Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Wife and I went to Quick's Haunted event tonight in costume. In due part to my recent obsession, Wife was Miss Piggy and yours truly was Kermit.

And, as you can see from the costume choice, it ain't easy being green. (Sorry. Had to).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Top Five, Bottom Five Jim Henson Style

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind as of late... The Muppets.

I have always been enamored by Jim Henson's creation. As I have grown older, The Muppets have taken on an even more special meaning in my puppet heart.

So, without further adieu, allow me to provide a biased and opinionated ranking on the Top-Five, Bottom-Five Muppets.

Bottom Five:

5. Beauregard. It's appropriate for Beau to be a janitor on the Muppet Show because he's just plain poo poo. Beauregard's best asset was his amazing janitor strength, but that doesn't help me get past his slow-wittedness and the fact that he kind of looks like a turd. Gross.

4. Annie Sue. In all of my days watching the tele and the tele program--I can't tell you one time that I liked it when an actor appears as a character that is stark opposite of their main character... like Urkel vs Stephan, or Bugs Bunny in drag. That's my principle reason for not liking Annie Sue. It's very unimaginative. And unimaginative is not a word I use with my Muppets.

3. Link Hogthrob. I don't mean to pick on the piggies... but come on, everything about Link screams cocky. This swine reeks of Chris-Chris... like you'd expect him to have a blue-tooth and be attempting to pick up some hot porkers at Martini Ranch on the weekends. Even his name annoys me.

2. Sam the Eagle. Sam's scowl has always bothered me. And he lectures to no end. There's nothing wrong with sharing one's opinion (Sam, a patriot, should be well aware of any rights from the First Amendment), but nobody likes to be lectured.

And the number 1 in my Bottom Five Muppets... and the most over-rated Muppet of all time..............................................................................

1. Fozzie Bear. There is literally nothing funny about a bad comedian. And Fozzie makes his living by telling terrible jokes and following them with a not-so-witty catch phrase, "Wocka Wocka Wocka." It is because of this that I support bear rugs, bear hunting and bare-back riding.

Now for the Top Five.

5. Dr Teeth and Electric Mayhem. You can't separate this crew. Dr. Teeth, Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot and Animal rock the house for the Muppets. The greatness of this crew can be summed up by Dr. Teeth's very confusing line from The Muppet Movie, "Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence."

4. and 3. Statler and Waldorf. If they weren't ancillary characters, these two might find their way higher. Smart-alecky and very easily amused by themselves, these two brilliant old men heckle everything in sight from their balcony seats. And, to make matters better, one of their favorite targets for heckling was Fozzie Bear.

2. Gonzo. Also known as The Great Gonzo or Gonzo the Great, Gonzo was often portrayed as a stunt man or daredevil. He's also the only main character muppet that was not an anthropomorphic animal... so he's got that going for him. In addition, Gonzo isn't afraid to break barriers by dating someone outside of his species (Weirdo). That's right, his hot little chic is Camila, a Chicken.

And..................... drumroll................. the number one muppet.... the tops... the best... the greatest................................................

1. Kermit the Frog. Pure genius. Kermit had it all. He had the lady (Miss Piggy), he had the voice (sang "It ain't easy being green", "Rainbow Connection" and others) and the job (leading man). Kermit even co-hosted The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1979 and hosted Larry King Live as an April Fools' Day joke in 1994.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Conversation with Chewbacca

Approximately three hours ago, in a galaxy located far far away (Plano, that is), the rebel alliance came to life in a new form.

Ahem... yours truly went to Star Wars Fan Days. That's a-uh, Star Wars Convention.

(please reserve pre-conceived judgments until I truly set up the joke, because there is a joke, or multiple jokes about to be had)

How do I begin to tell you how this went down...

Well, let me just say that I have never in my life actually seen so many people try so hard to replicate fictional characters. And all of these fictional fictional characters (the patrons, mind you) flock together as birds of Star Wars feathers from convention to convention.

I saw many an elaborate outfit. Some are in the photos you see in my slide show. Others I will regretfully take with me to the grave.

The highlight of the experience was getting to meet Kenny Baker & Peter Mayhew.

Kenny Baker is a midget (as is his wife, which you can see in the photo). So he already gets a point. Baker was the person that operated R2D2. Point-Baker. And finally, because Baker (and his wife are British), they had unbelievable accents (not to mention really small hands). Point. Point. Point. Oh, and I kind of hugged them in the picture--which may explain why R2 has a midget-deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

Peter Mayhew stands 7'3". Prior to being cast as the most infamous Wookie (and only Wookie) in the history of film, Mayhew was a hospital orderly in his native England. (Side note--you think that would freak you out to have such a large and beastly man ask you to take your blood pressure?) Mayhew was featured in a local paper because of the size of his feet (insert joke "you know what they say about a wookie/orderly with large feet?" now), which fell on the desk of George Lucas, who cast him to bring Chewbacca to life.

It costs $20 to ttake your photo with Mayhew--so I opted for just taking a picture OF him. Then I approached and tried to captivate the attention of the man in a way only my inner Larry David could:

ME: Long Day?
(hand extended, his freak wookie hand envelops it and we shake)

MAYHEW: You have no f****** idea.

ME: Huh. So, umm, how many weekends a year do you do this?

MAYHEW: At last count, 35-40. But it feeds the f****** animals and pays the electric bill.

ME: Yes, I assume it does. There must be tons of people that get their photos made with you.

MAYHEW: Ah, yes.

ME: So what's your least and most favorite part?

MAYHEW: Least favorite? The f****** airports.

ME: I assume a man of your stature wouldn't enjoy plane rides.

MAYHEW: No, man, it's the f****** airport security. Those blokes don't know what the f*** they're doing. I mean, they tell you to get there 2 hours early and for what? To spend a f****** hour in one f****** line?

ME: Well, sir, it was a pleasure to meet you.

MAYHEW: You too.

ME: Fly safe.

I turn and leave. And as I leave, my head full of expletive laced gravy, I think to myself, "Self--I always wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with Chewbacca. Who knew it would be about airport security and include so many f-bombs."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Crescent City

The wife and I took a trip to New Orleans over the past weekend. We were there in efforts to help with hurricane cleanup from Katrina, which hit the area more than two years ago.

I can't fully describe what I saw or the feelings it brought to mind. There is destruction. There is hope. There is fear. There is comfort. There is spirituality. There is alienation. It's a city that survives on the dichotomy of life.

Here are a few images of the trip:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kicking Some Grass

We have officially been homeowners for almost 5 months. That's enough time to have assimilated into the culture of high utility bills and any discussions, ergo arguments, that can happen as a result thereof.

Homeownership is a grand, grand thing. There is this satisfaction each time one of us pulls into our garage that this place is ours, or will be ours in 350 some-odd more payments.

Within the confines of homeownership, we have found one area in which I, as the principle, or CEO of this franchise (family, that is), can express my competitive juices.


Men and competition have a rich history. Heck, some say the first pissing contest between two men goes all th way back to Cain & Abel in Biblical times. Spoiler alert--Cain won.

As I mull through the downside of my 20's and closer towards 30sdom, its increasingly apparent to me that I must find ways to compete.

While others my age are competing in their various forums:

- Eli Manning, Quarterback of NY Giants
- Jason Richardson, Charlotte Bobcats
- Elijah Wood, Actor, Musician & Notable Hobbit
- Paris Hilton, Heiress & Socialite

I have found my forum for this chapter of my life, and it's the yard.

Just look at those beautiful blades of St. Augustine that line that sweet gray sidewalk. It's a thing of Turffy Love.

Mowing isn't a chore--it's an event.

I dawn my uniform (usually a Live Free or Die Hard 'beater', pair of athletic sho
rts, fake crocs, trucker hat turned back), apply eye-black, set the Ipod to something that get's the adrenaline pumping (like Journey's Don't Stop Believing on repeat) and slowly apply OFF to prevent the onslaught of mosquitos.

As I roll my machine out to the starting point, I imagine a PA Announcer with a booming voice: "At 5'8", 165, hailing from the hallows of sweet- sweet-Sweetwater, TX... out of Baylor University... your mower, edger, blower, sweeper, and currently ranked 3rd in the Associated Press Under-30 World Yardwork Power Rankings..."

Then I fire it up. And with a gleam in my eye and a snarl on my lips, I mow. With the care of an artist creating a masterpiece, I weave back and forth.

Then, with passion and calm determination, I edge. Then the blower comes out. And I clean my work area. It's a matter of pride.

And when its done and my tools are in their rightful place, I sigh, wipe my brow (typically rip one since its my yard and I do what I want in it) and nod.

"It is good," I proclaim with arms stretched, normally evoking some sort of jibberish from my older Asian neighbor.

I understand a few things about this. I understand that while I am currently ranked 3rd in the AP U30WYPR, there are only 5 competitors registered. But I'm still 3rd, and closing on #2. Soon--with the help of some HGH (Hallowed Grass Helper), also known as fertilizer, I will reach the top spot.

I also know that this adds a cool 15 years to my social life. Others in their mid-20s are hitting the local night scene... attending concerts and getting 'inked.' To that I say, I'm married, I like jazz music, I have a Letterman sense of humor and I enjoy tweed coats--I have no 'real' social life.

And finally, I know the pressure this early success adds to my very young professional Landscapial career. Anytime a player or coach comes onto the scene with the mastery of a grizzled champion there is pressure. I take it one mow at a time--never looking ahead to next spring or summer (vaguely spoken like a true professional, no?).