Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Ode to Boots

It's a fairly well known fact that I love boots. Both on me and on others (I'm not a fetishist or anything...really...I just like boots). I currently have two pairs of boots, my Brahma brand workboots and my beloved Doc Martens. Or at least, I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my right foot. My first instinct was that my gout was actin' up again. But after limping around all day, I didn't think it was gout. It was in my heel, not a joint, my foot wasn't swollen, and it just didn't feel like gout. It took over a week for the pain to go away, and in the meantime I was limping around everywhere in agony - I even needed my cane for a couple of days. Once it cleared up, I thought little of it.

Yesterday, I wore my Docs. After a couple of hours, my right foot started hurting. I thought back: had I worn my Docs the day the Pain Train pulled into Footsville? Or perhaps the day before? Yes, I believe I did. Sure enough, I woke up today to shooting pain in my heel. Hopefully, it won't progress to limping or needing my cane. Whether it does or not, it's clear the Docs have worn down and are putting my feet in a horrible position when I walk, and it's time to retire them. I could probably get them repaired at considerable expense, but it just isn't worth it. I've gotten plenty of use out of them - I remember the boy was just learning to walk when we went to the store in Portland to get them.

So it is goodbye to my second pair of Docs. The first pair, given to me by a friend who bought them and then found he couldn't wear them, converted me to Docs for life. I had disliked them (putting them down as wannabe combat boots) until I wore my first pair. So comfortable, so durable - and that case, so psychedelic. They were crazy multi-colored boots that always got me comments and questions wherever I went. Typically, "Did you paint them that way?" and "Do they change color?" (they looked kind of like Hypercolor products, but with more colors). I wish I had a picture of those bad boys, they were unique and very cool.

Or almost unique. When I first started working at my current place of employ, I was sitting in the cafeteria with my training classmates, who loved my crazy boots. Suddenly one of them said, "Matt! There's a guy over there with your boots!" and pointed. I look over, and sure enough, here's this giant (like 6'5") guy with the same kind of Docs I had. I walked right up to him, toe-to-toe, gave him a stern look and said, "We have to talk about your boots. This place isn't big enough for the both of us." Luckily, he had a good sense of humor and we joked and talked about boots and stuff for a good 10 minutes. We often talked about many mutual interests (Docs, Harleys, etc.) afterward.

My current (or now former) Docs still get me the "Did you paint them that way?" question since they are black with white barbed wire markings on them. I will replace them as soon as I can afford to...Docs are so worth it. Unfortunately, looking at DM's website, the ones I really, really want don't come in my size (UK11). So I'll have to settle for the ones I just really want. Or maybe just the ones I want.

If you've read this far, thank you for putting up with my pointless musings on footwear. Mattbear out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead was invited to speak to the Welsh Assembly recently about the dangers of heroin. Lemmy spoke out about the drug, saying it was the only drug he'd ever seen kill anyone. Lemmy's suggestion was that it be legalised so users could be taken out of the grip of dealers and treated. This is a reasonable argument, really; even coming from a drug-addled speed metal singer. Some felt this was ridiculous due to Lemmy's prodigious drug use. I say if somebody has snorted, smoked, popped, and drank that much and lived to be 60 (and still rockin', mind you) and they say "Stay away from that shit, it'll kill ya," I'm fucking listening to them.

"Who would win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?"
"Wrong, dickhead, trick question! Lemmy is God!"
- Airheads

Tired of links? I like to overwhelm with information. Let's move on.

In other news, there are allegations that Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar, but Tony Blair talked him out of it. Qatar happens to be one of the few allies we have left in that part of the world, and our leader apparently wanted to blow shit up in their territory. Even as anti-Bush as I am, I question the veracity of this claim - but we shall see what real evidence comes out. I'm not a big fan of al-Jazeera or Qatar for that matter. The al-Jazeera network is to Islamic radicals what the Fox network is to neo-con Big Brotherism. Qatar is to human rights what my appetite is to a medium rare ribeye (although they are still better than the Saudis, who are to human rights what Al Sharpton is to credibility). But the U.S. doesn't need to piss off one of our allied nations at a time when even Europe is pissed at us. Not to mention they're civilians. I'm pretty sure that would be considered a "war crime" regardless of how "quaint" our beloved Attorney General thinks the Geneva Convention is.

Tired of insulting similes? I like to overwhelm with witty attempts at humor. Let's move on.

I've never been a fan of Jimmy Carter - always considered him a wussy President. But after a recent interview on Leno in which he delivered a verbal bitch slap to the current administration, I might have to re-think my poor opinion of him. He actually sounded intelligent, and not like some folksy cracker who happened to get elected.

Tired of political stuff from me? Too bad. I'm obsessed with it these days. But for now, I'm done. Mattbear out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Features! and stuff.

So my little "blog" here will now include what I like to refer to as features. If look to the right at the section marked "Links", above the gratuitous links to friend's blogs and goofy sites I like, there is now "What I'm reading right now" and "What I'm looking forward to seeing". The reading, fairly self explanatory. The "What I'm looking forward to seeing" is what upcoming movie I most want to get out and see or catch on DVD, and more often than not it will be something you haven't heard of unless you're Erik.

I will probably mention in posts when these get updated and whatnot, but failing that you can just hit the link to see if there's something that interests you. I have been accused on more than one occasion of being a bit on the OCD side, so it's fair to say that I'll keep those up-to-date. Probably at the expense of more important things that I ought to spend time on, like doing laundry or paying bills. That's how I roll.

Now, to say that I am reading "The Men Who Stare at Goats" right now is perhaps a little inaccurate, as I have already finished it; but I have not yet gotten another book. I do recommend this book to anyone who likes conspiracy theories, true espionage tales, and general weirdness. If you know what the terms "MK-ULTRA" and/or "Majestic 12" mean, you'll like this book. Once Jen is finished with it (and with the way she reads, that'll be tomorrow) I'd be happy to loan it out.

On to a few links and stuff:

Penn Jillette, great thinker and magician, explains on NPR why he believes there is no god and why that doesn't make him a bad person. I agree, Penn.

Veil: The view from the inside is a collection of articles written by Muslim women defending the "hijab" (veil) and Islam's treatment of women. I'm not against Islam any more than I am any other organized religion; but traditional Muslim roles do oppress women, and these women who defend that are way off base in some of their writings. One compares the hijab to a nun's habit, and wonders why "... people say nothing about the veil of the Catholic nun but criticize vehemently the veil of a Muslimah, regarding it as a symbol of` 'terrorism' and 'oppression.' " My first thought is, because nowhere in Catholicism can a nun be beaten with a stick if she's not wearing her habit. But maybe that's just me. (Not that the Catholic church doesn't do a bit to put down the fairer sex. What's the highest rank a woman can hold in the Catholic church? Nun. If that's not funny, say it out loud. You'll get it.)

If you're bored, check out Predator - A Shaman's View, a great attempt to frame the Arnie classic as a religious experience. Almost as good as Bowling for Buddha, but that benefits from being about a better movie.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Musical Relevance

This morning, on the way to work, I heard a relatively new Nine Inch Nails song. Now, I like NIN, have ever since I heard "Closer", but I was not impressed by this song (I have no idea what the title is). I mean, it's typical NIN, so it's not the rythm and feel and all, but I was just...meh.

I listened to the lyrics, and realized why I was unimpressed. You see, Trent Reznor is old (40). And I'm old. But Trent is still singing teen angst. This song has lyrics (something) like "Sick of trying to fit in/You know how that feels/It doesn't matter, doesn't matter anymore". Gee, thanks Trent. At 32, I got over that shit and became comfortable with who I am nearly a decade ago. I think most of NIN's fans now are the same people who were NIN fans when Downward Spiral came out....I just don't believe NIN draws a lot of water with the teens nowadays. We got on a train called adulthood, Trent; why don't you come with us?

Part of maintaining your relevance in the music industry, if you were influential in the first place, is re-inventing yourself and your art every so often. Trent has close ties to David Bowie, who is perhaps one of the models of re-invention. When Bowie started trying to be more Trent-like around '95, he had already re-invented himself dozens of times, artistically speaking. While not a big fan of Bowie's music, I do recognize his talent and have a lot of respect for him, partially because of his attempts to change himself and his art. Personally, I enjoyed the Tin Machine phase, a band few people other than myself and Tali remember.

Now, I'm not saying every music artist has to do this re-invention. AC/DC has cruised along playing blues-based hard rock for 30 years now, and while I wish they would retire, they certainly shouldn't bust out with a rap album or something. They were and always will be a one trick pony. But when the key to your early success is teen-angsty lyrics, you either have to a) change the theme of your music over time or b) get new angsty teens as your fan base.

No idea why I wrote this up...just something I was thinking about. Anyway, Mattbear out. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Vandenbrink Carver

The Vandenbrink Carver One.

Holy shit, I want one of these so bad I can taste it. Tragically, they are horribly expensive and only available in Europe. That's it, I'm fucking moving to the Netherlands. The best cappucinno I've ever had, six foot tall blondes, legal pot, and three-wheeled high tech vehicles. I'm so gone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Short & Sweet

I promised my next post would be shorter, and sure enough here we go. Just got some links and comments for ya.

First off, a short story for ya. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, boy proposes. Girl (actually fully grown woman with kids already) accepts. Boy (actually 37 year old man) goes psychotic, shoots girl in crotch. Boy and his parents (in their 70s) keep girl in garage and try to treat her medically to keep her from going to police. Also threaten her kids to keep them quiet. Eventually, police find out and take girl to hospital, arrest boy and his parents. Father sentenced to three years, mother given probation, boy sentenced to 20 years. But girl is still going to marry him.

Next, a little politics. What did I say about Alito? He apparently told the Reagan administration (in an application for promotion) that the constitution did not protect abortion, but now he's saying that was just to ingratiate himself to the administration. So basically, in order to get this promotion, he's saying he lied to get a promotion from the Reagan administration. Would you promote that guy?

Last, a little more politics. Bob Woodward - do gooder journalist who uncovered Watergate - has turned into yet another puppet of the conservative right. Now he has admitted that someone (he won't say who) in the Bush administration told him about Valerie Plame's identity a month before Bob Novak's article came out - but Woodward wrote about the issue and investigation anyway, without revelaing what that he had been given the information before that.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Old Stories - The Dress

Since some of my friends are posting old stories, I thought I'd join in the fun and relate this old tale from my misspent youth. I am posting this one because I hadn't thought about it in years until Halloween weekend, when Jen and I wound up telling it like 3 times. This is another long one; I promise my next post will be shorter. I just haven't written much in a while, and have to get all these words out.

The Dress

One of the things Jen and I like to do is design clothes and costumes. Jen is a great designer, and I'm pretty fair at doing costuming stuff. Jen is also a pretty good seamstress, so she can actually make our designs happen. We haven't gotten time to indugle in this hobby in a long time, and in fact didn't have much chance to back when this story happened, 9 or 10 years ago. But that's why it's a hobby.

One Halloween, our friend Genie decided she wanted to be a vampiress. A vampiress of the hot variety - not hard to do since Genie is very attractive. Being a fan of Anne Rice, she was kind of inspired by Claudia from Interview with a Vampire, and wanted sort of a grown-up Claudia. She found an amazing long, red, curly-haired wig that looked great (she herself had shortish blonde hair). I made acrylic fangs for her that just slid over her canines and looked pretty good, if I do say so myself. Genie asked Jen to design and make her a dress. Genie specifically said, "I want as much male attention as possible." This was her one directive to Jen on what the dress should be like.

Jen got busy on some sketches, and once she had it down (she had this idea for the dress for a long time) she started making it. It took weeks and many fittings to get right, but once it was right, god damn it was right. It was silver and red, with a low bust and a panel cut out of the midriff, and was (if I remember right) almost backless. It was cut exactly to Genie's form, and had no zippers or buttons to distract from the dress or the curves of the woman beneath it. Jen or someone else had to help her into and out of the dress each time because it was such a close fit. She looked amazing. Her own husband's jaw dropped when he saw her in it. I'm pretty sure her whole motive was to make him jealous, and given that she was going to wear this to work, I'm pretty sure her plan succeeded in that regard.

Genie worked at a mall, at "Things Remembered", a little booth that sold knicknacks and did engraving and such. A pretty girly kind of place, really. As we later learned, guys were coming up to the booth all night long, and hanging around the booth. She had a queue of guys. They were looking at and buying crap they didn't need or want. Some guys bought stuff for her. One guy, if memory serves, offered to take her to Greece.

A short time later, we saw Genie, and she related all this. She related it to us by complaining. She had gotten too much male attention, she claimed. All the guys hanging around her booth gawking at her creeped her out. Remember, her only mandate was " much male attention as possible". She gave the dress back to Jen, and said she would never wear it again. Genie blamed the whole thing on Jen and the dress.

Needless to say, Jen was a little irritated. She had been given one job, and she had done it exceptionally well. The dress went on a shelf, waiting for what purpose I don't remember.

You might think the tale of the dress is over, but oh no. You see, the next Halloween, another friend named Jess said she wanted to wear the dress. She wanted to look better in it than Genie. Jess was competitive that way. She would flirt with guys in front of their girlfriends/wives just because. Initially, Jen refused, given the aftermath of the last time The Dress was worn. But Jess badgered her - for weeks. Finally, Jen relented and tailored the dress for Jess. Once again, she did a stellar job. A lot of guys found Jess attractive - for instance, she was the ex-girlriend of a friend - but I really didn't. Still, I had to admit that she looked pretty good in that dress. She wore it to a Halloween party Jen and I were throwing.

A word or 400 about the party. At that time, Jen and I lived in a big 6 bedroom house we shared with Jen's parents. Genie's husband (Brad) and I had built a bar in the basement, which was dubbed "Fat Matt's", and was usually stocked with at least 20 bottles of liqour. Fat Matt's parties are somewhat legendary amongst our friends and the source of many "war stories". This Halloween party is perhaps the most infamous, because we tried something a little different.

You see, a couple weeks prior to Halloween, Jen and I submitted a Personals add to The Stranger in their "Others" section, looking for slaves for our Halloween party. After weeding out the ones who thought we were actual vampires (don't ask), we wound up interviewing and accepting three slaves. We made it clear there was no real sexual element involved, unless, y'know, they wanted to. One (the only one who actually was a slave/submissive) was a foot fetishist named Steve who had the idea for us to put him in a room with a curtain blocking half the room, our futon on the other side with the foot of the bed just the other side of the curtain, and some scented candles and stuff. Instructions posted at the door for people to lay down and relax, and put their feet through the curtain. Steve would then give them an oral foot massage. Yes, you read that right. Sure, we thought, that'll be different; and we went with that. Second slave (I don't remember his name) was a very non-descript guy who didn't really do much except fetch drinks and then leave early. He didn't know how to act, and our friends didn't know what to do with the slaves, really. Neither did we for that matter - we were just weird enough to come up with the idea, but not weird enough to really pull it off. Third slave was Thomas - a young, nerdy guy who seemed alright, but we later discovered had absolutely no social skills.

The bathroom upstairs had two doors to it - one that led to the hall and one to our room. Shortly before the party, Jen was in there with Jess and Genie, helping them get ready (I don't recall what Genie's costume was this time). Steve opened the door or something and got a look at the two of them...specifically their feet. Later, he offered to be our slave on a semi-permanent basis - specifically with the idea that he would be loaned out to our friends from time to time, and specifically to Genie and Jess. (We declined.)

Ok, on with the story of The Dress. Party gets underway. Nobody knows what to do with the slaves, second slave gets bored and jets early, nobody notices for about an hour. Jen and I throw around some orders, get neck rubs, etc. A few people are dared/sent up to the room to follow the instructions on the door. That gets...mixed results....but that's a whole 'nother tale.

Thomas, the whole night, is by Jess's side unless Jen or I have ordered him to do something else. At one point, Jess took him upstairs to an empty room and they talked for some time, during which Jess told him where she worked as a receptionist. To Jess, it was just a conversation. Thomas didn't exactly get that. A week or so later he showed up at her work, in a tux, with a dozen roses and a begging, stalker-type letter professing his love or whatever. Jess, naturally, got creeped the fuck out.

Shortly after, we see Jess again, and she gives the dress back to Jen, complaining. She complained that guys were gawking at her at the party, and most specifically she complained about Thomas. Now, her complaints could have taken a few forms:

1. Complain that she was foolish for telling a complete stranger where she worked while having a very private conversation with him at a party, kicking herself for bringing this creepy dude around. Valid complaint, but Jess wasn't known for taking responsibility for her own actions.
2. Complain that we brought this creepy dude around. Valid complaint; I felt kind of bad about it really.
3. Complain that the dress made her more appealing than usual, it was the dress's fault, the dress was cursed. Not so valid a complaint, IMNSHO. (There was definitely something about that dress, but she knew that.)

Can you guess which form her complaint took? If you guessed the irrational #3, you're a winner!
Jen took the dress back, apologized for the Mr. Stalker thing, and pretty much balled out Jess for not listening to her in the first fucking place. Then she took a seam ripper to the dress and parted it out for material.

Now, 9 years or so later, after relating this tale to two female friends, they have both asked Jen to design their costumes for next Halloween. Jen has said maybe, but claims she can't duplicate the effect of The Dress because she's rusty at design and sewing, and she had that design in her head for years beforehand and won't make it again. Given the hotness of said friends, I am sure that if Jen designs anything more flattering than a fucking burlap sack, they're going to be fighting the men off.

Now, in case you think I'm exagerrating about this whole thing, let me speak for a moment on the relating of the tale to Launchpad's wife. This is 9 years after the fact, Launchpad can barely remember what happened yesterday, but he saw both incarnations of the dress back then. I mentioned that Jen and I "told the tale of the dress to Donna." Launchpad looked puzzled for just a second and started, "The Dress...?" Before I could even start to explain, his eyes lit up, he grinned from ear to ear, he straightened a little and said "OH! THE DRESS!"
I'm pretty sure I saw some saliva coming out of his mouth, too.

- Mattbear out

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Politics, and then some things that won't make me cry

Politics. I fucking hate politics. It makes me shudder to think of the type of assholes who run this country - rich, power-hungry, corrupt bastards. And I'm not just speaking of our current government. I hate all politicians. Why? Because power corrupts. What should be the most noble profession - to represent the people, to lead them and listen to them, to give yourself over to public service and the public good - is corrupted by the very power that the profession should be entrusted to wield with wisdom and humility.

It is well said that a cynic is really just a disappointed romantic, and when it comes to politics I exemplify that. Once upon a time, I thought politicians were true leaders, patriots, trying to do what they thought was right for their country. It didn't take long to learn that they are the wealthy and powerful, and their goal is to keep themselves wealthy and powerful. Yes, even the "Democrats". This was well demonstrated by the last presidential election. Who did we have to choose from, really? An uptight New England patrician-Yale graduate-Skull'n'Bones member, and an uptight New England patrician-Yale graduate-Skull'n'Bones member with a fake Texas accent. Yay America. Way to go, two-party system.

I really wish I could believe we had a President - hell, anyone in the upper offices - who gave as much time and thought to what is right for the country as the characters on "The West Wing". Even if I didn't agree with what they thought was best for the country, I'd still feel better going to bed at night thinking they even gave it a thought. But I don't believe that. I know in my heart they govern by what is best for them and their fellow rich.

So I fucking hate politics. But unfortunately, I can't keep my mind off of it. Ever since Bush took office, I have been fixated on politics. Why? Before that, I thought there was no "lesser of two evils" when it came to Democrats vs. Republicans. A career politician is a career dirtbag, and to me a dirtbag is a dirtbag is a dirtbag. Bush's administration proved that there were some who could out-dirtbag the others. He went beyond the pale, selling our country wholesale to corporate interests like Halliburton, sending our people to die for them and the Saudis, and lying about everything the whole time. So now I'm going to spout off about some of my current thoughts about things political.

Supreme Court nominee Alito said he would be reluctant to overturned established precedent. Of course, he is alluding to abortion/Roe v. Wade. Personally, I think this is pandering bullshit. Alito is a hard-core conservative who has and will continue to be an "activist judge" just like the Republicans rail against. Of course, they aren't against activist judges, really, just against liberal activist judges. I'm against "activist judges" too(even liberal ones), but I am also against lying and hypocrisy. It's only natural that Alito will try to appear favorable to not overturning Roe v. Wade. It's what his political handlers have told him to do, and rightly so. Why? Because it seems to be the only thing liberals and Democrats judge (no pun intended) these nominees by. Read that article I linked to - the same Dems who were bitching about this reactionary fuck last week are rolling over and saying they'll confirm him just because he hinted he wouldn't overturn Roe v. Wade. Let's ignore how he might rule on right to privacy, civil rights issues, how the Patriot Act has pissed all over the first, fourth, and six amendments, or our current Attorney General's reign of terror against good ol' perfectly legal porn. I am pro-choice, generally speaking, but there are other things to consider here. Besides, you think he's really going to uphold it? If he gets in, we have a hard-right-leaning court, and the first time a challenge to Roe v. Wade comes before it, poof! It's overturned. And Alito won't be writing the dissenting opinion, if you know what I mean.

Onto some comments I have about the next presidential election. Who will be running? Yes, it's early, but I have some thoughts already that I need to get out of my head. Not the incumbent VP, I'm pretty sure. Cheney is dead in the water politically. I'm also not sure he'd want it. I think he's content to run his little sock puppet Bush. With current or impending indictments, Senators Frist and Delay have no traction. While Santorum is outspoken and seems to have followers, I don't think he's a real candidate. Plus there's the fact that to many his name now represents a nasty anal-sex byproduct. And the whole bringing-home-the-dead-baby-to-show-the-kids thing, which is even more gross, and his own doing (hell, he wrote a book about it).

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Trent Lott might take a run at it. With what he said today to the Senate, I think he is trying to distance himself from the "bad" republicans (read: those under indictment) so he can take a run at the Oval. Then again, maybe he's just trying not to get ousted from the Senate come next election. Either way, I think he's delusional. Given the racist gaffe that no one's forgotten, and his general dirtbaggery, I don't think he's long for public office.

Considering the beating Republicans have taken lately - for instance, one Governor candidate was photographed with Bush, who announced support for the candidate, and the candidate's standing in the polls immediately took a 10 point hit and he lost the election yesterday - I think that about the only hope they have of retaining the Oval Office is Sen. John McCain. I lived in Arizona when McCain got into office, and actually have a fair amount of respect for the man. Hell, if the Dems fielded somebody I really was against, and the Republicans fielded McCain, I'd vote for McCain. Or I would if he wasn't now pandering to the hard right loonies he's been trying to break of their grip on the GOP, and turning his support over to anti-gay legislation and the idiotic "intelligent design" teachings.

On the Democrat side, the one who I know will try, but I really don't want, is Hillary. I'm not against having a woman president. In fact, I'd rather prefer it. It's just her. I can not stand that pompous, self-righteous, dishonest bitch. Besides, she already got to run the country for 8 years, she doesn't need 8 or even 4 more. She won't get the Democratic nomination anyway. The Dems suffered bad under this Republican controlled government. They aren't going to risk getting the Presidency back on gambling for the first woman President. They'll leave that for next time.
Personally, I'm hoping for Wesley Clark to get the nod for the Dems.

One last (brief) political thing, and I'm off the topic and nearly done. Promise.
Bush has ordered everyone in the White House staff with a security clearance to attend an ethics refresher course. Wow. Bold move there. I had to do one of those at work. They told me not to break the law or sexually harass co-workers. I said OK. Class done. I don't think this is going to fix what's ethically wrong with the White House. In fact, I think unless a truly bold move is taken first, ethics is never going to come to the White House before 2008.

OK, NOT POLITICS, just some stuff:

Virtual Places - you can search for a place (say, your address) and check one of the "Overlays" at the bottom, and it will show you pictures people have posted of the area or where people are who have blogs near that location. Pretty cool. No idea how it works though.

100 Greatest Internet Moments - amusing, if you're a web junkie like me.

Alrighty...sorry for the novella here, and the boring topic. Mattbear out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween (my first post here)


(My first post using Blogger - and it's a long one. Previous write-ups by me can be found here )

Ah, Halloween is over. I love Halloween, always have. I look forward to it more than most kids. I like it more than Christmas. And when Halloween doesn't happen on a weekend, it's a multi-day event, because there are inevitably parties and such on the weekend preceeding. Such was the case this year, and for me Halloween started on Saturday the 29th. The boy told me on Friday that he really missed his cousin who, until this month, used to take care of him while we were at work. So we arranged for him to go over to my sister's on Saturday night. This left Jen and I with some adult time, on the prime party night for Halloween. With no plans, we were off to the races to get costumes and figure out what we were doing.

Jen eventually came out with a witch outfit, and I dressed like a pirate (HARRR!). Granted, I was pretty short on time and energy so my pirate outfit was pretty half-assed (my kilt and boots with a black shirt, eye-patch, "do-rag", and cheap toy sword). We met up with Donna (dressed as a doll), and later Steven (a witch), at The Vogue (Heretofore: The Vague, as Charley likes to refer to it), one of our favorite places on Halloween. I discovered that losing an eye would be much more of a bitch than one might think. In addition to having little depth perception, you can't really see what's on that side of you. As I said at one point, a rabid dog could come running at me from the left to attack me, and I wouldn't know what was going on til it bit me. Navigating a crowded club like that was a nightmare, especially once I was drunk...which given the medications I'm on right now, didn't take very long. I took to flipping my eyepatch up when I had to walk to the bathroom or bar.

The costumes at the Vague were a little less impressive than usual...normally, there are many, many really great costumes, with imagination and hard work. This year, not so many. Time to find a new place, perhaps (note hypocrisy here by referencing above comments about my own half-assed pirate outfit).

Every year there seems to be a popular theme or trend, that appears to happen just see a lot of this or that. This year: fairy tale and kids' characters. We saw a Little Bo Peep, a Snow White, a Strawberry Shortcake, numerous Little Red Riding Hoods, and what I think was supposed to be Little Miss Muffett. There was just one problem with this. They made me feel...icky. Strawberry Shortcake should not be tall and stacked. Little Red Riding Hood should not have cleavage. I should not be drawn to check out Little Miss Muffett's ass.

In addition to the sexualized fairy tales, The Vague offered up an abject lesson on classy vs. not classy:

As soon as we got in, we headed for the back bar to order up some social lubrication. While waiting in line, I saw a woman in a very tight black leather/or pleather/or PVC outfit. She looked great in said outfit, but I was thinking it was Yet Another Trinity Costume (Heretofore: YATC). This being the Vague, I expected it, as in past Halloweens you could have thrown your costume knife in the air with a 75% chance it would land on a Trinity or Neo, thus instantly proving that a) they're overdone costumes, and b) the motherfuckers definitely don't have "bullet time". In fact, I had already seen one Neo on the way to the back bar. I like The Matrix as much as the next geek (the first one...I like to pretend the sequels don't exist; kinda like "Highlander"), but come on. Get a little original (note hypocrisy again). HOWEVER! A moment later, the woman's beau stepped up and put his hand on her shoulder. He was dressed in an impeccable suit, with flower in lapel, bowler hat, and walking stick. I immediately realized I was completely wrong about her...not YATC, but rather a very well done Emma Peel, replete with an excellent matching John Steed - The Avengers! They immediately became my favorite costumes of the night. Yes, Steed had a walking stick instead of an umbrella, but given the close quarters of the club I actually applaud the substitution.

I was apparently grinning like an idiot at this, because Jen asked me what I was looking at. I pointed out the couple, but they were walking away, and she only got a brief look. I explained my original thoughts about the woman's costume, then my realization, apparently still grinning like an idiot. Jen gave me the smile-laugh-nod that she does when I'm on about something I am clearly excited about, but that she couldn't give a crap about. Later she 'fessed to only having a vague memory of who/what The Avengers were. This is because she did not, in her youth, ingest a steady diet of '60s action-adventure shows like The Avengers, Secret Agent, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as I had. If you don't know any of those shows, you suffer a similar problem as Jen, and are something of an uneducated heathen in my eyes.

Later in the evening, Emma Peel bumped into Jen, and when apologizing, mistook her for someone else and started talking to her as if they knew each other, then realized her mistake and apologized again. We also saw them as we were walking out. I stopped Emma Peel to comment on their costumes. "I saw you by the bar earlier, and thought you were in another uninspired Trinity costume," (she starts shaking her head), "but then I saw Mr. Steed here..." ("Yes! You got it!" he says, "Good job" she says) "....and realized my serious guys look great!" Apparently, while this exchange was going on, Donna was asking Jen if we knew these people...from what Jen said, Donna thought I might be chewing out Emma Peel for bumping into Jen earlier. I'm a cranky bastard, but I'm an agreeable drunk, so that wasn't the case.

NOTE: If I hear any mention of that Uma Thurman/Ralph Fiennes/Sean Connery piece of crap that got called "The Avengers", I swear I will issue a beating. Probably with an umbrella, just to make my point.

Not Classy:
At one point, two guys come in whose costumes I could not possibly identify. The first I can only describe as being in a big silver box, with black covering his arms, which he kept holding up. The second guy I only saw from the back, and really couldn't make out what he was at all. Later, I was coming out of the bathroom and saw them. The second guy was clearly dressed as a terrorist when I saw him from the front. I'm all for pushing boundaries and challenging people, so I was ok with a terrorist costume. Part of Halloween is being scary, and terrorists are, when you think about it, fucking scary - hence the name. But I still couldn't figure out what the other guy's costume was all about. I like to think that I couldn't conceive of dressing as what this was.

As I was walking out of the bathroom, the two of them were bugging a couple of guys who were just standing there. All I heard of the conversation was Terrorist asking, "Do you know what he is supposed to be?" while pointing at Silver Box. My brain still hadn't wrapped around what the silver box was, so as the two moved on to bug someone else in the same manner, I approached the two guys left standing there. "So what the fuck is he supposed to be?" I ask. Guy #1 frowns. "The World Trade Center," he says. "The arms are smoke."
"Fuck," I says, "That is not right."
"Yeah," Guy #2 says, "I had the same idea..." ("likely to get your ass kicked in that costume," I interject) "...I guess the difference is I have some class." Well put, Guy #2, well put.

From what Jen says, the WTC guy started getting grief from the Halloween revelers, including the DJ, who said something over the PA like "Nice silver box you got there!"
Terrorist apparently said something like, "He's the World Trade Center," to which the DJ said "Whatever, dude - it's a silver box." Terrorist and WTC didn't stick around long. I think they sensed the oncoming of the ass kicking I had predicted.

Why do I have a problem with the WTC costume, but not the Terrorist? If you had asked me Saturday night, I couldn't have explained - the WTC costume just seemed wrong. Now I think I can articulate:

When you dress up as something scary in costume, you are mocking it, making fun of it. You take away some of its power, some of its effect. This was the whole reason for dressing up on Halloween, psychologically speaking - by dressing up as the things you are afraid of, you lessen or take away their power to frighten you. Terrorists are our enemy, and their real power is fear. You want to take away that power, to whatever degree? Cool. I even applaud your effort. BUT...the Trade Center destruction is not the enemy. It is a horrible tragedy that the enemy created. It should always live on in our memory as another of the many reasons why we must fight terrorism. To mock that, try to take away its power, to make fun of the deaths of thousands of innocents? Not cool. Had I been sober, I might have initiated the ass-kicking myself (unlike most people, I'm far more aggressive and likely to fight when I'm sober).

We hung out at the Vague til last call, then cruised over to the Hurricane as we were quite hungry. It was packed with the post-bar crowd one would expect. While we waited for a table, in walked a woman dressed as O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill, in the white kimono with katana, and with three guys following her dressed as the Crazy 88s. I loved it. I am a sucker for co-ordinated, team costumes (with the possible exception of terrorist and WTC).

Last year when we hit the bars my costume was Dr. Ablert Hoffman (consisting of a lab coat and a name tag that said "Dr. Albert Hoffman, Sandoz Laboratories" - it's a conceptual costume). At one bar, we ran into an excellent Hunter S. Thompson. The guy had the right hat, the Hawaiian shirt, the cigarette holder, etc. and he was mumbling like'd here him mumble "fucking weasels" and then something incoherent. I walked up to him and said hi. He basically ignored me until one of his friends pointed to my name tag, and he got the joke and joined in. He mumbled at me for a minute and shook hands until I excused myself to go get a drink. Launchpad and I discussed dressing as Thompson (me) and Oscar de LaCosta (LP), his attorney, this Halloween. It didn't come to pass, but maybe sometime we'll do that. I have to lose weight first. Nobody wants a fat Thompson.

At the Hurricane, there were two Hunter S. Thompsons. One came in while we were waiting, and his costume was ok. The other Hunter was so lame Jen had to point out that it was supposed to be Hunter. He had on a plain blue shirt, cargo shorts, and a hat that kind of vaguely resembled the type usually associated with Hunter. The only thing that gave away the costume's point was the shooting glasses. Pretty weak even by my eye-patch and cheap sword standard.

Other than that, the Hurricane was uneventful. Sunday was laid back, hung out with Launchpad and Loxie and watched National Treasure which was better than I expected - but that's not saying much. It wasn't bad, just your average Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Monday, Halloween proper, was busy. Took the boy to his preschool for their Halloween party, which he enjoyed. When I picked him up, I was in costume. One of his classmates, a girl, walked up to me and said "I'm not afraid of you, pirate," she said. "Oh yeah?" I said, then quickly dropped down and toward her, giving her a good snarling "Harrrr!"
She jumped back and dropped a bag she was carrying, clearly a bit shaken. I smiled and told her I was just playing. She said "I dropped my bag," and picked it up then ran off to her mother. Oh, I'm horrible.

After preschool party, I worked on the decorations for the house, then took the boy to meet up with Launchpad and Loxie and their girl for the trick-or-treat event at work. Fun time had by all. Much candy.

After that, back to our place. The ladies took the kids out for some soaking wet trick-or-treating, while LP and I hung out to give out candy. Had the fog machine set up, made it so you could barely see in the house. We had all of three or four groups of kids, who were all surprised by the smoke and whatnot. Then it was time for dinner, and afterward our guests left so we could all get some sleep before work and stuff this morning.

So, that's it. One very long post about my favorite semi-holiday. Mattbear Out.