Sunday, October 23, 2011

Clifford The Big Red TERROR!!!!

I think back to all the things that traumatized me as a child like Jaws.  I probably shouldn't have watched it when I was five because I don't swim in the ocean to this day because there are things in the ocean that will eat you until you die.  Sharks are scary and I don't care how many cute movies they make about sharks that don't eat meat, they're still scary.  Strangely enough, I also watched Cujo at a very young age but I have never been terrified of dogs.  Probably because Cujo, while mean and frothy was not as big as a house which is why I have been wondering who thought up Clifford the Big Red Dog.  There's no way they thought this concept through.  Sure, he's cute and the little girl loves him, but look at him.  He's huge.  Realistically, the national guard would have blown that damn thing up within moments of him running off with a dinosaur bone from the Smithsonian (assuming they have dinosaur bones there.  I'm pretty sure they do, right?).  There are other things to consider, as well.  Like pooper scoopers for a dog that size.  There's also chew toys, vet visits, leash laws etc.  I'm just drawing on my experience with dogs here and Clifford is bound to be a lot of work.  That aside, I've never really considered Clifford to be a threat.  Until earlier this week.

Some of you already know that I work at a day care.  Usually I say preschool because that sounds better to me than daycare and insinuates that I do other things besides change diapers and wipe noses but that just about covers it.  I have a class of 8 (count 'em) two year olds.  I love them.  No, seriously.  Two is my favorite age because they say really funny things but they can't yet talk enough to drive you insane.  My class in particular is infamous for being quite fearless in that they like to climb on things that tend to fall over easily, smack each other in the face with toys and open the door and run down the hall into the great unknown.  They do not fear "time out" and they certainly don't fear my wrath because my "wrath" melts away when they say things like "I love you" when I'm trying to put them in time out.  Imagine my overall delight when I found the true weakness of the toddler.  Namely, Clifford.

Earlier this week we had a book fair at school and the book fair mascot, it was decided was going to be Clifford the Big Red Dog.  What this involved was a special visit to the school by Clifford himself, slightly scaled down to human size (thank God) but a dog as big as an adult that walks around on two legs is still a little much and needless to say, disconcerting to the children.  Having spent one Easter as the Easter Bunny at the mall, I had a pretty good idea how my kids were going to react to Clifford.  Although it turned out that I grossly underestimated Clifford's ability to terrify small children, I was still against having Clifford pay my kids a visit.  You know dogs, though.  Can't tell them anything.

As soon as Clifford set his big red foot on the playground, mass hysteria ensued.  There were toddlers huddled together in the plastic treehouse, crying.  Some were running around in blind panic.  One was sitting in the toy car just crying but obviously too afraid to move.  One girl just stood there alone screaming.  Two of my girls (the smart ones) immediately ran to me and clawed, cat-like into my arms (I have wounds) as Clifford stood there waving and making a show, seemingly oblivious to the chaos he was creating.  It was like watching Godzilla in stage format where all the actors were small children.  The best part was the person who was actually in the Clifford suit was a woman who works at the school.  Incidentally, her twin children are in my class.  Her son was one of the ones crying and running around trying to find a safe place.  So, in response to that she began to chase him.  Chase him.  Around the playground.  In the Clifford suit.  I already had two kids in my arms so I watched helplessly as the poor boy ran for his little life.  I was also sort of laughing as I watched.  What? It was kind of funny. 

Once Clifford realized that the children were going to go into shock if this continued, he (she, whatever) left and we began the long process of putting our lives back together.  As with any traumatic event, this was a long process and it was a good 15 minutes before the children in my arms would let me put them down.  When that was accomplished, I began the arduous task of pulling the children (unwillingly) from the plastic treehouse saying, "Clifford's gone.  He's gone.  He's not coming back."  Those poor children.  They believed me, too.  Hell, I believed it myself.  I thought, surely she won't come back after seeing the mess this caused.  HA! Ten minutes after I got everyone calm and collected and we had regained a sense of normalcy, she comes back out onto the playground! Well, to be fair, she just stuck her head out the door but it was a gigantic Clifford head and I said, "What are you doing?!" and she left.  The kids were on the verge of having another nuclear meltdown until I said, "It's ok, it's ok! I chased him off.  He's gone."  Suddenly, I was the hero of the day! I chased away the giant red dog with my holy, God-given powers of dog shooing. 

Later on as I was reflecting on the cluster fuck that all of this was, I realized that I now had power and there is nothing quite as relieving as having power over 8 two year olds.  Not only did I have super awesome Clifford shooing abilities, I also had the power to summon Clifford at will.  Not really, but they didn't know that.  So, that afternoon, while trying to get my kids to pick up the mountain of toys scattered around the room, I said, "Do you want me to go get Clifford?" The results were phenomenal.  I don't think I could have cleaned up the toys quicker than they did.  Anything to keep the big, red menace at bay! Only one boy did not heed my warning.  He opened the door and took off down the hall.  I yelled after him but he didn't listen because two year olds have this special substance in their ears that shields their brains from hearing the voices of adults.  All children have this and it stays with them until they graduate high school.  Sometimes longer, depending on the child.  Anyways, I threatened with Clifford, but felt hopeless that I couldn't actually produce Clifford.  Until the kid runs around the corner and bumps right into him.  It was providence, really.  He ran faster than I have ever seen anyone, child or adult, run.  All the way back to me at which time I said, "See? You better listen or I'll call Clifford."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Weekend With Nerds...and other goings on...

So, I've been lamenting that I have nothing to write about on my blog here and I'm sure the five of you who loyally click into this blog several times each have been happy to have not had your time wasted in a while, but guess what! I've thought of some asinine stories to relate! I'm sure you are all just thrilled beyond words.

Well, a couple of weekends ago I had the good fortune to spend my time with the biggest nerds known to humanity, a.k.a my friends.  I am also a big nerd when it comes to video games, anime, star wars, and naked chicks, but I digress.  The point is, I am in no way mocking the nerd lifestyle.  I myself rank around 8 or 9 on the Nerdness Scale.  The weekend I refer to, of course is AWA, Anime Weekend Atlanta.  I even dressed up in a costume.  There are several reasons why I enjoy attending AWA (I attend it every year now) and I will tell those reasons to you in no particular order of importance...except for the first one.  This is an important reason.

1.  Scantily Clothed Women
The first time I went to an anime convention I was completely opposed to dressing up in a costume, known to us nerds as "cosplay".  I just thought that this was one level of nerdness that was too far and I was not willing to commit to that level.  Until I got there and discovered that I was in the vast minority of people who were not dressed up and I felt left out.  I was sad.  So, now I dress up.  I assure you that I am not one of the many scantily clad women you can find at an anime convention.  People need to know their limits.  I'm not going to squeeze myself into anything revealing because, let's be honest...I like food and it shows.  There are some women at AWA who also obviously like food and are either not aware of how it effects their bodies or they've forgotten that they have eaten what amounts to an entire cow within the last 24 hours.  Whatever the reason, there are some things that cannot be unseen.  However, there are people...we'll call them "women" (because that's what they are) that pick some of my favorite characters to dress up as and they wear very, very little and it totally works for them.  And then we take pictures of them.  Anime conventions are basically places where you can ogle girls and take a million pictures of them and get this...they want you to.  In fact, it's depressing if you get all dolled up and no one asks to take your picture.  But wait...there's more...

This is the second year that the staff of AWA has awarded us loyal attendees with the BURLESQUE SHOW.  You all know what a burlesque show is, but just in case you don't:

Burlesque:  n.
1. A literary or dramatic work that ridicules a subject either by presenting a solemn subject in an undignified style or an inconsequential subject in a dignified style.
2. A ludicrous or mocking imitation; a travesty: The antics of the defense attorneys turned the trial into a burlesque of justice.
3. A variety show characterized by broad ribald comedy, dancing, and striptease.
The bold text in the third entry is all we really care about and while it is a striptease, essentially the women don't actually show anything because, well...they save that for the hentai room (which I'll get to later on).  Last year the burlesque show was the talk of the convention but this year, I missed it.  The show started at 10.  We're sitting at dinner and I look at my phone and say, "Shit, guys! It's 10:03!" And we rush out the door (paying first, of course) and haul ass back to the convention because, as nerds we will not ever miss a chance to see half naked (or naked, for that matter) girls.  My friend and I arrive in time to hear the announcer say, "And now for our final act..." and we were sad that we missed the show but happy at least that we made it for at least one.  Before I go further let me just know how you go out to eat and you order say...tea but instead you get coke? It's not that you don't like coke but it wasn't what you were expecting and certainly wasn't what you wanted so you're kind of down about it.  Well, I don't have a problem with drag queens, I really don't.  But I need to know that that is what I'm going in to before I go into it.  The last act was indeed a male in a dress and at the point where he started to remove the dress was when my friend and I decided that it was too bad that we missed the show and we should just move along to something else.
2.  Hentai
Unfortunately, I cannot say too much about this year's hentai event because what happens at AWA stays at AWA.  For those of you who do not know what hentai is, here's another definition for you:

Hentai (変態 or へんたい):   A Japanese word that, in the West, is used when referring to sexually explicit or pornographic comics and animation, particularly those of Japanese origin such as anime, manga and computer games (see Japanese pornography).

Yes, every year at midnight on the second night of AWA, there is a hentai screening that lasts about 2 to 3 hours and we go every year.  Don't judge.  What, you may ask is the attraction to watching what is essentially cartoons having explicit sex? Well, quite honestly it's funny and ridiculous (most porn is, but there is a huge difference in non-animated porn plots:  "Did someone order a pizza?" and hentai plots:  "I'm a sex robot and I escaped from the lab to find my missing part because whenever I orgasm I emit this strong EMP and it destroys everything in a 2 mile radius".  True story.  This is actually the plot of a hentai I've seen.  Also, I use the word "plot" very loosely for both hentai and non-animated porn).  The problem with going to these screenings as opposed to watching hentai in the comfort of your own home is that you never know what you're walking in to.  Sometimes you luck out and you get a light-hearted comedy hentai that is sometimes meant to be funny and sometimes not but just is and it's something you can laugh about over the next year until it's time to go back and watch more.  Other times there are things that will make you want to stab your eyeballs out with spoons because again, what has been seen cannot be unseen.  I know you are sitting there right now trying to imagine what would make me say that but trust me, you can't possibly even begin to imagine the sort of plots that go into some of these hentais and if you might have a future in the porn business, who knows.  The second one was more light and funny (thankfully) but still disturbing because when you pick a board game for family game night, it should not be called "Sexual Pursuit 2".  Note the "2" which means that this is actually a sequel meaning there is more than one meaning that the makers of this felt there was a good chance of making a profit about a sex game that is allegedly fun for the whole family that you have to keep playing until you finish.  It made Jumanji look like the best board game since Candy Land.  Can't wait to see what we'll be watching next year.

Believe it or not, those are the only two reasons I go to AWA.  No, I'm kidding.  Mostly.  We spend a good deal of time wandering around the convention, making nasty remarks about bad costumes and raving over good ones and taking pictures.  The highlight of my weekend, really was meeting Brina Palencia and getting my picture taken with her and getting her to sign some DVDs.  She is very cool in that I talked to her for about 10.3 seconds and within that 10.3 seconds it seemed like we could be very best friends.  No stalking intended.  AWA is also a money pit so in an effort to spend as little money as possible, I spent most of the weekend in my hotel room with my xbox playing Lego Batman and cussing at Alfred because he wouldn't get out of the damn way.  Bruce Wayne should really consider getting someone younger and faster to wander around the bat layer with a tray of...water? I don't know.  The tray could be empty for all I know which really emphasizes the point that Alfred is just milking the clock now and not even doing anything productive.  Walking around the bat cave with an empty tray is a huge waste of time.

I know the title says "other goings on" but I feel like this is getting a little long.  I could just change the title I suppose and you guys would never even know it but it's too late now since I've already typed this part.  Since I'm getting a little long-winded, I'll give you a quick overview and then maybe find something to expand on later:

School:  School is a little different this semester because I graduated from junior college (Yay! A degree that means next to nothing!) and now go to school about an hour away.  All the classes for my major were full except for one so I'm taking a potluck array of classes which is frustrating but that's ok.  Latin is one of those classes.  Don't ask.  I'm also taking an argumentative writing class in which the semester long topic  Don't ask about that, either.

Work:  I still work in retail and people are still stupid.  But I want to relate this particular story and also point out that I never get the good customers like this lady.  This is, sadly a story that was told to me but it did happen in the store that I work in so I feel connected somehow.  A lady came in and asked my friend about the DVD The Walking Dead (for those of you living under a rock, The Walking Dead is a show that airs on AMC about zoooooombies.  Ergo, it is awesome).  My friend showed her the DVD and asked the woman if she had ever seen it.  The woman said no, she had not.  My friend said, "Oh, it's really good.  It's based in Atlanta."  And the woman said (I am not making this up):  "So it really happened?" This is where my friend and I differ because she was nice enough to tell the woman that no, it did not really happen whereas I would have taken the opportunity to run with that like it was the olympic freakin' torch.  Did it really happen? Are you asking me if there were really zombies in Atlanta? Zombies.  Yes, ma'am.  It was horrible.  

Home:  I still live out in the woods.  I had a crazypsychobitch roommate (I only call her that because that was what everyone else called her and it also happens to be true) but she moved out, relieving me of only some of my things and my other two nice roommates found a cheaper place so I'm left with one roomie and I'm hoping if I feed him well and give him clean water he will stick around and pay the rent and the utilities.

And that's it.  I have to say that I loved doing the tags for this post.