Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Yes, I know you didn’t ask---

but that hasn’t stopped me before, so why should it now? In other words—the Story of My Weekend!

Which, of course, started Friday. As mentioned previously, I was startled by the addition of a new nurse to the staff. I’m not sure if the regular nurse was just sick, or if she’s moved on or what. The new one came to the door with her hair done up with a hairclip, wearing jeans and sneakers and a pullover windbreaker and would have looked really schlubby but for her flawlessly applied makeup and perfectly manicured hands and the fact that she really does look like Denise Richards. My blood pressure really does go up from the so-called “white coat” syndrome for a few minutes each time I go to the doctor, but I had never really counted on “supermodel” syndrome.

To add to my discomfort, my sleeve wouldn’t roll up far enough so I had to take my shirt off, which added a few hundred extra inches of Hg to the total. She was a real sweetie, though, and the idle chit-chat involved the mysteries of having to stand-in during a male’s physical. She had not had the pleasure of having to endure witnessing all of the fun, and asked, “They have these, like, paper boxers…?” Ah yes, the paper panties. I told her that indeed there are these lovely things that some tree gave himself for, and I told her that it would almost be better to not have anything than to bear the shame of those ridiculous culottes.

She finished up the chart and left while I looked at the deGroot hanging there on the wall. ::sigh:: That’s one ugly picture. Doc came in and pronounced me relatively fit after rechecking my blood pressure, and told me not to be such a big whiney baby about a few little sniffles and told me to come back in March for the annual checkup and Expedition to the South. She left and Nurse Rrrowwwlll came back and gave me my flu shot and took a couple of blood samples and then I was free to go.

Went back to work for a bit, where I received a telephone call and found out that I had been chosen as a Special Wonderful Person Guy who really needed to take his family out for a movie! I was so overjoyed!

There’s not much playing that you can take little kids to see—either an overdone bit of marketing hype which has one of the Baldwin brothers in it and has received less than stellar reviews, or the adventuresome, magical, knowingly retro-ironic, The Jerk meets Fish-out-of-water Boy Who Meets Girl story known as Elf.


As you know, I try not to read any reviews in depth before I go see a movie because it invariably spoils it for me—but in this case I’m glad I did a bit of reading beforehand. TCITH (that’s the way we Hollywood insiders spell it) has received a hammering from critics, but big deal. The negative comments from folks who had to plop down their money is much more telling, and they don’t give it much love, either. With as many different cross-promotions as they have going, it’s easy to see what the movie is really about, and it ain’t about Dr. Seuss. And as I mentioned, it also has a Baldwin in it. Eww.

Elf has had a bit easier time among the critics, and viewers liked it, too. And as opposed to The Cat, it looks to be less about selling BK Big Kid Meals, Rayovac batteries, and package freight hauling and more about telling a fun story.

Which it does. Unless you’ve been living under a boulder, you know the story—a baby from an orphanage manages (in Tom Cruise--M.I. style. Not really.) to bumble into Santa’s sack and get carried home to the North Pole, where he is raised by a buttoned-down Papa Elf. One day in the toyshop, Buddy, as he is come to be called, overhears that he is not an elf, but human, and thus begins his quest, to find his real father.

Will Ferrell is a hoot, and plays the naïf very well, and then there’s Zooey Deschanel, who looks really cute in department store elf clothes, (although somewhat less so than in other things. Yikes.)

The movie has a few spots that drag, but overall it moves along nicely and has one of those scenes toward the end that invariably makes me misty. (I hate that.) The only odd bit was the introduction of a group of bad guys who try to track down Santa when his sleigh crashes in Central Park. Not a group of wilding teens, al-Qaida infiltrators, nor SUV-driving CEOs, but a quasi-governmental group called the “Central Park Rangers,” ostensibly a group of mounted police, but ones who are made to come across like the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings—all dressed in black, faces covered, and obviously intent on evil.

I’m not sure it it’s supposed to be a sly wink to a particular local soccer club, or if one of the screenwriters has a beef with the cops, but either way, it’s adds nothing but stupid. Catherine was scared of them, and it’s not a great idea for the older kids to think the police are automatically the bad guys. Next time, lets just let normal bad guys chase Santa, okay?

Overall, though, it’s a pretty cute movie, and worth seeing again on video, so you can fast forward through the slow parts. Give it, ohh, maybe 3 1/2 out of 5 Curly Possum Tails.

ON toward home then, and due to the ongoing series of major skirmishes over backseat territory during what are intended to be wholesome family drives, the seating chart was rearranged, much to the chagrin of all. I have a dream of a vehicle in which each child has his or her own self-contained compartment, with its own climate control, potty, window, food dispenser, and entertainment. No more touching, nor threats of touching; no more staring at one another, nor perceived staring; no more stops to go to the restroom, no more complaints about listening to “Whaddya Know”, and if they STILL get rowdy, a nice button for me to push.

To bed, then up again early Saturday for the LAST SOCCER GAME OF THE SEASON!! Hooray. This one was for Catherine, and despite not being able to practice, she did maybe a bit better than she usually does, and they won 4-0. Such a relief. AND we got a ton of freebies from our friend in the concession stand—I guess he figured we had spent a sufficient amount the previous three months for a bit of lagniappe.

Then home again, and laundry, and then Boy and I took a run in Franklin over to the thrift store to drop of some donations and stop by Wally World to get a gift for a kid in his class who was having a birthday party, then on to the hair saloon for him to get his little pate trimmed and neat, then on for some gas and wonder of wonders, a truck washing. Took it through the high pressure, hands-free deal down at the foot of the hill—probably peeled half the paint off, but at least it’s clean. Inside and out—the door weatherstripping tends to let in a good bit of weather.

Up to the house, wrap the gift, do some more domestic stuff, take Boy back down the hill to the skating rink and laser tag place for the party. I really hate this place—it’s loud (and it’s the same loud music from when I was a kid—“Walk This Way” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, all both of them at 120 dB), and jammed full of those darned rowdy youngsters, and it smells like feet and pizza. We found his party and I helped him get his skates tight so he wouldn’t kill himself, then left him in the able care of the birthday boy’s dad. At least I think that’s who he was.

Up the hill again, then over to the house of one of our friends from church to drop off some food and sit a spell, then over to the auto parts place to buy Franklin his Christmas present of a new gas cap and some STP oil treatment, then back to the rink to pick up Boy, who had racked up a stunning 188 coupons on the basketball game and needed to unload them at the junk counter. Never knew how long it can take to spend $1.88. He got a Chinese yo-yo (authentic, made in China!), and a rubber popper thing, and a plastic frog, and a plastic top, and a plastic parachute guy, and a candy pencil, and TWO Hershey’s Kisses!

Back home, kids in the backyard playing, some more domestic stuff, work on truck a bit, disconcerted to find that the heat riser tube from the exhaust manifold to the air cleaner had gone the way of the dodo and further disconcerted by huge amount of smoke that seemed to be leaking from the exhaust. (And here I thought being light-headed was just from sheer joy.)

Turned it off and closed the hood, then inside for more domestic stuff and sometime in there Reba went to the store with Ashley and bought a ton of clothes ::sigh:: and then, it was time to tune in for Tommy Tuberville’s Attempt to Keep His Job.

And just as the Amazing James Randi predicted last week, Auburn won by FIVE points. (I know that I said “five” meant five touchdowns, but obviously I just misinterpreted a pretty clear sign from the unknown realm. I haven’t come up with what Nikki’s dog might have been talking about.) Pretty good game overall, and full of exciting moments and absolutely horrible refereeing. I make a point of not commenting on missed calls if we lose—if you’re not good enough to win in spite of bad calls, it doesn’t do any good to blame the refs—but since we won, I will say that it seemed that we had an inordinate number of blind men running the show.

The only question now is how long Tub will be able to stick around. Why are the powers that be trying to run off a good coach who can beat Alabama? Who the heck knows—we have lost some crucial conference games and the play this year has been spotty, but the fruit basket turnover at the end of every big-time college football season is just ridiculous. The best thing I can say is that at least we’ve gone through fewer coaches than the Tide—that’s one stat I don’t mind us trailing in.

To bed for everyone, then up for church Sunday with a good breakfast of ham and cheese biscuits, and then a good class and a good sermon, then a much less than good lunch at the Chinese place, then home, where I ACTUALLY GOT TO READ THE PAPER and TAKE A NAP. Incredible. Then it was back again for the evening service, then some supper, then home, then to bed with the kiddies, and then…back down to the foot of the hill. Grocery time—snacks and water and paper goods and toothpaste and stuff such as that.

Back home, put stuff away, collapse in bed, wake up, and find myself here. Imagine that!

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