Friday, November 21, 2003

Okay. Weirdest e-bay auction ever.
KUDOS to my beautiful wife, Jamie, for forwarding this to me. It may come as s urprise to leaguers that I am a fan of Superman. Yes, yes... it's true. And as far as that fandom goes, I have missed only one episode of the WB's show "Smallville", which tells the story of a young Clark Kent before he puts on the cape.

I know Sonia will appreciate this. You see, the primary love interest for young Clark Kent is INCREDIBLY annoying, but part of the WB's plan for the show was to get as many 10-17 year old girls watching the show as males who want to watch Superman punch people (which he often does, with much gusto). So the WB seems to insist that the girls will LOVE to watch Lana. Which is annoying. I cannot detail how annoying the character of Lana Lang really is, but the fact that her trampling by a horse was applauded by a large portion of the audience goes to show you that Lana is not what much of the audience believes makes Smallville shine.

No, it's Lex Luthor we love.

Lana is the annoying one on the left...

I once detailed 9 reasons why Lana is annoying, and here they are:

1) 15 year old kids don't get to own coffee shops and go to high school
2) She learned kung-fu in half an episode and now routinely dispatches crooks with her skills, despite lack of training time due to her school/ coffee shop/ pony riding schedule
3) she has no legal guardian
4) she owns a pony she doesn't need to ever take care of or pay for or feed
5) she basically dumps all over a dude with heat vision and he puts up with it
6) she continues to surprise Clark by showing up at his house every single night when he's in the barn, and he's always surprised to see her
7) Evil genius Lex is investing in Lana's dumb coffeeshop with the only semi-used theater in back
8) Notice how Lex and Clark will be talking about saving the corn chowder plant and hundreds of jobs, or trying to stop a maniacal killer, and Lana makes sure EVERYONE knows about her dumb problem with the latte machine or whatever. Seriously. Nobody ever asks. She always just volunteers the information. Poor Lana.
9) somehow she owns a Jeep Liberty. Coffee shop must be doing well.

There are dozens of more reasons to dislike Lana, but the number one reason is that there's a much more interesting and less whiney character on the show, and we're to believe Clark is still infatuated with this dork? Come on, WB!!! Even in a show with a dude who can see through walls, we need a little believability.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

you know, nothing I can say would really add anything...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Yesterday I completely neglected to mention the 75th birthday of American Icon, cartoon legend and my former co-worker, Mickey Mouse. I loved Mickey Mouse growing up. As evidenced from my photos and recent trip, the whole Disney Enterprise still holds a warm fuzzy place in my heart.

I did three summers at the Disney Store from 93-95. I proudly wore the sweater, the unhygeniec gray polyester pants, the pink shirt, and tried as hard as I could to keep a smile on my face. Which is hard when you're as hungover as I usually was in the summers from 93-95.

I tolerated insults from teenagers, folded the same shirt often four times a day, sweated profusely under the sweater and put up with lessons on the porper arragnement of stuffed animals and plastic cups.

The worst duty was "greeter." Especially at 10:00am when you can still taste beer every time you hiccup. Because as "greeter", yoru sole task was to stand at the door and welcome folks into the store. Which people do not like. THey run away from you. They run past you. THey avoid eye contact and all but put their heads under bags so you can't say "Welcome to the Disney Store!" People walk past you and speak loudly about how dumb you look in your outfit. Other people yell at you for talking to them before they've addressed you themself. I don't think tyhey actually still force people to do this. It sucks.

After three years, hundreds of happy customers and being the only one in the store who understood that Disney also owned TOuchstone and Hollywood Pictures, on my final day, I asked my manager what she thought.

"Well," she said, "You're very difficult."
"Hmmm. I thought you'd say something nice as, you know, you'll probably never see me again."
And now realizing she would never see me again, she grasped the opportunity and detailed how I had been a disappointment. I was told how I had been given opportunity and didn't seem to care (I never perceived this, but whatever), how I had not been forthcoming with the spirit and attitude of Disney. I was informed how I had failed to smile like an idiot come rain or shine, constantly resorting baby-spittled stuffed animals, and being unable to leave my "zone" no matter how much help a customer needed on another part of the floor.
"You're really one of the worst employees we ever had," she concluded.
"You know, you didn't have to hire me back. Twice."
"I know, but you knew how to do everything."
Which meant it didn't matter how many goddamn Lion King dolls I helped sell. It didn't matter how many Pooh-Bears I helped move, or that I could actually tell people where to find other cartoon merchandise when they called (which WAS SUPPOSED to be applauded, according to my training manual). The fact I was the ONLY employee who didn't need to be questioned the time all the watches were stolen (theories on why I wasn't questioned very), didn't matter. Didn't matter that I'd stayed late with the managers who wanted to count money but didn't want to walk to their cars alone. And I loved to vaccuum. God help me, when the store closed down, I was already in motion, headed for the back of the shop to grab the vaccuum and get out there. I even showed up as having helped on a "secret shop." No, none of that mattered. The fact that I didn't have a "Disney Attitude" was what got me a bad rap.

I could not stand in the middle of a store, addressing nobody, and stare into space and smile.

"One customer," she said, "came to me and said you looked absolutely miserable in the middle of all the fun. I came to you and asked you to perk up, and you kind of blew me off."
Kids, this was probably when i should have told her I remembered that, and that I had gas from the Diet Coke and Great American Cookie Company treat I'd had, and that I was still kind of hung over, and that I was at the end of my rope after hearing the same 44 minute Laserdisc of Disney tunes after it's 400th play. When you're making $5.00/ hr.
Apparently my constant desire to point out inconsistencies in store policy and logic was not needed, either.

"I blew you off?" I said incredulously.
"You just never seemed like you wanted to really get into the spirit of things."
And I didn't. And I don't. And I can't tell you why, but it's the same reason I used to avoid the office Christmas party at my last job. And why I didn't pursue a career as a salesman and why, when I sneeze, pixie dust dust not pour out of my ears.

People are gross and disgusting and mean and spoil their kids and hit their kids and spill shit and laugh at you for having to clean it up in your little Mouseketeer outfit. And sometimes they are nice, and do not let their children throw toys and stuffed animals across the store, but most of the time, they do.

I am so freaking nice to people in stores. I tip more than 15%. My highest aspiration in every transaction is for me to just disappear in the mind of the person i'm dealing with immediately after I have left, because that is the greatest gift you can give someone who is just trying to make it to the end of their shift. Unless they're being a jerk. Then you tip $0.01 so they get taxed.

But it wasn't Mickey I didn't like. Because look at Mickey's pals. He hangs out with a bi-polar duck and an idiot dog-man thing and a girlfriend who looks like him in drag. Clearly Mickey would not have waited three years and then unloaded. Nah. Mickey would be cooler than that. I kind of considered myslef "vintage Mickey." I was "Steamboat Willie Mickey." I pulled down the pants of the ship captain and tried to make sure I was doing okay, even if it wasn't exactly what the ship captain THOUGHT he wanted. Ah, well. C'est la vie.

You know, I probably WAS an awful Disney employee. I'm not going to say that, based upon their standards, I was a super star. THere was a lady named Kathy who worked there, and that honor goes to her. No, I sucked as a Disney employee, but did I WANT to be good at being some weird Disney automaton? Probably not.

Here's something to try: next time you're at the Disneystore or Disneyland or wherever.... engage an employee in a conversation. Seriously, just try to talk to one of them. You can't have a REAL conversation with them, and you know why? Because they're being watched. THere are managers who watch them, probably cameras at the park, and definitely spies and "secret shoppers." They are FORBIDDEN from ever saying something is bad. If it's raining so hard outside that the fish are drowning, they'll have to insist we're do for a rain, or else laugh about the rain in a weird way which indicates they LOVE the rain. Try it. I dare you.

Happy 75th, Mickey. Thanks for The Mouse, Walt. And screw you Disney Store #382 at Willowbrook Mall, Houston, Texas. I hope you go bankrupt and all your overpriced crap gets returned to you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Brenda Johnson just e-mailed me! I love Brenda Johnson. THe world needs more Brendas. I hadn't seen her since about 1994! All the world comes together through The League of Melbotis.
Oh, and by the way, Jim D. commented on his blog that i never mentioned my 10th Year Reunion on my blog. It was held September 25th, but I didn't go. No tales of relived glory. Sorry.
Greeting, Leaguers,

Turkey Day is fast approaching.

a delicious looking turkey

Jamie and I are preparing for what will, hopefully, be a funfilled Holiday in which we can give thanks for all the good fortune of the year. Huzzah.
I love the turkey, but I've been vegetarian since August 19th. Not a bite of meat has passed through my lips since that day. But I love turkey! Seriously. Turkey and gravy. Absolutely love it. Jamie and I picked out a 14 pound turkey this weekend, and I wanted to do a little dance, so great is my love of the bird. But will i crack under the strain? Can I possibly go without turkey on a day in which drumsticks will be presented right before my nose? I cannot say.

Viva la turkey.

In regards to my paranoid rant about Christmas last week, as of Saturday night, one of my neighbors has already put up their Christmas lights. Holy cow, man. We aren't even done using the air conditioner and this bozo is laying tracks for Santa's runway on his roof.

Anyhoo, Laura Maxwell held a contest over on her blog. I was one of a few winners of the "Evil Deeds to Bestow Upon your Boss After You've Been Informed You're Laid Off But have Two Weeks Left to Go" contest. I received an "Attack of the CLones" clone-headed Pez-Dispenser. I love me the orange Pez. I also got candy cigarettes, an aluminum Dia De Los Muertos skeleton and a general showering of good will. Thanks, Maxwell! You're tops!

Solicitations for upcoming Superman stories for February have been released. Check out this art! I am so pumped. Also here and here.

DC Comics has not been putting out what I would describe as A+ Superman stories this year, but this looks interesting, and 2004 is scheduled to have some top flight writers and artists. Could be a good year to be a Superman fan.

I was not a good student in college. Seriously. THis may surprise you, faithful Leaguers, but I had a little trouble focusing on my studies. Hence, my GPA coming out of college was nothing to crow about. And so the trend continues. I completely bombed my exam last night in the class I'm taking. I have no idea how I could have studied better, but my capacity for retaining knowledge such as I am being tested on is nil. Let's hope the group project pulls my fat out of the fire.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Sometime in 8th grade I did my usual routine of flipping past any actual news in the newspapers and headed straight for the funnies page. At the time the paper still carried strips like Apartment 3G, Steve Roper and other soap opera strips. For some reason, I started to follow Mary Worth. I have no idea why, but from 8th to 11th grade, I read Mary Worth almost every morning while i was having my cereal and juice. In 12th grade I gave up on breakfast so i could get more sleep, and with that, my love affair with MAry Worth came to an end.

Honestly, I have almost no recollection of anything in Mary Worth, except that it would take two weeks for her to make it across the room. Storylines would take literally a year to complete and usually were not very satisfactory. But then again, it was a strip about a lady living in some sort of Retirement Community.

At any rate, the art was always good, and the stories were consistent, if not thrilling. But I read today that the brianchild behind Mary Worth had died.

The Arizona Republic has a worse comics section than the Lawton Constitution, so I don't read any strips anymore. But it was always nice in those days to know that a nice lady was there to have cereal with me every morning.

Oh, irony of ironies.

I called my dad on Saturday to dispense with the usual weekend parental chat and he sounded all chipper.

"I just found your web page!" says the old man.
"My web page...?"
"Your cousin called and she gave us directions on how to find your web page! I'm reading it right now!"
"Oh, Sweet Christmas..."
"Ho ho! You don't want your old man reading your web page!"
"Well, I, you know... I'm as excited about this as when you and mom found cigarettes in my drawer."
"Huh. Well, better keep it clean, Bub! Your mother and I know how to find you now! Ho ho ho!"
"So Susan found the web-site and ratted me out, huh?"
"Yup! She called us right up!"
I love my cousin. I really do. She's a wee little Occupational Therapist in Austin who helps developmentally challenged kids learn how to use their muscles and stuff by way of games and exercises. But this year, as revenge, she will be getting nothing for her birthday. When she will be 29. Again.
My Dad also pointed out that my grandpa did not use a glider to enter Europe on D-Day. I think my brother just made that up based on something from Band of Brothers. Apparently Grandpa Marvin Ross parachuted into a small town in Belgium on D Day. Always one for the facts, am I.
Anyway, the folks are now keeping up with the League of Melbotis, and I will probably henceforth refrain from using "the f-word".

We're hosting Jamie's folks for Thanksgiving this year, and thusly, we are cleaning the house in a way we have not touched it since probably last June. ugh. It's so gross and dirty. However, it did give me an excuse to sort, file, bag and board comics which have been sitting in piles since July. I am in sore need of additional bags and boards and boxes, which is expensive. That, and I am running out of closet space in which to store the comics. I need to move or knock downt he wall between my office and the guest room to make room for all this hoo-haa.
Curse you comic books... you drain me of my money and my sanity.

I watched Shane while sorting the comics. Man, I've seen Shane probably 5 or 6 times and I still love that movie. I also watched Mars Attacks!, a movie I never really get tired of. Yes, sorting comics takes FOREVER.

I have an exam today. I hate school. I can't believe I'm trying to go back and take classes. I had forgotten how much I hate exams and studying. Bleah.