Urban (mis)Advantures

The Haunted Elevator — June 30, 2011

The Haunted Elevator

Okay, so the elevator in the 100 year old mill building I work in could just be ‘old.’  But “haunted” just sounds more interesting. 

For instance, when waiting with my arms full of stuff on the first floor, I get quite frustrated.  According to the lights, the elevator usually is stuck on the 2nd floor.  So I push the button to inform the elevator that I need it to carry me up.  But, the lift will head upwards towards the 5th and 6th floor, instead of taking a few seconds to pick me up first.  So I huff and tap my foot, reminding myself that this is a machine with no rationality. 

But this morning when the elevator left me waiting, it came back down to the first floor with no one inside.  No one.  Why did it travel up to the top floors, then come back down to the first floor without any passengers?  Did people just ding-dong ditch the elevator? 

Then later this afternoon, I rode down with about four other people.  It stopped at every single floor, doors opened, but no one else got in.  Four floors it did this.  A guy standing in the lift made a joke about the elevator being haunted.  Makes sense to me……

Inspires me to take the stairs more.

The Plague of ‘Like’ — June 26, 2011

The Plague of ‘Like’

I first heard the misuse of the word “like” from Shaggy on Scooby-Doo as a small child.  Yet when Shaggy used it, “like” emphasized his fear.  And he only uttered it once in an episode.  Growing up in the Deep South, I did not hear the misuse of this word until the college years. 

My husband and I moved to Flagstaff, AZ in 1995 after being together for a couple of years.  This is when the Plague of Like started for me.  We stopped a couple of other students on the Northern Arizona University campus and asked for directions to the Wal-Mart.  People, this is NOT an appropriate time to overuse “like.” 
“…..you go, like, a couple of lights down…”
“…..you know, like, near the…..”
“….and then you turn, like, left…..”

My husband and I looked at each other as if we were conversing with aliens.  Is this what we would constantly hear in the Western U.S. of A.?  Fortunately, not all of the time. 

By the time senior year rolled around for me, the man joined the Army, and I had our baby.  We were stationed in Texas, and the Plague of Like hit harder.  I didn’t think sitting in classes with students 3 or 4 years younger than me would be a problem with communication, but it was.  So much was “like” misused that a professor wrote an entire newspaper article in 1999 about it and called the majority of the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor students “boneheads.” 

My question is, what would Mr. Professor think now? 

I can barely listen to my sons and his friends talk without my teeth grinding.  I cannot handle tattoo artist/TV Reality Star Kat Von D speak at all.  How did this language become acceptable?

But I do have the answer and the Cure for the Plague of Like:

Know the correct meanings of “like” and use the word correctly: 
Like:  a verb to express fondness, acceptance, or tolerance, or something favored.  Example:  “I like you.”  “I like strawberry cheesecake.”  “I like the color green.” 
Like:  a word meaning resemblance or comparison.  “Please don’t dress like Lady Gaga.”
Like:  a word meaning or ‘such as’ or ‘for example.’   “He has flu symptoms like coughing and fever.” 

Do not use “like” as  a sentence enhancer, thinking it makes your conversation more colorful.  You just sound stupid. 
Do not use “like” when telling us what someone said.  That’s what the purpose of the word “said” is, not “I was ‘like….’ and he was ‘like….”  Don’t get me lost in your dumb Like Forest. 

Teachers:  First of all, don’t misuse “like” yourselves.  Please be a grammar example to our children when we trust you with our their education in your class.  Remember when our Grammar and Speech instructors stopped us and made us start our oral reports over when we said, “Ummm?”  Do just that.  When your students start liking things too much, stop them, correct them, and make them start their statements over.  If they grow frustrated, tell them that’s how you feel when you have to endure their idiotic speech. 

Parents:  Do what my husband and I do with our son.  interrupt his Stream of Likes and make him start his story over.  It has worked before in reducing the Plague of Like in our home.  Remind your children to say “said,” “asked,” “replied,” “answered,” whatever, instead of like.  If your children’s parents come over and infect your home with the Plague of Like, also interrupt them and tell them to start the conversation over.  If they don’t like it, they can go home.  🙂

It is not too late to save the next generation from sounding like boneheads.  Teach them to use proper speech and to expand their limited vocabulary.  The word will sound so much better.

Let’s Hear it for the Bad Boys (and Girls) — June 19, 2011

Let’s Hear it for the Bad Boys (and Girls)

As a lover of stories, either in books or on the silver screen, I agree with Inkheart’s Fenoglio’s view of the villain being the essential part of the story.  Without the villain, we wouldn’t have any conflict, a story, or even a hero.  Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorite villains.

Agent Smith, The Matrix


Masterfully performed by Hugo Weaving, this monkey-suited, shade wearing entity with a snake like voice could break spines.  He lurked with a presence that made my heart skip a beat in every appearance of the Matrix trilogy. 



The Joker, DC Comics 


Face it.  When we think of  “arch enemies,” we immediately envision Batman facing off with the grinning Clown Prince of Crime.  He’s been vividly drawn by various artists, brought to life by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger, and brilliantly voiced by Mark Hamill over decades.  The Joker turns Gotham City into a demented circus, in which he is the unrelentless ringmaster whose maniacal laugh echoes in our dreams.  And we love it.  The Joker will forever be my epitome of a comic book villain. 





Anna, V


Lovely High Queen of the Visitors who claimed, “We come in peace…always.”  I loved to hate this lizard woman who used her beauty to charm us earthlings.  She is a literal cold blooded killer.  In nearly every V episode, I hoped the humans would blast her out of the sky, or that 5th Column V’s would skin her in her sleep.  




Ursula, The Little Mermaid 


A busty, curvy, tentacly, sea witch with a throaty and booming alto voice, Ursula is undoubtedly one of Disney’s best villains.  In fact, The Little Mermaid would be nothing without her.  Ursula is charismatic and punkishly alluring with her smashing red lips and silver spikey hair.  I almost mourn her defeat in the end.  I don’t think the sea would be as interesting with her gone. 





Sher Khan, The Jungle Book 

In both Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale and Disney’s fun musical, the tiger lord of the Indian jungle is a menacing force not to be reckoned with.  Feared by all inhabitants as a skilled predator, he established himself at the top of the food chain.  In Disney’s film, Sher Khan is graceful, debonair, charming, and “delightful.”  He takes on the other top predator, Ka the python with a confident ease.  I always secretly cheered for him, hoping he’d prevail and dine of the whiny, toothpick of a man cub.



Basta, Inkeart by Cornelia Flunke
The knife yielding skillful carver of human skin overshadowed Inkheart’s main villain, Capricorn.  Basta’s superstitious ways made him one of the most colorful characters I’ve ever read.  His unmerciful deeds are so masterfully written that I could hear him whispering threats in my ear and feel his breath on the back of my neck as I read about him.  Unfortunately, Basta was not this deliciously malicious on the big screen……

Darth Maul, Star Wars the Phantom Menace

Cloaked completely in black, this tattooed Sith with glowing yellow eyes sneaked onto a planet and put the smack down on a skilled Jedi Master.  He fought with the coolest light saber of the whole Star Wars and blindly followed his master.  I groaned when Obi Wan Kenobi sliced Darth Maul in half.  He showed me what the Sith could truthfully be and made the Darkside tempting. 



Darth Vader, Star Wars

Darth Vader is simply the most epic villain ever.







Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Though envisioned by many directors and portrayed by various actors, nothing compares to the original Dracula.  The novel paints a horrific picture through the eyes of many characters.  He begins as a beastly mass murderer that left an entire ship’s crew in bloody pieces.  A devlish nightmare to the gypsies.  A mysterious killer of best friends and stealer of husbands and wives.  But overall, Dracula is an ageless monster who lives by feasting upon our blood.

What the Heck, Mother Nature? — June 15, 2011

What the Heck, Mother Nature?

Western Massachusetts was shocked and devastated by tornados a couple of weeks ago. 

Now, we’re less than a week from the official first day of summer.  But not according to the thermometer.  Sunday evening, I turned the heat back on a bit as the high temp never got out of the 60’s, and dropped to 50’s.  Monday I was back in my boots due to the rain.  Yesterday, the high was only in the 50’s, sparking the use of a light jacket and scarf.  WHAT?!  It’s JUNE!! 

But today, it looks like Northern Mass will reach a high of 74-ish.  That’s quite lovely, still not summer weather, but very comfortable.  And by the weekend, the temp should be 80 and sunny so the Man can spend his Father’s Day toying around with a couple of old Volkswagens. 

Please let me know when I can put away our winter clothing.

Save this Nation Tour. — June 10, 2011

Save this Nation Tour.

So, Sarah Palin is taking a “historical vacation” in a tour bus, stopping in many primary states.  I think the goal is to restore some fundamental whatevers to America.  Well, good for you, Sarah.  We all know what she’s really up to, and it’s scaring me.  Someone , please please pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese prove that this is an expensive, elaborate joke against the American people.  I’m waiting for a spokesperson to take the stand at a press conference and say; “Psych!” 

I mean, nobody in their right minds would vote for Sarah Palin to lead this country when she cannot get the history correct.  Right?  Well if you somehow have not heard, Sarah vomited stupidity out of her mouth once again with her own rendition of Paul Revere’s ride:

Then, when confronted about it, continued to spew nonsense:

Yes, Sarah, the British crossed the Atlantic just to take our guns.  Not that our ancestors fled Britain to gain other freedoms like speech and religion.   

So in response to this One Nation Tour, I have decided to start a Save This Nation Tour from my laptop (seeing as how I do not have the funds for a giant bus or fuel).  The purpose of the Save This Nation Tour is to knock some sense into the American People and save it from the impending doom that will follow if this woman becomes president.  My virtual Get a Clue bus will be packed with medias, opinions, and rants to remind us that we do not have to reduced to the likes of Sarah Palin.   If you want to ride on my bus, read and leave comments.  If you look out the window now, you’ll see one of my favorite people, Stephen Colbert:

Now I do have an open mind.  I would love to hear from the American People in regards to how one can still vote for Sarah Palin to be anywhere near our White House and be President. 

See y’all at another Save this Nation stop!

Summer of the Sequel…thus far. — June 5, 2011

Summer of the Sequel…thus far.

All one has to do is watch a bit of TV or pass by a movie theatre to realize that this summer’s blockbuster list is made of mostly sequels and re-makes.   And so far, we’ve seen three.  So here’s the run down (meaning my Twisted opinion) of the movies we’ve sat in the big theatre for:  (possible spoilers!)

Fast and Furious 5:  I’m not a huge fan of this franchise, but this one is pretty good.  On the timeline, it takes place after 4 and before Tokyo Drift.   What’s great is that many characters from the movies ban together, including the oh-so-hot Han who softly flings his dark locks out of his eyes while tearing down the streets of Rio.  The flic does get a bit crazy, as the gang destroys much of the city, dragging a safe behind them. 

Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides:  I didn’t want to see this one, as the third one ended wonderfully.  Full circle to Barbosa stealing the Black Pearl and Jack having only a dingy and the crucial part of the map leading to the Fountain of Youth.  But I felt obliged, especially since my son wanted to see it.  This movie is decent….if you haven’t seen the others.  My son disagrees.  But if you’ve grown to love the Pirates, you’ll be disappointed, as many the Pirates of the Caribbean aren’t on the Stranger Tides.  No Pintel or Ragetti.  No Cotton or his Parrot.   In fact, there’s no Black Pearl.   To me, if it wasn’t for Barbosa blackmailing Master Gibbs to team up with him, Stranger Tides would not have been worth the tickets.  It literally lacked a lot of the character from the other three films. 

X-Men First Class:  Okay, so I may be a bit biased on this one, as First Class is the one sequel I looked forward to this year.  I agreed with other audience members who claimed it is the best of the X-Men series.  But that’s only if you like more story than action to your movies.  James McAvoy is brilliant as a young and flirtatious telepathic Charles Xavier.  Watch Erik Lehnsherr yield metal throughout his concentration camp years and eventually become Magneto.   Mystique’s battle to be accepted into society and to accept herself as a blue shapeshifter is a classic story in itself.  Genius Hank McCoy’s transforms into The Beast.  Some of my favorite moments were when Sean Cassidy molded his sonic voice into something useful, and Banshee took flight.  There’s a kickin’ cameo that I won’t spoil, and the Cuban missile crisis is avoided.  Yeah for mutants!

As for the film re-makes, I just may check out the new Fright Night in August.  This time, my favorite and revered 10th Doctor Who, David Tennant steps up to play the quirky vampire hunter, filling Roddy McDowall’s shoes.

200,000 miles and still going! — June 4, 2011

200,000 miles and still going!


On Thursday, my beloved 2000 VW Beetle turned 200,000 miles.  And she’s still going.  Just without as much guster as a few years ago.  But that’s what driving all over the state of Massachusetts does to a car. 

My Beetle’s name is Ladybug, and the featured pic is from the H2O car show in 2009 when my man speckled her with paint.  People loved it.  Some even suggested to keep it that way.  But, I couldn’t quite see me arriving to a client’s home in such a wonderful and colorful car. 

For eleven years now, I’ve been known as the woman who drives the “buggy” or bug.  I grin every time I see someone slug another person as I drive by.  Although it would be nice to feel that “new” car sensation, a huge part of my heart hopes I’ll be driving this Beetle for eleven more years. 

Here’s to 200,000 more  miles!