cut loose because I gave up on being the one who did all the work. i.e.- birthday remembering, phone calling, card sending, hosting, etc. After taking a good hard look at the list I realized that I still miss the friendships of exactly 3 individuals and 3 couples.

Out of all the friendships that have come and gone, the ones that bother me the most are the ones that ended with no explanation, no closure. Pretty cowardly, if you ask me, but then I've learned to roll with the punches. Now, I know what you're thinking (I've considered it, too). "Maybe you were too needy or too negative." On the contrary, I make a concerted effort not to be that gloomy gus people dread being around, nor the person whom calls so often that you start screening the caller I.D./answering machine. I've been on the receiving end of those traits and I don't like em' either. On the other hand, I'm always the one that keeps everyone laughing with my sarcasm. Maybe that's it. Maybe I was too sarcastic. Who knows. Maybe it had nothing to do with me at all.

As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to make new friends. It's like that time I was complaining to my mom, when I first moved here, about how difficult it is to meet people, especially when you don't get into the bar scene. And my mom, having grown up in the 50's, still has that 50's mentality. Her suggestion: go up to someone interesting, who was also alone, in the library, cafeteria, etc., introduce yourself and take it from there. Yeah. You know what happens when you do that? You get looked at like you just handed them a piece of paper that says "Give me all your money. This is a stick up." People today are just too suspicious, and I can't say I can really blame them, what with all the weirdness going on in the world today. It's unfortunate when something as innocent as looking to meet new people is looked upon as the realm of the spastic or the psychotic. And if you're thinking of going the whole Dear Abby route, by suggesting joining a group/club with people who have the same interests, that doesn't work either. I took tennis lessons for 3 summers in a row, joined a gay men's discussion group, volunteered and even resorted to personal ads (I'm currently working on a book about all my horrendous "dates."). I'm at a loss for ideas. I talk to a few people online who I enjoy talking to, but it'd be nice to have someone around to do stuff with from time to time. Even if it's just to play Boggle and order in Chinese food.

And on a closing note, should you find yourself feeling lonely and like nobody understands you, here is my prescription: Rent any (or all) of the movies below or better yet, make them a part of your DVD/VHS collection. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Slow Jams

Yesterday, I was listening to the radio and a fuckin' "slow jam" came on! LMAO! I thought the popularity of the slow jam was something that died a dusty death, back in the mid-late 90's. And this was no classic slow jam, this was a NEW slow jam.

For those who may not be familiar with the slow jam's "style," I'll explain: A slow jam is one of those songs that has an urban mid-tempo feel to it, where the singer "talks/sings" all breathless, and/or faux sexy-like. The slow jam is supposed to be the song(s) you put on when you wanna be wit yo lady. (insert sarcastic fart sound here). Some slow jam artists might include: Johnny Gill, Klymaxx, Monifah and the Tevin Campbell.

It took some investigating ('cause I'm not down with the new slow jams), but apparently the new song I heard was by Usher and called Burn. Initially, it was kinda sexy (his voice), and reminded me a little of Marky Mark, the Brooklyn accent thing (always sexy, BTW), but then the lyrics kicked in and the breathless sexiness and I started to crack up. With lyrics like "Man, I don't know what I'm gonna do without my booo," (I initially thought he said "Don't know what I'm gonna do without my pooh"), can you blame me? This song epitomizes the new slow jam, especially when the singer starts talkin' real fast with lyrics like "Callin' her your name/Ladies tell me do you understand?/Now all my fellas do you feel my pain?/It's the way I feel/I know I made a mistake/Now it's too late." The cheesiness of it all makes me think of The Ladies Man character from Saturday Night Live. I wanna be bustin' out the vanilla-scented candles, some ice-cold Malt Duck, sprinkle some rose petals around the room, dim the lights and light some incense, bruh. If you happen to enjoy slow jams, then you're sure to enjoy these sites:

New Black
Soul-patrol Streaming Radio
Sirius Slow Jamz 52

Monday, July 26, 2004

Just Another Manic (Depressive) Sunday

Here's some of the things that I observed or had thoughts about on my recent trip to the grocery store.

When did cookies get to be so complicated, not to mention expensive? Sure, it's nice to have choices, but sometimes you just want a plain oatmeal cookie, ya know? But can I find a quality, plain ol' oatmeal cookie? No, but I can find Raisin Raisin Oatmeal, Chocolate Chunk Pecan, Peanut Peanutbutter, Belgian Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Chip Macadamia. And why are Pinwheels $4? Are they that complicated to make? I can get the same flavor effect with a $1.09 box of Little Debbie Marshmallow Cream Pies. Weird.

  • Some guy just walked by and he smelled like grape Kool-Aid. You know, like that smell/taste you get when you pour the Kool-Aid mix into a deep pitcher and the dust from the powder floats up into the air. He smelled like that. Yum!

  • I just manhandled a box of crackers off the shelf and started an avalanche of flavor. I hate it when they stack shit so close to the edge, that the slightest move makes it fall off the fuckin' shelf, and in turn, starts a domino effect on everything it hits on the way down. Then I end up looking like a some goddamn third rate juggling act from Circus of The Stars.

  • In order to appease my hunger for cheese and crackers (look out Wallace & Gromit!), I took a close look at all the cheeses. Decided on an offbrand, until, upon closer inspection, noticed it said "cheese product." What the hell does that mean? Sounds like a sneaky way of saying "not cheese." I opted for the store brand, which is actual cheese.

  • Ooh, Duncan Hines has a new line of brownie mixes called Candy Shoppe. Apparently they come in Twix, Reese's Peanutbutter Cups, m&ms and Butterfinger falvors. Yum! But why is it nearly $4 a box? Couldn't I just buy the Duncan Hines brownie mix that's on sale for $1 and add the candy of my choice for another buck?

  • I swear to God, I thought I was in a Budweiser commercial from the 70's. All that was missing was jingle bells and snow. I heard CLIP CLOP! CLIP! CLOP! CLIP CLOP!, coming my direction, from behind. It was some chick in clogs. Can she not hear herself? Geez, everyone else sure can. Doesn't she realize she sounds like the fuckin Little Dutch Boy on a stickhorse? Damn.

  • Nobody noteworthy on the cover of any of the magazines this time. Looked at the books. Saw one called Fields of Honor: The Pat Tillman Story. Apparently some guy who used to play professional football (the Cardinals, I think) voluntarily joined the Army. Whoopee. He's hot, though. Rowr!

  • Some woman just yelled at her kid because she "wants to get home before it rains." It's supposed to rain today? So? I don't get why people here in Texas get so worked up over rain. I could understand if you had no functioning windshield wipers, but goddamn, it's just water. Relax, turn on your headlights and drive like a normal person. Idjits.

  • On the way home I pass a church whose sign out front says: "Because we've been found, we have a mission to find the lost." Who exactly is "we" and how did anyone know you were missing? Maybe you were found because the lost ratted you out. Or maybe, the lost don't wanna be found, ever think of that? Maybe the found people need to get lost. Religious people freak me out.

  • Oh, and while I'm on the subject of freaking out, here's something I'm sure our little church friends can appreciate. My chicken. Yep, it's official. I'm going to Hell. I wonder which side dish Satanic chicken prefers: Stove Top or mashed potatoes? Maybe I'll make both and really raise some Hell.

  • Sunday, July 25, 2004

    Movie Rental Reviews

    Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. © 2004
    I've grown to like Lindsay Lohan, though I must admit I was livid when I first heard news that Disney was remaking one of my favorite movies, The Parent Trap. Blasphemy! I eventually rented it, but it lacked the magic of the original. Lindsey was cute, but was no Hayley Mills. Back to CTDQ. The movie had a sense of fun and Lindsay's character was likable, as were the supporting characters. I was surprised to see that the movie was light in the comedy department. The trailer led me to believe that there would be more laughs, but the laughs seemed to be confined strictly to the trailer. On the plus side, there was Carol Kane and the male lead was mighty fine (Adam Garcia). Overall, it was a little too Hilary Duff with a severe case of girlpower, for my tastes, but tolerable. ∑∑

    Calendar Girls. © 2003
    Wow, this movie finally came out. I remember seeing it advertise well over a year ago, and have been wanting to see it ever since. Well, I finally rented it and it wasn't half bad. It had a Saving Grace feel to it, if you've ever seen and/or enjoyed that movie. Most men and the likes of Gen Y can't seem to get over the idea that the plot involves a group of 60-something women getting "nude" (to pose for a calendar to raise money for Leukemia). I've never been one for the whole "ew" attitude, so it doesn't bother me in the least. Besides, if you're of the "ew" persuasion, then it's probably got way too much of a plot for you to bother with and you might as well go rent some "sweet-ass" (or with today's kid's spelling "sweat -ass") XXX or Torque movie. Anyway, the movie was a lot of fun, though the buzz kinda wore off towards the end, when it gets kinda preachy and self-righteous. ∑∑ 1/2

    Adam & Evil. © 2004
    Okay, okay. I know, what you're thinking: "He'll rent anything!" Well, it's kinda true...when it comes to slasher flicks. Growing up in the 80's, I LOVED slasher flicks and still do. However, as a rule, I pretty much know that any slasher flicks that come out these days (esp. straight-to-video) are gonna probably not be up to par. However, every once in a while, when there is a horror drought in the new release section, I'll take a chance and rent one that has a great cover, familiar premise and/or a killer with a nasty penchant for sharp things and/or a cool costume. Well, Adam & Evil was actually alright. I read some dumbasse's review on IMDB, who evidently didn't watch the movie. He also was baffled by why it was called Adam & Evil. Um, hello. WARNING: Spoiler: The main character's name is Adam and there's a girl named EVElyn....who's uh, well, evil. Doi. That's rocket science. Not. So, anyway, the movies' overall look was better than I expected. I was SO hoping I hadn't rented another one of those cheap-ass movies that looks like someone shot it on their camcorder. I am SO bad at falling for their cool cover art. In addition to the professional look, the movie also some occasional original, cool music. The killer had a cool m.o. (leaving a roman candle at the scene of the crime) and the implements of murder + the murders were pretty fun, too. Not a lot of gore, but enough to make it worth the rental. Also, the one cute guy ("Seth") was also some nice eyecandy. Now the downside: Wow, was the acting and the dialogue ever BAD. The badly delivered teen urban lingo was SOOO corny, I swear I could taste the nibblets. Also, the ending was pretty cheese-o-riffic and like I mentioned earlier, not enough gore in the murder sequences. Would have liked to see a little more Friday The 13th-style killings. ∑∑∑

    Chopping Mall. © 1986
    With dialogue like "In about an hour and a half we bail this BBQ and it's good times to the max!" (said to a fellow co-worker at their fast food job at the mall), it could only be an 80's B movie. Mmmm, can you smell it's fetid goodness? Is it a plausible concept? Of course not. Is it dated? Oh yeah. Okay, so this movie isn't going to win any awards, but I still love it for the cheese-addled late 80's horror classic that it is. Plus, there's a fairly good body count/gore factor AND one of my many 80's dream hunks (AKA Deathstalker in Deathstalker 2-4), John Terlesky can be seen in all his pectacular-chiseled-jaw-glory. Who could ask for more? ∑∑∑∑

    Lord of The Rings: Return of The King. © 2003
    Okay, I admit to being bored one day and renting this on PayPerView. I generally relegate this type of movie for the Renaissance Festival crowd, but in my defense, the only reason I PPV'ed it was because I was too lazy to go rent it and I heard there's some Eijah nip towards the end. Well, Elijah nip or not, he wasn't worth the 8 hours it took to get there (okay, I'm exaggerating a little. It was just 6 hours....jk). Seriously though, this was the longest nymph turd I've ever had to sit through, since I saw Willow. I just don't get these kind of movies. In it's defense, it looked and sounded beautiful (score), but 9X out of 10 I had no idea, nor did I care, what anyone was talking about. Apparently there's some evil piece of jewelry floating around and it must be destoyed. Neat. Whatever. Let's pick up the pace, people! So, the Elijah nip scene was way too dark and way too brief to have made this worth my time. I ended up forward winding through most of it out of sheer impatience. P.s. I totally don't get the whole Orlando Bloom appeal.

    = I want a refund
    ∑∑= Wait and watch it on cable
    ∑∑∑= Worth the rental
    ∑∑∑∑= I'd buy it...for the right price
    ∑∑∑∑∑= I'd add it to my movie collection

    Saturday, July 24, 2004

    Vintage Celebrity Cookbook Recommendations

    Stars In Your Kitchen edited by Marta Brookfield Michel. © 1953

    This is one of my favorite retro recipe books (not to mention rare), simply because every recipe inside was submitted by a classic Hollywood movie star or personality! From Charles Addams to Richard Widmark, there are recipes from just about any major star of the time. In addition to the interesting recipes, there are also great little illustrated characatures of the various celebrities. One of my favorite recipes was submitted by Chico Marx:

    • Macaroni a La Lido •

    1 pkg. elbow macaroni
    1/2 lb. sliced bacon cut small
    1/2 cup chopped onions
    1/2 cup diced celery
    1/4 cup diced green peppers
    1/2 cup grated cheese
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 No. 2 1/2 can tomatoes

    Cook macaroni, drain well. In a large skillet fry the bacon until light brown. Add onion, celery and green peppers. Cook on low fire till vegetables are tender, not brown. Add the tomatoes and stir well. On top sprinkle the macaroni and cheese, place in moderate oven and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

    The Highly Unlikely Celebrity Cookbook by Frank Jacobs. © 1964

    Another celebrity-flavored "cookbook" isn't really a cookbook at all, but more of a satire. With celebrity "recipes" endorsed by Cole Porter, Ian Fleming, Jimmy Hoffa and Alfred Hitchcock, you know your in for a treat. Being a fan of his films, naturally my favorite recipe was submitted by Alfred Hitchcock:

    • Stewed Chicken Alfred Hitchcock

    1 5-pound hen
    1 teaspoon of salt
    1 cut lemon

    In the dead of night, creep up quietly on a 5-pound hen and without no warning at all -- chop off its head! Clean the body thoroughly to remove all traces of your evil work, then rub with a cut lemon. Now place the succulent flesh in the dark confines of a deep, black cauldron and pour in hot water to the light of the full moon. After you have bolted all doors and drawn all shades, bring the water to a boil. Now slowly cook the body for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours until it is excruciatingly tender, making sure to add salt and a few fiendish incantations at the end of the first hour. Allow the body to cool, then pluck it from the cauldron, place it on a plate, and devour it. When finished, bury the bones in the cellar.

    Friday, July 23, 2004


    Ms. Fossil called on Wednesday to ask me again when I thought the tree trimming guy would be coming. I told her again that it's still 3 weeks, just like I told her 2 weeks ago. She then goes off on a tangent about how her yard man can't park in her driveway because his truck with the attached trailer full of yard implements is too long and how he has to carry everything from two houses down the street. ? I have no idea what this has to do with me, but then I've never been much of a visionary. She goes on to tell me how she has asthma, and that it's probably due to the hazy weather, undoubtedly caused by the forest fires raging in California. I manage to balance my checkbook, rewind a video that I rented and change clothes, all while she's telling me all this. Note to self: Must resist urge to kill.

    I went to get a haircut, because it was "Wacky Wednesday" at the place I get my hair cut. By the way, it's $2 off on Wacky Wednesday, so then I can afford to give whoever cuts my hair, a tip. Otherwise, it's nearly $15! Insane. This time around I get a Korean woman, whom I've noticed isn't much for small talk, since I had to wait until she was finished cutting some guy's hair who was going on and on about how he was "never much one for fair food" but "enjoyed the Texas Star" (fyi the Texas Star is a HUGE ferris wheel, which is the centerpiece of the Texas State to Big Tex). She speaks really bad English, and it's my guess (which is confirmed later) that her grasp of understanding the English language is probably not up to par, either. Now for the pros and cons. Pro: She gave me a really good haircut. Con: She had some major B.O. Pro: I caught a few Z's while she was trimming my hair (I couldn't help it. Something about the combination of the vibration of the clippers and the sound of the thinning shears, makes me drift right off). Con: there was still some old snips of gray hair from someone's previous haircut, on the plastic bib thing tied around my neck. I dunno what it is about gray hair that creeps me out, but it does. I think it goes all the way back to when I moved into my first apartment and was cleaning out the cabinet underneath the sink, I found clumps of gray hair along the edge of where the carpet met the cabinet. Gross. Well, at least she was better than the last person who cut my hair. Some fat black chick who kept using her stomach to turn the chair around and apparently didn't realize (or care) that cutting hair where it falls onto your face the whole time, is not a good technique.

    The grocery store I got to has some cutie guy checkers who also bag groceries. One's name is "Luke" (very soap opera) and is a "babe" (both figuratively and literally) and then there's "Tommy" who I always manage to catch taking a break by the Coke machines outside. I think they're cute, but they have the kind of hair that my friend Derik hates. Lol! Kinda like my dad and "those big-ass pants" that never seem to go outta style. I guess every generation has their teen peeves. Annnnnyway... Tommy's also cute, but not so much babe-worthy, but cute just the same (I think it's the tan and the big nose, but hey, that't me). Of course, he's also 11 years old (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but he might as well be). So, Tommy was scanning my groceries and notices I bought a container of popcorn chicken from the deli, and gets all excited, telling me how good they are. I say "Yeah, they really are" and he goes on to say how those and some Mountain Dew make the perfect lunch and that he's going to go get some in a few minutes. I share my top-secret knowledge that Mountain Dew and Hawaiian Punch make a great flavor combo, he says how he's never tried that but will have to now and then I leave. Bonding accomplished.

    Went to the video store and returned Adam & Evil and checked out Chopping Mall, Calendar Girls, and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Those reviews coming up later, once I've watched them all. And while we're on the subject of entertainment, I also bought 3 CDs and 3 DVDs. More about those later. So, I go to rent my movies and while the guy is checking out my movies, some customer comes in and he says "Hi," she looks his way, says nothing and keeps on truckin'. He's like "Um, okaaaay. Whatever" and looks at me. Knowing what it's like to work with the public, I've totally been there before. I say "It's amazing how many mute people there are in the world, huh?" and he laughs and says no kidding. Rapport established. So the guy is looking at the cover of Chopping Mall and says something about it looking interesting. I tell him that "yeah, it's a fun movie" and that it's coming to DVD soon, but I couldn't wait to watch it. He's looking at the back of the box and then it dawns on him what it's about and he goes bananas. He's all "Oh my god, I've been wanting to see this movie for so long! This is the one where the robot security guards go crazy and kill everybody in the mall." I'm like "Yeaaah. Good times." He's all "Chopping Mall! Oh my god, I didn't know that was the name, I can't believe we have that. I haven't seen that since like 1989." I say "Yep. It's an old one." (hey! I graduated in 1989!) and then start heading for the door, all the while he's still freaking out about it. Bonding session 2 accomplished.

    And the cherry on the cake, you may ask? I come home from running all these errands and realize I neglected to lock the front door! Brilliant, Kirk, just brilliant. So then I spend the rest of the night playing scenes in my head, from that creepy made-for-TV-movie Hider In The House, starring Gary Busey. Ew, Gary Busey...::shiver:: creepy.

    P.s. Let me preface this by saying that I live in a neighborhood, near a busy road. From time to time, there will be someone walking down the street during the day or night, for whatever reason (i.e. school, work, etc.)

    For some unknown (and annoying) reason, it seems like our neighborhood has an unusual amount of power surges. This in turn, causes the breaker to my A/C to flip off sometimes, calling for me to go outside, to the side of the house, and flip it back on (see? I told you it was annoying). Well, last night it happened again, 'cause I woke up feeling muggy and gross. So, around midnight, I go open the front door, flashlight in hand, to go outside and flip the switch. At the same time, some random guy happens to be walking by across the street, in front of my house. Well, my front door has an awful squeaky creak to it, which I, personally like for two reasons: A) It sounds great at Halloween and B) I like to think that I have a built-in early warning system, should a prowler break in to kill me in my sleep (yes, I'm a little paranoid). So anyway, I swing the front door open and some random guy walking on the sidewalk across the street jumps outta his hide, spins towards me and looks over, startled. I act like I don't notice, but on the inside, I am cracking up. I'm usually the one who's leery of people walking along the street at night and here I am making him skittish. Lol! Just thought I would share that with you, because I thought it was funny.

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    My Own Private Ho Ho

    Why is it every time I like something, they quit making it? Example: Pillsbury garlic breadsticks. They go great with spaghetti and are so doggone good! And now they're being "discontinued." But I love, thee, oh garlicky one! Just another food product that will soon be extinct. Sigh.

    The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how many things I used to really look forward to eating, that are now no longer available. Things, that conjure up childhood memories, that when I mention them to anyone under 25, I get met with a blank stare. But then I remind myself that most Gen Y'ers normally have a glazed look to them anyway, and dismiss it as more pop culture ignorance. Here's a brief list of my top faves:

    Chef Boyardee Roller Coasters (Delicious pasta with meatballs)
    Crazy Cow Cereal (Strawberry was my favorite, but it also came in chocolate)
    Grape Tang (Grape-flavored version of the drink astronauts took into space!)
    Marshal Mallow Cocoa Mix (Cocoa mix with little star-shaped marshmallows right in the mix!)
    Butoni Instant Pizza (Like a Pop-Tart, but filled with delicious pizza goodness)
    Doritos Original Taco Flavor Chips (Undoubtedly better than the "Nacho" flavored ones)
    Figurines ("Diet" snack resembled a thinner Little Debbie Nutty Bar. Vanilla was my favorite)
    Franco-American Macaroni and Cheese (Self explanatory)
    Vanilla-Flavored Cookie Crisp Cereal (Better than the chocolate chip-flavor...but I like that one too)
    Willy Wonka Skrunch Bar (Kinda like a Clark Bar, but skrunchier)
    Jolly Rancher Stix (Came in Fire, Pink Lemonade and Peach flavors and was bigger than a JR)
    Mug-o-Lunch Mixes (Kinda like Cup-O-Noodles. Just add hot water!)

    And even though some of my favorites have survived the 70's and/or 80's, some of them just don't have the same flavor that I remember. For instance, my all-time favorite cereal was always Frankenberry (I still like it, but now I think it's more for the nostalgia, than the flavor), but now it seems to lack that certain oaty, strawberry flavor that I remember loving. Now it has that annoying flavor, like those french fries from Burger King that have that stay-crisp coating. You know what I mean? It's like the cereal now has a chemical shellac taste to it. Same thing goes for Trix, which I still like occasionally, but which I used to LOVE. "Back in the day" the cereal makers kept it simple, and the cereal pieces were shaped like little spheres (think Kix cereal in rainbow colors) and had a great corn and fruit taste. Today, they pieces are shaped like various fruits, and again have that weirdo shellac on them AND are so overly fruit-flavored that I find myself wanting more milk than cereal. Plus, there's a weirdo aftertaste that wreaks of "stay-crunchy" shellac. Bleah.

    On the other hand, there are those foods that know a good thing when they see it, and manage to keep the original recipe & flavor of their product. Thank goodness for:

    Munchos Potato Crisps (Light and airy & loaded with salt and oil. I miss the bright orange bag)
    TAB Soda (The quintessential 70's diet soda. I'm a saccharin fiend, so I still love it)
    Quisp Cereal (A lot like Capt N' Crunch)
    Pringles Potato Chips (They may have lost their pull-tab top, but they still taste good to me!)
    Razzles (A chewable candy, that turns into gum! Is it a candy or is it a gum?)
    Shrimp Flavored Chips (They may sound gross, but boy are they shrimpalicious!)
    Jiffy Pop (You gotta love this one. JP wreaks of nostalgia. No one can resist its' foil dome!)
    Moon Pies (Little Debbie comes closest to the flavor I remember, more so than the orig. MP)
    Reese's Big Peanutbutter Cup (It's new & "limited edition," but already a favorite of mine)

    I have to admit, I get nostalgic for some of the old packaging as well. I recently watched You can't Buy Me Love and sighed during a party scene when I saw the old Doritos bag. You know, the one with the little window in the front and the giant wedge of cheese on it? If only the manufacturers would periodically bring back a "Nostalgia" line of their products, with the original recipes and packaging, I bet you anything they'd sell like crazy. I know I'd be hoarding some serious Crazy Cow, Chef Boyardee Roller Coasters and Taco-Flavored Doritos!

    And you know what else I miss? The shape of fishsticks. They used to resemble rectangles with rounded corners. Now fishsticks are more cylindrical and the taste just isn't the same. I swear the shape has something to do with it. It may sound weird, but I used to love when we would have fishsticks for lunch. Especially if there was a side of macaroni and cheese! This must be what lunch is like in Heaven.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Poppa Can You Hear Me? Poppa Can You See Me?

    Though I usually consider the world of professional wrestling (& NASCAR) to be the realm of the mullet crowd, I must come clean. I fall in lust with the occasional wrestler from time to time. The first wrestler I remember lusting after, was way back in the late 80's: Lex Luger (real name Larry Pfohl), AKA "The Perfect Package." Rowr rowr! Appropriately named, I instantly fell for Lex's pex and (yes again) his nose. My interest started to wane once he got all lean and defined and took on some hokey American Gladiator-style persona. Goofy red, white and blue costume to match. Not to mention his penchant for punchin' the ladies. Classy! I guess everything has a price. Regardless, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for his random arrogant bouts of pec bouncing and flexing. Good times.

    Fast forward to 1999 or so, and my ring had a new king: Big Poppa Pump (formerly Scott Steiner). I kinda knew who he was, before his new persona, but really took notice once he cut that damn brown mullet of his, dyed his hair blonde, grew a goatee and got into some serious pharmaceuticals. He had a great bod before, it just got bigger and more streamlined. Thanks Synthol! Regardless of the how and why, Big Poppa Pump emerged from his cocoon lookin' mighty pinchable. The only thing that kinda creeped me out about him, besides his relentless pursuit of the almighty panty hamster, was his unusually small forearms. They just don't match his HUGE biceps. I dunno if it's a genetic thing or a side effect of the "vitamins" but it was noticeable.

    Well, it looks like the big P has all but disappeared from sight. I no longer see or read anything new about him. Since I never really watched his matches for the wrestling, I didn't keep up with the 'storyline,' so maybe he was written out, got too big for his britches (sigh) or was irreversibly injured in some way. All I have to remind me of him is a couple of misc. magazines and the occasional action figure. I miss my Big Poppa Pump. I hope he's doing okay.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    Children: Nature's Speedbumps

    Over the weekend, there was a piece on the news about how The University of Iowa was conducting research to better understand the cause of children's bicycle injuries. Due to advances in virtual reality the researchers were able to immerse children, ages 10-12, as well as adults, in a safe virtual environment, in order to observe bicycle safety behavior. Their conclusion. The reason children have bicycle accidents with vehicles: They didn't successfully judge traffic gaps. Wow. That's money and time well spent. Who needs a cure for Cancer, when we can pool our resources to find out that the reason kids become flattened fauna is because they didn't wait long enough to cross the street. Maybe these children should stick to less tasking past times like utilizing their motor skills with a Lemon Twist or perhaps start a leaf collection.

    I'm more than a little tired of how today's kids have to be coddled and protected from everything from swallowing cereal prizes to inadvertently gutting themselves with a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. I find it incredulous that generations of children before them managed to survive Stretch Armstrong, E-Z Bake Ovens and playground equipment constructed of actual metal, all without losing an eye or somehow mangling themselves. Why, we even managed to not suffocate ourselves on the Twister mat or impale ourselves on Lincoln Logs. Wowee! We musta been some kinda mavericks! And on the rare occasion we did get hurt, our parent's first instinct wasn't "Someone must pay!." We both just marked it up to being a dumbass and knew not to do it again. Lesson learned.

    But then today's parents have so much more to contend with, what with their ever-important cellphone calls and all, to do pesky stuff like pay attention to their children. Why take responsibility for not exercising common sense when you can just blame someone else and maybe get a settlement out of it in the process? What? You say your child got injured while running in the store like a maniac? It's not your fault. There were clearly no warning signs posted. What's that you say? While you were getting yourself a latte at Starbucks, your precious angel was buried in a landslide of ceramic coffee cups, while climbing the display case like it was Mt. Everest? This clearly wouldn't have happened if more business establishments had child care centers. It's clearly their fault. I'd sue those rat bastards, if I were you.

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Of Hunks and Herpes: An Analysis

    Ever get those "Value Packs" in the mail, filled with coupons for everything from the local thrift store to fast food restaurants to pest control (where were they when I had that stalker 6 years ago?)? Well, I do and I always look through them and pick out the ones I'll use and ditch the rest. One thing I've noticed is that apparently all blue collar guys are hot lovemonkeys.

    For example, check out this hunky "air duct maintenance technician." Check out those biceps and that face. He's a fox! My air duct guy never looks like this. Not to mention the cable guy, exterminator, mailman, plumber, electrician, etc.? You know, that whole fantasy, where the TV repairman drops by, is super hot and then steamy encounters take place. Whatever. Now, I'm not lookin' for a little afternoon delight, but the occasional piece of eyecandy would be a nice change of pace. Instead, I get the deodorantly-challenged. The terminally married. The English is my second language (and I'm not that swift at the first one) guy (AKA Queso-&-so) and/or the ever-popular buttcrack guy. Swoon! ...Not.

    Here's another ad for a local tune-up place. Who's mechanic looks like THAT? Bet he smells good too. All the guys at the garage I go to are Pakistani or look like Cooter from The Dukes of Hazzard.

    As I thumbed through the various coupons, I came across one for laser hair removal. There's a woman in a bikini quoted as saying "I'd love to get rid of my excess body hair and really learn to like myself." Who knew self-worth was just an electrolysis appointment away? Yeah right, good luck Sasquatch. And while I'm thinking about it, there's also an ad for some Herpes medication that claims to regulate your Herpes break outs so you can "take back control of your life." Um, you have Herpes. I'd say control isn't one of your strong points. And while we're on the subject, why is it that all the people we see in Herpes ads always lead such vibrant and active lifestyles? So then, can we deduce that people with cold sores have bouts with 'keeping up with the Joneses?' I don't know about you, but I sometimes find myself secretly yearning for Herpes, just so I can go to the beach and/or go bicycling through a lush forest glen, and leave this tedious existence behind once and for all. I know it sounds selfish, but I'd really love to catch up on my leisure reading. Herpes: They're not just for 'hos anymore! Get Herpes and start living life in the fast lane! To see just how specialized our society has become, check out the online Herpes singles dating service! 'Cause nuthin' says romance like a raging case of Herpes!

    And finally, the ad I see at my online bank website. I guess there are businesses out there that still believe in "keepin' it real":

    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    The Goonies 'R' Good Enough!

    The first time I saw it, was the summer of 1985, while on vacation with my parents. We saw it at a drive-in theater in Wisconsin. I remember thinking it was the best thing ever. I remember reading the paperback and anything else 'Goonies' I could get my hands on. I also remember staying up late to watch Friday Night Videos (network television's answer to MTV), to see the "debut" of the Cyndi Lauper music video!

    Last night I went to the midnight movie at the Inwood Theater and saw The Goonies on the big screen, for the first time in 19 years! The Goonies has it all: Great cast, comedy, adventure, you name it! I was mesmerized from beginning to end, and tonight was no exception. Sure, I own the DVD, but nothing compares to seeing it on the big screen with an appreciative audience.

    The theater I went to see the movie at, is a Landmark theater, in more ways than one. It's been around for 57 years and is one of the sole survivors of the 1940s movie palaces. the Inwood Theater has that incredible nostalgic soul, that today's theaters lack. You get a distinct sense of participating in a piece of cinematic history, just by being in its' presence. You know, the huge marquee with lights around it, the foyer ceiling covered in lights, and the "old school" tubular ticket booth. SUCH great atmosphere. As you enter the small lobby, the first thing your eyes are drawn to is the incredible domed ceiling, which has a mural painted on it. There's is a huge red-carpeted staircase, off to the right and on the left is a cafe/coffee shop, marked off by glass bricks. There are two small theaters upstairs (I got nauseous in one of them while seeing The Blair Witch Project). Straight ahead is the small concession stand, which I am pleased to say offers tea. I know it sounds kinda square, but I prefer tea to soda, when I go to the movies, and most theaters don't offer it. After the concession stand, there are two sets of double doors which go into the foyer of the main theater, which is HUGE and originally seated 1,100 people! There is even a little stage at the base of the movie screen. Sigh. Breathtaking.

    I got to the theater about 20 minutes early and found a great parking space. On the way to the theater I walked past a couple (her sitting on a bench, him kneeling on the ground in front of her) who were apparently having an argument. She looked like she was about to cry (mad) and he was desperately trying to talk his way outta whatever it was. The drama. The drama. Let's hope they get married and make it official. So, I get in line behind the Aqua Teen Younger Force and got my ticket. Then to the small bathroom (this is my movie ritual: Ticket, bathroom, concession stand, theater), which is old and small and has a cloth shower curtain separating the 1 toilet from the 2 urinals & sink. After getting to hear how "this bathroom sucks," (Gen Y, you know I love em'!) I washed my hands (you wouldn't believe how many guys don't) and went to get provisions and find a seat.

    I was surprised how many teens there were. I was expecting a more mature crowd, like when I went to go see Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Before the show begins, a theater employee comes out and there's a contest to win the DVD version of whatever movie is that night's main attraction. However, this time, in addition to the DVD giveaway, there was also a Truffle Shuffle contest! LMAO! He asked for volunteers and about 7 vibrant, fresh-faced teens went up (2 girls, the rest guys). The guy prefaced the contest by first making sure everyone knew what the Truffle Shuffle was. One didn't. My first reaction is "beat it, dillhole," but I kept that to myself. So the guy asks for one of them to demonstrate it to him. This one guy volunteers and kicks ass! Then the contest starts and the nonexistent (ech...whatever) teen bellies are a shakin'! When they are done, the guy holds his hand over each person's head and the one who receives the most applause wins. The one I wanted to win, and clapped for, won (the guy who demonstrated the Truffle Shuffle for the benefit of IdiotBoy). He was the only one who had remotely any tummy and his Truffle Shuffle rendition rocked da hizouse! The prize: a pint of Rocky Road ice cream (with spoon)!! The runner-up (IdiotBoy, much to my chagrin) also got a pint. I didn't win the DVD, but some jailbait in a tubetop won it, and, get this, she doesn't even own a fuckin' DVD player. Whatever.

    The movie starts and everyone claps once the skull and crossbones appear on the screen and we're off! Now, I must confide something. I LOVED the entire cast (yes, even Corey Feldman, whom I normally despise), but my favorite Goonie was Martha Plimpton's character ('Stef') and my first cinematic crush: Josh Brolin ('Brand'). God, I remember thinking he was the hottest thing since Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk. ROWR ROWR! Thus began my love-affair with Brand and The Goonies. Josh is still a hottie (when he opts to bathe, shave and brush his hair) and has been in some other favorite movies of mine. I just recently bought Thrashin', just for him. Definitely worth the price.

    While on the subject of hotties, at the time I thought Sean Astin ('Mikey') was pretty insignificant. Wow! Who knew he would turn out to be such a babe? I could give two elf farts for those Lord of The Rings movies, but I think he's just too cute. Esp. when he has a beard. Rowr!

    It was a lot of fun to be a part of something you know everyone loves. I also got a kick out of the scene where Sloth exclaims "Hey you guys!" just before he saves the day, 'cause the entire audience cheered and clapped. And during the scene where Mikey opens the hatch to the "rich stuff", you could have heard a pin drop. It was great! And naturally, there was plenty of clapping at the end, while The Goonies theme played in the background during the credits. A great audience experience, overall. Not one single cell phone ringing or dumbass in the bunch (with the exception of IdiotBoy, of course). Fun was had by all.

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Lounge CD Recommendations

    Are you hep to the jive, daddy-o? You will be if you check out any of these CDs I'm recommending today. Remember being curious as to what your parents records sounded like, when you were young? Then putting one on to play and then thinking to yourself "squaresville!" Haven't you heard? It's hip to be square, man. These CDs are lounge, hear them purr! The first 2 CDs will make you wanna cha cha over to the liquor cabinet and mix yourself a Martini, Gimlet or a Bellini. Don't forget the swizzle stick! The last CD is a little spicier. If you're a fan of Rockabilly and/or that jazzy Stray Cats sound, then you will definitely dig The Naughty Ones. You may even find yourself reaching for the pomade! The best part about all these CDs is that each of them have flown under the radar and can generally be found for under $4!

    Swingin' Jazz For Hipsters: Volume 1. © 1997
    This CD can currently be purchased at for a mere pittance of $3.50!
    Favorite tracks include: 1, 3, 8, 10, 12

    01. The Candy Man - Ray Brown/Monty Alexander/Sam Most
    02. Goin' Out Of My Head - Captain Jack McDuff/Herb Besson/Joe Magnarelli
    03. Walk Between The Raindrops - Mel Tormé/Marty Paich Dek-tette
    04. Isn't She Lovely - Stephane Grappelli/Martin Taylor
    05. Slidin' - Hendrik Meurkens/Dado Moroni/Peter Bernstein
    06. Honey Suckle Rose - Stefan Scaggiari Trio
    07. I Can Do It - Tania Maria/Mitch Stein
    08. Days Of Wine And Roses - Ruby Braff/Scott Hamilton/Dave McKenna
    09. Sleepwalk - Rom Eschete Trio
    10. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Ernestine Anderson/Hank Jones
    11. The Lady Wants To Know - Howard Roberts/Ross Tompkins
    12. The Girl From Ipanema - Charlie Byrd Trio

    Music For The Jet Set. © 1996
    This CD can can be yours at for just $3.85!
    Favorite tracks include: 2, 5, 7, 11, 13, 14

    01. April In Paris - Gloria Lynne
    02. On A Little Street In Singapore - Harry Zimmerman
    03. Maori Flea - Arthur Lyman
    04. Catriburium Na Batacuda - Carnival In Rio
    05. It Happened In Monterey - Bob Florence
    06. Bermuda - Troy Walker
    07. Prelude A La Cha Cha Cha - Woody Herman/Charlie Byrd
    08. The Third Man Theme - Anton Karas And His Two Rudis
    09. Vaya Con Dios - Harry Zimmerman
    10. Mosaico Andaluz - Bernabe de Moron
    11. Bali Ha'i - Gloria Lynne
    12. Aiylong - Soubri Moulin/His African Beats
    13. China Nights Mambo - Jack "Bongo" Burger
    14. C'est Si Bon - Ray Ventura Singers

    The Naughty Ones: I Dig Your Voodoo! © 1995
    Favorite tracks include: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 14

    01. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
    02. Voodoo Kiss
    03. Walkin' Blues, The
    04. Pretty Plaid Skirt
    05. Azure Te
    06. Tapped In A Web Of Love
    07. Charlie Parker Twist (Billie's Bounce)
    08. Skiddy-Wo
    09. I Dig Your Voodoo
    10. Ain't Gonna Cry No More
    11. What's My Name
    12. Harlem Nocturne
    13. Charade
    14. Well You Needn't

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