Saturday, January 24, 2009

Things I still need to get used to

The year is now 2009. That means this decade is almost over and we still haven't figured out what to call it. (The "oughties"? The "noughties"?)

I am 36 years old. It's time to accept that, by most definitions, I can no longer be described as "young."

We have a garden to plant this year. That means that right now, January, is the time when I should be planning it and buying my seeds. I am so not on top of this.

I do not hate the President. It's been so long.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So Crazy It Might Work

The Troll and I are in the process of refinishing our basement. Actually, we've been in the process more or less ever since we bought the house 18 months ago--tearing out paneling, repairing walls and ceilings, installing new lighting. But the current stumbling block is the floor. The floor's not quite level, so carpet, tile, or laminate would require the installation of a subfloor. In addition to the expense, this would eat up about half an inch of space from an already low-ceilinged room, and there might not even be room for it under the baseboard heaters. So my idea was to stain the concrete--until we got around to ripping up the old vinyl floor and saw what the concrete looked like underneath. Not pretty.

So my next thought was to paint the concrete, but I was uncertain about what type of paint to use and how to apply it. I wanted something environmentally benign, not too expensive, and easy to use--and of course, I wanted it to look nice too. Then yesterday I came across this bizarre yet intriguing idea: paper-bag decoupage. Basically, you tear paper bags (or brown kraft paper) into irregular pieces, apply them in overlapping layers to the floor (various sources have suggested using wallpaper paste, water-based polyurethane, or a 50-50 dilution of Elmer's white glue), and seal the whole thing with five or six coats of poly. The finished product has been described as looking like natural stone (but much softer underfoot) or distressed leather. You can apply a stain, too, if you want a color other than the natural brown paper-bag finish.

It sounds crazy, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like exactly what we need. Of course, our grocery store doesn't have paper bags, so we would actually have to buy the paper. But it seems like, for an investment of a day's labor and the cost of a gallon of poly and a roll or two of kraft paper, we could have an attractive floor finish that would also make a great conversation piece. And the beauty part is, if we didn't like it, we could always paint over it, which is what we were planning to do anyway.

So where is the glaring flaw in this plan that I'm overlooking?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An ending less Horrible

OK, this has been bothering me for months now, and it's time to get it off my chest.

I hated, absolutely hated, the ending of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  I realize I'm in the minority on this.  When I visited the official fan site to hear others' reactions, the overwhelming majority were positive.  Many argued that the dark, bitter conclusion was the only truly fitting end for the characters as they had been drawn.  Those who suggested that perhaps such a dark, bitter conclusion was a little inappropriate for what had been billed as a lighthearted comedy were almost universally derided as fluffybunny wimps who like all their stories to be nothing but sweetness and light and the good guys living happily ever after.  One fan even ventured to suggest that the ending wasn't dark and bitter enough, because Dr. Horrible never intentionally killed anyone or overtly embraced his true, evil nature.

Well, bollocks to them all.  I didn't like it, but that doesn't mean I wanted a sweet, fluffy ending in which Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer both realize they should be nice from now on and decide to be friends and team up to save homeless kittens.  After some thought, I've concluded that the ending I wanted would have looked something like this:

Everything is the same up until the point when Captain Hammer pulls the trigger and the Death Ray explodes in his hand.  Then:
[CAPTAIN HAMMER runs from the room crying like a little girl. BILLY lies on the ground, his body pierced through by the shrapnel of his failed weapon. PENNY runs to him.]

PENNY: Billy!

BILLY: (weakly) I'm sorry, Penny. I didn't want you to see...who I really was...

PENNY: But Billy, I knew that all along.

BILLY: You did?

PENNY: Yeah, those goggles really aren't as good a disguise as you think they are.

BILLY: Then why...why didn't you leave...if you knew who I was...underneath?

PENNY: (crying) Because I knew there was another layer under that. Like pie.

BILLY: (understanding) Pie.... (dies)

PENNY: (sings)

I always thought that I knew what a hero was
I always thought I knew the way
That I could change the world someday
I thought I knew

What do you do when the hero pulls the trigger
When the villain takes the blow
Changing the whole world that you know
What do you do

What if the bad guys are the good guys after all?
The ones who make a change for real
Who care about how people feel
How can it be?

I think at last I see a meaning in it all
At last the way is clear to me
The hero that I was meant to be
At last I see
My destiny...

(Slowly, gently, she removes the goggles from Billy's head. Slowly, deliberately, she puts them on. Looks directly into the camera.)

(laughing fiendishly) Ha ha ha ha! (pause) I'm gonna have to work on that. (Fade to black.)
There.  That's what I call an ending.  A bit of a rip-off of V for Vendetta, maybe, but hey, it works.