Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

I hope everybody had a wonderful Easter. More appropriately, I hope you enjoyed your day off gorging on ham, potato salad, and fountains of endlessly flowing chocolate. Although I'm a little too old for egg hunting, I did chase a bunch of hoodlums through the neighborhood with a BB-gun. Baby Jesus would have been proud, since I had originally given it up for lent.

Over the past few years I've become one of those Holiday Catholics. You know, the people that only go to church on Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, and so forth. The thing is, I sort of slipped away from Catholicism many years ago and started going to a non denominational church where they sing happy music and every one's always so happy to see you, and they have a happy choir, and a happy band, and the Pastor smiles, and people talk, and there are no paintings of Jesus, or Mary, but if there were any, I'm sure they'd be happy too. I was shocked when I first walked into one of these brightly lit, so called churches to see people talking, smiling, clapping, and singing. What the hell is going on here, I remember thinking. Why aren't these heathens spontaneously combusting into flames for these acts of sacrilege? And where is Jesus? Who stole Jesus?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Catholic churches and ceremonies, it is quite the opposite, particularly if you are from Latin America. Let me explain, I'm sure you've all heard of the infamous Catholic Guilt. Well, Hispanics are infamous for adding a little flare to things, as I'm sure you are aware (Who do you think invented spinning rims?). When you go to a Hispanic mass, you are made to feel that you were the one who just killed Jesus. The churches are large cathedrals decorated with somber remembrances of Christ. Every depiction is of him either on his way to crucifixion, or the brutal sanguinary act itself. Jesus is almost always bleeding, and there's always a good one, or two, of Mary holding his lifeless body after he had just died and been stabbed in the side with a spear for good measure. It is always extremely quiet and hundreds of candles adorn the entire church, but mostly at the feet of statues or in designated areas where people are encouraged to light more candles and pray. Usually the only uplifting paintings are symbolically on the ceiling or stained glass windows high along the towering walls. The artwork in these places is out of this world, but so are the attempts to instill copious amounts of guilt and fear. Also, there is never any air conditioning, so you go in your Sunday best to sweat like a whore in church (how convenient). I often wonder if that effect had more to do with strategy than economy.

With all these practices, images, and traditions so intimately interwoven into my religious upbringing and branded to memory, it's no wonder my affair with another religion didn't last very long. I suppose I either became too guilty, or became increasingly suspicious of all the damn happiness. Surely, something was awry, nobody can be happy all the time. And electric guitars? Gimme a break, a dead giveaway of Satan's work. I never did get to the bottom of why lightning bolts didn't rain from the sky to disintegrate all those happy do gooders, but I'm sure they'll get theirs eventually.

My issues with the Catholic Church are probably similar to most people's, like confession, praying to saints, and priests not being able to marry. I have to admit though, I never really believed in those things anyway (well, confession yes, but not to strangers). I guess I've always known that your relationship with God isn't dependent upon those traditions, so following them was never a necessity for me.

Needless to say, I'm still looking for a cult a church with the right combination of good natured people with common sense and an understanding that faith is not defined by anyone other than yourself, and certainly not by tradition, sex deprived pedophiliacs, or a bunch of dudes in funny hats who are more concerned with politics (or who has a bigger hat). Whether you call it salvation or enlightenment, we all have an innate and undeniable desire for our spirits to want a connection with their origin and each other. And I believe that that origin is Love, which many people refer to as God. It's really funny to me that people spend so much time looking for God when he already resides in all of us. When asked if he had found Jesus, Forrest Gump replied, "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him". I couldn't have put it any better Forrest, funny how the mind can get in the way sometimes.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pet Peeve #66

I’m not really sure what the appeal is with this next pet peeve, but I am about fed up with flipping through magazines and seeing advertisements with models in midair as if to say that you’ll be part of some elite flying society of pretty preppy people for buying their clothes. Everywhere I look; it’s an athlete, an actress, a dancer, a fucking baby suspended in air like they took Willy Wonka’s fizzy lifting drink. We are not a kingdom of winged animals, fairies, or wizards with powers of levitation. Are they trying to convince me that these clothes make you feel weightless? What in the hell does that even mean?

While we’re at it, can someone please put a bullet in that SubWay jack ass Jared? Not only do I have to see him on TV with his pants that are big enough to be a parachute for a hippo, but now I have the eye-raping pleasure of seeing his former fat ass with no personality in my beloved magazines doing Got Milk ads. What ever happened to real celebrities? Did they stop drinking milk? Is everybody sucking on the soy titty now?

I also can’t stand men’s cologne ads, particularly the ones by the company whose name starts with a “D” and sounds like “Weasel”. Now, I’m not sure exactly who they think is buying their hog piss toilet water, but rest assured, having sweaty half naked men with poorly contrived attempts at seduction on the page is not making me rush out to buy any. What ever happened to spraying a little bit in a neatly folded flap and letting us get a whiff? At the very least, put a damn girl in the picture. We’ll more readily believe cologne will help us get her than make us look like Tom Brady.

One more thing I need to get off my chest during this blood boiling rhetoric is American Idol. More specifically, the necessity to stretch an elimination day into an hour long show. They do this by making the persons being sent home sing the song they sang the night before, that made people want for them to be sent home to begin with. I have two problems with this: 1) I have to hear them butcher the song again with another pain staking performance reminding me why I hated them so much and 2) the last thing I’m sure they want to do is have to keep their composure while singing a song after hearing the news that 20 million people think they suck and would rather eat fire than have to hear them sing anymore. If Ryan asked me to sing after being cut, I would tell him to shove that microphone where I'm sure he likes it.

I have a few more gripes, but I’m getting a little tired . . . . . So, same time tomorrow?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No Country For Old Men

I'm the type of guy that's never really at a loss for words. Sure, there are times when I've spat some quick witted retort and shortly afterward thought of something a bit more clever to say, but I'm rarely ever left without at least something to be expressed. Until today that is. Today, I was rendered absolutely and unequivocally speechless. "What could possibly have accomplished this seemingly impossible feat?", I hear you asking yourselves. Well, my fickle fans, the answer is 60 yr. old v-jayjay. My day had started like any other, but certainly ended the way a Vietnam vet living in a retired community at Bingo night might want it to.

An older woman came in today looking for relief of lower back pain, after having spent all weekend chasing three grandchildren around. Towards the end of the 80 minute massage, I was doing some leg manipulations to stretch her lower back muscles and free up her hip joint. The final stretch required that I cross one leg across the body and over the other leg. From the opposite side of the table, I apply downward pressure on the knee, creating a magnificent pain relieving stretch. Getting out of the stretch is the tricky part, but that's why I get paid the big bucks. So, as I was going back around the table to return the client's leg to it's starting position, she had the brilliant idea to release the snug draping of the sheet from her grasp and place her leg back on her own volition, before I could get back around the table. Well, as you can already imagine, before I had the opportunity to stop her, she had flashed me her elderly vagina in all of it's time weathered glory.

Thank God the lights were dimmed, for it might have taken years and multiple laser surgeries to return my corneas to normal. I am however, going to need at least a little time to recover. I'm thinking a few days rest and maybe hypnosis therapy should do the trick. And I'm so filing for Workman's Comp.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jurassic Park

You will never believe what I saw at the gym this weekend, an object of antiquity that personifies obsolescence in its purest form, a dinosaur amongst men. A fellow gym patron walked by and as he passed I noticed there was Walkman strapped snugly around his waist, as if proudly on display.

Can you believe that shit? I haven’t seen one of these fossils since, oh I don’t know, the 80’s. The contraption was so enormous, that it had to be tied to this guy’s abdomen by some gigantic neoprene strap with Velcro, resembling more of a corset than anything else. He may as well have walking around with a Boom Box on his shoulder? What the hell is next, fanny packs and calculator watches? Seriously, where does one even find a fucking Walkman? A Betamax would probably fly out of my ass before I could locate one of these relics. Even homeless people own Discmans. Now, in no way am I implying that you need to run out and by yourself an Mp3 player, but holy shit, if strapping an 8 track player to your body is going to be the only way you get to enjoy Gladys Knight and the Pips, I think I have a Best Buy gift card lying around from Christmas that I’ll gladly donate.

Unless you work at a technology museum, or stumbled across a time capsule, there is no reason why you should be caught dead in public with a Walkman. Have some fucking decency.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Rock

My first appointment today was a Hot Stone massage. After asking the client a few questions about what she wanted and describing the process of the massage, I quickly realized that this wasn't what she was looking for. It would help if a thorough overview of our massage services were included in the training of the front desk girls. It seems that the only prerequisite for their employment is being cute and having big boobs. I guess I really can't be too mad.

The client concluded that since she had never received a Hot Stone massage before, she thought it would be nice to go ahead and proceed. Yipee. During the massage, I figured it might be helpful to give you guys a little rundown about zee Hot Stonez.

A Hot Stone massage is a deeply soothing and relaxing massage that increases circulation and releases tight muscles. (They are extremely helpful for people with arthritis or joint pain.) The stones are usually Basalt, black volcanic rocks that retain heat very well. Basically the massage strokes are Swedish in nature (superficial, slow, and long gliding strokes) with the stones either being held in the therapists hands, or placed along certain areas of the body. A skilled therapist will incorporate both techniques.

Although most schools teach the use of hot stones, unless their students received actual Massage Degrees, I can guarantee that not enough time was spent learning the intricacies of this modality. I highly recommend that you find someone who either has a degree, (a degree program usually dedicates at least a week to stone work) or has been certified through a nationally recognized workshop. I had a decent dose of training in school, but sought certification afterwards. So many more variables in this method of work, make it difficult to master and easy to do poorly. Since this type of massage requires retrieving stones, placing them on the body, and incorporating them with the use of your hands, timing and flow is essential. An inexperienced practitioner will either use stones that are too hot, leave them out to cool for too long, or not place them along the right paths on the body.

Also, I would not recommend that you get one of these unless the massage is 70 to 80 minutes long. Anything shorter, doesn't allow for thorough stone work because some time is wasted moving to/from the warmer, fishing out stones, and placing/removing them from the body. Also you want enough time for the body to absorb the rock's heat. Most Spas start all their massage services at the top of the hour, which means that instead of a full hour, you receive 50 minutes of actual hands on time. The other ten minutes are intended for asking you questions about your health and what areas you'd like extra focus on, and for changing sheets, washing hands, etc. For some retarded reason, my spa also offers a 50 minute Hot Stone Massage. This is a disgrace, because I'm pressed to give you in 50 minutes what it normally takes, at the very least, 70 minutes to do. I mean, I know I'm good, but being rushed sucks ass.

Whatever you do, don't ever get a 50 minute Hot Stone Massage if you want to not only experience the true essence of the massage, but also reap all of it's wonderful benefits.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Italian Job

I am proud to report that on Tuesday my best friend G-money and I went on a little adventure of sorts. It had been a while since our last. His bachelor party to be exact.

So, G-money used to date this girl who we shall call . . . . . . . The Whore. They met in college, sparks flew, [Insert finger in mouth now] and blah blah blah. Well, six years went by, they were engaged, and things were seemingly pleasant and tranquil, but unbeknownst to my boy G, The Whore had been mischievously devising the most evil and sinister plan known to mankind. [insert villainous laugh] She claimed to be taking on baby sitting gigs for friends, as a front for her prostitution ring. Over time, however, G-money became suspicious of his partner’s irregularly late hours, lack of deposits, and general disdain for children. The Whore was getting sloppy and G-money’s curiosity began to get the better of him.

One stormy night, G-money decided to go to the house where The Whore claimed to be looking after little snot-faced life suckers, and guess what he saw?. . . . . . . . . . . .Nothing! That’s right, he found nothing. No cars, no kids, not even a damn light on in the house. No baked cookies, no toys on the lawn, and no fingerprints anywhere. (G-money is very thorough) Thinking perhaps that The Whore may have taken the children out for ice cream, or to the nearest overpass, he decided to come back later, but not before driving around to the houses of known accomplices. Long story short, he found the Ho-bag’s car at some dude’s house, while she was inside giving him the red light special. He later confronted her, only to find out that she didn’t care that he knew about her infidelity. She continued her slut dealings, quite openly mind you, until their lease had ended. When the time came, I helped him move into his new bachelor pad, and for months he ate pizza and slept on his couch with a PlayStation controller tightly in his grasp.

G-money went on to become very successful at his job, eventually found the woman of his dreams, and recently married her. I was the best man at his wedding, but I’ll have to tell you about that some other time. For now, you should know that My buddy cosigned on a car purchase with The Whore, that she kept after their separation, but conveniently stopped making payments on. He found this out when bad people contacted him about his credit, wanting over 6 months worth of payments. The Whore had disappeared, moving her operations north and was exploiting the fact that G-money was a co-signer. He not only had to bring the car current, but was also forced to continue making payments for the next two years. That is correct, this bitch drove HIS shit around for two years, without so much as sending a thank you card, or a mint.

Eventually, the current wife had seen enough and encouraged forced her man to hire a detective to find his free loading ho-face ex girlfriend. The first one came up with nada, but the second, a former CIA and FBI operative, finally discovered the Tramp’s whereabouts. That brings us to a phone call I received three days ago:

“Brown, I need you to take off tomorrow . . . . . . I found her”, he said excitedly.

“What? Shut the fuck up! Dude, I need more notice than that, but I’ll see what I can do. What am I taking off for?” I asked.

“Well, my Private Investigator found out where The Whore works and I’m driving there to get my shit. I need you for protection . . . . . . . . and to drive it back. She’s a little over two hours away”

“Say no more, I’ll meet you at your place tomorrow morning. Have some snacks ready . . . . .She’ll never know what hit her! Wait, do I need to bring camouflage and face paint?”

“Ha, ha . . . that would be funny, but no. Your browness should do just fine.”

“Word, just checking”

This brings us to Tuesday. I met G-money at his mansion and after my short briefing on our stealth mission, dubbed “Operation: I’m Taking My Shit Back Bitch”, we began our long drive through Maryland to Delaware to meet the Detective and the gun-toting tow truck guy. After meeting The Detective at the most ghetto Dunkin Donuts in North America, we slipped him an envelope with unmarked bills, and planned the reconnaissance phase of our plan. We were then escorted to the insertion point (The Whore's work) to get a visual on our objective. There she was. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was snugly parked between two cars on the far end of a private parking lot. No hostiles were in sight, but the position of the jeep had me concerned as to whether or not it could even be retrieved. Like ninjas in the night, we doubled back to the ghetto Dunkin Donuts and waited for Jimmy, our no-nonsense, Hell's Angel, towing guru. When Jimmy and his tattoos arrived, we briefed him on the situation and he assured us that after 30 years as a repot man, he could tow anything from anywhere. I was inclined to believe him and not just because he had a bald head and a white goatee, but because of the twinkle in his one real eye.

Jimmy followed us, and when we arrived, we let him loose like you would a pair of angry Rottweilers on a burglar. The crazy bastard was right, with a surgeon's preciseness he worked his car ganking skills like a seasoned vet. It was a pleasure watching him work. Within minutes he had secured our objective, but his inconspicuous vehicle had alerted the enemy to his presence. The owner of the company to where the Whore worked, had come out to question the activities that were taking place on his "private property". Because this was no ordinary repot, Jimmy didn't have legal documents justifying the repossession, so he gave us the signal (we chose a double earlobe tug and flip of his eye patch) and G-money and I sprung from our hideout, running across the lot with documents in hand. After a few questions were answered, we were given the green light to continue our mission. We could see The Whore from the glass doors of the lobby, where she hid, refusing to come out, or to sign the power of attorney. No matter, having seen how fat she had become and having seen the expression on her face when she saw us, we'd gotten everything we'd come for.

Shortly after the anti-climactic event, we had the car taken to the nearest Jeep dealership, where G-money was financially raped for a new key to be made. To calm him down, I told him I was positive that the key had to be crafted by a Russian engineer using remnants of a NASA satellite. Once the key making phase had been completed, we had to disinfect the car, which The Whore left in disgusting conditions, and meet his over-priced lawyer on the way out of the projects back to the lovely suburbs of D.C. A few hours later, our operation was finally complete. We debriefed over dinner and a few beers, laughing about the day's events and imagining when our next adventure would arise.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Point Of No Return

I had six clients on Sunday, following a night of sleeplessness and as I was elbow deep in my last slab of flesh, watching the minutes going by slower than a turtle on heroin wading through molasses, I got to thinking that I should probably share a little nugget of priceless info; turtles would never ever ever, be wading through molasses and if you want to get the best a masseuse has to offer, I recommend that you don't schedule your appointment at the end of the day. Particularly if you want deep tissue work and the therapist you are choosing has previously worked on an entire baseball team earlier that day. It's not brain science my insightful followers, people get tired.

We all have limits, and although I do know a couple of psychotic therapists who do 8 or more in a day, I don't like to do more than 6. Although I'm very physically fit and strong enough to crush your skull, (with my biceps) or bench a mini cooper, I also have some seriously dainty wrists. Yeah, you read correctly. I said it. I have girly wrists and if I did 8 massages every day, my hands would fall the fuck off.

I am capable of doing more, but I feel that when I exceed six, I'm no longer working at optimum levels. Body work is not only physically demanding, but it also drains you mentally and being mentally sharp has many more benefits than just being able to remember what you had for breakfast. Of course if you're getting a great therapist, you're going to get great work regardless of when the appointment is. But to get that person's absolute best, you may want to consider that your service provider will be properly warmed up after their first and a little fatigued by their last.

Although we try to avoid not being prepared, we are only human and invariably suffer the same pitfalls you do at your job. We can come to work late, hungover, sleep deprived, or having missed breakfast. Some of us are early risers, and some of us need a jack and coke caffeine I.V. to get going. There are weekend warriors, and those of us who work 5 or 6 days a week. All of us have different strengths and weaknesses, backgrounds, personalities, and skill levels. Choosing wisely may mean the difference between a wonderful massage . . . . . . . and the perfect one.

So, as convenient and tempting as it may be to grab that last spot of the day, ask yourself exactly what your looking for and if you'll get there with someone, who to say the least, can't wait to get the hell home.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pet Peeve #27

I absolutely can't stand when people keep their eyes open during a massage, looking around or staring at the ceiling like a corpse. Some clients up the weird factor when they stare right at you. That shit creeps me the hell out. It reminds me of that one painting of Jesus my mom had in the stairwell of our house when I was growing up. You know the one I'm talking about, where Jesus is holding up the piece sign with one hand, while his heart is on fire and he looks all tired and dehydrated like he just walked for 40 days in the desert, in those wretched leather sandals with no arch support. Yeah, that one. Anyway, I used to swear that the eyes in that painting would follow me around like the haunted house paintings in the Scooby Doo Cartoons. Not cool.

Do yourself, and your therapist a favor, keep your peepers closed. I'm not saying it's not cool to take in your surroundings, or glance at your therapist from time to time. But really, let's leave the staring for when we're at the club. Besides, I cut some mean rug.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Batteries Not Included

I worked on Paul Bunyan today. He didn't have a blue bull with him, but he did have a battery in his ass. I kid you not, this mammoth man had a battery "in-side" his ass. All up in his ass. Apparently, one day his spinal cord decided to randomly start sending electrical impulses directly to one of his testicles causing excruciating pain. (If given the choice, something tells me he would have opted for the bull)

So, after finding the only neurosurgeon on the planet who specializes in exploding testicles, it is determined that a battery should be installed in his right buttock that will send it's own electrical impulse to his spine, overriding his body's attempt to detonate one of his family jewels like a gonad grenade. Well, this braniac doctor in all his infinite wisdom, decided to not only shove an iPod in this guys ass, but failed to secure it firmly in his butt cheek, causing it to "float" up past his waistline into his lower back. Consequently, they had to go back in to sew the metal plate in place. You'll love this part. As if this guy hadn't gone through enough shit already, when it came time for this thing to be replaced, Mr. rent-a-surgeon decided that watching the next episode of House was way more important than taking the time to sew the alternate device in place. Guess what happened next? Bingo! They had to cut his ass up a fourth time to prevent this battery, that is the size of a cell phone mind you, from going God knows where in the future. At least the doctor had the presence of mind to use the same location to go back in.

Right when you think you've seen it all . . .

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Minority Report

Mainly because I have nothing better to do at two o'clock in the morning than kill zombies, I thought I'd compile a a list of my top ten pet peeves with performing massage.

1. The number one customer complaint about a massage is that the pressure was too much, or not enough. I can't tell you how many times I hear a client say that somebody practically beat them up, or they barely felt anything at all. That means when I ask you if it's too deep or too light, you better speak up. Otherwise, I'm going to assume that the pressure is perfect and I'm the best you've ever had.

2. Timeliness. This my friends, is a HUGE one. Don't be late for an appointment. Nothing screams more to me that you don't give a shit about my time or the other six clients I have for the rest of the day, than you showing up even five minutes late. You still need to make it to the dressing room, change into a robe and slippers, and you'll probably want to drink some water and use the bathroom. I understand that things do happen, but unless a meteor burned a hole through your windshield causing you to arrive on foot, or you ran a bus full of deaf school children off a bridge into a large body of water with an aggressive current, I don't want to hear it. There are multiple reasons we ask that you show up 15 minutes early; drink some exotic tea, wash your nasty booty, or just lounge around and unwind until it's your turn for a blissful retreat. Don't put me in a position where I have to cut your session short, because nobody benefits from that. (especially not me) However, if you are going to be late, please call ahead, I just might be able to work something out. I'm cool like that. And if you don't think you're going to show at all, let me know as early as possible so that someone else can take your spot. Time is money, and I'm not above charging your credit card.

3. The aforementioned booty cleaning is a perfect segway into this next pet peeve. Please take a shower if you've just recently worked out, shit yourself, or have been rolling around in dead animal carcasses. No amount of Peppermint or Eucalyptus oil is going to mask your nasty fermented ass stench. I don't get paid enough to smell your funk for an hour, much less for 90 minutes. Don't worry, I promise to return the favor.

4. Relax! Nothing is more annoying than trying to massage you while you're tense and your muscles are contracted. I understand it may be difficult to do so while a sexy brown man is rubbing you with hot cream in a dark room, but please do your best. I guarantee you'll have a much more enjoyable experience if you just let go. Relaxation is usually the reason why you come to see me to begin with. So, if you have trust issues with men, or have been abused physically in the past, you'd probably be better off with a female therapist. You won't hurt my feelings, plenty of women prefer the stronger touch of a man anyway, so it evens out. If you have difficulty relaxing on a massage table, than you definitely need a different kind of therapist.

5. If you have Cholera, West Nile, Whooping Cough, SARS, Bubonic Plague, the Bird Flu, or a rash, STAY THE HELL HOME. Not only do I not want what you have, but neither does the rest of the spa. Besides, it's difficult to enjoy a massage if you have a chronic cough or need to blow your nose every two minutes. I don't do it, neither should you.

6. I will be grateful if you would shave, wax, or laser, prior to coming to see me. Keep in mind most massage strokes are centripetal, or towards the heart. Which means my hands are going against the grain when I work on your legs. I'd prefer not to bloody my hands on your Ginsu blade stubble if at all possible. (don't act like we don't notice) You'll enjoy the smoother feel too, trust me. Just something to keep in mind.

7. Try not to wear tons of jewelry that I'm only going to ask that you remove anyway. I doubt you'll be auditioning for a rap video and it's only going to get in the way. I get it, you have money. This is me not giving a shit. If you must bring it, leave it in the locker room 50 Cent.

8. If you have long hair, bring a damn hair clip or rubber band of some sort, especially if yours is particularly thick or possesses a mind of it's own. Having to move your disheveled Beyonce mane out of my way every few minutes is only going to disrupt the flow of my techniques and eventually piss me off. I hate Beyonce.

9. Cell phones are not allowed in the spa, especially not during the session. If you're having difficulty parting with your phone for an hour, I know some people that can help you with separation issues.

10. One of the main reasons people come to the spa is to rid themselves of drama, tension, and stress. I'm more than willing to help, but not if that means your going to pass it on to me. I'm a good listener and I'll play along for a little while, but unless we're friends I don't want to hear about how you plan on leaving your husband, how much you hate your co-workers, and certainly not how much you lost in the stock market. However, if you hate your daughter's current boyfriend, I'm all ears.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Meet Joe Black

I've been meaning to incorporate a weekly Movie Review segment in my blog, but being that I wouldn't be getting paid, it all just seems like a lot of work really. And as much as I may like most of you, I don't feel as though I need a part time job at the moment. So, in lieu of having some formal weekly column, I'll try to review them as regularly as possible in hopes of saving you from foolishly wasting your money on going to the theatre to watch crap. Who knows, after awhile, you may be inclined to just give me the money instead.

Although I've been slacking on the movie watching as of late, I've also been putting in double time furiously trying to catch up. Not only do I subscribe to Netflix but I occasionally roll into the local Block Buster to flirt with the hot assistant manager rent the flicks that flew under the radar. Keeping me from staying on top of new releases is a disorder I developed as a child that forces me to watch classics on cable regardless of how many times their contents have been imprinted to memory. Case in point, I'm watching Unforgiven as I type this. One of Eastood's best by the way, along with Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. I have yet to check out his latest though, Letters from Iwo Jima.

Here's a quick rundown of what's been on my plate: Juno was a cute movie, even funny at times, although I won't be buying the soundtrack any time soon. And by that I mean I'd prefer to hear epileptic whales having sex for two hours. Notes on a Scandal was intriguingly good and both Kate Blanchett and Judi Dench were brilliant as usual. Hands down though, Daniel Day-Lewis delivered the best acting performance of the entire year in There will Be Blood, but this movie is definitely not every one's cup of tea. If you're not into "artistic" pieces or can sit through an entire stage play, skip this one. I rented Gone Baby Gone a few weeks ago, and I thought it was fantastic even though Ben Affleck was in the director's chair! Very Mystic River-ish with a nice twist. Definitely worth renting. I'm half way through Vovler (that foreign flick with Penelope Cruz) and lying next to my DVD player is Michael Clayton which I also hope to knock out by tomorrow. Among some of the movies on their way are: No Country For Old Men, Into The Wild, Eastern Promises, Elizabeth; The Golden Years, and Saving Ryan's Privates.

By the way, if you want advice on a great rental I have just the movie for you. Despite being out for a while, a lot of people still don't know about it; Stranger than Fiction. I'm not a huge fan of Will Farrell, but this movie was wonderfully clever and will not disappoint. Happy watching.

That concludes this week's edition of Critic's Corner . . . . if there's something you think I need to watch that's not in my movie que. . . Holla atcha boy! (for those of you who grew up watching John Wayne, that means Let me know)

Pet Peeve #137

This might seem a little strange and even a bit nit picky on some levels, but after dropping the kids off at the pool, nothing is more unraveling to me than reaching for the toilet paper to find that the roll was put on upside down (This of course being a close second to reaching for toilet paper to not find any at all).

I realize it may seem a little peculiar, and why this dishevels my peace of mind so much I don't think I'll ever know. What I do know is that this injustice must be reversed immediately and whosoever dared to disrupt the balance of my universe with such a blatant karmic bitch slap must severely experience my wrath (preferably once my pants are no longer around my ankles). You spit in my face you careless toilet paper replacer and I curse you. May you suffer irreparable nerve damage from a paper cut.

Who dares to do this? This thoughtless crime that should be punishable by nothing less than to be beaten by wet bamboo branches and tortured with having to watch Atonement over and over again. My behind will not be disgraced, nor suffer the fate of being wiped with the wrong side of the TP. The only thing worse is having to wipe our ass with that transparent, public restroom, tracing paper, that once folded over a few times may just as well be a handful of razorblades. I'd rather use a pumice stone my friends, or shards of extremely brittle glass. Just for the record.