Goofy’s Backyard Debacle

Disn3y scriptwriter 1: (Drains martini, lights a new cigarette from still-smoldering butt of last one, glances around lunchtime crowd at bar, returns script to scriptwriter 2) It’s not that I don’t like it. I love it. It’s hilarious.
Scriptwriter 2 (Snubs out his own cigarette in ashtray): But…
Scriptwriter 1: Go ahead and pitch it to Him if you want. But he’s not going to like it. Put a phony name on it and pitch it to Hanna-Barbera – I can totally see something like that happening to Tom, you know what I mean? You can pitch it to Him if you want, but if you do he’s gonna say…

(Cut to new scene, in W4lt Disn3y’s office)
W4lt: …it’s not realistic enough!
Scriptwriter 2: With all due respect, Mr. Disn3y…
W4lt (to blonde boy sitting on his desk): Give us some fire, Timmy. (Timmy light’s W4lt’s cigar with teapot-shaped lighter) Tell me, Timmy, do you like Collie dogs? (Turns back to Scriptwriter 2) Okay maybe I missed something. Walk me through it again. You have a minute (looks at watch).
Scriptwriter 2: It’s a Goofy cartoon, Mr. Disn3y! Realism is not in the nature of a talking dog!
W4lt (looks at watch): Fifty seconds.
Scriptwriter 2 (Holds hands up as if framing a shot): Goofy’s Backyard Debacle. Goofy is barbecuing. I dunno, like his wife has invited people over. Important people, of course, to raise the stakes.
Timmy: Ah! High-stake barbecue, I like it. Get it? Barbecued stakes? (The others ignore him)
Scriptwriter 2: Goofy’s nervous. His old grill didn’t get hot enough and so he got a new, bigger one that he’s still figuring out, reading instructions et cetera. Oh and BTW Goofy has long white hair and a bushy white beard.
W4lt: Why.
Scriptwriter 2: It’s necessary to the… dramaturgy. Maybe he’s a wizard or something. Anyway. He tries the new grill and it doesn’t get hot at first either because it’s using this new system with hot and cooler zones right, and for the life of him he can’t get it to go over 500F/260C, if that and his steaks just don’t cook right and he’s getting frantic so the big day comes…
W4lt: Wizard. Okay. I like it.
Timmy: I like it too!
Scriptwriter 2: …the big day comes and he goes for broke and like just fills the grill up with charcoal and lights it and it gets hot as hell. Like, he puts on the lid and the thermometer needle goes all the way around, past 600F/315C, all the way back to zero. So it’s hot. And Goofy is like, uhoh. And he cooks in this order: vegetables, sausages, ribs, steaks last. And it takes, like, a minute per vegetable. He just throws them on and basically they immediately turn black and he takes them back off. Same with the sausages. Black. And he’s desperately trying to find a cooler corner of the grill to move them to but the heat of the coals singes the hair off his arm whenever he tries to move them and he’s like getting frantic like Goofy does, right?
W4lt: I dunno… it’s not realistic.
Scriptwriter 2: And then he throws in some wood chips for fragrant smoke and puts in the ribs and closes the lid. And the smoke comes roiling out. He reads the directions on the rib packaging, they say 30 minutes on the grill and he’s like, no way. He wants to turn the ribs after a minute, or at least check them for blackness, but when he lifts the lid from the barbecue a huge cloud of smoke and steam roils out and envelopes his face and he pulls back and is like, Holy Shit and he smells a smell he hasn’t smelled since he played with fireworks as a kid: singed hair. And Goofy is like, oh shit.
W4lt (just shakes head): mmm.
Scriptwriter 2: He takes the blackened ribs back off the heat. He checks his eyebrows which just crumble. He goes into the bathroom and looks at himself in the mirror and his formerly white beard is brown and crumbles away when he touches it, from a long white beard to a short white beard. See, this is why we need Goofy to have long beard and long hair. Some of the long hair gets singed off too.
W4lt: Yeah, no. It’s not realistic.
Timmy: (sits silently, shaking head)
Scriptwriter 2: What’s not realistic about it? Why does everyone suddenly care about realism in connection with a fuck1ng Goofy cartoon? Goofy is a fuck1ng talking dog fuck1ng married to a human woman!
Timmy: What about Clarabelle the cow?
W4lt: That was old Goofy. Modern Goofy was updated.
Timmy: Why?
Scriptwriter 2: Who the h3LL cares, Timmy? It’s a hilarious script. Goofy. Social panic. Barbecue. Fire. Panic. Series of catastrophes. Hilarious.
W4lt (presses button under desk. Security drag away Scriptwriter 2. W4lt Disn3y shouts at him through the open door): It’s unrealistic! It’s impossible! It could never happen in reality! If that ever happens to someone in real life, cut off my head and freeze it under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!
(Turns to Timmy). Scriptwriters. (Shakes head)
Timmy: Scriptwriters. (shakes head) Sure, I like Collies, Mr. Disn3y.

Genealogy and ballistics

My wife has developed a keen interest in family history. She has been telling me things about my family, parts of which she has so far traced back to the early 17th century, that I had not known previously.
For example, the reason that I am here today is not because my ancestors were big heroes during the Revolutionary War, but because they were good at running away.
There was a father and two sons. The father was arrested by British military, escaped and built a new house somewhere else because after he ran away they burned down his old house.
The older of the two sons, he was in his twenties, also ran away when he and his 17 year old brother were arrested. He later built a house on the site of the one that had been burned down.
His younger brother does not seem to have escaped, and his branch of the family tree appears to end there.
So basically, I am here because of running.
My uncle, a direct descendant of those guys, was athletic all his life. When we played softball in the field between our houses, he was pretty good. As was his sister. My sister too.
My uncle had a good throwing arm.
For example: Once he was up on a ladder picking pears in the field, and I was down on the ground pestering him. I was a little kid. I don’t remember what I was doing, probably throwing pears up at him, because when he got tired of it he gave me a head start and I dashed across the field to my house.
It was about ten miles, IIRC. Incredibly far, at any rate, for a little kid. Maybe fifty meters. Maybe less. I ran and ran and ran. I started to laugh when I reached the edge of the field, figuring I was safe so far from my uncle up on his ladder.
But in the instant before I ducked under the electric fence to run through the trees into my house, a big rotten pear hit me in the small of the back. It was a perfect shot. It got me right where my pants met my t-shirt. The pear had the right consistency – rotten yet firm enough to survive such a long throw at a velocity so great that half went down my buttcrack, and the other half went up my back all the way to my shoulder blades.
I ran crying to my mother, out of shock more than pain.
My uncle showed up seconds later, explaining and laughing at the same time.
My mother laughed too.
Everybody laughed but me.

Now the weekend is coming

Life has been terribly interesting. I made potato salad and barbecued hamburgers for Gamma’s birthday, my wife’s parents came over for the event.
The cat has been distant.
I went to the barber and had my beard trimmed; I decided to do that after drinking a Sodazitron (soda water with lemon juice) and getting only soda because my moustache filtered out all the Zitron. Now that everything is trimmed it’s easier to eat in general, and the barber gave me Jameson while I waited. (I generally try to get to the barber early for this reason).
I went to an electronics supply shop for the first time and bought some transistors and stuff.
How to buy electronics supplies:

  • Go to the information desk
  • Give the guy your diagram and say, does this mean anything to you? Because I have no idea. I’m building a device to make irritating sounds. Do you have all this stuff?
  • He will then check and have all but one thing and that costs 23 cents at some place online. He will box up everything else and give it to you.
  • “Do you have circuit boards too?” you ask.
  • He will point to the next aisle and say, Over there under the sign that says ‘Circuit Boards’
  • You wonder how you will be able to figure out what is a transistor and what is something else, when you look at all the little parts.

That’s it. That’s how easy it is.
The electronics shop also had the batteries for an old camera that are said to be hard to find? Dunno. Anyway they had them.

It’s raining out.
I saw a guy crash a motorcycle this morning. He passed me in the rain in the Vienna Woods, then nicked an oncoming car less than a minute later and laid it down. I stopped my car and turned on the blinkers and helped move the motorcycle out of the street, and the broken off motorcycle pieces. The guy seemed okay, he could stand and walk. Shook up, of course. Someone else was taking pictures, someone was calling the cops, or an ambulance. I wasn’t an actual witness to the actual accident so I left after that.

Now the weekend is coming.

90 is the new 70 or something

So we were invited to Tante Hermi’s 90th birthday party and I joked, Oh this is gonna be LIT but the joke was on me because it was.
At least relatively lit. Lit-er than I expected.
Plenty lit for me.
It was held in a Serb restaurant in Vienna, for one thing, so before the evening was too far along even the vegetarians were eating meat, the red wine was very heavy and good and eventually there was a lot of schnapps. Tante Hermi apparently invited only charming, fun relatives and when the band (guitar, bass, accordion, violin) showed up she was one of the first to start dancing and one of the last to stop.
I was a designated driver so I stayed rather sober.
And I couldn’t understand much because tinnitus etc.
But I still enjoyed myself and watching Tante Hermi get down *really* gave me a more positive view of getting old.

Joke analysis

A grave robber and a cat napper walk into a bar.
The bartender, drying a shot glass with a small white dishtowel, looks over towards them.
“Hi mom, hi dad,” she says.
“What’ll it be?”

(Speaker shakes gadget (not a euphemism) and it finally starts working, projecting a PowerPoint slide, showing the text of the joke in Comic Sans onto the large screen on one side of the stage, while making a disconcerting buzzing sound and a small wisp of smoke rises from its insides, so small you are not sure whether you really saw it or not.)

Speaker: “Why is this joke funny?”
Speaker: “Because it is really funny if you know us. By ‘us’ I mean my wife and me.”
Audience member: “You mean ‘my wife and I’.”
Speaker: (Fires bolt from small crossbow at audience member, bolt glances off audience member’s backpack, tangles in beard of second audience member sitting behind them.)
Speaker: “No.” (And to person with crossbow bolt tangled in their beard.) “Sorry about that.”
Speaker: “See, we’re going to a ball later this month so we were taking a refresher course because I forgot how to dance. And one evening my wife was early so she window-shopped and noticed how expensive jewelry made of stags’ teeth is, which gave her the idea to exhume her grandmother, whose funeral she had organized and whom she had had interred with earrings intact because relatives had been arguing about who should take possession of them.”
Speaker: “Which idea matched the legal definition of grave robbery, according to our legally-trained daughter.”
Speaker: “And a week or so ago our tuxedo cat disappeared, pitching us into sort of a Schrödingerish state where we try to imagine she adopted one of our neighborhood’s 4 (at a minimum) cat ladies (the way she adopted us as a kitten), and is sleeping on a pillow and drinking cream, and try not to visualize her dead in a ditch. Lucky for us, the former is a very realistic scenario, because our other cats have for years come in from nights out, warm, fur brushed and smelling of woodsmoke.”
Speaker: “And so I tried not to think about her too much and thought I was adjusting well to her absence and being a grown-up about it until one night my wife and I were driving home from the train station or whatever and roughly in front of the doctor’s office in our village I said, ‘Stop! Stop the car!’ And she did, and I got out and crossed the street because I had seen a little black and white cat in the shadows. And it marched right up to me. I petted it, and it lay down and I picked it up and it meowed in a friendly way and I carried it over to the car and got in.”
Speaker: “‘Look who I found!’ I said. I was so happy, sitting there holding our cat. The relief I felt made me conscious of how I’d missed her. My wife pulled back out onto the street, but also took a closer look at the cat. ‘That’s not our cat, honeybunny,’ she said. ‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Are you sure?’ She pulled back over to the side of the road. ‘You have to let it go.’ So I let it go and it went about its business and we drove home hoping there had been no witnesses and that video evidence of my attempted crime wouldn’t be posted to social media.”
Speaker: “So that’s why the joke is funny.”
Speaker: “Thank you for attending my TED talk.”

Who ya whiskin’?

What day was it.
It was Sunday, the Sunday following the Saturday where we got together in a restaurant across the street from the cemetary to discuss what needed to be done in the event of a (theoretical only) death in the family (never hurts to be prepared) and who wanted Viking funerals (Gamma, me) and who would settle for something more realistic and legal, who to contact, etc. followed by a trip to a doctor due to chest pains and a dislike of irony (dying after the death meeting) who ordered further tests in the hospital that found nothing leading to a diagnosis of probably carrying the refrigerator was a bad idea.
It was Sunday, and latish morning, and Alpha and I went for a walk in the woods, by ponds and the Danube and back to the car with wet feet and a feeling of accomplishment and also a feeling that we had earned lunch at the local wine tavern (Heuriger).
We were the first guests at the Heuriger except for some dudes playing cards and we took a table outside in the sun/shade. I tried to fit myself into the shade. Our food came (I had the large round sandwich, Alpha had the Wildplatte i.e. the wild plate, consisting of game animal products. It was all pretty good. She had a spritzer, I had Sturm, i.e. pre-wine, the cloudy, sweet kind.
We were enjoying sitting there etc when Alpha goes,
“Honey, there,” and gestures at my chest where, when I look down, I see 3 enormous shiny black and yellow wasp family dudes fighting on my shirt pocket.
And I go,
“Oh. Hornets fighting on me.”
Have you ever had hornets fighting on you? It’s fascinating.
I was enthralled, it’s really cool. Shiny ectoskeletons, shiny black yellow patterns, like some athletic device you might have had years ago until it went out of style and disappeared under the bed.
They were kind of distracted by each other trying to kill everyone so I calmly watched them for a while (few seconds) but then their proximity to my heart occurred to me, you know, ‘Man stung in heart by three fat hornets’ and I whisked them away with a napkin. Two flew away immediately, one fell to the bench I was sitting on and *then* flew away.
And that was that. They might be big and scary, but at least they didn’t stick around after I whisked them the first time, like wasps, who are always, “ya whisking me ya think ya gonna whisk me who ya whiskin there fella I’ll whisk ya I’ll show ya whiskin,” etc.
Then we went home.
Now it’s Tuesday all of a sudden.

Family tradition(s)

Yesterday I had the day off and did some family things with my daughters. We leveled my wife’s parents’ refrigerator, which a friend and I had delivered to them recently and which had been rocking. I tipped it back and Beta screwed one leg (of the refrigerator) out until it was the right length to make the fridge level. I changed a lock at the inlaws’.
Stuff like that.
Then we drove to the girls’ place where I drilled holes in the concrete wall (in order to bracket a bookshelf to the wall) with my new impact drill, which I bought a while ago after my old drill died in a shower of sparks while trying to drill holes in a concrete wall.
We had lunch. Then we briefly strolled to the bookstore, which this year was voted (I don’t know by whom) the best bookstore in the country.
We went in and the manager either recognized us or is just a nice guy. We asked him for coffee and he made us some. We fanned out and started filling up on books. This is one of the family traditions the title of this post refers to. When we collectively visit a bookstore, it is more of a raid than shopping. We fan out and meet at the cash register at closing time, arms full, no two books the same.
I only planned to buy two books but the manager started telling me about good books so I got six, then I saw the new David Sedaris book so I got seven, then two for my wife, then I ordered another one for her, after consulting with the manager again. He didn’t ask my name when processing the order, so I suppose he really did recognize us. Since I stopped buying anything through Amazon I order all my books from him and Beta or Gamma pick them up for me.
Then we left and I carried my loot to the car, and my drilling gear, and forgot one more fatherly task I had planned to do, and went on a date with Alpha, to celebrate the 38th anniversary of our first kiss. Alpha wore a dirndl and we went to a Japanese restaurant that was okay. It has received good reviews but served modern sort of fusion food based on Japanese cuisine, too many spices and mayonnaise for our taste, and the service was a little too attentive in our opinion, but it’s always nice to go on a date with Alpha.
Then we went to bed early because we’re trying to sleep 8 hours at night. And we both had dreams, which is unusual for a work night.