Hello. Once again it's been over two weeks without an update on this site. And then some time before that, because the last one was just a video and you didn't have the opportunity to bask in my genius wordplay.
This is my writing outfit.
So here I am to correct my lazy, lazy oversight and to try and kickstart my stagnant brain into making up stuff again. So I guess we'll rewind to Easter, because hey, you're not sick of that yet, right?
We've seen the "what" of the Easter Parade, but we haven't delved into the "how" or "why." I'll get into the "how" a little bit here. If you really need a "why" then I don't think I can explain it properly, but someday you might come around. I'll pray for you.
to Saints Punch and Judy.
So the first order of business in creating my Easter hat was to get an idea. Last year I had my Thomas the Tank Engine Hat which, despite causing horrible neck pain, was a great success. So I had become enamored of hats with some sort of powered movement. I had theorized a hat based upon a cuckoo clock last Spring.
Bright colors, quilt shop theme, what's not to love?
That dream died after a small amount of research revealed that cuckoo clocks are really, really expensive.
It was actually during the summer that inspiration struck for this year. Just before our famed expedition to the summit of Mount Marcy, I was staying at the Camping's house in the guest room. Another frequent occupant of that room is Kyle's young nephew, so there was a nice assortment of auxiliary toys for when he visits.
Among them was a car chase/ramp stairs combo toy that I found to be crazily hypnotic.
Much like infamous Spider-Man villain The Hypno-Hustler. I wish I were making that up.
The cars went up the stairs, down the ramp and started all over again. I then realized I was having a lot of fun, and not interacting with this toy at all. In fact, playing with the cars is only disruptive to the process.
"Perfect." I thought.
Several weeks before Easter I remarkably remembered this incident and set to the internet to get one. I couldn't find the cars, but found both dalmation and penguin-themed variations. I chose penguins, because the set was more colorful and penguins effing rock.
Rock Penguin. Ok fine, Rockhopper Penguin.
I shopped around and ordered one on Amazon.com.
I've yet to rate that transaction as the set I got did not match the picture, and was clearly some sort of unlicensed knock-off, judging from the engrish descriptions on the side of the box.
I put it together to test it out and was rewarded with an ear-splittingly painful rendition of 'Entrance of the Gladiators.'
Fun Fact! That's the title of the circus music running through your head every time you have that nightmare of a clown hiding in the shadows of your bedroom at 4:00 AM.
Something would have to be done about that. I busted out my toolbox and dismantled the casing of the stairs part. After some deliberation and online consulting with Honus, I determined that I could probably disconnect the speaker without losing power to the motor.
I just had to cut the right wire...
"Oh come on, it's a stupid toy"
I took a deep breath and pulled the [insert your favorite color here, seriously, it doesn't make any difference at all to the narrative] wire.
Success! The motor worked, the speaker didn't, and I added 'Electrical Engineer' to my resume.
I then stuck everything back together and realized I didn't have a hat to put it on. I need to make more lists.
A trip to 23rd street and its myriad thrift shops soon fixed that. Inside Goodwill I spotted a hat at considerable distance across the store. I impatiently rushed through racks of donated clothing items and brushed by other shoppers to get to the hat before someone else snatched it up. Only when I closed my hands on it did I let myself recognize the ridiculousness of my logic.
"This is the tallest straw cowboy hat I've ever seen. Even its owner didn't want it. It's probably been here for at least a year. I am the only person on Earth that wants to buy this hat."
Ten seconds prior it was "Oh my God, everyone in this store is five seconds away from looking up and realizing they cannot live without that precious straw diamond in the rough."
So I got it home, wood glued the Hell out of it, cut a strip in the top and crazy glued the stairs in place.
"Don't worry, normal people do things like this sometimes, right?"
It was then time for the decoration. Subastar had chosen a pinwheel theme for hers, going for the eye-catching movement without the need for an internalized power source. It's a smart move. We stocked up on discounted merchandise at K-Mart and Party City.
Here's the (now) traditional workshop photo:
Not so bad.
I also used a two inch corner brace on the inside forepart of the hat to take some of the weight of the stairs off the crazy glue. I used craft glue on the rest of the decor, substituting ducks for penguins around the base, purely because I couldn't find any reasonably priced penguins that would do the trick in the time frame I had.
The crystal egg actually came with the bunny that Subastar fixed to the side of her hat. It was in the discard pile when I was looking for something to do with the duck's flailing wings. It originally contained jellybeans but I subbed a few plastic eggs and am pleased with the turnout. I also superglued my fingers together more than once. Twice, to be precise. Subastar saved the day with a recently purchased bottle of nail polish remover.
The bunny in question.
Wearing it proved to be just as tricky as last year, if much lighter and less painful. I must profusely thank Subastar for her patience and understanding in talking me through stalled penguins and head tilting procedures, all the while dealing with an apparently suicidal blue penguin who leaped from the slide no fewer than three times.
Ah yes, the jacket. I got just as many (if not more) compliments on the jacket than I did on my hat. It was a crowd pleaser. A man who was making balloon animals and flowers ran across the street to ask me where I bought it. Many other people asked me the same thing. I'm sure many of you at home are wondering it too. To prevent rioting and frustrating Google searches which will only lead you dead ends and Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals, I must share the bad news.
This is vintage, and probably custom-made. You can't get one like it. It is unique and therefore priceless. Perhaps someday when I'm nearing retirement I'll put it up on ebay, and get enough money to keep me comfortable in my old age and keep the Soylent Green collectors away as long as possible.
Until then you can enjoy it vicariously through my Easter parade photos and other incredibly rare occasions when it would be appropriate. Dr. Rev is quick to suggest Gay Pride Parades, and most of you were thinking it. Hilarious, but I think I'll stick to Easter.
Here's a candid shot I found on flickr.
A few people recognized me as the Thomas the Tank Engine guy from last year, so I guess I'm becoming something of an Easter Parade celebrity. Soon I hope to eclipse the pathetic people who have the giant hats that they have to hold in place with their hands.
There. I said it. You're pathetic. You know who you are. I'm not even posting pictures of you.
Oh yeah, we colored eggs too!
I like the pictures on the splash guards we used.
All right, no more Easter. That's my report and I'll move on in the next entry. All sorts of things have happened since then. I've gotten a massage and watched a championship Cricket match! Weird!
I'll try not to wait too long before the next update, but it's Springtime, I should be outside anyway.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Apologies for the Easter delay. Enjoy this for now. Descriptive post to follow.
For those wondering:
a photomechanical process by which pictures, typeset matter, etc., are printed from an intaglio copper cylinder.
a print made by this process.
a section of a newspaper consisting of pages printed by the rotogravure process; magazine section.
I think they're going for #3.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This is where we left off in the last entry about my Birthday/St. Patrick's Day Extravaganza Week. About to celebrate in the most grand fashion...
...By waking up early in the morning and going to work. Just as much fun as it sounds. New York City is one of those hardcore parade towns where they like to have celebrations on the exact day that holidays occur, regardless of my work and hangover schedule.
So I was unable to make it to the St. Pat's parade this year. I put on a green shirt, bought some soda bread and decided to grin and bear it through the day.
I got my coffee and started in on another day of tedium. Then something awesome happened. Bizzy Coy gchatted me.
(Note the high levels of crazy behind the eyes)
While that is a pleasant enough surprise in itself, the content of her message is really what floored me. In addition to apologizing for bailing on my birthday party, she told me about the Shamrock Shakes.
THE SHAMROCK SHAKES.
I think I may have mentioned my quest for these things before. Once or twice.
So I may be a little obsessed. She sent me an article from the Gothamist talking about how the Union Square McDonald's definitely has the Shamrock Shake.
My Brain exploded. I can't take all the credit for the return, but I did create a facebook page about bringing the Shamrock Shake back to New York, and I considered a letter writing campaign back in December which I would have called Operation: Shamrock n' Roll.
So I guess I will take all of the credit. Hooray for me and my almost-effort!
So I thought to myself "This is awesome, I'm going to get out of work, swing by and pick up a Shamrock Shake on the way home and drink it in my apartment." I love a good plan.
I was in the middle of weighing the pros and cons of pantslessness during the Shamrock Shake extravaganza when another thought struck me. "What if they run out while I'm trapped in this office?"
I knew I couldn't wait. Thankfully the office had "organized" a St. Patrick's Day Potluck for lunch. As soon as folks started uncovering their dishes and reheating things in the microwave, I was off. I left a Rev-shaped cloud of smoke behind me and was dashing to the subway.
Like this, minus the hilarious ethnic stereotyping.
Months of having just missed trains seemed to have piled up to give me a subway-karma boost. I smoothly stepped off the platform onto an R train. The doors opened at Union Square and I took off again, shoving slow pedestrians out of my way, scattering children and the elderly like tenpins.
Or I wanted to, anyway. "OUT OF MY WAY!" I shouted in my head while politely excusing myself past a pod of land-whales decked in green.
I was back aboveground at last. I darted to the McDonald's, with my heart guarded against some sort of tragedy or sick prank. I opened the door and questioned my sanity. It was still absent, thank God.
I moved into the madness of a Manhattan McDonald's in the midst of the midday meal.
I elbowed (waited patiently) my way to the front of the line. What I saw there set my heart all a-flutter:
Why would you want to hide something this beautiful?
"One large Shamrock Shake, please!" I exclaimed, managing to only think the word "shopkeep."
"The new flavor?" asked the shopkeep.
I thought he said "Any flavor?" so I clarified.
"The Shamrock Shake." He looked at me with eyes drained of life by deaf crazy people shouting orders for fast food.
"Yeah, the new flavor, right?"
Ohhh. Well no, it's not really new. The Shamrock Shake was initially launched in 1970 and has been sold ever since throughout much of the US and Canada. In fact, in the 1980's a character was introduced to market the shake. He took the form of Grimace's delightfully stereotyped Uncle O'Grimacey. It's certainly not a new product, being older than such menu mainstays as the Quarter Pounder (1973), the Egg McMuffin (1975) and even Happy Meals (1979)!
I thought of the best way to distill this information.
"Yeah." I said.
A short wait later and I had it in my hands!
Quick! To the exit before they realize you haven't paid!
I apologize for the lack of exhaustive photos of this mission. I had only the camera on my phone with me.
With my prize in hand it was back to work. I got to the subway platform before I allowed myself to partake.
It was Bliss.
A short jaunt later, and I was back to the potluck. The elapsed time? 19 minutes. Several people hadn't noticed I had left, and looked quizzically at the plastic container of ambrosia in my hand.
Further research would uncover more facts. First, that the Shamrock Shake was only being carried in two locations: Union Square and Times Square. I assume they'll have learned their lesson and will expand the roll out for next season. Second, the Union Square McDonald's was sold out of the Shamrock Shake by 4:00 PM that day. A full hour before I get off of work.
I sometimes have dreams about what would have happened had I waited that day... and wake up screaming.
So that's my story. A bullet was dodged, an evil corporation caved to the almost-pressure of dozens of whiny internet commentators, and you all get to hear a tale with a happy ending instead of listening to me wallow in freakish misery.
Don't. Steal. Phrases.
Ok ok, fine. I hope everyone had a St. Patrick's Day that was just as miraculous and enjoyable. Now get out there and enjoy the almost-Springtime weather!
Peace out babies,