Archive for April, 2006

United 93

United 93

I got to preview the movie United 93 last night and I honestly believe it's the best movie I've seen this year. I have to admit I was a little hesitant. Not because, as some say, it was too soon for a movie about September 11. A statement that I feel is a bullshit one. Movies, usually made for TV, appear months or mere weeks after many horrific events like hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, rapes, murders, standoffs with the Federal Government . . . you get the point. Hell, sometimes there are even movies on the same subject by different networks dueling it out for viewers. Plus there already have been many movies that have been inspired by or have the events of that day as background. I don’t want to sound insensitive but people need to dry up the whining. My hesitation was that Hollywood would Die Hard it to death or wring out the melodramatics. Thankfully, neither was the case.

United 93 starts out perfectly slow and boring, just as any usual Tuesday afternoon is. Even as the reality of a hijacking begins to creep in, the movie’s pace is slow. It had been 20 years or so since an airplane had been hijacked in the US. It just didn’t happen HERE anymore. The movie switches smoothly between the growing shock and confusion of the country and the ho-hum state on flight 93. The video of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center still hits hard. I felt just as angry and helpless as I did nearly five years ago. And seeing the passengers of flight 93 going about their business oblivious to the fate that we know awaits bordered on horror. Using actors whom you know on a face-only basis along with some of the actual air-traffic control personnel that were working that day adds authenticity. The movie's version of what happened on the flight might be the stuff of Hollywood conjecture, but it is based on black box recordings and interviews with relatives and loved ones of the passengers. While it may not be the true course of events, it is very plausible and is what I always believed to have occurred. United 93 is an honest portrayal that honors those who fell victim to the attacks without stooping to sensationalism or political finger pointing. The fact that it’s understated (at least by typical Hollywood standards) makes it raw and visceral, closer to an actual documentary than mere re-creation. The last 15 minutes are some of the most intense I have seen in years.

I have always felt that the passengers of United flight 93 are heroes and should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our highest civilian honor. Whether they or the hijackers downed the plane, the passenger’s actions saved not only countless lives, but averted the demoralization of a nation. The Twin Towers can be seen as a symbol of America's prominence as easily as its greed and avarice. The Pentagon definitely carries a sinister connotation, even by Americans. There is debate about whether flight 93's target was the US Capitol or the White House. Either could have been a death knell for our way of life as we knew it. Love or hate the President, for better or worse, he definitely is the personification of our country. United 93 also made me realize that we, as a nation, have a long way to go. September 11 is this century’s Pearl Harbor but unlike that generation, we didn’t rise up to the occasion. That tragic day is now relegated to being the catchall excuse for high gas prices, corporate greed. . .er. . .policy, and a war that has tarnished the image of America, perhaps irrevocably. Pearl Harbor forced this still relatively young nation grow up. 9/11 seems to make us just bitch.

Hopefully United 93 will not only help us remember the fallen, but also the glory that America can be.


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with lotion. I’ll explain…

I know my razzle-dazzle, refulgent prose tends to show otherwise, but I am basically a blue collar schmuck. I toil hour after hour, day after day, in the not-so-hospitable confines of a factory. And in this factory I work alongside, for the most part, good hearted, hard working people. I also work alongside a small group of people that are, for simplicity’s sake, a bunch of fucking goobers. Today I fell victim to one of said goober’s childish pranks and I reacted the way that any mature man of above average intelligence would. I paid him back in kind, plus tax.

It was a few minutes before my shift was to start and the phone at my extension rang. The man I was replacing on first shift just looked at as it rang, making it obvious that he wasn’t going to answer it, which is a fairly normal reaction. The foremen will call that phone when they need whoever is currently working there to stay for an extra four hours and they seem to relish letting a person know at the last possible minute, sometimes second. I figured he didn’t want to answer it for that reason. Not answering the phone wouldn’t change the fact he would have to stay over but after already working a lot of twelve-hour days within a lot of seven-day weeks, you’ll try to put every barrier possible between you and yet another extended engagement. He had no reason to worry, the call was for me.

“Goober” as he will be known for the sake of this post, had put a large amount of lotion on the ear-piece of the phone which filled every crevice of my ear. It takes longer than you think to get lotion out of your ear. I look over to his machine and see his redneck ass chuckling like he had gotten away with the penultimate prank. The two jackai that I was replacing were giggling like the special ed. school girls they are. The part of the plan Goober didn’t think through was that I now have eight hours with not a lot of work in which to concoct and execute my plans of revenge. It took all of two minutes to formalize and coordinate my course of action. I filled the remaining seven hours and 50+ minutes with multiple trips to the break room for sodas, the ordering and eating of a pizza, exercise consisting of wondering the hell around, and finally, the execution.

DISCLAIMER: For those in management at Quebecor, I actually worked tirelessly in my efforts to ensure both production and customer satisfaction. The statements both above and below are just fictitious internet drivel.

What was my cold, calculated, Old Testament revenge? I chose a two pronged assault. I lined the handle of the top drawer of his tool box with lotion, leaving some exposed. When Goober comes in for the next day’s shift, he will see the lotion and laugh at my feeble attempt at getting him back. Sitting on top of his tool box are two pairs of work boots. What he won’t know until it’s too late is that I took more lotion and put big handfuls in three of the four since I wasn’t sure which pair he wore.

Did I rise up and strike a blow for my fellow non-Goobers? No, I stooped to their level but what the fuck am I supposed to do to earn my wage, work?

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As seems to be my luck lately, I get a more than a day off from work and I end getting struck with some sort of physical malady. A few weeks ago, it was my back and wisdom tooth. This instance was just my back, arriving in the nick of time to save me from the possibility of fun on a four day weekend. It actually hit me as I woke up for work Thursday afternoon. I muddled my way through work with the help of oxycodone and Advil. Arose Friday for my first day off and could barely get out of bed. Basically laid around all night watching tv and trying different combinations of drugs to make it go away. Most strenuous thing I did was to hunch my way to the car and pick up a pizza for dinner. Woke up late Saturday afternoon no better. Took a pain pill and stayed in bed watching the local PBS station broadcast the state finals of the Quiz Bowl. After 2 hours and three finals later, I was finally able to overcome the pain to fall out of bed and find the remote but I just turned off the TV instead and braved it outside to Walgreens and bought some heat pain relief bandages. One of those, three more Advil, and a very hot shower loosened me up enough to meet a friend at a club.

The club sucked, even without my back pain, as I knew it would. I hate this particular place. I always feel old there. If I was 10 years younger, I’d still be too old. The eye candy is great but they aren’t really receptive to some one of my grizzled stature. I did run into a woman that I had a brief fling with last spring. She was (and still is) married during these extracurricular activities and got outed to her husband by some supposed friend while she was in jail. For the second time. In less than a month. I wasn’t the only one she was straying from her vows with but, for some reason, she spared my name when she came clean with the hubby. She recently had a baby and this was the first time she had been out since its birth. She was with her sister who knew about her infidelity but not the part that involved me. After some hello’s, sis left to dance out whatever frustrations she was going through (drama seems to be their family heirloom) and chick and me begin to catch up, platonically. Here is the kicker…seems her husband has trouble trusting her now. Like she couldn’t have seen that one coming. She says that she has done everything in her arsenal to make him understand that she is no longer playing the field. The funniest part is that she asks me, who is one of the reasons she was NOT to be trusted, for advice on what to do. Guess she never saw the irony of that. I just told her to live her life right and all the other stuff will take care of its self. Generic bullshit but she bought it as sage wisdom. She says that she is truly in love with him and that her cheating is over. I believe her but I have a sneaking suspicion that it may rekindle. Either because she can’t help it or his paranoia will drive her to it, or give the excuse she needs.

Got two more days to try to salvage the brief time from work. I am supposed to go to another club tonight to shoot pool with friends, if I can endure the karaoke going on in the adjacent bar. There is a wall and some thick glass separating the pool tables from the bar but it’s never enough. I truly believe the Japanese created karaoke to inflict revenge on the US for the dropping of the bombs in WWII. The first two, three, people who are drunk and/or stupid enough to believe they can sing have some, if little, comedic value. Four hours of 30 people painfully warbling and the two that actually carry some semblance of a tune is the kind of stuff they used to get Noriega to flee his mansion and into the more audibly safe confines of an American prison. Well, they actually used stuff like AC/DC but karaoke would’ve been quicker. And there would not have been an incident at Waco either if the ATF and FBI had used it and not tanks to remove the Branch Davidians. At least if I survive, I’ll live to get cable Monday and finally put the new TV to good use.

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Working 44 hours in 4 days has made Roctavious a dull, tired, sore, cranky boy.  There’ll be no witticism today boys and girls.  Not that there ever is around here.  I have a few more 12 hour shifts to look forward to this week so creativity may be even more slim than normal.  I am supposed to start a new shift in a couple of weeks that, while consisting of 12 hours shifts, should also give me consistent days off.  The same days off every week so hopefully I can get to posting more.  Time to od on ibuprofen and flexeril.  Night, night.

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Things went smoothly with the extraction. Of course I was unconscious so what do I know? My pain factor is a lot lower than my last experience with this type of procedure. The last time I had wisdom tooth problems I had let it go for about a year and it finally hit the point where I couldn’t stop it with any type of pain killers. My dentist couldn’t pull it and made me an appointment with an oral surgeon for a week later. Over the course of that night, it started swelling and by the next afternoon my jaw was so big that I could see it out of the corner or my eye and my bottom lip stuck out like Bubba from Forrest Gump. Although the pain level this time (before surgery) was enough to overcome 10 milligram hydros every two hours, it thankfully never amounted to the previous time.

I actually ate the day of, which is something I didn’t do before. Matter of fact, I felt like I had the munchies. Only thing in the house soft enough to eat was macaroni and cheese and I consumed two boxes. Separate sittings of course, after a drug induced power nap. Dr. prescribed oxycodone and celebrex. I am to take 1-2 oxys every 4-6 hours for pain and the celebrex once every 12 hours. Taking two oxycodones make for a very good time, at least when I stay awake.

The drugs definitely made the ex more tolerable. I have to admit that she was a big help. She cooked for me, even at 4 am when I was starving. And she called work to tell them I will be out until Friday. I thought I would be off for no more than three days but I guess he saw it differently. I don’t feel that bad, the pain is pretty much tolerable but of course my shitty job tends to exacerbate things in the negative. He also said that my swelling would be it’s worse in day three so it may be a good thing to be off for a while. I wonder how they’ll make it without me…

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Well maybe not ALL but it’s certainly my biggest ailment at the moment. In case you can’t tell from the picture, the above is an x-ray of my teeth. And no I’m not British, the x-ray just makes it look that way. Anyway, the arrow is pointing to my wisdom tooth and the really personal relationship it seems to have with the tooth next door. And believe me, it hurts worse than it looks. Thank God hydrocodone isn’t fattening. It’s been my dietary staple for the last week. I have an appointment to see an oral surgeon to get it the hell out Monday.

I went to see a regular dentist Thursday because the surgeon requires a referral. The man was old as hell and I think he was surprised that my teeth weren’t made of wood. I had to have an x-ray or, to sound more intelligent, a panoramic. After taking the x-ray and while waiting for it to dry, the old geez was starting to get things ready to “numb me up.” That kind of scared me since he hadn’t seen the x-ray and had not even looked in my mouth yet. The assistant fianlly came in with it and I then got to redo it, sans earrings, because they were casting a shadow. While waiting for the second one to develop, he nagged at me for still having a wisdom tooth at my age and then preceded to tell me that he could go ahead and remove it now if I wanted him to. I kind of stuttered and said that I thought it would have to be removed surgically. He said I could see a surgeon if I wanted to but that he could do it here. I again stated that I thought I needed a surgeon since my other one required it. He said that while he couldn’t put me to sleep, he could go ahead “bust it up and get it out of there.” Um…..nah. I made some excuse about already having the appointment with the surgeon and blah…blah…blah.

Now I know that the oral surgeon will pretty much do the same thing but, and it could just be me, being unconscious for a procedure that includes the words tooth, busting, and mouth seems to be the way to go. Plus, if I’d let ol’ Doc Methuselah do it, I would have had to call-in to work for the entire weekend instead of missing most likely Monday-Wednesday. While I don’t like to work weekends, I’d much rather lay around in a pharmaceutical funk at the beginning of the week. I live in a small town but there is more to do on a Friday or Saturday night than laying on the couch with a pill bottle and an ice pack my only company.

I go in at noon Monday and going by past experience, I won’t be close to coherent til Tuesday or Wednesday so I probably won’t post. I’ll also most likely will be nursed by my ex-girlfriend so I may not survive the ordeal at all. Hopefully I’ll receive some major dope to make the pain and her tolerable. If for some reason I am conscious enough Monday night, I might try to post just to see how un-lucid I can be. Of course, a whole day/night with the ex might result in me od-ing to end the lunacy. Wish me luck.

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Found this on the Door From Hell site.  I hope it's legit because it benefit's a tremendous cause.  Please be a kind soul and click here to give a helping hand. And I beg you, pass this along to your friends. With numbers we have strength. I just hope that in my hour of need, people will be just as kind.

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