November 29th, 2007


The Happy Hours

Yesterday was a good fuckin' day. I took a break from the normal grind: the Top Ramen dinner, the Six Feet Under episode, the 4-miles at the gym; and I decided to partake in what the locals like to call

Happy Hour.

It feels odd to me that not only are there specific hours during the day in which you should be happy, but that bars and taverns are dictating when these hours exist. And really, how do we know WHICH place will guarantee us the happiest hours?

I just know if I was put in charge of creating the world's happy hours, I'd make them really far apart just to fuck with people. Today's happy hours are from 7-8am and from 3-4pm. Here's your cheap booze.

That having been said, you know what makes me REALLY happy? Cheap booze. And of course hookers, but yesterday I had to settle for the cheap booze. And for four minutes - four GLORIOUS minutes from the time we got to the Mangy Pit (because I forgot the bar's real name) at 6:56 all the way through to the end of Happy Hour at 7:00 - I got to experience what the rest of these work-a-day professionals in their white collars and their polished shoes and their musty aroma get the pleasure of experiencing nearly every working day of their lives.

I got a rum and coke ... for three dollars.

I know!

And I didn't even care that after the initial four minutes, I had to spend three more Suck-Ass Unhappy Hours (is that the official title given to the 22 non-Happy Hours during the day?) paying six dollars for the same rum and cokes, because I had myself a good time.

Who knew? Who knew I'd be a Happy Hour guy? First a Riesling Guy, then a Ziti Guy, now this.

It probably helped that Jenny was there. And it also probably helped that The Donald was there, back from the dead and now living in the big city as of Tuesday. And it also probably helped that one of Jenny's co-workers and her friends were there and they were all highly entertaining. I probably had five or six rum and cokes on an empty stomach (and I'm telling you, this stomach was fucking VACANT; I was starving from the get-go and only had my usual two sandwiches to get me through the Suck-Ass Unhappy Day), then I filled my belly at the end of the night with two greasy slices of pepperoni pizza. Like I said: a good fuckin' day.

Today I return to the toil. I'll be gymming it up the next three days, followed by another fucking early Seahawks game on Sunday. But, on the plus side, the two guys who've been giving me a steady flow of work are out today and probably even tomorrow. If they only had a surly-hot bartender scowling at me as she served me cheap booze, I'd call these the Happy Hours.

Fuck It, Sports (The Return)

Too much good shit going on, let's go to the Rundown:

Sonics - Look, it's just going to be ONE of those years. Young, feisty team that's also chock full of useless veterans who are three years past their prime (if they even HAD a prime). Wally Szczerbiak taking 20 shots to get 20 points is going to kill me, though. He shouldn't be getting TWO shots, let alone twenty! Listen, if you believe that this is a complete overhaul rebuilding project, then you've just got to bite the bullet here and start five youngsters. They keep talking about Sene getting minutes in the NBDL because he's raw; fuck, give him minutes NOW! In the N-fucking-BA! It's what we did with Rashard Lewis in his rookie season and look at him now; making millions of dollars more than he's worth while having his usual 19/5 season. No more Wally Szczerbiak, no more Deldonte West, no more Kurt Thomas. End of story.

Mariners - Hot Stove Action: Comin' Atcha! How does it feel knowing you have absolutely no shot at any of the bigtime names being bandied about? Johan Santana might as well be the Keebler Fucking Elves, because the concept of him in a Mariners uniform doesn't even exist. Sure, we've got the talent they'd be asking for, but if you think this management group has what it takes to secure the long-term deal he's seeking, then I've got some beach-front property in Nebraska to sell you. What's our solution? Hiroki Kuroda, Free Agent. The Mariners have been better than the rest at snagging the best Japan has to offer. Obviously Ichiro, Kenji is coming into his own and locking down the catcher position for the next five-ten years, and even Kaz Sasaki had a solid 2-3 year run with his nasty forkball and his puny 88-mph fastball. They say this Kuroda guy has a 96 mph fastball (which means in reality it's something like a 92 mph fastball) and some other solid out pitches, with a history of low E.R.A.s and high winning percentages. Is he Johan? Of course not. But, he's managable, he's cheaper, and he beats the piss out of Horacio Ramirez (and I haven't even seen him yet; he could be fifty years old with arthritis in his elbows and that last part would be true).

Seahawks - Because I feel compelled to say something. Scary game this week, I'm not gonna lie to you. Shaun's back, it looks like. If that means anything, it means more of the same sub-par running we've gotten from Mo Morris the last three games. Ho hum.

Huskies - I've never wanted anything more than I want to knock Hawaii out of BCS discussions. I'm sick and tired of every year there being some undefeated WAC team pummelling a bunch of junior college misfits on their way to an undefeated season only to hear these jackass sports analysts saying, "Oh, well, they're undefeated so they should play for the championship!" Bullshit. Put Hawaii in the Pac-10, let that Brennan guy get smacked around by some REAL defenses (not saying the Huskies are a part of that elite catagory, mind you), and see if they're still 12-0 or whatever they are. It's all fucking relative and will never be decided until there's a playoff system in place and that's about as likely as there being a viable third-party candidate in a U.S. Presidential Election. Although, I will contend until the day I die that the Husky team that lost only one game on their way to a Rose Bowl victory with Marques Tuiasosopo at the helm was on such a roll at the end of the season that they would've CRUSHED everyone else in a playoff system.

Six Feet Under Mid Series Report

Looking back at it, Six Feet Under isn't necessarily the kind of show I would normally watch. On a whole, I don't think my family is any more or less functional than any other family on the market. And it's nearly painful to go back and watch the movie American Beauty (shares creators with Six Feet Under), which in spite of popular opinion does NOT withstand the test of time or repeated viewings.

But, I love it. I love this show! I love the characters, I love the storylines, I love the depth and the growth and the humor and the sorrow and the grieving and the depression. I love Nate Fisher as the relatable righteous moral authority and brother David as the uptight, conservative, religious moral authority (who just so happens to be gay) and sister Claire who's the angst-riddled artist continuously fucked over by the losers she attracts and mother Ruth as the widow stay-at-home who's wound up tighter than a coil.

Seeing them interact and react and try to cope and survive and lead healthy lives in spite of all the fucked up death that surrounds them (the family business is a funeral home) is the one singular joy derived from this show.

And yet, I wouldn't put it in my top 5 all-time TV shows. Right now, I'm not even positive it's in my top 10, but I've still got one and a half more seasons to pound through before I can make a definitive judgment. For a show that's so well-acted, with characters you believe in and want to see do well in life, it's hard to sit back and watch all the tragedies that splash on their shores like a series of tsunamis.

I mean, right off the bat the show starts off with the dad being killed in a bus accident. From there, to the numerous break-ups among all of their relationships to the mysterious death of Lisa, Nate's wife, to the fact that in every single episode somebody's dying within the first five minutes, guaranteed, it's just this heavy fucking entity that you're forced to wade through. For every episode that makes the viewer chipper with glee (pretty much anything with Kathy Bates, but that's like a three-episode run), there are eight or nine that will completely shatter you.

The latest one I saw is no different.

Nate's still grieving over his wife's death, Claire is facing a temporary setback in the poor reception of her submission to that day's art class, Ruth and new husband George are embroiled in the sensitive issue of his long-lost bastard son, and David's boyfriend Keith is touring as a security guard for some singer and it's the first time they've been apart (aside from the breakups they've endured).

Then, as David is driving a body back from the morgue, he decides to be a Good Samaritan and pick up a hitchhiker.

Now, things like that will instantly raise a red flag (like whenever you see that the creator of a series just so happens to have written and/or directed an episode ... you know shit is GOING down within the next hour), but this is Six Feet Under, so you can't necessarily expect your first instinct is going to be true. And, for a while, as they're going to get the gas can from the station, things are looking kinda OK (really, the only danger at this point is David fantasizing about a possible fling with this maybe-gay stranger, which isn't a rarity in this show).

And then out comes the gun from the satchel, and the entire last half of the episode is devoted to the ensuing kidnapping (leaving completely forgotten all the other storylines this episode started out with). Just, some of the most riveting television you're ever going to see. David takes the guy to buy crack, David's forced to smoke it at gunpoint, David gets tied up while the guy robs a liquor store and frees himself, escapes, runs off and hides, and gets caught when his phone goes off. David driving the guy to Long Beach where he's promised that he'll be let go. Finally, the entire episode culminates with David in an alley being doused with the gasoline they bought before and being threatened with a gun and a lighter. The guy ends up sparing him, though, steals the van, and leaves David soaking, beaten, in a dangerous neighborhood, finally happening upon a passing police officer as he walks back toward civilization.

I'll find out what happens in the next episode tonight, but I can't say I'm necessarily looking forward to it. Watching Six Feet Under isn't like popping a frozen pizza into the oven; it's like single-handedly cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people. There's a lot of shit involved, you can't help but feel overwhelmed and distressed the entire time, and when it's over you're a complete wreck, wasted in emotional fatigue.

In that sense, Six Feet Under achieves what no other show has that I've ever seen. To elicit that kind of response from the viewer can mean only that the sheer power and talent in writing with this show isn't matched by The Wire or The Sopranos or anything else. When all is said and done, I wouldn't be shocked to see this show scratch and claw into my top 5; but you'll have to give me a week to recover before I can make such claims.