I suck at installing gutters.

Over the last several days, I’ve gone through the agonizing process of watching youtube videos on how to splice lengths of gutters together and how to install them, driving to the hardware store to get all the shit, strapping it to my car, bringing it home and putting the gutters together, realizing that some of the pieces I bought wouldn’t work for my application, strapping the stuff back onto my car and taking them back to the hardware store and having to jump through fucking hoops to return them and get the correct stuff, strapping more stuff to my car and bringing it home, only to have the 40 ft length of gutter pop all of its rivets out, twist itself into a pretzel, and fold its arms right down to the dirt when I tried to install it.

I could tolerate the process up until today’s anticlimax but there was so much buildup and the failure was so abysmal and costly that it was all I could take. After trying to problem solve it and look up more tips online on installing gutters, I finally decided to pull the plug on the project. I called several professionals and am now waiting for their estimates on the job.

It’s not often I collect multiple estimates on a job, and it occurs to me now how important it is to do it even though it’s fucking annoying. Beyond getting a feel for which of the lucky contestants know their trade, I also think it helps keep them honest. If an unscrupulous professional knows you’ll be talking to other pros, they’re less likely to quote you something outrageous since it will be obvious they’re trying to fuck you over.

But man, one of the clowns I talked to today already has a big strike against him. He asked me when I needed the gutters done, I said I’m not in a hurry, and he said “some time before the rain starts? Hahahahahaha!” He actually laughed as if he’d never used that line before in his life, even though I’m sure he uses it multiple times per day. Stupid line + acting like he never used it before + big fake laugh = a habitual liar. Big red flag. I wonder if the other gutter pricks will be any better.

To prevent myself from jumping off a bridge after this disappointing and frustrating day, I decided to tackle a job I knew I could successfully complete. So on the bright side, I finally got around to installing new rear speakers in my car. No more annoying buzzing from back there, yippeeeee. Always look on the bright side of life.

ladder-fails-1620

I suppose today could have gone worse.

Advertisements

34 years later, I review ‘To Live and Die in LA’

I watched To Live and Die in LA a few days ago for the first time, and I fucking loved it.

sunrise2bneo2bnoir2bfilm2bsoleil2bto2blive2band2bdie2bin2bl-a

It’s not considered a classic film or anything like that but I’ve heard it mentioned favourably a few times over the years. I didn’t pay much attention until a friend bought the soundtrack on vinyl several weeks ago. The artwork on the sleeve showed the sunset photo shown above, and that’s really what made me want to see the film. Something about that picture is deeply unsettling to me. I think it captures the claustrophobia and paranoia of the city. It also speaks of man’s arrogance and ignorance, our insatiable desire to constantly conquer and the inevitable consequence of eventual catastrophe. This image fills me with dread and fear, and I love it.

So I watched the film, and I loved it too.

I wanted to avoid spoiling the film for anyone but I can’t help myself. There’s stuff I want to talk about, and considering nobody reads this, I’m not going to bother censoring myself if it’s not going to impact anyone anyway. So if you’re reading this and are considering watching the film sometime, Kyla and Ben and Golda, then stop reading now. There, I think that’s fair warning.

Here’s what I liked about the film: I liked how gritty it was. It was so gritty, it vergedĀ  beyond ‘gritty’ and entered ‘disturbing’ territory — the gun shots were graphic, especially the shots to the face. There was full frontal nudity, including the protagonist’s dick. That’s rare now, and it was even more so in 1984! I really liked the grim, unhappy ending. Seeing the protagonist die a violent death was totally unexpected, I actually gasped in shock. But what I think I liked the most was how virtually every character in the film was either revealed to be a piece of shit, or turned into a piece of shit by the end. I think that was the hardest aspect of the film to watch. The audience always hopes for a great redemption to close a film but when it never comes, and when the exact opposite happens, it leaves us questioning humanity, morality. We don’t get the easy satisfaction, the sugar fix we are accustomed to, and we are instead forced to confront our uneasy feelings.

I love that. I don’t want satisfaction. I don’t want sugar fixes. I want to feel awful. I want my faith in the human race shaken. I want to be left with feelings of hopelessness and despair at the end of a film, and To Live and Die in LA did that.

Kudos to William Friedkin and everyone involved in the making of this film. I know I’m way late to the party but I hope they are all proud of this particular work.

Emailing with Bill/Dear Diary…

I email with Bill a lot, often multiple times per day. I don’t know how long we’ve been doing it but definitely more than 10 years. 15 years? I don’t know. Anyway, I like it a lot. Our incessant emailing is a good way to keep journals that we can look back on. When either of us go on trips, we usually email each other once we get back with a detailed account of the trip which is a great for referencing later if we forget stuff about it that we want to recall. We also do the same with mundane, normal day-to-day stuff. Like one time, I couldn’t find an Nintendo game that I was sure I owned. I racked my brain but couldn’t figure out what could have happened to it. I mentioned this to Bill and he did a quick search of his emails and found that I had loaned the game to the bass player of my former band a few years prior. I was so grateful right then to have a pal like Bill to email with about that kind of inane shit, and who was happy to use those emails to help me figure the mystery out.

But one day a year or two ago, I started thinking about what it will be like if Bill dies before me. In that case, beyond being sad for the loss of one of my best pals, I’ll also be sad that I have lost my confidant, my living diary. Emailing Bill is such a big part of my normal day that it will be a difficult thing to adjust to.

So I thought, maybe I could just keep emailing Bill after he’s dead, as if he’s still there reading my incessant bitching about work and the summer heat and how lousy I’ve been sleeping. That seems super weird and morbid though. I’d feel like I was in denial that he was gone. It doesn’t seem healthy. And as much as I like writing Bill, hearing back from him is just as important. I like hearing him bitch about the same things and tell me about his road trips and how great The Doors are and whatnot. It’s nice to have friends to talk about life with — that’s the whole point of our emails I think, so writing emails I never received responses to would lack a crucial, indispensable half of the equation.

Plus the thought of my emails to him sitting unread in the blank void of internet purgatory is a terrifyingly lonely, disturbing thing to me.

I had thought about blogging about this a long time ago but never got to it. Then Ben sent me the password to his email (which I wish I could forget but can’t, it seems — sorry Benny) a few days ago and he made a joke about how I can now log in to his email and reply to all the emails I send him that he is slow to get to. It was funny but it was also sad and unsettling — I thought of how terribly desperate someone would have to be to actually do such a thing (yet I guarantee you there are people who do it), and it reminded me of how I feel about the inevitable end of my emailing with Bill.

So hey, thanks Ben. Now I’m depressed again. Plus it’s hot as hell here lately so I’m about ready to throw myself off a cliff at this point.

we’re not friends anymore

I just went to a local event where I bumped into a bunch of people I used to be good friends with but don’t keep in touch with anymore. At first I was pleased to see so many old familiar faces, but after talking to a few of them I left feeling absolutely miserable. Everyone I saw there sucked now. They were all boring or lame or awkward. Most of them had gotten horribly fat too. It was so sad. What happened to them? I can’t believe I spent so much time in my youth hanging out with those people, because I feel like they are totally unrecognizable now. Have they changed into sad, weird, bland middle-aged losers? Have I changed into a snobby cunt?

Probably both of the above.

I was actually talking about this very topic with Dana earlier today, and what I’ve realized in the last several years is that some friendships are transient — sometimes there comes a point where you just no longer have much in common with a former friend, and there’s no point in trying to keep that friendship alive. It’s like putting a 95-yr old dying of lung cancer on a respirator, trying to eke a few more weeks of life out of them. There’s no quality of life at that point so it’s really a waste of effort and everyone would be better off if the plug was pulled.

I suppose I pulled the plug years ago on the relationships I had with the people I saw today, since I haven’t seen or talked to or thought about any of those people in aeons. Yet I still felt an obligation to say hi and ask how they’re doing and whatnot, which means they aren’t completely dead to me like I wish they were. I wish I never had to see any of them and go through that song and dance ever again. There’s just no point to it. I don’t like them anymore, and they probably don’t like me anymore either.

What a vexing charade. This is one of the few times I hate living in the small town I grew up in. I want all the people I no longer have any interest in to turn to dust and be scattered by the wind.

Get out of my fucking life.

do things that give you joy, but don’t do them too much.

I’ve been playing in a Misfits cover band for a while now, and I love it. We don’t practice very often, only once every two weeks or so, and I think that’s part of why it continues to be so fun even after many months — if we were practicing like a serious band, for hours on end a few times a week, we’d be sick of the songs, sick of each other, sick of the time commitment. It would ruin the whole thing. But by only doing it every now and then, it stays fresh to us. It’s a dandy thing.

What’s even dandier is that there is a double whammy effect to this project staying fun: when people love what they do, that thing they are doing is injected with an energy and vibrancy that is difficult to quantify yet is easily felt by anyone who isn’t a complete clod. This element is actually one of the primary things I look for in art: does it feel like the artist is being honest? Does it feel like they are truly passionate about this thing they created? Does this art convey a joy that the artist experienced during its creation? That’s the shit I seek.

And I think our cover band has that — we don’t practice a lot, so it’s fun, and because it’s fun, our performances are infused with this intangible yet critical element. A good example is that there was a song that we played in a previous incarnation of the band but we axed it from the set because it didn’t feel good at the time. It felt limp, it lacked conviction. But then the band changed a few members and one of the new members really wanted to perform that song so we gave it another shot, and guess what. Now that song works — it has the conviction and energy that it was missing before. One guy loved the song, his enthusiasm infected the rest of us and affected our individual performances, and then those individual performances combined to create a unified, inspired thing. All the song needed to kick ass was some good vibes infused into it. Crazy.

The lesson here is clear: do what you love and don’t overdo it.

I might have to take up smoking.

I’ve been on a kick of replacing lots of our household stuff with neat vintage and retro shit so I’ve been spending lots of time at thrift stores. I’ve noticed that there is a section at the local Salvation Army for ashtrays, and virtually every one I’ve seen there is hideous in the most exquisite and retro way. Like this

x354-q80

And this

aeeb97d4e6d0a4d157927db0b1a52487

And this

s-l300

I guess there is a glut of these things because the 70’s was the golden age of both loud, gawdy housewares and ubiquitous smoking. It’s amazing.

But it’s also a fucking shame because I already have a retro ashtray that has some sentimental value to it, I don’t have multiple residences I need to furnish with this kind of junk, I don’t smoke, and not many of my friends smoke. I can’t justify collecting these things but man, I wish I could.

I suppose I could buy all the ashtrays I like and then rotate them. Have one for each month, something like that. That might be fun. But it seems like a dangerous game of toying with a hoarder-like obsession, and I’m terrified of that. My dad is a level 100 hoarder so I’m very familiar with that world, and I don’t want to fuck with it.

But damn, I love those ashtrays.

Hmmmm.

I don’t like the Langford Cineplex

Last night, Jenn and I went to the Langford Cineplex movie theater to watch the new Jurassic Park flick. Normally, I would insist on going to the Duncan Caprice theater but we had a gift card for Cineplex to use up, and she loves dinosaur movies. It was an unpleasant experience.

To start with, the guy who sold us our tickets and snacks was fucking weird, and terrible at his job. He looked young, about 17 or so, and it’s July now so maybe he actually is that young and is just starting a new summer job, but it’s not like he was trying hard to start with. He was really bored and disinterested in his customers and everything he was doing, and absurdly slow and inefficient at every task. When people ordered their snacks, he’d tilt his head to one side, put his arms straight down by his sides, heave a big sigh, and sluggishly shuffle over to the popcorn machine. He honestly looked like a kid having a minor tantrum about having to do whatever he was doing. And if he had a group of three people ordering three popcorns, he would do this three separate times for them. I wanted to fucking scream.

Then after he finished with those customers, he would do his head tilted, arms straight down shuffle to the employee area in the back for a minute before re-emerging in the exact same fashion and then beginning the plodding performance all over again for the next customers. I wondered what he could possibly be doing in the back. Probably checking his god damned phone, or stuffing some free popcorn in his chubby face. Oh, he had that gross, low muscle tone thing going on too. Every inch of his body looked so fucking soft. You knew just by looking at him that he would absolutely be the first to die if shit hit the fan.

We finally made our way past the gate troll and watched the horrible garbage movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I won’t bother tearing this worthless piece of trash apart because anyone with a modicum of common sense should be able to see it for the steaming waste it is: terrible typical story arcs, terrible typical characters, terrible acting. But I did just see that it’s dominating the weekend box office ratings or whatever they’re called. How reassuring to see that vapid people still love vapid movies.

The worst part of my experience at the theater last night was the popcorn. It was as dry as the desert. Yes, it was yellow and tasted (sort of) like butter, but it was so dry and un-greasy that it seemed like they used some kind of seasoning rather than any butter- or oil-based topping. Or maybe they’re just cheap and don’t use enough butter there. Regardless, greasy fucking popcorn is, to me, one of the most important reasons to go to the movies, so this was unforgivable. When I go to the Duncan Caprice theater, they offer to layer the butter on my popcorn — that is, to half fill the bag, pour butter on it, finish filling the bag, and pour more butter on it. That’s fantastic. That’s what I want. When I eat shit, I don’t want to do it on moderation. I want to be a full-on glutton, and the Duncan Caprice theater indulges me in that regard. The Langford Cineplex, sadly, did not.

When Jenn and I got out of the theater, there was a smell of wood smoke and the sky was red and hazy with brown-ish clouds. It seemed like the summer wildfires had started suddenly while we were watching that piece of shit movie, and we had exited to find the world on the verge of the fiery apocalypse yet again — just another summer here in BC, the new normal around in these parts.

So overall, it was a really lousy experience. I hate the Langford theater, I hate the new Jurassic Park film, and I hate summer.

On the bright side, we’re past June 21st so the days are getting shorter again. Praise Baal for that. Bring on the cold and dark. Until it arrives, I’ll be hiding in the cool, air-conditioned Duncan Caprice theater.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, the perfect hideousness of it all.