Thursday, January 31, 2008

more car kerfuffle + January media update

So yesterday I wrote my note to Douchenozzle saying, basically, that I deny any and all responsibility for his alleged damages and to contact his own insurance company to get his car fixed. I made three copies, put them inside my purse, and tried to concentrate on my work.

When I got home, I saw Douchenozzle's car...but it wasn't parked in his spot! No, he was parked in someone else's spot. (Not sure how that's kosher, but my guess is that he figured out which one belongs to the apartment below me, which has been vacant for a couple of months now, and decided to park there to stay away from me, the Alleged Dreaded Door Dinger.) I know for a fact that it's his car, because he has paper dealer plates (and has for at least six months now, which strikes me as a bit odd), so I went over to take a look at this damage.

I saw nada.

Now, granted, it was dark and the light in the parking area isn't very bright, so that doesn't really mean anything. I'll just have to try to get a look at his car in the daytime, which might prove difficult as I never SEE his car in the daytime.

Anyway, so I took a copy of the note I'd written earlier, along with a copy of HIS note, and enclosed them in an envelope with my rent check. I added an explanation for my landlady's benefit, stressing that I just wanted her to be aware of the situation, and tossed the envelope into the mail slot of the office door.

Then I took my note to Douchenozzle, taped it to his door, and ran like hell. Call me a coward, but I don't want to deal with this guy face to face at night, by myself. No freakin' way.

I went back in my apartment and called G. The man deserves a medal, because I basically lost my shit. He listened patiently, gently talked me down when I got too hysterical/paranoid, and offered sage advice.

Halfway through our conversation, there was a knock on my door, and I froze in place. I scurried to my bedroom and hissed, "G, I think he's here!"

"Just stay calm, and don't answer the door," G said.

When I figured it was safe, I opened the front door and found a note taped to it. In a nutshell, Douchenozzle said I had to have done it because the scratches are teal-colored, and my car is teal.

...okay. Granted, if there are teal-colored scratches on his car, that's pretty damning, especially since that isn't the most common color for a car. But I still maintain that there is either no damage whatsoever, or it's so minor (because, as I said, I have never slammed my door into his car) that it could probably be wiped off with a spit-covered pinky. And if it turns out that there is damage that came from my car, however inadvertently and however minor, then I will take legal and moral responsibility. But I need some fucking PROOF first.

Anyway, he goes on to say that it better be solved or he'll take me to small claims court.

Commence a new outpouring into poor G's already-soggy ear.

So I’ve handed this ugly situation over to my insurance and I’ll let them take it from here. Whichever way it pans out, at least I fought the good fight.

This is as good a time as any to thank all of you for your calls and e-mails. Extra-special thanks go to K, who not only offered claims advice, but offered to come over and look at the damage with me so I don't have to face this guy alone. She even said she'd bring DJ, who's a pussycat, but a big enough guy to be intimidating to those who don't know that. Thanks also go to C and M, who also offered to be there for any face-to-face interactions, and to G, whose patience will be amply rewarded when I see him again.

This isn't the worst thing that's ever happened to me by a long shot; it's not even the worst thing that's happened to me this MONTH. (That would be Padre and my brother undergoing heart and cancer surgery respectively.) I’ve survived much worse and I’ll survive this too. Even though this sucks and I'm so stressed out I've barely eaten for the last two days---and you know how much I love my kibble---at least I can take comfort in the fact that I have such awesome people backing my play.

Because I spent THREE WEEKS without G this month, my media consumption went through the roof. Had to keep my mind off his absence somehow...

As always, asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall: In 1928 China, a young Russian woman falls in love with a Chinese man, which leads to all sorts of complications. It's basically a slightly more literate romance novel, but it was a fun read. I still don't understand the title, though, since the only real concubines in the book are all Chinese.

2. Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki: A family saga about three generations of an Indian family whose constant lies eventually catch up with them. I enjoyed it up until the last fifty pages or so, when everything starts wrapping up in a far too convenient fashion.

3. The Observations* by Jane Harris: In 1863, a young Scottish girl begins working as a maid for a woman who insists that she keep a journal of her daily activities and private thoughts. Eventually tiring of this, the girl plays a prank on her mistress that has horrifying consequences. I'm a sucker for good historical fiction, and this certainly fit the bill. As a bonus, there was a scene that freaked my shit out and made me sleep with the covers over my head.

4. Ai no Kusabi: Stranger by Reiko Yoshihara: I just about sprayed 'em when I found out that this novel had been licensed and translated in the US, as it's the basis for my all-time favorite anime OAV. The plot is way too complex to go into detail here, so I'll sum it up thusly: imagine Romeo and Juliet, only with two dudes, on another planet. It's pretty badly written, but I'm still going to snap up part 2 as soon as it's released. (Not sure why they decided to chop it up into three separate volumes; either it's so complicated to translate that they need additional time, or they want to squeeze as much money out of the fangirls as possible. I'm betting 10% the former and 90% the latter.)

5. Heroes: Saving Charlie by Aury Wallington: Basically 250 pages of fanfiction. It's mildly entertaining, but only the most rabid Heroes fans should bother, and even they should probably find something better to do.

6. The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum: I've wanted to read this for years, and now that I finally have, I'm kind of sorry I did. It has nothing to do with the writing, which is quite good, but with the subject matter; it's based on the Sylvia Likens murder. A horror story in the truest sense of the word, this book made me feel tired, sickened, and very, very sad.

7. Duma Key* by Stephen King: After a horrific accident that leaves him maimed and prone to fits of rage that end his marriage, Edgar Freemantle moves to Florida and begins to paint. To his surprise, even though his previous artistic experience consists of "doodles on a notepad while waiting on hold", he creates gorgeous paintings that inspire both awe and dread in those who view them. Then it becomes clear that the paintings have a special power, and things take a very dark turn indeed. It takes a while to get to the truly unnerving stuff, but this is a great book. Stephen King has always been hit or miss, but Duma Key is a definite hit.


1. My Lobotomy* by Howard Dully: After the author's mother died when he was a kid, his father remarried a woman who brought new meaning to the term "evil stepmother". She was abusive, both physically and verbally, and she and Dully were always at odds. She began looking around for a doctor who would take her point of view, and eventually she met Dr. Walter Freeman, who was a bit too enthusiastic about performing so-called "ice pick" lobotomies. At the age of twelve, Dully was lobotomized, and spent the next few decades in and out of mental hospitals and group homes. Eventually, he decided to dig a little deeper into the reasons for his surgery. Truly compelling and disturbing.

2. Baby Love by Rebecca Walker: A very touching (but not in a barfy Lifetime movie way) pregnancy memoir.


1. Batman: The Killing Joke* by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
2. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
3. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood* by Marjane Satrapi
4. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return* by Marjane Satrapi
5. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno


1. The Nanny Diaries: A young woman lands a job as a nanny for the parents from hell. A complete waste of time and talent; the book is much better.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: My expectations for this movie could not have been lower, since I heard it was terrible, but it was actually pretty entertaining. Sure, the plot was goofy and at least an hour could have been trimmed from the running time, but I enjoyed it.

3. I Am Legend*: After a "miracle" vaccine for cancer kills most of its recipients and turns the rest into bloodthirsty mutants, Will Smith tries to survive long enough to find a cure. Some of the CGI is dicey---oy, those lions!---but it's a gripping thriller. Jesus, the scene where he's looking for his dog in a dark building left my fingernails bitten to the quick.

4. Eastern Promises*: A midwife accidentally gets tangled up with the Russian mob when she tries to track down the family of a dead teenage girl. A smart, engrossing drama with typically excellent performances by Viggo Mortensen and my eternal girlcrush Naomi Watts. (Confidential to film directors: I greatly approve of full-frontal Viggo, but I would prefer that he not be covered in blood and bad tattoos at the time, as it takes a bit of the buzz out of my bloomers. Many thanks!)

5. 3:10 to Yuma: Desperate for money, a rancher agrees to escort an outlaw to a train heading for the Yuma prison. I was kind of fidgety during the first 90 minutes or so, but it really picked up near the end, and Russell Crowe and Christian Bale are great.

6. The Bourne Supremacy: Not as good as the first one, but there's one hell of a car chase near the end. Now that I've caught up on its predecessors, I'm looking forward to seeing the third installment.

7. Juno*: A teenage girl finds out that she's pregnant, and she decides to give the baby up for adoption. That's the general plot, but I don't want to give too much away because this movie really deserves to be seen. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and Ellen Page is phenomenal as wisecracking Juno. I had pretty lofty expectations for this movie because I loved Candy Girl, by screenwriter Diablo Cody, so much; I'm pleased to report that they were met.

8. Atonement*: A young girl, misunderstanding an intercepted note and a lover's tryst she witnesses, tells a lie that irrevocably changes three lives forever. Powerfully acted Oscar bait with a truly heartbreaking ending.

9. The Kite Runner: This could easily have been titled Atonement as well, because it's about a young Afghani man who tries to make up for a terrible moment in his childhood when he failed to protect his best friend. It's good, but the book is MUCH better. Example (SPOILER ALERT): when Sohrab shoots the bad guy in the eye and he and Amir manage to escape a group of angry, armed Taliban members. In the book, it was dramatic as hell; in the movie, I kept expecting the Benny Hill theme to kick in on the soundtrack.

10. No Country for Old Men*: A man stumbles across a drug deal gone wrong, and when he finds a briefcase full of cash, he takes it. This gets a very, very bad man (the utterly terrifying Javier Bardem) on his trail. A fantastic movie, although the last five minutes or so gave me a serious case of the WTFs.

11. Untraceable: Diane Lane plays an FBI agent who discovers a website run by a serial killer who posts live videos of his victims; the more people that log on to the site, the quicker they die. Basically the same ol' torture porn with a classier cast. Whichever reviewer is quoted on the poster as saying this is the new Silence of the Lambs should be horsewhipped. I should have known I'd hate it when the opening scene showed a kitten being tortured to death.

Side note: When I was leaving the theater, I overheard a woman say to her boyfriend, "I wonder what it says about me that I was way more upset over the kitten being killed than the people?" I don't know, but I certainly felt that way too!


1. "Toxic" by Britney Spears: When I was reading about the standoff at Britney's house, I began thinking, "Damn, 'Toxic' really is a damn good song," so I downloaded it. It's also one of the best songs to play in Taiko Drum Master.

2. "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones: Even though the lyrics are pretty misogynistic, this is my favorite Stones song.

3. Silent Hill Origins (soundtrack)

4. "Big Shot" by Billy Joel

5. "Emotional Rescue" by the Rolling Stones

6. "Rush Hour" by Jane Wiedlin

7. "Love U More" by Sunscreem