The other day I was visited by my neighbor, Dave, delivering another "information packet" to us. I should have just let him leave it on the doorstep, because he insisted on coming in and watching me while I read it. This was exceedingly awkward, as more often than not reading his "literature" is only accomplished with a great deal of eye-rolling.
See, Dave used to be a "consultant" on the Homeowner's Board. He would sit in on meetings, offering suggestions and legal advice, for you see before this he was supposedly a lawyer. Based on the rumors of the irrational, emotional methods he uses to deal with adversity, I'm not really surprised he was disbarred. We heard many tales of him screaming at homeowners for the mildest of infractions and terrorizing neighbors with the tenacity of a pitbull. This sort of thing came in handy when we were united to get rid of Tracey the Crankwhore (he was the one trying to take all the credit
for getting her busted). But then he started to abuse his power. He tried to get the community by-laws changed to reduce the Board to only three members, thinking from there he could then manipulate and scheme to get three members who all agreed with him and did what he said unquestioningly. At one meeting out of the blue he attacked Tery and me specifically by name, complaining about our late payment of HOA fees and that some months "Elaine pays but Tery doesn't" (because sometimes we send just one check and one of us pays the other back), as if this were any of his business and had any bearing whatsoever on anything being discussed at the meetings.
Of course this felt like a slap in the face to us and Tery resigned from the Board shortly thereafter in disgust. Nothing was said, although you better believe the Board received a pretty angry letter from me in our defense, not that it was needed; Dave was being a freelance asshole and not speaking for them. A few months later we were gratified to hear that he was deposed, for what other word can be used to describe it after the tyrannical way he tried to rule the Board? Then a referendum was proposed to turn our community over into the hands of a completely new management company, wiping the slate clean of all the smaller contracts Dave had set up to get the job done. This would also effectively put Dave out of a job (he somehow worked the system such that he could live on his pay as "consultant" as his only income. Smooth. This is why I believe that he used to be a lawyer) and make sure he couldn't come back. Naturally he fought this tooth and nail, and this was the beginning of the "information packets," always delivered silently to our door, probably because he realized we weren't interested in speaking to him. The "literature" was page after page of carefully documented allegations and defamatory statements about the new management company.
I hate to admit that I can be gullible at times (just about anything presented to me in printed black and white looks pretty convincing), so I did my best to get all the facts. I talked to a few of my neighbors about the issue, and unanimously was met with looks of horror and assurances that yes, it was a good thing that Dave was finally gone and no, we absolutely don't want him back. Based on this we cast our vote with confidence and the new company was hired. Dave was OUT.
Unfortunately this gave him lots and lots of free time to sit home and put together still more packets, which he delivered sporadically to our door, full of conspiracy theories and attacking the new company by trying to drum up suspicion and doubt. Too bad (or perhaps very lucky) that he's small-minded enough to only focus this intense activist energy on his immediate surroundings, our tiny community. This is what I mean when I say that we read these things with lots of eye-rolling -- to think that he publishes them under the pretense of being concerned for the well-being of his neighbors, when obviously he has a considerable personal interest in returning things to how they used to be.
So there I stood with this man in my kitchen eagerly watching my face as I read his latest tract. Wanting to get it over with, I scanned through it superficially. He seemed to be complaining about the interminable meth lab cleanup time, something I couldn't agree with more. I wondered briefly why it was any of his concern, living as he does a good three buildings away, but as I've said, Dave is deeply involved with every aspect of the complex, whether he has a right to be or not. I nodded in strategic places, murmuring, "Absolutely" and "I like what you've done here
" (okay, I exagerrate). When I finished he wanted to discuss. It was only then that I slowly came to the realization that he was turning it all on the management company. Claiming that the Whitcombs were doing everything they could to cooperate but the company was inventing excuses to impose more fines and doing everything THEY could to slow the process. In fact, Dave had nothing but sympathy for the poor Whitcombs. Hooo boy, did he pick the wrong house to deliver this to. I smiled and nodded and said whatever I could to placate him and send him on his way. I told Tery about his extreme about-face and her response was a deep sigh and "Any port in a storm, I guess."
The man is clearly insane from not being properly employed for so long. It's like he's staging some kind of coup and trying to gather supporters for the upcoming battle. I can't figure out which is funnier, the fact that he thinks Tery and I have any kind of clout or the fact that he thinks his ulterior motives aren't as plain as the nose on my face.
I am slowly but surely gathering my birthday presents. Since I receive money in lieu of actual gifts from family members who are far too busy to click through a few pages and order from my Amazon wishlist, I must turn around and buy stuff for myself. Pity me. This week I have amassed the complete works of James Lileks
(or the top three at least), the 2-disc unrated extended cut of Underworld
(don't look at me that way, ridiculicious
. We all have our guilty pleasures,) and Neil Gaiman's Mirrormask
. This last was the only thing I asked Tery for, knowing she's too unorganized to order anything online ahead of time and having seen it for sale in Walmart -- easy breezy for her, right? I am ever the considerate birthday girl. She ignored me and instead ordered two Neil Gaiman books (Anansi Boys
) brand new from my wishlist. This displeased me because the only reason I put them on my list was they were really cheap from private sellers. She got them from Amazon though, and paid twice as much as my original request would have cost. Grrrr. Wasteful. But bless her for thinking I'm worth it.
I was terribly excited about Mirrormask
. Written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Dave McKean (and based on his artwork), in collaboration with the Jim Henson Company....a movie tailor-made for me if ever there was one. I expected Labyrinth
only creepier, cleverer, with more mythical references. It is very similar, in storyline at least: young girl voices a foolish wish which of course comes true and she finds herself in another world (thankfully without the squalling infant), compelled into a journey to recover the Mirrormask to set things right. Her companion in this task is Valentine, a masked (everyone in this world wears masks....very symbolic) traveler who is given all the best lines in the movie (for example, my favorite which is also the subject of this post, I loved it so much).
The DVD case is quite right to proclaim it "eye-scorching screen candy" -- once you get past the tedious real world intro and enter the fantasy, it's just like stepping into the pages of a Dave McKean graphic novel. Of course the characters and dialogue are pure Gaiman, and ultimately what makes the movie truly entertaining. It suffers in comparison to Labyrinth
because the puppets I was expecting from Jim Henson were replaced largely with CGI. This in my opinion really removes the sense of menace, i.e. will Helena escape the pack of hungry Sphinxes (Sphinxi?) that surrounds her in the street? Who cares, they're just animated. Hugely disappointing. Which isn't to say there are no startling images in the film. I'll have to watch again to see what exactly is Henson's contribution, because there seemed to be very little live action apart from the principal humans. But when I noticed the key to the Mirrormask more than a little resembled the key to Hell from the Sandman comics, my heart started beating a little faster. There was one scene that made it all worthwhile that was a combination of live action and stop-motion animation, a Marilyn Manson-like video set to a Burt Bacharach song. Ahhhh, only from the mind of Neil Gaiman. And that's the closest thing to a spoiler I'm going to come.
The movie was a treat, perhaps not as complex a story as I hoped, but essential for Gaiman fans. The real treat however is the cornucopia of extras. I suspect the interviews and featurettes combined will run longer than the movie itself. Unfortunately Tery came home just as I got started, so I only got to taste one fingertip's worth of the frosting on this cake. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of them at greater leisure this weekend.
I'm getting really irritated with people online this week, edging towards downright fed up. Every time I make a comment anywhere lately I get 4 complete strangers jumping straight down my throat. Fucking BACK OFF, people. Consequently my comments are getting snippier. The snarry_olympics
are underway, and from where I'm sitting it's not looking so good for Team Angst. The writers have taken the community guidelines straight to heart, "No happy endings," and every fic has ended in misery and tears. But not just misery, I mean abject, irredeemable despair. I like sad endings, but my god. I always have to follow them up with a Team Romance story just to keep from killing myself. No matter, I left a comment on a Romance entry, praising the story overall but offering some tiny constructive criticisms. The author responded, fiercely defending their choices and lamenting that "you can't please everybody" and "not everyone can be as brilliant as you" (I objected to a very clever scene being ruined for me by having it explained later in the story in very stilted, unnecessary dialogue). Apparently some writers only want feedback of the "OMG this was so AWESOME!!!!!" variety. So until I learn how to gush sycophantically like a schoolgirl, I'll just keep my brilliant, critical mouth shut.
Just so as not to end on such a negative, angry note (wouldn't want you to get the wrong impression about me), somewhere between when tickets went on sale (on my birthday, no less) and today I've decided that I HAVE to see NIN at Red Rocks on May 30th. The only problem with this plan is I have no friends in Denver who care enough about them to spend, get this, $85 for a ticket. That's for nosebleeds (or, since the arena is in the mountains, sherpa section). Second row seats? $1,150. Are those AMERICAN dollars? Do those come with dinner and a movie with Trent himself? I say to that, HOLY HOT DAMN.