fatman Find the clues!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Joy of Tormenting Loved Ones

The journey down the aisle seems to be a perilous one. Though so many seem to embark upon this quest to find the right one (sic) and get married there are many dangers facing the couple. Financial difficulties will undoubtedly be a cause of some friction when wedding invites and the cake costs more than the car the couple own. I have been told that stocking up on candles are a good idea as they are a) romantic and b) a source of light when the electricity companies shut down the power to the house.

The other hazards come in the forms of their mutual friends who are bitterly divorced or stubbornly single. Like Satan in various guises these "friends" will try to discourage the couple from getting together by showing things like how much the alimony costs per month (from the divorcees) and photos of wild sex romps involving trapeze artists (from the single people). Even the wizened old priest- pious souls who dedicate their lives to studying scriptures and fondling altar boys- ask on the actual wedding day the question to the bride , 'Do you really, really want to marry this guy?' But if the love is strong and the couple are willing they will avoid these warnings that are lobbed at them like hand grenades and get hitched.

I think E.E., my friend Free Beer's wife, sometimes regrets her decision. Its not that he whips her with a belt or cuts up postmen and keeps them in the freezer or even watches videos where women have sex with Alsatians..its just that he's...so annoying.

Who else would turn off every light in the house and wait patiently in the darkness for fifteen minutes just so that when his wife comes home he can scare the living crap out of her? Or when she has just finished a really hard day at work and wants nothing more than just to vent her frustration he replies, 'You think you've had a hard day? I've been working my ass off levelling up my character (he is playing Lord of the Rings online for about a month) and then, today, I get killed by a band of frickin' orcs! Tell me I'm not going to cry myself to sleep tonight.'

Lately we have gotten into the habit of calling her Freddy Nunchucks. This name is a combination of Free Beer's porn name Freddy Alphington (for those who don't know how you get your porn name it is the name of your pet and your first street name put together. Mine is Cappuccino Johnson. I imagine a pimp-like guy with an afro and gold chains. Who solves mysteries) and a mispronunciation of her maiden name. So now, not only does E.E. have to put up with infantile conversations about a digital world of elves and dragons, she has to put up with us introducing her to people as Freddy Nunchucks. Which she absolutely hates.

Free Beer will say, 'How do you do? This is my wife Freddy Nunchucks.' And she will reply, 'That's not my name!' I interject, 'Sure it is...Freddy.' at which point she will turn at me furiously and say, 'Stop calling me that!'
'Why Freddy Nunchucks?'
'Yeah, why?'
'Why do you have to be like this Chris?' (She insists on calling Free Beer 'Chris' for some reason.)

We're such jerks.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Don't Drop That Bagel!

Down an alleyway in Collingwood, behind the Nicholas Dattner furniture showroom, a bunch of us surround a hobo. The hobo, an older man wearing sunglasses, a scraggy beard and an expression of profound disinterest, stares back at us. Nothing is said for a moment. The air is still. 'Maybe we should smear some hummus on him,' ventures one of us eventually, 'It'd make him look slightly more homeless. Don't you think?'
We nod in agreement.
'Make sure you get some in my beard as well.' offers the derelict.
We stare at his blackened face.
He stares back.
The sky threatens rain but doesn't.

It's called the 'Fifteen in Fifteen Film Competition' or 15/15 and the basics of it is that you have to make a 15 minute film in 15 hours. It can be an animation or a documentary or whatever as long as you get everything done- the shooting, editing, etc.-in the allotted 15 hour time. To make sure that no one cheats the organisers ask the film makers to put in a secret object (which has to be in 85% of the shots) and a quote which is revealed on the day of the competition.

Why I got involved in this, the competition, the smearing hummus on the homeless guy (I suspect he was an actor playing a homeless person. Maybe), was due to the serendipitous chain of events that had me bump into Evan in Listvyanka (a remote town in Russia that overlooks the famous Lake Baikal where the townsfolk still use goats as lawn mowers) during my Trans-Siberian Railway journey of last year. When he and Kes (the director/ incredibly tall Kurgan look-a-like) were discussing potential candidates for the oh-so-crucial 'Don't Drop that Bagel!'-guy for the 15/15 competition my name happened to leak into the conversation. I suspect the conversation went along the lines of this:

Evan: Let me get this straight. We have all the main characters, locations have been approved, props have been made...BUT WE STILL DON'T HAVE THE BAGEL GUY?
Kes: It's a hard role to fill.
Evan: I'll say.
Kes: (looking all Kurgany) For me, the whole crux of the film relies on this one guy. This one person to point out the struggle between the two main characters and their struggle to keep the bagel aloft...
Even:...while they wrestle intense emotions and even gravity that threatens to wrench the bagel from them.
Kes: He's almost a Cassandra-like figure. Someone who can see the future, the dangers that will befall our heroes due to this one instance. The domino effect that will change the fate of nations. But alas his warnings are seldom heeded.
Even: (Deep silence as his synapses briefly overload)
Kes: What is it?
Even: I...I...
Kes: What man? Speak! Are you choking on something? (Moves to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre)
Even: I got it. I know who can...I know who can....

'You want me to say what?'
'Don't drop that bagel!' they say in unison.
'Don't drop that bagel?'
'See?' says Evan with a smug grin. 'Perfect...my God...that was so perfect.' admits Kes, awed at my performance.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Punch Buggy Variation

Kids are great at finding ways of alleviating boredom. Back when we were young we'd derive a great amount of enjoyment by licking 9 volt batteries for that electric shock to dance on our tongues and spend hours tormenting kids who stuttered just so we'd feel better about ourselves. What little tyrants we were! It was one way of coping with our own learning difficulties since we had the moral integrity of the Kray brothers. Although we've grown older and have stopped doing some of these childish things (setting fire to cats, etc) one habit still remain to this day. And that is Punch Buggy.

There is something so pure about a game so simple. You see a Volkswagen Beetle, you hit someone. Brilliant. Long car journeys could be the road map to pain if you weren't concentrating. And you'd find yourself involuntarily flinching when you went down streets that you knew were 'bug heavy'.

Currently my arms are a purplish colour due to the popularity of said vehicle and childish nature of my friends who persist on playing this game no matter what the situation ('...and I've just heard that my aunt has been diagnosed with Cervical...,' WHACK! 'Dude! What the fuck?'
'Punch Buggy White! No Returns.'
'Fucker! I was just telling you about my..oh, there's another one! Punch Buggy Green! No Returns!' WHACK!)

And it gets into your system. You get so used to hitting your friends on the shoulder that you find yourself on the verge of hitting absolute strangers on public transport when you see a Volkswagen Beetle. I'm thinking more and more that I should listen to this instinct. Random Punch Buggy. It'll be the next step in the Punch Buggy evolution because even you don't know who you are going to hit. Will it be an 89-year old woman? Will it be a sick child? Maybe even a kick boxing champion or a wanted criminal.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Peck On The Cheek

There was an awkward moment the other day as I tried to leave a friend's housewarming. The theme of the party was officially 'South American' but most of the people there were wearing Hawaiian shirts. A Bruce Springsteen cover band (one of the band members also lived in the house) were playing Beatles tunes and most of the guests were attempting to play various objects as instruments. I was due to get up at four in the morning so I had decided to leave early, at around eleven o'clock. As I bid my adieu to Miss B and leaned in to kiss her goodbye she backed off. 'Not on the lips,' she informed me.
'Since when?' I asked, a little bit baffled.
'Since when? Since always.'
'Are you high?'
Now, because what I write here is from my point-of-view, I can only recount how I remember things, skewered as they generally are. Two years ago, when Miss B returned from London, we had caught up to recount gossip and she had left a kiss on my lips after our chat. Since then I had generally assumed that that is how the relationship was when it was time for departure. Being a bar guy for about a decade it is generally not unusual for male and female staff (and better yet, female and female staff) to plant platonic kisses on each others lips. It's cool. It's like a different level of friendship.
The equivalent of the kissing-friends-on-the-lips thing, to translate it into guyspeak, would be on par with being able to call a black guy a 'nigga' without it being meant to be offensive. And they in turn would be able to call you a washed-up child molester without meaning you any ill will either. But its a scary step. Make a racist comment too early on in the relationship and you may face a savage beating. Or a drive-by where his "homies" will "pop a cap in yo' ass" with his "nine". Fo shizzle.
Naturally, one can always go too overboard. Just because your friends are cool with being your nigga (or gook, or wop, or hebe) doesn't mean you can take the piss. Too often I will go into 'white plantation owner' mode and start demanding my black friends to pick cotton from the field and refer to them as 'Boy'. Which is going too far. It'd be like trying to stick your tongue down a friend's throat.