The Challenge of the Dust Collector

I suppose I got it from my father. I’m not talking about my wonderful good looks, nor my nose, but my love of knick-knacks. You know knick-knacks? If you type “knick-knack” into Google you get: “a small worthless object, especially a household ornament,” with wonderful synonyms like: “trinket, novelty, gewgaw, bibelot, ornament, trifle, bauble, gimcrack, curio, tchotchke, memento, souvenir, kickshaw.” My wife simply calls them dust collectors, so I guess, I’m a dust collector, although looking at the synonyms I’m thinking of shifting to calling them bibelot if only because then it sounds fancy.

My dad had tons of knick-knacks with most of them on shelves in our basement. Like most knick-knack collectors he gathered them in his travels. There was the variety of ashtrays, little statues, and he had this array of those little bottles of booze you would get on airplanes, which, I must admit, as a youngin’ wondering what booze tasted like, I had sampled (I wonder if Mom and Dad ever realized knew?). Me, my knick-knack collections kept growing through the years, though not to the level of my dad. Sometimes they were little gifts, something I made, maybe even a brick I kept in a sock, but most knick-knacks had a story.

The thing is, if you are a knick-knack, or rather bibelot collector, there generally isn’t any purging of them unless life changes happen, and usually that life change involves moving. Moving, many times, lets you re-assess the importance of things you have collected over the years, usually, in the end, revolving around the “What in the hell am I keeping this for?” line, especially if packing up of the knick-knacks happens at the end of the move, when, by then, you are sick of packing, sick of boxes, and somehow it’s just easier to just pull the trigger and either A) Throw them away. B) Give them away, usually to Goodwill now since it’s the easiest way to get rid of your bibelot and claim a tax right-off (Yes, that old hotel, ashtray collection must be worth at least $500, at least on the Goodwill form), C) Put them in a box that you won’t unpack at your new location. For me, though, my major purge came when I met my future wife. Somehow she didn’t run scared when she came to my bachelor pad the first time, and I had to explain why I had a purple, plastic armadillo that came from a drink at a cheesy restaurant, nor explain my sleeve of golf balls with Warner Bros. characters on them. They were there, on some shelves, and yes, there was probably some dust. Eventually, with her move in, there were some changes, and even I looked at some of the things with a “Why in the hell am I keeping this?”, and I think I claimed $5 for the sleeve of golf balls on the Goodwill form.

With the move to our new house there was some new purging, and now my bibelot collection is limited mostly to a shelf in my office (that is until we re-do our basement, just don’t tell my wife!). Included on the shelf are wonderful items like the first album I ever bought, Queen’s “A Night at the Opera,” obituaries of my mom and dad, a Noid from the Domino’s Pizza ad campaign, a bell and figurine that my dad had as part of his knick-knack collection, some old milk bottles from The Home Dairy, my grandfather, and then Uncle’s business back in Lorain, Ohio, with some of the best ice cream around (I always wished I could find the original recipes somewhere and restart the business, but alas, I believe its tastiness is lost as just a memory for Lorainites). There’s my old fraternity pin, a Buddy Christ (because he’s your buddy), a hat from Torrey Pines where we went golfing when a bunch of us were out there for our buddy Rob’s wedding, and one of my favorite pictures, of me, as a little dude, with a toy guitar in front of the TV with The Johnny Cash show playing (and I sometimes wonder why I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan).

The latest addition to the collection, because a knick-knack collection is always fluid and can grow at any time, is an Irv Kupcinet street sign, a real street sign secured, much to the help, and dismay, of my wife, from Sun-Times columnist and writer of the fun blog, Every Goddam Day, Neil Steinberg, who was having his own knick-knack purge when he was moving offices and offered it as a prize for guessing where a picture was taken. I won the sign, some pleasant conversation, and a cup of coffee, because my wife was relentless and wouldn’t let me give up figuring out the picture Neil posted was inside Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company.

Much like a good knick-knack collection, this post has just kept growing, so it’s time to finish this up simply with this wonder: Do you have knick-knack shelves?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

A New Watch Every Few Years?

It’s almost here. It’s almost time. The world, and our lives, is about to change. Why? Because the Apple Watch is almost on sale. Fine, there hasn’t been an official launch date, there is finally an official Apple “Special Event” titled “Spring Forward” that will most likely showcase the watch, and other than some articles about possible pricing, some sightings of it out in the wild, and the general rumors that seem to come around any Apple release, we still don’t know anything official about it except, that, in the world of watches, unlike the watch that you might receive as a graduation gift, an anniversary gift, a birthday, you know, the watch you will cherish for the rest of your life, the Apple Watch will actually have a shelf life. Watches in the past were mechanical, or even if digital maybe you would just need to change a battery, and there are people who still have a wind-up watch handed down for generations. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, is technology, and like all technology has a shelf life.

Think about your smartphone. Whether you have an iPhone, an Android type, or even an old flip phone, there will come a day when that phone will be obsolete. The operating system won’t work with the new software, the screen isn’t big or small enough, or even the phone network won’t work with it any longer. The same thing is going to happen with the Apple Watch. It will not last a lifetime, it will be lucky to last five years before you need the next one, and if you get sucked into the Apple Watch universe, you will need the next one because it is technology, and it will always change.

The thing is I don’t care. I need a new watch, I like being an early adopter, but my only worry is price. I know I’m looking forward to it, but I do wonder: Are you considering buying the Apple Watch?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

He Couldn’t Ring Dem Bells

I found myself in a bell tower. I won’t go into when I found myself in a bell tower because then the story would probably be worse, but there I was. I was led to the door to the bell tower, but we thought the door was locked. The 15-year old in this 47-year old body really wanted to go into the bell tower, but alas, it appeared a little lock was there between normal-ness and adventure. Oh well. Then an opportunity came for me to be by that door again, and low and behold the lock wasn’t really locked, I opened the door and found myself, alone, climbing the stairs. But I was torn. In my head I knew I shouldn’t really be there, the initial stairs were kind of rickety, but I continued to climb. I made it to the first level, looked up the next set of stairs, and somehow continued going up.

Then thoughts entered my head.

It wasn’t really the time nor, well, time to be an adventure-man. What if the stairs collapsed, and I would be like Nicolas Cage in an action movie careening down the tower, only I don’t think I would safely be able to grab something to break my fall, nor land nicely on the lower level? If the stairs did collapse, boy would my wife be pissed. And so on. One flight of stairs to the next level, and I chickened out.

I made it back down, met up with some of the people I was with, showed my pictures, explained my adventure and how I was concerned the upper levels wouldn’t hold my tonnage, and one person nicely said I would probably regret not going the all of the way up the stairs in a few days. She was wrong. It didn’t take a couple of days. Even though in my rational and respectful head I knew it was the right thing to come back down, it took only a couple of minutes for me to regret not climbing at least those next dozen steps to see what was up there.

Maybe it wasn’t the time nor place to be on an adventure, but in the end, after my chickening out of climbing that last set of rickety stairs, I wonder: Would you climb a rickety staircase in a bell tower?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Out in Less Than One Day

As a Catholic and a Polish dude I was preparing for Lent. Paczki were ordered, and I began pondering the Lenten season. For years we are always told we should give something up until Easter, although the rules were always a little shady as sometimes we were told we were able to have on Sundays what we gave up, other times there was the spirit of “fasting” for the entire season. One year I did great, giving up adding sweetener, both artificial and natural, into things, specifically my iced tea and coffee. Somehow I made it through the season although I did pick up the diet soda after Easter. This season, though, I had a plan. I was going to add some things which I know kind of goes against the theory of Lent, but I felt trying to consistently do my yoga, meditation, and exercising for the season would make me a better person, but on the giving up something I went back to the old standard, giving up soda.

Fat Tuesday was truly fat with delicious packi, and my Ash Wednesday started nicely. I figured I would easily be able to skip the Diet Coke during the day, I penciled in my 15 minutes of Yoga and meditation for when I came home, and planned on hitting the gym on Thursday. All was set for my Lent!

And then the day turned to crap. For no better way to put it things got busy, I got lost in the progress of the day, and before I knew it, not even thinking about it as if on auto-pilot, the Diet Coke was opened, poured, and down into my belly. It took a while for me to realize it, and then an under-my-breath “Shit” was uttered, but the day continued kind of crappy, I got home and the last thing on my mind was anything but Yoga and meditation, and suddenly it was Thursday and on my Lenten sacrifices I had already, utterly, failed.

Sure, I could have picked myself back up on Thursday, but it came and went. At least on Friday, thanks to my wife, lunch was a tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich while dinner was pierogi so I cleared the “no meat” thing, but for Lent I have yet to actually accomplish any of my sacrifices or additions.

Now I know I could probably just go to Confession and ask a priest how bad it is, what my penance should be, and although my goal is to actually get back on track today, but for now I know I have been bad, been a failure at Lent, but wonder: How many Hail Mary’s should I say?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

One Staple of College I Seem to Suck At

I have an Aerospace Engineering degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, I have made some iPhone apps, I can, or at least used to be able to play the violin, and I can cook an awesome steak, but why is it when it comes to the staple of college students everywhere, something I never actually made when I was in college, I find that I somehow suck at making Maruchan’s Ramen Noodle Soup. The discovery came a little while back when, at the request of my wife when she wasn’t feeling well, she requested I make her a bowl of soup. My immediate thought was some Lipton Cup-o-Soup, but for her she wanted Ramen Noodles.

I have seen them before, I’ve witnessed people making them, but for whatever reason I was flummoxed at my first attempt at making Ramen Noodles. I’ve seen people just drop the entire noodle blob into the water, but my wife wanted them busted up a bit. So, I started busting them up. I was told I didn’t have to pulverize them, just break them a bit, but it was too late. Somehow I wasn’t sure when to add the flavor packet, and almost threw it away, so luckily for my wife she took over and created her nearly perfect bowl of soup except for the too-broken-up noodles.

I’ve tried a couple of more times, but for whatever reason the simplicity of making Ramen Noodles just seems to escape me. Maybe I just want to make them more complicated, maybe I just don’t want break the noodles too much, but in the end I just wonder: Do you eat Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Lassie, Did Timmy Fall in the Well?

It happened the other day. There was some candy on the counter, a bag of candy as it would be, and I was pretty sure my wife wasn’t keeping count of the number of pieces in the bag. She wasn’t home yet, but Milo was there. He did his normal greeting of lying in his bed, looking towards the door as I opened it, had a gaze of “Do I know you?”, and as I came a little closer he lifted his head a little higher, let his nose do some sniffing, and, when finally realizing it was me, he spun around a little bit then headed down to his litter box to do his business.

Careening back up the stairs he made it to the kitchen just in time for him to see me putting my lunch dishes in the dishwasher and spying on the candy. I looked at him, said “Don’t tell your Mommy.”, and proceeded take a couple pieces of candy.

I wasn’t overly worried about Milo telling my wife about actually eating the candy because, well, he hasn’t really had his “Lassie” moment yet, but as I was talking to him I wondered: Do you tell your pet not to tell on you?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Table Cleaning and You

This past weekend I came to fully realize that I married into a family of table cleaners. Now I’m not just talking a family of table straighten-uppers, but if you gave them a cleaning rag as part of the meal you could probably just set the table right after they left and it would be cleaner than the job you would do as a waiter/waitress/buss boy/buss girl.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Mr. Slob when it comes to going out to eat or being at a relatives for a holiday dinner. When I’m done with my meal I will take my plate, and offer to take a plate or two when I’m at a family gathering, and if I’m at a restaurant I will try to neaten up my area, leaving things in a manner kind of nice for the wait staff to be able to clean, but, especially at a restaurant, I’m not trying to make the table ready for the next customer. My in-law family, however, is a server’s dream because as the meal is done there they are stacking plates, collecting silverware, tidying up the area, and never was it more prevalent than at the funeral luncheon I was at over the weekend.

The funeral was for my uncle-in-law. Now I know this sounds silly, but I’m still not totally sure how to incorporate explaining who people are from my wife’s side of the family, so for me he’s my uncle-in-law although I have started calling some of my aunt-in-laws my aunts. In any case, after the funeral service, there was a buffet luncheon, held in the church hall, and the food was prepared and disbursed by a wonderful staff of ladies who made sure the serving dishes stayed full of funeral hot dogs (that’s a story for another blog post), potato salad, and a fantastic table of desserts. As the luncheon was finishing up I saw them starting to come around and clean off the tables, but before they came to the table I was at, with my direct in-laws, the table-cleaning had already started. My Aunt-in-law started by gathering a few plates around her, nicely separating the silverware off of the plates, continually putting napkins/scraps/etc. on the top plate and then stacking the dessert plates on top of that, and before you know it my wife is taking my plate and making it neat for my Aunt to easily stack onto her pile, others are doing the same, and off my Aunt went, taking the separated silverware and the stack of dirty plates to wherever they were being thrown away. When all was said and done there wasn’t much more left to do at the table I was sitting at other than quickly wipe it down, fold it up, and ready the hall for the next basketball game.

I would say that this is just a habit of my Aunt’s, but I’ve seen other members of my in-laws do the same. Maybe it’s because they came from larger families with lots of plates to clear off of a table, maybe it’s because their parents were much more hard-asses making sure the youngins cleaned up the table after a meal, but for me I’m still a tad shocked at the amount of cleaning that happens at a table that others are technically being paid to clean. It’s not that I think it’s wrong, nor excessive, it just makes me wonder: Do you clean up your table at a restaurant?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

 

Kink

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:20 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Kink
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Peter Acworth, Maitress Madeline, Tomcat, Five Star, John Magnum
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Kiddie Movie: For the love of all things great and small, no. It’s got boobs, penises, bondage, flogging, and all kinds of fun for adults.
Date Movie: If she wants a look into the industry of making BDSM films.
Gratuitous Sex: There really isn’t any sex, except with machines.
Gratuitous Violence: Um, duh.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Learning how to step on a dick and not having it hurt too much.
Memorable Quote: My dream is to be a yoga teacher.
Directed By: Christina Voros

I liked “Kink.” There, I said it. Phew.

Now will my friends and relatives who read my site and think things like bondage and discipline, domination and submission, or sadism and masochicm (a.k.a. BDSM) are sick, disgusting, and the devil’s work, well, as one person says in the documentary, “just move on,” because it’s going to be hard to write this review without some risqué terms, and maybe a mention of a penis or boob.

Let’s get to it.

It’s not every documentary that has a line “Give me about five minutes. I’m putting together a glory hole,” but “Kink’ does. In the easiest way to put it this is a documentary about a website, kink.com, and it’s internet business of making movies for the BDSM crowd. As simple as that might be, it’s also a look at the personalities and people involved in the business, the seriousness in which they take their movie-making craft, and also a look into those that enjoy the BDSM lifestyle. It’s kind of like a “day in the life” look at what happens at kink.com, and let me tell you, a lot happens.

Opening up with a look around the offices of kink.com, we learn of its nondescript facade and how the building they took over, with it’s nooks, crannies, and various rooms, is pretty much perfect for all of the filming that goes on, and as we move along we are introduced to various directors, talent coordinators, and actors, or as they call them, models, in various stages of productions. There are the women who like the machines, and I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill vibrators, but picture an industrial type jig-saw fitted with a certain apparatus and set up so the woman can be tied up and, well, you get the picture. Then there are the dudes, looking to be dominated with the director telling the actress-model, “If you want to step on it…”, the dude saying “My dick?”, with the director’s quick retort “Of course.” Then she proceeds to show them both how it doesn’t hurt if you step on his penis a certain way.

The thing is as taboo as the topic of BDSM might be to some people, the documentary does show that this is a lifestyle for the people, one that translates into their business, and they don’t mess around because in the world of BDSM there are rules. You find out that in a twist of a thought the submissive is actually in charge of the dominating person because the “safe” word is the key. You find that there is a lot of coaching and maybe changing things on the fly if some of the models end up uncomfortable with certain scenarios, and even on the business side it’s all about statistics and sales because at their meeting we are finding that gang bang videos sales are up, but the machines are down quite a bit, and they want to figure out why because yes, for kink.com, it is a business and they want to keep their customers coming back.

Most of the scenes didn’t bother me, well, except a scene where I said “Ouch, she’s got his wang tied up in a rope!”, but what did start to turn me off about the movie was that most of the people kept justifying what they did and the lifestyle they enjoy. It seemed to get a little too preachy, and I think it would have been better had they toned that aspect down a bit, keeping most of it to what I mentioned before, “That if it isn’t for you, just move on.”, and get back to the filmmaking side.

If you don’t like seeing dudes with penises, and I’m not talking a lazy, boring, limp penis, but porn penises being teased or stepped on, or naked women, and sure, they might be naked, but they also probably have nipple clamps or are hanging upside-down by their ankles and chained with a collar with giant vibrator between her legs, well, this movie probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a pretty decent documentary about a company dedicated to BDSM movies, may I highly recommend “Kink.” Maybe get Howard Stern to do the on-screen interviews to really find what makes the people tick, and I could see this getting a solid 4 stars at the look into BDSM movie-making, but with too many stock answers of how they are good people and BDSM isn’t bad, I’ve got to drop it to 3 1/2 stars.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Only 68 Days Left

The man is on the TV spouting how we should get our billions back, the people are on the side of the road in their Statue of Liberty costumes asking you to come on in, and companies are supposed to have sent you your tax forms by now. Yup, it’s tax season. It’s the time of year when some people will go “Shit, I owe how much?”, others will be cheering because they are getting a giant refund and can go buy that new TV, and others will be proud of the fact that they owe, or will get refunded, next to nothing which means they didn’t give the government a loan with their money.  There will be stories, especially come March, how taxes are a clustur-f&^* of complicated rules that only a tax accountant might be able to understand, as more candidates hit the trail many will give the familiar rhetoric about tax reform, easier tax filing, how the rich should pay more, yet for the most part the tax rules will just become more complicated, and the rich will still figure out loopholes left by the same politicians who said they will get rid of them, and in the end, April 15th will show up, a deadline everyone knows is there, and some people, probably the same people who crammed for a final exam the night before, will scramble to get their taxes filed on time.

I’ve filed my taxes crazy early, I’ve been on that cusp of April 15th, but with it being early February I wonder: Have you filed your taxes yet?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Yes, It Snowed. We Know Because of Patio Furniture.

It's snow-covered patio furniture time!I’m guilty. I admit it. I post pictures of things covered with a lot of snow. It seems, however, that I’m not alone. Yes, one thing that has always been a given, probably since the dawn of the cave drawing, is that when it snows we feel the need to convey the amount of snow by taking pictures of outdoor things with snow on them. The cave drawings may have had pictures of maybe a wheel, or a round rock, with snow on it, there is probably some painting with a castle with a foot of snow on the top of it, and I know even when I was a youngin’, with one of those cameras that used that film stuff, when it snowed I would be out the door taking pictures. Now of course, with the camera phone, the pictures are everywhere. Pictures of the outdoor grill (like mine) with snow on it, pictures of patio furniture with snow on it, pictures of cars with snow on them, and pictures of people playing in the snow. For whatever reason, whatever the need, we have to show the world, even our neighbors right next door who can see our patio, how much snow we have.

There was a viral video of a news anchor who was sick of the patio furniture covered with snow, but I have a feeling the dude is fighting a losing battle because it has happened, happens today, and whatever technology happens in the future, when it snows I’m sure we will tell everyone.

I’m guessing this is a 100%er in the world of polls for those who live where it snows, but let’s do it: Have you taken a picture of patio furniture covered with snow?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!