Saturday, January 14, 2012

That Trailer Park Smell

There is a particular aroma I have often found in trailer parks. It is a unique odor that seems, to my untrained nose to be one part pets and pet by-products, one part insufficiently cleaned carpet, one part beer one part tobacco, and one part insufficiently cleaned people. Though the scent varies from park to park and even mobile home to mobile home, I have smelled its variants in several places in Moscow, a few places in and about Priest River, and even once in Michigan.

This isn't meant as a slight upon the people who live in trailer parks. From what I understand, the rent in some of them is pretty darn cheap, and inexpensive rent would be a shiny thing for me right about now. But with a very few exceptions, the trailer parks around Moscow area are pretty sketchy, rundown, and oh yes, odoriferous. What's interesting is that this nasal assault is immediately recognizable even outside of its normal context. The other day, while driving the hospital's bus around, I had to take two people home after a surgery. Upon meeting them, I knew by smell that they lived in one of the area's trailer parks. Not which park, mind, but one of them.

No, I am not familiar enough with Moscow's trailer parks to identify them by smell, and God willing, I never will be.

Laser (Pointer) Tag and a Good Monster

I really, honestly wish I had a video to show you of the hilarity that is Laser Pointer Tag. But I don't, because I don't own a camcorder. Instead, I shall attempt to describe it.

So, I live right in the middle of downtown Moscow, and when the drunken "woohoos" and "yeeeeahs" of the Friday night college students wake me up from my peaceful "have to get up at 6 a.m." slumber, I exact my delicious and hilarious payback. For my birthday last year (March 2, in case anyone cares), my parents got me a gift certificate for, a fine purveyor of the silly, inane, and awesome. With this, I purchased a number of objects, one of which was a green laser pointer. Unlike the ubiquitous red laser pointer, the beam that emanates from this model can be seen clearly in any lighting condition dimmer than broad daylight. The dot at the terminus of the beam is a brilliant green and thus a relative oddity to the inebriated Friday night crowd.

Thus was Laser Pointer Tag born. When Friday's noise inevitably wakes me up, I clamber out of bed, grab my green laser toy, and off to the windows in my apartment that border on the street. From there, I can tag any number of "under the influence" college students, or run the dot around in circles, or put it on someone's back, only to turn it off the moment they begin to look up. It's especially hilarious when the object of my jest blames someone across the street and makes "I see what you're doing there" gestures at them. Only once have I been caught at my silly game, at which point the victim shouted a few choice obscenities concerning my nether anatomy, and then continued on his way.

This is, of course, immature. But what manner of practical joke isn't? This kind of thing comprises the majority of the jollies I get these days. If I can't make fun of the stupid kids of which I once was, what can I do? Thanks to my little brother, I have a defense against what could happen if a drunken jock doesn't get the joke and storms up to my apartment to exact petty revenge, but I don't think that will ever be necessary. Most people just have fun with it. A few people have even chased the green dot around the empty Moscow streets like tipsy cats. It's good, clean fun, and hurts no one.

On a completely unrelated note, I found a Dubstep (translation: especially twitchy Techno) video that makes you really root for the monster. It's Skrillex's Equinox: First of the Year, and the official music video is amazing.

The bass unit that I picked up second-hand at a yard sale is amazing for this song.

If you want "lyrics" of a sort, my recently-married little brother found this edition for me, which is uncanny in its accuracy, and has improved my own totally sweet dance moves and lip synching, which I will show you all as soon as I acquire the aforementioned camcorder (probably from my brother as well).

Hilarious, but a total failure as a sing-along video. Anyway, that's it. I have to go to work in four hours. Huzzah for insomnia, right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Of Marriages and Mashups

Whoever thought of throwing two completely different things together to make something more awesome by their joined forces, of making the melody and harmony from two different genres and backgrounds, is a genius. Who would have thought that Kanye West and Rihanna would have sounded great when mixed with Johann Sebastian Bach's Tocatta and Fugue, or that my little brother would ever find a girl who found him attractive and wonderful?

Because I never figured that in the same year, I would actually like something by Kanye West, and also see my bro get married. Both of them boggle my mind a bit.

In case the reader is wondering exactly what the author means by this, bide your time, the explanation is forthcoming. The piece of music in question is called "Run this Town and Fugue," a mashup of the Rihanna/West song "Run This Town" and Bach's "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor." Here it is on Youtube:

Warning, minor profanity, because it's still Kanye West, who doesn't seem to be able to produce a song without any in it.

This mashup is done by the duo "DJs from Mars," and is one of four or five truly excellent mashups they've done. I bought an album of just their mashups, actually, and it was worth it. It's good solid electronica, especially if you're familiar at all with classic 80s electronica by groups such as Bananarama or Soft Cell. Then you actually know both the songs that are being combined, and enjoy it more.

Also, it's now been a week and half since my little brother Alex got himself married to a wonderful gal who's a mutual friend of ours, Jessie Rosenthal. We've known her for years, and that he asked her to marry him didn't really surprise me that much. It was a surprise that she said yes, but not too big of one. See, he and I have both grown out of the children that we once were, the children who were at each other's throats near constantly before their departures to assorted colleges and/or corners of the United States. He grew out of being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious and getting pleasure from irritating me, and I grew out of the hair-trigger temper and nano-particle thin skin. Now when we see one another, there's bear hugs and fist bumps and "watch this sweet dubstep video" and "let's go shoot my Glock."

But there's still this sense that he "beat me" at the whole "find your soulmate" thing. Pardon the overuse of quotation marks, but since I know there's not a real way to win except by finding them, or lose by not doing so, it's probably just petty whining on my part. But couple this with the somewhat existential flavor of lonely I've been feeling recently... let's just say the wedding, while short, sweet, and beautiful, didn't help me much. But it wasn't FOR me, I keep telling that fat inflated beast of an ego I have. It was for Alex and Jessie. And I'm genuinely happy for them. It couldn't have happened to a nicer Elven princess and obnoxious little twerp.

On a completely unrelated note, I now have a shiny new black fedora. I can once more terrorize Moscow with my awesomeness. Thanks Grandma!

On a note further unrelated still, I now own a Talking Princess Celestia figurine by Hasbro, bringing the total number of My Little Ponies I own up to two (neither of which did I buy myself). Again, for some reason, thanks, Grandma. I'm sure she chuckled a bit while packing this in the same box as a suave fedora. Now to find a way to spray paint the figurine white like she is in the show without ruining the mane, tail, and wings...