Blog .:. December 2005 5 Entries

The DMV is not Hell

31 December 2005 Comments

So. It is Friday, December 30, the last normal business day of 2005. It’s around noon. I am preparing to go to bed after fourteen hours of staring at HTML code. As I crawl under the sheets, I think “Oh, 2006. How nice. I turn XX and… my license expires! Oh shit!”

Thirty minutes later, I’m at the DMV. The last Friday afternoon of the year is not my preferred DMV visiting time, but my car tags are also expiring on the first. Some things must be done. After an hour and a half wait, I get called up to a window, where the clerk tells me we can renew my license but she won’t give me even temporary plates without an IM test. Do you think I have a recent IM test on this car? You jest. “But my tags expire in two days. I’ll never get the test done and get back here in time to get the paperwork taken care of.”

She doesn’t care. No IM results, no tags, no car for me.

Whoops.

To the garage then. “It’ll take an hour,” says the mechanic, totally bored.

He sniggers every time he walks in the waiting room for the next hour and sees me sitting there. Sure, I could have walked to WalMart, but… meh.

Forty minutes later, the car is done. See? It pays to hang around looking pathetic.

As I’m driving to the DMV, it occurs to me that I don’t have a current insurance card in my car. This doesn’t worry me normally because my car has been insured continuously since I bought it, and with one phone call I can fax my card to anyone who asks for it. But, given the DMV’s rather… meticulous… attention to details like IM tests, I figure I better have a current card on hand before I go back.

Off to work then, eh? Not my work; my mother’s. She has a fax machine. I commandeer it, call my insurance company, and stare at the printer for twenty minutes waiting for the fax to appear. Then I realize this is a printer and not a fax machine and head off into the front office to find out where the fax machine is. I was a little tired, ok?

Back at the DMV, I look around for my clerk, who promised to let me cut in line when I returned. Unfortunately, my clerk is gone. I grab a number: only 100 people ahead of me.

Thirty minutes later, my clerk appears from some back room, asking for anyone with title work.

Title work? That’s me! Yay! Save me, Super Clerk!

She does, smiling at me. “Aw. I remember you.”

Ah, yes. Me. The clueless one.

Back in her office (she has an office? Who knew?) the clerk suddenly remembers I also need a new license.

“I can’t help you. You have to do that up front.”

Figures. On the other hand, with eighty people still ahead of me, it’s not like I’ll have missed my turn. I start to leave.

“Wait!”

Your wish is my command, Super Clerk.

“Here’s a new number. You won’t have to wait so long. If they already called this one while you were in here, come back here and I’ll give you a new new number.”

I think I’m in love.

The timing is excellent, too. I no sooner walk back into the waiting area than my new number is called. Sweet.

The license is quickly dealt with and then my car title is changed over and new plates are issued. Minutes later I’m grimacing for the camera and minutes after that my new license is in my hand.

It’s everything you’d expect from a DMV photo.

I feel momentary regret that I had to turn in my old one. After all, it did say “Under 21” still and I got a cheap thrill every time I bought alcohol. I was just waiting for a waitress to say “but you’re underage” without looking for my birthday. Of course, not one person said that, so I don’t know who I was fooling.

We can all rest easy, though. In the next few hours I will finish this bottle of champagne, the year will tick over, I’ll be a day older, and I’ll still be a legal driver. Well, except for the being drunk bit. When I’m sober, I’ll be legal. And my car will be legal, too. I know you’re relieved.

And… I’d like to point out that although I did spend several hours at the DMV, every time I actually worked with a DMV clerk they were polite and friendly. Despite the fact that most of the people waiting in the chairs were not so polite or friendly. And Super Clerk went out of her way to help me out of my situation as much as she could. It was my fault for waiting until the last minute to do all the paperwork. She didn’t have to help me.

Happy New Year, everyone. Hug a DMV employee.

Tagged: Cars & Trucks, Customer Service, United States, United States - Alaska, United States - Alaska - Palmer-Wasilla

I’m not coordinated enough for this kind of thing

26 December 2005 Comments

Imagine:

Me, sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch, at the second party of the day, wondering when I last slept and if it wasn’t two days ago, and would the bank be open the next day, and in the middle of all these important, egotistical thoughts having a six-week old baby unceremoniously dumped in my lap.

Er… um… and what does one do with a six-week old baby?

So now we have me sitting on the floor with a baby wrapped up in a blanket blinking up at me with a slightly cross-eyed expression that could mean she just can’t focus yet (like I would know) or might mean she’s pooping herself (like I would know). And she suddenly decides to start spitting up, except she’s on her back, and even I know that’s not a good thing (the choking sounds were a good clue, I have to admit).

So. Baby has to get from on her back in my arms to propped against my shoulder, which would be fine, except my sweater is dry-clean only and I’m not fond of milky drool all over myself. And the blanket that could go over my shoulder is under the baby, who is too young to prop up her own head, and I’ll be damned if I know how to get the blanket out from under her while still supporting her head so I can move her to my shoulder before she chokes on her own drool.

Don’t expectant mothers have to go through classes to learn this stuff?

Don’t worry. The baby got burped and probably only suffered mild whiplash.

I, however, suffered an evening of being told how maternal I look.

Maternal. Me?

Did hell freeze over?

Tagged: Relationships

It’s a Wonderful Gag

24 December 2005 Comments

Some Guy; He’s probably important, like the main character or something, but I’ll be damned if I know because It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those movies you never really watch:

I’ll… I’ll… I’ll get you the moon. I’ll lasso it and I’ll get you the moon.

Mary, whose name we know because it’s in every other line:

I’ll take it. And then what?

That Guy:

Then you can swallow it.

Bwah ha ha!

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Heh. Ha ha.

Snicker.

Snerk.

“Swallow it.”

Hee hee hee *snort* heeeee ha!

Sorry. Don’t know what came over me there.

I’m sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the cider I’m drinking.

“You can swallow it.”

Snorfle. Phhhheh heh heh.

Tagged: Movies, Movies - It's a Wonderful Life

Sounds of the Season

14 December 2005 Comments

[ring]
[ring]
[beep] I’m not here right now. Please leave your name and number… [beep beep]

[from the bedroom] Mrawwwh-hrumph-huh? Whazzat?

[On the answering machine: Muzak masquerading as Christmas tunes]
[More Muzak masquerading as Christmas tunes]

Who puts people on hold before they even pick up, anyway?

[More Muzak]

And who would stay on hold without even hearing a ‘hello’ first?

[Human voice replacing Muzak on the answering machine] Hello? Hello?

Actually, it’s quite funny listening to telemarketers who can’t figure out the answering machine has picked up the call.

[Click]

[In the living room: Swish swash]
[Thud]
[Tingaling tink ping]
[ting ting]
[tink-taling]

[From the bedroom] Jasper get away from the Christmas tree!

[From the living room: gallump-gallump-da-na-da-da! gallump-gallump-da-na-dada!]

[Suddenly in the bedroom: swush THUMP!] Mraaaow?

[From under the covers] Ffffrah-huh? Jasper? Go play with the Christmas tree and leave me alone.

[Zzzz *honk* zzzz zzz *snort*]

[ring]
[ring]
[beep] I’m not here right now. Please leave…

Tagged: Advertising & Marketing, Cats, Cats - Jasper

Where Peter Jackson Went Wrong

10 December 2005 Comments

I am, as you know, a Lord of the Rings nut. Not as bad as some, true, but still a bit obsessed. All in all, I was really happy with the way Peter Jackson handled the film adaptation. There were bound to be parts cut out and plot changed to allow the trilogy to work as a mass-market film, especially if they wanted to keep the audience eager for three separate movies. I’m sure Jackson would be thrilled to know I approve. Not.

Even so… he left out the scene I was most looking forward to seeing, and that breaks my heart. The opportunity for a bunch of hunky men with big swords to hang around together? We all know how I feel about the hunk-with-sword demographic. I was drooling at the thought.

The scene, if you’re wondering, is the one where Aragorn reveals himself to Sauron via the palantir. It goes something like this:

Sauron [on his palantir]: Saruman? Hello? Saruman?

Computer Voice:Hello, you’ve reached the campaign offices for Aragorn For King. If you know the extension of the party you are trying to reach, dial it now. If you are an enemy wishing to schedule a war, please press or say “one.” If you are an ally wishing to pledge men or supplies for war, please press or say “two.” To speak with an operator, press or say “zero.” To reach Aragorn himself, press or say “three.” If you are an innocent party caught in the middle of Aragorn’s campaign and are seeking reparation for lives or goods lost, please contact your insurance agent.

Sauron: What? Saruman? Saruman, what are you doing? Is this a joke?

Computer Voice: I’m sorry, but your response was not recognized. If you are an enemy…

Sauron: Three, all right? Three!

Aragorn: Yo!

Sauron: Who are you, where did you come from, and what have you done with Saruman?

Aragorn: I’m no one important. Just the rightful heir of Gondor and all that. Hey—want to save us all the trouble and just surrender?

Sauron: Uh… no?

Aragorn: Pity.

And in the background, a bunch of men hanging around with swords waiting for Aragorn to get off the phone and get back to fighting. Ah, good times.

Instead of that lovely scene, Jackson added in the entirely inexplicable “This is Not Faramir” scene. This is the one at the end of The Two Towers where Faramir discovers Frodo has the Ring:

Faramir: Hm. I’ve got thirty fighting men at my beck and call and two kiddie-like things holding on to the Ring of Power. My Daddy didn’t love me enough as a child, and now’s my chance to win his love by sending him as a gift. That works so well when families divorce, after all. Frodo and Sam, pack your bags—we’re going to Gondor!

Frodo: Cut? Hello? Can someone call Peter Jackson up and ask him if he knows aliens have rewritten the script?

Jackson: No, this is right. It’ll all make sense in a minute. Don’t worry; I haven’t betrayed Faramir’s character.

Audience: inaudible but threatening mumbling

Frodo: Right. Faramir, now that we’re in Osgiliath, I have to say: I don’t like this idea any better.

Sam: Hey everyone with ears in a twenty mile radius! Frodo has the One Ring!

Faramir: [Insane grin on his face] And I’m giving it to Daddy!

Frodo: You could do that, I guess. But now that the Nazgul have arrived, I think I’m just going to walk over here and hand it over to them. [Walks over and attempts to give the Nazgul the Ring]

Mighty Sam: Here I come to save the daaaaay! [Tackles Frodo]

Frodo: You dirty rat!

Sam: Heroes are super-cool! Do you think we can ever be heroes?

Faramir: Oh, I get it now. See, I was confused, but now that Frodo has proven he’s barely able to control himself and will hand the One Ring over to the enemy at the drop of a hat if Sam isn’t around to get all Mighty Mouse on him, I think I’ll send you off into the wilderness after all. And you see where I’m coming from, right?

Frodo: Uh… sure. You got any food for us? By the way, your actions have caused an even deeper distrust of people to settle in my heart, cementing the wariness your brother first planted.  Later on, I’m going to stop trusting even Sam. It’ll be your fault. Ok?

Faramir: Ok. I hope Daddy’s not too mad at me.

Audience: But seriously, Jackson: When is this going to start making sense?

Jackson: Don’t you get it? Faramir is growing. He’s getting a backbone! In the next movie, he’ll convince his Daddy to love him for himself and not for any gifts he might or might not have sent.

Audience: What? He didn’t have enough backbone in the book when he turned down the ring in the first place?

Jackson: You gotta admit the special effects were pretty cool though, right?

Audience: This is about having that tower collapse, isn’t it?

Jackson: Wasn’t it pretty?

Gollum: All y’all need to back off! I’m the one with the split personality around here! Quit poaching my territory!

Like I said, it’s not that I disapprove in general of the changes Jackson made, but these two decisions weakened the story for me.

The hero should always confront the enemy directly, and by mucking about with the palantir scene, Jackson takes Aragorn’s confrontation of Sauron out of the movie. The closest we get after that is Aragorn’s confrontation of the Mouth of Sauron, which is much less exciting.

I still don’t understand why Jackson felt the need to play up the sibling rivalry between Faramir and Boromir quite so much, to the point of altering what, for me, was always the touchstone of Faramir’s character: when confronted with the Ring, he turned it down without a second thought. Maybe Jackson was worried that version of Faramir would overshadow Aragorn’s conflicted turning down of the Ring, but, in that case… he now has a character that seized the Ring and then gave it up, which is still a greater act than Aragorn’s decision not to seize the Ring in the first place. You see? It makes no sense.

Sheesh.

You’d think people would ask my opinion on these things before they go making blockbuster trilogies.

Tagged: Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir, Frodo, Gollum, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, Movies, Movies - Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, Sam - Hobbit, Saruman, Sauron

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