Just Kvetching

Hawaii Dep’t of Ag bugaboo permits supposedly in the mail, supposedly overnighted, and supposedly correct.  

CDL permit prep going great!  We lounge-studied last night until Nick cried uncle, covering all of airbrakes, all of combination vehicles, and a good chunk of general knowledge.  It’s fun to go over this material with someone who shares my same sense of humor!  There are so many ridiculous things in the CDL manual, which I tried to emphasize as much as possible.  You’ll never retain, serious, a fraction of what you can retain silly.

I’ve decided to sell my car rather than ship it to Hawaii.  We’ll already have 3 vehicles between the four of us.  My car is awesome, and I would never sell it outside of these circumstances, but it just makes sense.  Comment if you’d like to buy it lol.  2012 silver Hyundai Elantra, 116k miles, all highway, immaculate maintenance record, semi-synthetic oil since 65k miles, new tires, new AC compressor.  Takes regular fuel but gets up to 44mpg under the right conditions.  This make and model and year won a bunch of consumer’s choice awards when it was released.  I don’t actually think anyone reading my blog is going to buy it, but I just have to say for the record, this is an incredible car.  Kind of sad to let it go but I think it’s best.

I scheduled our final (in the CONUS) veterinary health exam/certification for the little dogs, required within 10 days of travel, at a vet with excellent Google reviews down in Tucson for the end of this month.  Unfortunately the maddening COVID-policy of making owners wait outside (the actual building) is still in effect.  We are so frustrated about that.  We asked if they could fudge the rules but no.  Buffy will be unhappy about it but fine — she’s always fine, ultimately, as a veteran of many places and things, but she does worry she’s being kidnapped when people pick her up and carry her in a non-Hannah direction.  I hate that she has to feel that fear.  Milo, on the other hand, will interpret it as the end of the world.  We just know that.  Such a shitty policy.  Such unnecessary trauma for them.  

Maybe some other people’s dogs work differently, idk, but in my experience, Buffy doesn’t have many firm preferences other than being glued to me.  I think it’s kind of odd when people ask, “Is she scared of flying?,” or “I’ve never seen a dog that small go hiking,” or “You take her in the big truck with you?”  Things of that nature.  Buffy doesn’t “like” or “not like” things independently of us staying together.  It makes me wonder if people aren’t really connected to their own dogs, you know?  Milo was a catastrophe when we adopted him but now he’s just like Buffy, in that sense.  He has his person and that represents 100% of what’s right or wrong in any moment.  He had his first airplane ride the other day, escaping Wyoming, and it was just no big deal.  He glanced at Nick during take off and landing, like “this is okay, right?” and Nick assured him it was okay, and that was that.

I’m so glad to have this steady connection to the animal world.  I know little dogs aren’t exactly nature’s most primordial, unfettered expression of wilderness incarnate, but they still connect us.  They really don’t care about human things and they really care about animal things, and accommodating that every day all day is such a nice practice. 

Also it’s fun to ride on their attention-getting coattails.  I’m already accustomed to being a pretty big deal when I roll around with Buffy, and now we’re a double big deal.  We’re this little dog power couple, bringing the heat with these ridiculous fucking creatures.  The whole Denver airport was trying to say hi to our dogs, hardly any exaggeration.  It’s a different world, and people are different people, with these little vibrationally aligned ambassadors, and it’s dramatic.  So fun.  

My normal dating situation, pre-Nick, was sort of a…hm…like a mental haunted house, when I think back on it now.  Like, the realization that I tried to date this guy, or actually thought that one was pretty cool, will jump out at me like rattling skeletons.  Agh!  For fuck’s sake!  And guess what — the most beta-male, low test, 40 year old man child will STILL, despite all that, reflexively perform some vestigial remnant of archaic masculinity by expressing disdain for my little dog.  Imagine!  Imagine you have succeeded at masculinity in zero ways, and for some reason, for a minute, you’re dating a girl who identifies as a girly girl and can still out-man you seven days a week without even wanting to, and the only thing it occurs to you to do is shit on her relationship to her little dog.  Imagine that.  

(And for the record, I did have dates and some friendships with men who saw Buffy for who she is, and didn’t feel beta-triggered about her; so however things ended with us, I will always respect you for that, y’all.)

So anyway, like any single mother — and I know it makes human-moms crazy when dog-moms compare ourselves to them, which I can respect — I obviously didn’t want to date someone who has this whole distorted, negative impression of my little dog.  It’s crazy prevalent, too — like maybe you’re reading this and thinking “srsly what is she on about” but I’m not kidding, it’s everywhere.  Assuming she’s my purse-dog / obliviously-bourgeoisie affectation, type thing.  It’s so crazy!  I pulled her out of the desert and she kind of saved my life, emotionally, and the whole thing is a really big deal and represents an enormous source of stability that I haven’t been offered, or willing to receive, from anyone else.  It’s crazy for men to just roll into that and dismiss it like it’s nothing.

I think the worst, the absolute worst thing about what Teal Swan calls “shadow masculinity”, interpreted by our culture as toxic masculinity, although I disagree with some of the applications of that term, is this impulse to flex on some truly petty shit that makes no sense.  And our culture’s patriarchal, Judeo-Christian psychic inheritance, which carries many good genes, has been absolutely catastrophic for the animal world and our relationship to it.  Somehow every man, everywhere, has gotten the subconscious memo that it’s cool to flex on literally the most helpless, dependent, innocent, and joy-affirming population on the face of the earth.  I think that’s ugly, it’s definitely not sexy, and it’s categorically disappointing.  What’s cool, and what’s sexy, is taking full responsibility for the possessions and beings in your care.  Which, in the case of animals, can sometimes mean re-homing them when circumstances change, whether you want to or not.   

So given all that psychological context, it’s been really amazing to evolve in partnership with someone who not only fully includes Buffy in his circle of loving leadership, but was insistent on becoming Milo’s wellbeing advocate, even before he was “ours”.  There are so many animals that need a good advocate, and when you encounter one, you just have to do that, because probably no one else will.  That doesn’t mean you have to change your whole life, but as they say in AA, do the next right thing for that lost dog or that stray cat or that faceless, nameless “food animal”.  I think it’s beholden on us to help them along however we can, when we can.  Report that neighbor who keeps eight pit bulls in a cage, or a dog on a chain all winter.  I’ve had some shitty neighbors, relative to their care of animals, and I’ve done what I could about it.  I mean, at least try.  

So yeah, rolling through the Denver airport with my little furry soulmate, and my boyfriend plus his little furry soulmate, feels like hashtag winning more than almost any other thing.  It’s been making us crazy, all this stuff with the Hawaii Dep’t of Ag trying to emigrate them, but I’m so glad I’m not fighting a partner who’s urging me to just take her to the pound at the same time, you know?  That would suck.  I mean, that would literally be a dealbreaker for me, all chemistry and compatibility aside.  Character matters, and you really expose people’s character around animals, particularly small, ridiculous ones.  I love that Nick is secure enough in his masculinity that he doesn’t need to perform it through mostly neglecting a husky lol.  

I just think you gotta take good care of what you have, and the universe will reward you with more good things to take care of.  You certainly can’t neglect your way forward into better stuff, or better relationships.

Actually, the amount of guff Nick gets for not only his little dog chirrens but also being vegan tells you all you need to know about toxic masculinity relative to the animal kingdom.  It needs a big update.  Which, for what it’s worth, can conversely be applied to toxic femininity and the way they’re always Democrats lmaoooo.  I know this seems unconnected but vegan men have examined and rejected some of their gender’s emotional baggage, and I think the same can be said for conservative women, particularly if they’re young-ish.  It’s not so much about a particular position on anything; it’s about having consciously examined which position to take.  The Democrat party, at least right now, is the official political platform of our nation’s white girls.

Oh, speaking of which, I’m going to throw in the funniest poll data ever, right here:

Look at this shit.  Just look at it.  I don’t really care about being Republican — I’m just one more person being helplessly radicalized by the senselessness of the general cuckery on the Left.  I’d love to return to my natural baseline of not knowing or caring.  I’m like an end-times sleeper agent — I’ll only come online as a political blogger when the kingdom is truly threatened, and the Unity Crystal of sh’Rhadmha has been fractured.  Why am I even here, talking about conservatives and democrats and Gallup polls.  But I am.  LOOK AT THIS SHIT.  How…?  How does it happen?  How can it be?  How can that many people think this piss-ant paper tiger deserves one more iota of their worry or attention; let alone how are they all, also, Democrats?  I’ll never be a Democrat again.  I’m gonna hold this grudge forever.  I don’t even know who I’m more angry at — the fear monger-ers or the fear-monger-ees.  

Ok never mind I do: the fear-monger-ees.  I mean, we all know that the smallest amount of power goes to the stupidest people’s heads in the worst possible way.  That’s just human nature, especially for people who haven’t cultivated a good relationship with a dog.  So: fine, the fear-monger-ers represent same shit, different day, in a sense.  If they weren’t tryna sell you something, it wouldn’t be on TV.  And if they are tryna sell you something — guaranteed you don’t need it.  

So yes, I’m angry at the mongerees.  I don’t understand why they seem to be united, politically, by the flimsiest and most obviously self-destructive ideologies.  I don’t understand what’s wrong with them.  I don’t understand how you can be this gullible, for this long, about something so patently fabricated, while all the things that really matter are deconstructed and destroyed all around you, with your enthusiastic acquiescence.  I don’t understand how you just roll over, en masse, for the most farcical confabulation of a half-assed pandemic imaginable.  How?  How??

So yeah, this Gallup poll really just captures it, for me.  5% of Democrat men and 3% of Democrat women are ready to return to normal.  Please, please just leave the country.  Please go emigrate somewhere else.  You’re taking us all down with you.  Go live in a cave or wrap yourself in plastic or wear a biohazard suit equipped with a livestream CNN audio/visual uplink or whatever you feel you need to do.  I don’t care, just stop holding us all hostage to your fantasy of a viral pandemic.  I guess your normal life sucks that much that this somehow feels better. 

On the other hand, though, I’m at the point where I do have to take them seriously when they say, Trump’s not the right president for us.  The Constitution isn’t the right contract for us.  A Constitutional Republic is not the right system of governance for us.  After all this…I guess I agree.  You guys are a square peg in a round hole, and I wish we could just copy/paste the country and let both sides have their way with it.  Here you go!  Section eight housing for everyone except the financial elites, who will split off again because that’s what they always do; tall gates and private security for those in charge of regulating social justice and public health policy for everyone else.  One big CHAZ.  I wouldn’t mind, if it wasn’t being shoved down my throat and my economy’s functioning.  Go on and form your own idiocracy, with President Kamala and Vice President Cardi B, and the right percentage of blacks and “latinx” and women and trans-people and non-binary people and gay people, but definitely not Jewish people, represented at every level of science, academia, the arts, and government.  Just go for it.  We’re taking the raccoons though.  No more raccoon snuff films to comment on police brutality.  You never get raccoons, ever again, or police.  Just masks.  Infinite masks, everywhere, all the time, in your home, in your car, at the hot tub.  Masks.  I nominate Flagstaff to be the new capitol.  Remember: mispronouncing names is violence!

I can’t believe I have readers that bear with me; thank you.  I just get really…annoyed about all this.

I may as well just close out on a topic of less general, more specific annoyance, while I’m in the vibrational neighborhood: Vivarium.  I don’t actually watch many movies or shows, lately, so blowing my wad on a bad one is regrettable.  I’m really looking forward to, among other Hawaii things, my brother’s tendency to regale us with excellent media.  In fact he was urging us to watch HBO’s “Raised By Wolves” and somehow we suddenly exited to Vivarium instead, much to our chagrin.  If your time is short, after all this reading, I’ll just say: don’t watch it.  

But if you’re laundry’s not done yet or whatever, I’ll explicate.  Oh, I’ll explicate.  I mean, once I’m done blogging, I have to finish packing up a household so frankly I’m stalling.  

Okay, so Vivarium is like one of those 1:30 am conversations with a dude at a bar that has actually a really good idea for a screenplay, and you’re like: hey, that could be cool!  What an original concept!  And because it’s 1:30 in the morning, at a bar, you just naturally assume they would, you know, flesh it all out prior to its literal production, and you’re just getting the conversational gist of it.  But then, no, that drunken conversation — “it’s gonna be sort of like —,” is as far as it goes, in actuality.  It’s a good story idea that they forgot to finish writing.  We became more and more attentive to the movie, as it neared conclusion, just certain some point or meaning would emerge, at least in overtime.  Nick said, “If they don’t do something fast, this will officially be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.”  

The credits rolled and I slapped down the lid of my laptop and said, “So actually it’s only the second worst thing I’ve ever seen, but the first one was a show, not a movie.” 

“What show??,” Nick demanded in disbelief.

“The OA,” I said.  “Abe and I will never get those hours of our lives back.  At Christmas time, no less.”  

“Oh yeah.  I remember you mentioning it.”  

“Yeah.  So that was worse.  But this was fucking terrible.”  

So, per my blog yesterday when we’d only half-finished the movie: the couple is at odds with each other because the boyfriend wanted to kill the kid-construct thing and the girlfriend intervened.  The girlfriend and kid chum it up while the boyfriend retreats to digging his hole in the yard.  

The kid-construct disappears one day and admits he encountered another person; other people being heretofore non-existent in this inescapable suburban labyrinth.  He won’t say who, so the girlfriend asks him to entertain her with his creepy mimicry, which he does.  “Do me!”  (Disturbing.)  “Okay now do Tom!”  (Disturbing.)  “Okay now do someone else — maybe the person you saw today?”  At that point, the kid grows some weird like balls in his throat and starts shrieking (not uncommon) but like gurgling and going full blown Exorcist.  The girlfriend, like a ‘tard, falls out of character and retreats to her old standby phrase, “I am not your fucking mother.”  It’s really old by this time, but as a catchphrase it’s only just begun.  The next day, he gives her a big red book full of weird patterns.  The patterns match some the patterns the kid watches on TV all the time.  None of this is developed, ever. 

Okay so next scene, now the kid is a grown young man, totally malevolent, and the girlfriend says, “I should have let you kill him when he was smaller.”  I was like, OBVIOUSLY.  Gah!  What an outrage.  Me and Nick were like: guess what?  It’s not too late!  That train is still leaving the station!  I would have killed this thing literally a million times by this point in the movie.    

Anyway: now, the boyfriend is suffering from some totally unexplained malady, apparently due to digging the hole in the yard deeper and deeper.  Initially he encountered some strange sub-surface green stuff, which is why he kept digging to begin with, but that fizzles to a non-point.  He discovers a corpse in a body bag, down there, and staggers out of the hole, very ill and shocked.  From this point on, both main characters don’t do much except sweat, stagger around, and limp, with the camera very close.  They’re always out of breath.    

The grown kid-construct locks them out of the house, like a dick, but not before there’s a long and pointless scene of them dramatically calling to each other from I guess across the street, idk, camera so close up it’s impossible to say.    

Tom dies in the girlfriend’s arms, dramatically, while they recount to one another their first date, which is the first time in the movie we know anything about them.  I’m normally a fan of this hit-the-ground-running storytelling technique, but it fell flat in this case.  I was like, I already know all I need to, about this couple, by this point.  They got nuthin.  

Okay, so grown manchild comes home with a bodybag, zips boyfriend into it, dumps him into the hole in the yard.  Girlfriend freaks out and, idk, may or may not have reaffirmed she is not his mother.  Let’s just say she did, why not.  

She finally grows a pair — for like a micro-second — and takes a pick axe (gardening tools were in the car only due to boyfriend’s status as a landscaper) and attacks manchild with it, only wounding him.  I mean, she fully hits him in the head with the pick axe and it doesn’t affect him much.  He runs away, peels up the sidewalk like a rug and slips under it — which was a totally cool effect — and she catches it from re-sealing with her pick, slips in as well, and now the lighting and camera work get really artsy and every single moment from this point on is more disappointing than the next.  Which sucks — I mean, very little happened in the movie up to this point, so this should represent the climax, but what it really represents is the point in being regaled with this story by the strange man at the bar, at 1:30 in the morning, where you realize you’ve had a few too many and he’s still talking and you’re not really tracking.  Except the cinematic version.  

So, she immediately loses her pick, which annoyed Nick and I to no end — like, please just hang on to your weapon, you silly twat — and there was also that really tired cinematic trope where people fall down and get disoriented and sluggish, and the camera goes in really close on their hair all in their face and their hands sort of scrabble-dabbling around uselessly.  For anyone who’s ever been in a real adrenaline-infused situation: it’s not like that.  IRL, people walk away from rollover car crashes with actually fatal injuries, but they’re in so much shock and pumped so full of adrenaline, they don’t even know, yet, that they can’t walk around.  That’s how it actually is.  So spending minutes watching her flounder around close up was just not our favorite thing.  

Okay so she essentially tumbles from house to house, each one distinguishable by different lighting (blue, green, whatever), watching scenes of people trapped in the same scenario as her and Tom.  A woman sitting at a table just like their table, crying.  A couple fucking and their malevolent kid-construct standing there clapping.  A man, dead in the bathtub, having slit his arteries.  And finally she tumbles down the stairs in her own prison-house, lighting back to normal.  Now the manchild construct comes and zips her into a bodybag, alive, and what do you think she says?  Just guess.  “I am not your fucking mother.”  Perfect.  It’s impossible to overstate how much we already know that.  But there’s a little dialogue right beforehand, where she asks what the point of it all was (Nick and I were on the edge of our messy, moving-time mattress), and he says the point of being a mother is to raise a son for the world, and then die.  And then she says her catchphrase.  Profound?  I’m sure if I was in the wrong-enough roomful of people, it could be interpreted as such.    

Malevolent manchild dumps her into the hole, too, and then puts all the dirt back in, somehow remaining immaculate.  This is the kind of thing that, even in a good movie, I’d consider sloppy, but in this movie, the coffin can’t even hold all the nails.  

Okay then manchild gases up their car, drives away, goes to sales office, original creepy sales agent is there on his last leg, manchild takes agent’s name tag and puts it on, predictably seals sales agent into a body bag and shoves that into a drawer, then sits down at sales desk and waits for a new couple to come in.  The inference being this is a trap, a private hell they shuttle everyone into, and “our” cinematic couple was only one of many.

By the way, in the original scene of the sales agent being weird, this movie had the same problem, in my opinion, as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”  If I’m supposed to believe that the protagonists are willing to stay in a weird situation, it can’t be so weird that any reasonable person wouldn’t flee for their lives.  There’s just no way this couple didn’t drive the fuck away at their first opportunity, just like there’s no way the guy in Get Out wouldn’t just split and hitchhike home.  It’s like being hit with a 2×4 of foreshadowing.    

Things that never got explained: infinite.

Okay here’s the deal: a protagonist, in any story, is only as meaningful and relatable as their antagonist.  You don’t get to phone in these shitty movie villains and congratulate yourself on having accomplished anything.  What are these sales agent demon children?  Why do they do this?  What do they get out of it?  How can there have been other bodies buried in the yard when it was only coincidence this particular couple had landscaping equipment strapped to their car, which no one else trapped in this scenario would have had?  Why did Tom get sicker and sicker, digging the hole?  What was that green stuff Tom found that caused him to start digging?  Why were there only two heaps of dirt with such a deep hole accomplished, apparently, over months?  How did he not run out of ladder?  Who was the entity the child encountered that day, and was tricked into imitating, where he grew really veinous balls in his throat?  Who’s behind all this?  What was that red book about and why did kid-construct give it to her?  What was he always watching on the TV with the patterns?  Was there anything else to watch on TV?  How did this get 87% on Rotten Tomatoes?

What a disaster of a movie.

Okay, that’s a wrap; time to keep on movin’.                   

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