Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Flash in the Can

I was at my massage spa yesterday. Now, before you get any ideas, this is the nice, legitimate kind and I was a client, not earning extra money by using the pseudonym "Mistress VaVaVoom" or something. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

It's a small, well-run, sparkling clean, beautifully appointed place. Great management and staff and, since I'm one of them, fabulous clientele.

There are two things that are a given when you get a massage. You're going to feel better leaving than you did arriving, and your hair is going to look insanely bad until you can fix it up in the bathroom. And you have to fix it up in the bathroom before you leave or bring a baseball cap, and I always forget to bring a baseball cap.

While I'm getting my massage, my therapist mentions that she has a 16-year-old boy coming in right after me. I'm thinking this has to be the smartest kid in the world. He's 16 and has already figured out that massage is great for his physical and mental well-being. I'm thinking that a kid this smart, a kid who's using his or his parents' cash for massage instead of video games or porno mags, he could be President some day.

We finish up and I head for one of the two bathrooms. Neither is marked Men or Women, just Rest Room, since a) it's a small place, and b) there are only two of them. It seems logical to me. And I can read, which clears up any mysteries -- two bathrooms, for whoever gets there first. And, two modern bathrooms, I must stress, with locks on the doors.

Bathroom 1 is clearly occupied. I can tell by the light on and the fact that the door is locked. So I head for Bathroom 2, because I'm not stepping past the bathrooms until my hair is fixed up. The door opens without issue because it IS NOT LOCKED.

I stressed those last words because, of course, you know what's coming and who's in there. Right. Our 16-year-old future President, standing there, doing what males do. With an O-face on that has nothing to do with enjoyment and everything to do with "OHMYGOD".

To my credit, I didn't look down (not that there appeared much to see, but, again, I wasn't actually trying to take a gander). I merely took in the scene, saw his look of complete surprise mingled with horror, said, "Oh, sorry!", and backed out. My therapist and the wife half of the ownership team were standing there, looking at me with that, "Are you kidding me?" look. I, in turn was standing there trying not to laugh like a hyena.

Our future Pres comes out, apologizing profusely to ME. As if seeing a flash of baby wieney was going to psychologically affect me. I have no idea how he felt -- with three grown women, two of whom were absolutely old enough to be his mother, all looking at him, clearly trying not to laugh --but I'll wager it wasn't good.

I went in and of course, of COURSE, I had the worst, most amazingly scary-looking, massage hair ever. I looked at myself and wondered how the kid had not screamed when he saw me coming in. Self-control and the ability to keep hold of one's head (insert your bad joke here) during a crisis is a good Presidential trait.

All the adults had a good laugh about this once I was out and the inner sanctum door was closed, myself in particular. I suggested they check the kid for emotional scarring, and also suggest that, since he's 16, not 6, perhaps we should learn to lock Mr. Door before we take Mr. PeePee in public. I also requested that, the next time they were going to set me up for a cheap thrill, I wanted an adult male in the can, preferably a Chippendale's or Thunder from Down Under guy. If you're gonna play, PLAY.

I also told them to add a couple of bucks to my tip and give it to the kid. I can see nudity any time I want - I'm married and have internet access. But a laugh like this one is hard to come by.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

The National Torture

My husband and I went to visit the Diamondbacks' Ballpark last weekend. And not to see a game.

No, we were there to get a private tour (!) and buy some packaged tickets and consider buying season tickets. It's really a cool thing -- you get to buy your tickets a little cheaper than the norm if you're buying in their version of bulk, and when they're romancing you, you get to see things like the dugouts and the player's rooms and stuff. It was really very fun.

Except for one thing.

We were there on the day they were doing tryouts for who will be singing the National Anthem to start each baseball game this season. And I have three words for this experience...

Oh. My. God.

Thankfully, the singers were only doing the truly hard part -- the last few lines. But there were a lot of singers. And it was the hard part, you know, the part were everyone, not just Roseanne Barr, messes up. And most of them to put it...bad. And there was no escape. None.

It didn't matter where you were in this vast arena, you could hear them. The Chase Field sound system is good, ladies and gentlemen. We were below ground in something that resembled a bunker and I could still hear these people murdering a cat, I mean singing, as clear as a bell. When we were in the areas where echoes could form, it was downright painful.

My husband couldn't hear 90% of what our ticket rep was saying (which was just as well since he was talking about us spending money and my husband never likes to hear about that). I could because I can sort of read lips. It was truly an experience.

I now really feel for the American Idol judges. No wonder Simon's such a jerky grump. I was amazed that the DBacks judges weren't shooting people. I wanted to shoot people, and after only about 15 minutes. We were there 2 hours and I was homicidal. But the judges were there all day. They aren't paying those people enough, truly.

Some of the hopefuls, really, you had to ask yourself just who was helping them be this delusional about their singing ability. Some clearly should have warmed up before they hit the mike. Some should have stayed in bed.

There was a little girl hopeful and, you know, all the grownups want to be all "awwww" about a younger singer. But not this kid. She's undoubtedly getting herself ready for when American Idol comes to town in a few years, when she'll be old enough to participate. But unless her parents pay for a vocal coach, we'll see her on the "Losers Reel". (And, if they're currently paying for a vocal coach, they should demand their money back.)

There were a lot of okay ones, people where, if you heard them singing this in church or at the park or something, you'd be impressed. But the loudspeaker system really enhances both your good and your bad notes. And if they were nervous in front of their fellow competitors, the DBacks judges, and the few folks like us wandering through -- and many of them clearly were -- then really, how will they handle thousands at game time?

Then there were the good ones. All five of them. One I named "Mr. Bombastic". He had a great, deep, big voice. This man doesn't need the loudspeaker system. Meaning he needs to tone it down for game day, or all the fans' ears will be bleeding. The other handful of good ones weren't as loud, but they were so very few and so very far between.

My favorite, by far, was the barbershop quartet. We were on the field near the judges for them, and they were wonderful. Perfect harmony, not too loud, in perfect pitch, and almost soothing compared to what had come before. I shot the judges a big thumb's up on them, and kept on telling our ticket rep how great they were, in case he and my opinion had any sway.

I also told our ticket rep that I wanted to select our games carefully. From now on, we only want the barbershop quartet nights. He said he'd see what he could do once his ears stopped ringing and his migraine went away. He figured that'd be in about a week.

Just in time for the next round of National Anthem Idol.

Truly, don't miss it.


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Monday, March 2, 2009

The 'Dull' Knight

Movie Review: The Dark Knight (and, in that sense, Iron Man)

Okay, so let me state right up front that the days of me and my husband seeing movies the night they open are far behind us. We're not that old, we just act like it.

Sure, there are some movies we see first thing (anything with Jet Li or Jackie Chan leaps to mind, because the husband loves them), but since our daughter got old enough to date and therefore go with someone else to the Disney releases, usually we miss even the 'event' movies. But that's what DVDs are for, right?

For instance, we missed "Iron Man" when it came out, though we caught that at the dollar theater. And we missed "The Dark Knight" until DVD time. In fact, until right before the Oscars. And now, I have to ask -- really, everyone thinks this movie is the be-all, end-all for superhero movies? And that Heath Ledger's performance was amazing? Really?

Now, before all the Heath adorers get on me, I think the guy was both handsome and talented, and yes, it's a loss to all, but more to his daughter than anyone else. But all that aside, when I watched his performance, I didn't see 'transcendent'. I saw Heath doing Jack Nicholson doing the Joker from Tim Burton's "Batman". Was it good? Sure. Was it fun? Sure. Was it worth the Academy Award? Um...not so much, no. I frankly found Aaron Eckhart's character and characterization to be far more vital to the film.

But, we all know that it was the last chance to honor Heath, so, okay, sorry all the other nominees, but it's Posthumous Year and that's all there is to it.

However, the movie itself was lauded so much, and people were downright upset that it wasn't up for Best Picture, surely it was great? Um, no, not so much.

First off, I don't know what Christopher Nolan said to Christian Bale, but that 'Batman Growl' has GOT to go. My husband laughed every time Batman talked in the movie.

Next, let's deal with length. As in, this movie is too long. Why do I say that? Well, because unless there's a Hobbit in it and Peter Jackson directing it, no action movie should be so long that I, in the comfort of my own home, wonder when this thing is going to end. Which I did. Frequently, once we were past the 70 minute mark. Not because I was timing it, but because I was...bored.

Yes. I was bored during a superhero movie, and anyone who knows me knows that this is difficult to achieve. I loved "Daredevil" and I loved "The Phantom" and I was rather kind to "The Shadow" and I worship "The X-Men" and can debate the merits of all 3 "Spiderman" films, and so on, and I can also guarantee that none of these bored me at any point in time.

I also didn't like Maggie Gyllenhaal over Katie Holmes and feel the Tom Cruise backlash can stop any time now. I could see everyone fighting over Katie. Over Maggie, again, not so much.

Finally, we have the issue of scripting, which goes along with length. I feel the movie should have ended at the hospital with the Joker and Two-Face, and the 3rd movie pick up where that left off. But even if not, they killed off Two-Face. Really? This is a major villain in the Batman franchise, and Eckhart did an amazing job with him, and he's dead? And if not, if he's alive and the good guys are just pretending, then the audience should have a hint of that before the film ends. And where was Arkham Asylum? Not mentioned, but since that's where the Joker's headed and all the major villains hang out in between torturing Gotham and Batman, why not? Surely there was a minute in this long film to devote to this.

I didn't hate this movie, but I didn't love it. For love, we turn to "Iron Man". Seriously, out of the superhero movies of last year, the nomination should have been to Robert Downey, Jr. and it should have been for best actor for "Iron Man". He was transcendent. Iron Man is a rather dull character on the comics pages -- not awful, but not as fun as others. But in Downey's hands, he's the best there is. "Iron Man" ended too early for me, I wanted more and can't wait for the sequel. By comparison, "The Dark Knight" ended far too late and I was far too bored and now I don't care nearly so much when the next movie in that franchise arrives.

But I can't wait to see Downey as Tony Stark/Iron Man again, even if it's just a cameo. Even if it's just 30 seconds. And that is the definition of a great movie and an Oscar-worthy performance.

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