Sunday, July 24, 2011

Horrible Bosses - Movie Review


Two years ago, when The Hangover was being heavily marketed, I was in India. I heard none of the hype, saw no trailers, and when I returned to the states, it was all anyone was talking about. I may have watched a trailer then, I don't remember, but I know that going into the theater my expectations were very low. As anyone who has seen the movie knows - and tickets sales suggest that that was everyone in this country over the age of six months - it is hilarious. My low expectations made it even better. The same could be said about Horrible Bosses.

Everything I saw about Horrible Bosses suggested that it was going to be another stupid Hangover rip-off. The only thing that made it remotely interesting was the cast - a movie with Kevin Spacey, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx can't be all bad. Jennifer Aniston seems to be permanently stuck in the role of Rachel Green, so she lowered my expectations of the movie even further.

On Saturday, when the weather finally began to cool down, Dave and I went to Becky's Drive In. They have an awesome double feature deal (2 movies for $8) and Captain America had just opened, so that took care of film one. Our choices for the second feature were Transformers 3 or Horrible Bosses. I would rather perform oral on a wall socket than watch another Transformers movie, so it was Horrible Bosses by default. In the end, I think I liked it better than The Hangover, and certainly more than Captain America.

The premise of the movie is basic and totally relatable - three men, friends since high school, stuck in jobs with bosses that may in fact be agents of Satan. During a drunken bitch-fest the friends determine that it would be better for them and society at large if their bosses were no longer alive. Having had awful jobs and currently being in the employ of a boss slightly on the difficult side, I totally relate to the fantasy side. These men actually decide to carry out their plan and hire a murder consultant - the recently paroled Jamie Foxx, who later spouts these words of wisdom: "Don't go into a bar and give a guy $5,000 just cause he's black". Seriously, don't.

We laughed pretty consistently throughout the movie, with one recurring cat attack moment reducing me to coughing fits when I choked on a piece of funnel cake (did I mention that Becky's has funnel cake?). I had no major problems with the plot - the issues of "why don't they just quit?" and "can they really go through with it" are addressed creatively and believably. Like all good comedies it does not drag, clocking in at 98 minutes. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who has ever had the desire to choke their boss until his eyes pop out of their sockets and roll across the floor... Just me? Ok.

I still recommend it.

Becky's Drive In

One of my favorite summer activities in Allentown is Becky's Drive In. I had never been to a drive in before I met Dave - I don't actually know if there are any in the Syracuse area. The concept is an old fashioned one, but it is the type of thing that should be regaining popularity, and I hope it does to the point that the dying industry begins to turn around.

At Becky's there are two screens, each one playing two films per night. The movies are timed so that if you want to switch screens during the interval you can, without missing anything. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Regardless of whether you stay for one movie or two. Did you read that? $8 for TWO movies. Not only do you get to sit totally alone, undisturbed by anyone else, and you can even bring your own food if you want to *gasp* you get to see two movies for less than the price of one. If this doesn't sound like the best deal ever, I don't know what's wrong with you.

See the following two posts for reviews of the movies Dave and I saw this weekend: Captain America and Horrible Bosses.

Captain America: The First Avenger - Movie Review


The superhero movie genre has really impressed me lately. X-Men: First Class was superb, Thor was a lot of fun and was almost brought to "good movie" status by Anthony Hopkins and Kenneth Branagh. Both Iron Man movies were great, and of course there is no comparing Christopher Nolan's Batman films to any other. We have come a long way from Danny DeVito as the Penguin - and let's just try to forget the monstrosity that was Wolverine. I have been looking forward to The Avengers since it was first rumored, and even more so since Joss Whedon took the helm. So I was confused and disappointed with Captain America.

Set during the last 'good' war the United States has been a part of, it is furiously patriotic but not obnoxiously so. Steve Rogers is played by the exceedingly handsome Chris Evans - who had been able to show off his acting talent more in Push, of all things; a very underrated movie that is like X-Men on crack. I also just discovered he was the Human Torch in The Fantastic Four, does this man do anything other than superhero movies?! Anyway... Steve Rogers is the 98 pound weakling you were warned about. He is desperate to fight in the war but would be of more use as ammunition than as a soldier. After an unnecessarily long sequence of him really, really, really wanting to fight, he gets the chance. He is spotted by Dr. Abraham Erskine, portrayed by Stanley Tucci, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors. The Doctor sees past the tiny stature (and weirdly disproportionate head) and chooses him to be the first subject in a super soldier experiment.

It works, then things go wrong, and Steve becomes the one and only soldier of his kind. Of little use on his own he is made a figure head, dubbed Captain America, dressed in tights and sent around the country to sell war bonds. This is the best of the long sequences in the movie, and perhaps my favorite part of the movie, period. You watch Steve go from shy, unsure and wishing he was doing something more, to confident, charismatic and with the knowledge that what he is doing, silly as it may seem, really is helping. It also gives us a few amusing scenes where Captain America fights Hitler single handed, and allows him to respond to the question "Do you know what you're doing?" with "Oh yeah. I've knocked out Adolf Hitler over 200 times."

Other than the humor in some scenes, however, the movie was sadly forgettable. The villain, The Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving, who has apparently made a career around being weird as hell*) was scary looking, and the suspense around revealing his face was drawn out well enough, but he was less of a super villain and more... just a Nazi, really. They don't need anything else to be terrifying.

I was saved from utter boredom by The Girl, Peggy - Hayley Attwell - and Colonel Chester Philips - Tommy Lee Jones. Peggy is suitably badass for a WWII British Agent, at one point standing boldly in front of a speeding car to shoot the driver, and is only once dressed provocatively. She is more of another character than a love interest, and I appreciated that. The Colonel is a lovable cranky man we all know Tommy Lee Jones to be, and most of the more amusing scenes have him to thank for carrying them. Toby Jones, the weird Truman Capote look-alike is the Red Skull's sidekick and is more interesting than his master.

Really, what saved this movie for me was the teaser trailer for The Avengers we were surprised by at the end. The ending of the film is such an unnecessary downer it was fortunate that there was something to pick it up after the credits rolled.

*I just want to make note of the fact that Hugo Weaving has played, in his acting career, a drag queen, a computer program, a burn victim who goes by one letter, an elf, a giant robot, a dog, an owl, and now a Nazi. Also, he is Nigerian.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Relationship with The Boy Who Lived

On May 17th, 1999, I turned twelve. A few weeks later - I was never able to have a party on my birthday, as it fell so close to the end of the school year - my parents allowed me my first sleepover party. I invited a small group of girls, my 'best friends', none of whom I have talked to in many years. One of them, however, gifted me with something I will never forget, and will always thank her for: the first two Harry Potter books. Until that day I had never heard of them. The second had only been published on June 2nd, and it must have been soon after that that I had my sleepover. When she handed me the books she told me not to read the summery (which I promptly did) because it would make the books sound silly. It did. I forgot about them for the rest of the evening and instead decorated crepes my father had made with board game designs - the theme for that party. I did not think about the books again until the next morning when everyone had left and, in a fit of boredom, I started reading.

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

With that first line, here written from memory, I was hooked. By late afternoon I had finished The Chamber of Secrets and was dying for more. Luckily, I didn't have to wait too long, as The Prisoner of Azkaban was published in early September of that year. I went to the midnight release of the book at Barnes and Noble, and I may have even dressed up, though I cannot swear to that. That book, whether because of the excitement of a new-found love or because it really is the best, remains my favorite in the series.

A full year passed before I got to read about Harry again. The Goblet of Fire was released on a Saturday in July and my father had pre-ordered the book for my birthday. Of course, this meant I couldn't go get it at midnight, I had to wait until the mail was delivered. Torture akin to the Cruciatus curse, I tell you. I sat outside in the driveway, waiting for the Fed-Ex man to arrive. When he handed the box to an almost tearful thirteen year old he laughed and told me that was about the hundredth one he had delivered that day. Terrified after Rowling's warnings of a character death I peeked at the end. Seeing that it was a character hitherto unmentioned in the books, it was safe to read. I finished it that night, despite the fact that, at 734 pages, it was by far the longest book I had read up till that point.

The world of Harry Potter kept me sane over the following year. Stuck in a miserable school for the already miserable year of 8th grade, I felt rather like Harry before Hagrid pays him that life changing visit. I followed closely the casting for the first movie and reread the books. I also discovered the wonder that is Jim Dale, who narrated the American version of the audio books. I listened to them on car trips, as I cleaned my room, when I was sick. I have listened to the books more than I have read them, to the point where I hear his voice as I read Rowling's words.

A long three years passed in between the fourth and fifth books and The Order of the Phoenix was published on Saturday, June 21st, 2003, two days before my chemistry final my sophomore year of high school. I had to wait until after the exam to even start the book, because I knew if I did, I'd never study. All anyone could talk about Monday morning was how much they wanted to read that book, not how much they had studies for the exam, which felt like double potions when we finally sat for it. I remember nothing of the exam, but I do remember locking myself in my room to read, and sobbing hysterically when my favorite character (at that point) was killed. I finished the book feeling broken hearted and betrayed - I had waited three years just to have my heart ripped from my chest. As I have gotten older I have less love and respect Sirius, but the memory of the pain I felt at his death is still clear.

The Half Blood Prince was released on July 16th, 2005 - exactly a month after I graduated high school and while I was in England. At the time I was participating in an archaeological dig and the site supervisor had canceled all activities that day in favor of reading the book himself. I had pre-ordered the book, as usual, and had it sent to the bed and breakfast where we were all staying. Unfortunately, all mail was forwarded to the owner, who lived a number of towns away. It took a few hours, many buses and a lot of walking, but I got that book, damn it. The death of Dumbledore shocked me far less than Sirius' had, though it saddened me just as much. The entire team was sworn to silence until everyone who wanted to read the book (all but a few people) had done so, and then it was all we talked about. It was there that I formed my belief, shared by few at the time and swiftly shot down by my family and friends, that Severus Snape was in fact a good guy, and would play a major role in the final book. He had always been my second favorite character and now that Sirius was gone all my hope was in him. I felt that there was more to him than the greasy hair and billowing cloak - though with the number of times Rowling uses those terms, you might find it hard to believe.

On July 21st, 2007, almost 4 years ago, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. I was halfway through summer vacation after my freshman year of college, and was only just starting to get close with a girl who lived on my floor, now my best friend, Jocelyn. We essentially bonded over our love of Harry and our despondency that it was almost over. We didn't talk at all the day the book came out, both too busy reading to do anything else. I pretty much cried my way through the whole thing. Hannah, my sister, had stopped reading the books after Sirius died, and wanted a death list before she would try it. Dobby was hard enough to relay, and when I told her about Tonks and Lupin (this is honestly making me tear up right now, how pathetic am I?) she didn't want to hear any more. I didn't even get to tell her about Snape. For me, who had long been a defender of Snape, his goodness was not so much a surprise as a triumph. In turn, this is why his death didn't shock me. He and Harry are the two heroes of the books, and they can't both live.

Which brings me to another point. After the death of Sirius, I found Harry to become incredibly annoying. Justified, I'm sure, and I have no doubt that Rowling wrote the 16 year old Harry that way, but he became so obnoxious in the Half Blood Prince that the rumors of Voldemort and Harry both dying in the final book upset me not in the least. He was like Neo - I almost looked forward to him kicking it and letting the more interesting and less whiny characters take the spotlight. The Deathly Hallows changed that. He goes through such a growth period in that book, becomes so much more mature, that when he does die, it rather broke my heart.

Say what you want about Rowling's writing - no, it isn't literature - but she created a world and an enormous cast of characters more thoroughly than most other authors ever have. Tolkien is the only other person that immediately comes to mind, but let's face it (and I love the Lord of the Rings), Harry Potter is far more readable.

These books were such a major part of my life for so long that it kind of boggles my mind when I discover someone my age who hasn't read them. Dave, for instance, had never read a single one, and had only seen some of the movies. With the amount of driving we do it didn't take long to listen to the whole series before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 opened. He is still not nearly as obsessed as I am (despite having the nickname Harry Potter), but I think he did enjoy them. I will just make sure to read them to our children and raise them believing in the power of love and knowing that you don't need to be pretty, or smart, or even particularly nice in order to be a hero.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sterling Renaissance Festival

On Saturday the 9th Dave, Jocelyn, Rachel, Hannah, Kelly, my mother and brother and I went to the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
I'm not certain when my family started going to the fair, but Hannah and I were both quite small, so it's probably been about 18 years.

We all met at my mother's house, some of us having to wait longer than others for our departure. As you can see, Rachel, Kelly and Jocelyn are very social beings.

Sterling, NY is about an hour away from Syracuse, but totally worth the trip. As we were going the first weekend of the festival (it is every weekend from July 9th to August 21st), and it was the 35th Anniversary Family Weekend, ticket were a lot cheaper than normal. It is $25 for adults, $15 for children. This gets you into the fair for the entire day - 10 am to 7 pm - and gets you all of the entertainment. Food, games, clothes and gifts cost extra.

We arrived at around 1:30 in the afternoon, and the first thing we all did was eat. Dave and Hannah split a pork sandwich, then he shared a fish and chips plate with me. The fruit smoothies are excellent - peach being my favorite - as are the fried cheese curds. Jocelyn got a turkey leg - a drumstick the size of your forearm - from the pretty wenches who implore passers-by to "taste our succulent thighs!" Those girls were always my father's favorite part of the fair. Later on we also had teriyaki beef jerky - $3 for a piece the size of printer paper - an apple dumpling with ice cream, peasant bread, an enormous chocolate and peanut butter cookie and a double espresso for Dave. Then we had dinner. Don't judge.

While we ate we were approached by a wandering poet by the name of Arthur Greenleaf Holmes. He claimed to be a poet of the most corrosive nature and asked if we would like to hear something wildly inappropriate. Naturally, we did, so he told us to come to his show. We begged for a poem right then, and he finally assented, asking what, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst, what we wanted. We asked for a seventeen. After he stopped laughing he recited the first part of A Hearthside Conversation, a poem so inappropriate I will not post the link here. If you find it yourself just remember, as Holmes would say, "You bastards asked for it." We promised to go to his show later in the day, as we couldn't think of anything more delightful than filthy poetry read in a fake British accent.

Having been fed, we had just enough time to make it to the Field of Honor for the first joust of the day. They take place at 2 and 5:30 pm, and are the biggest events at the fair. I would guess that there were around 800 spectators for the joust, and each side of the field gets to root for one of the knights. Our knight, Jacob, was the prettier of the two (both fairly pretty) but not the better horseman. I'm not sure if everything is perfectly rehearsed or if it is different every time, but at least this time, we lost.

Immediately after the joust we ran into a squire who had lost his words. He wished to woo a lady of the sea, a pirate lass, if you will, but had no idea how to do it. We, good feminists that we are, decided that crying "Wench!" and taking her roughly was the best course of action. A passing juggler added that, during the taking - which consisted of a dip - he should add hip movement.

So, Wench!, hip, dip, hip. More amusing than effective, but he went on his merry way to woo Consequence the pirate.

Hannah decided that the passing juggler was adorable, so after informing the squire how to woo his fair damsel, we went to see the London Broil show. I was too far back in the audience to hear or see very well, so I left after a few minutes, but Hannah informs me that they were quite spectacular. She wanted a photograph with the one she fancied because... well, for obvious reasons.

While she was getting her giggle on, Kelly and I got our awesome on and did some archery. I used to be very good, and I do miss it. Being in the Hunger Games wouldn't be all bad, I suppose. Archery is both fun and cheap at the fair - $1 to shoot 4 arrows, $2 for 10, and $5 to enter the archery contest, held at 4pm. Kelly and I split 10 arrows and turned a painted dragon into a pincushion.

At 12, 2, 3:30 and 5 pm there are plays at the Ye Mudd Pits, at the very end of the fair grounds. We saw the story of Jerkulese, son of Zeus, and his triumph over the Evil... Doctor Evil... doctor... Dr. E. had taken control of Zeus' latrine in an attempt to take over the world. Things like that work when you live in mud. During the course of the play there was much crude innuendo, downright sillyness, and lots of mud. Seriously lots. If you are wearing good clothes and don't want any mud on them, do not sit in the front half of the audience. We was one kid in the front row take a clod to the forehead, and I thought Dave was going to have an asthma attack, he was laughing so hard.

We raced over to the Grotto Stage after that to see Arthur Greenleaf Holmes at 4:30. We had already missed his 12:30 and 2:30 shows, and were determined to see the last one. I honestly don't remember the last time I have laughed that hard - the poems were crude, but, at least to me, inoffensive. I recorded three, the cleanest of which is below.

Mother, Will My Stones Drop?

Kelly, Jocelyn, Rachel and I sat in the front row and, seeing as he had talked with us earlier, he dedicated one poem to Jocelyn (I Bought A Cheese, And Thought of You) and allowed me to participate in another (An Ode to an Extremely Provocative Knothole, photo below).

We talked with him again after the show and he said we were genuinely the highlight of his day, signed the copy of his CD we bought, took a picture with us and asked that we mention the fact that we liked his show, as this was the first time he had his own stage. So, Sterling Renaissance Festival, bring this man back every year, as he is hands down the best adult entertainment at the fair.

There is a Wench and Bloke auction at 5:30 pm at the Market Cross and Kelly, good sport that she is, participated. You can pick up your winnings outside the gate but don't forget to bring your payments, because they don't take well to welchers. I saw the squire who we taught to woo during the auction, and we went over to speak to him once Kelly had been sold for 1,000 crates of beer and a blindfold.

The young squire had done well for himself, having had his way with a young lady who had stolen the diamond from his cane. We convinced Kelly to steal the diamond from him, and they wooed each other nicely.

The last event of the day is the Final Pub Sing at the Festival Stage. We made our way over there at about 6:45 and said goodbye to everyone we met during the day, sang a few songs, got some good pictures and had one final, hysterical laugh.I assume most of you are aware of the phrase "photo bomb". It is the act of intentionally sabotaging someone else's photograph, usually with the hope that no one notices until later. Until that afternoon, I had been unaware that there are also video bombers. Then we met their master.

It was an amazing conclusion to an amazing day, and I absolutely recommend this place to everyone. You don't even have to be a total nerd to enjoy it - if you like food, laughter and looking at weird people, it is absolutely worth your money.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Midnight in Paris - Movie Review


As much as I hate to admit it - I am a real failure of a film student sometimes - this is only the third Woody Allen movie I have seen. I saw Everybody Says I Love You years ago, and have been sad ever since that it is out of print, it is quite delightful. Hannah and Her Sisters is equally good, though truly depressing. Midnight in Paris, while still undoubtedly a Woody Allen movie, is very different from both.

It is also very different from the trailer. Previews showed the film to be typical Allen fare: a quirky, romantic comedy set in a bohemian city with a sweet but awkward man as the protagonist. Owen Wilson wanders the streets of Paris at night and gets into mischief. Lovely, but not enough to make me go see it. I'm glad I heard good things about the movie from my friends (thanks Jocelyn!) because I loved it.

Yes, Owen Wilson does wander the streets of Paris at night and gets into mischief, but what the trailer gives no hint of, and which is the point of the whole movie, he is time traveling. Owen Wilson's character, Gil, lives in a perpetual state of nostalgia, wishing more than anything that he lives in Paris in the 1920s. His fiance and her parents are visiting the city, and he is having far more fun than the rest of them in the city of his dreams. After a long night of wine tasting he gets lost and is picked up by a group of revelers in an antique car, just as the clock strikes midnight. These revelers happen to include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Ernest Hemingway. As my fiance Dave said, "wow, that's a lot more interesting!"

As with all Woody Allen movies it is the acting that draws you in more than the plot, at least at first. Wilson plays Gil as a sweet but lost young man, so in love with the idea of being in love that he can't see that his fiancee is a witch. Rachel McAdams, usually so delightful, is an absolute harridan in Midnight in Paris. She treats her fiance like a project, something to be fixed and displayed for viewing, and she seems to relish the opportunity to publicly humiliate him. She is the kind of woman who should raise show dogs rather than children. Her mother, played by the wonderful Mimi Kennedy, is no doubt the source of much of her behavior - this woman's favorite and much used catchphrase, "cheap is cheap", is used to describe everything from furniture to Gil himself. The father, Kurt Fuller, is an image of what Gil will become if he is trapped in this family forever - downtrodden but vile in his own right. Possibly my favorite of the modern day people is Paul, the extremely underrated Michael Sheen. Paul knows everything, and likes telling this to everyone else. The few times Gil rises to the bait are both very real and very funny.

Marion Cotillard plays Adriana, the young French woman that Gil meets in the 1920s. This woman has incredible range, and must be given more work. Anyone who saw her in Inception knows that she can be both sweet and sexy and also horrifyingly psychotic. We see her sweet and sexy side only in this, but we still have the feeling that she wouldn't hesitate to kill someone if she found it necessary. Kathy Bates is a harsh but kind Gertrude Stein and Alison Pill is a charming but very disturbed Zelda Fitzgerald.

My favorite 20s character, and possibly my favorite of the entire movie, is Corey Stoll's Ernest Hemingway. He is a creepy womanizer who speaks in full paragraphs of run-on sentences, which I guess is far more funny if you have actually read his work. Our first introduction to this is almost the first thing he says; when Gil states that he loves Hemingway's work his response is "Yes. It was a good book because it was an honest book, and that's what war does to men. And there's nothing fine and noble about dying in the mud unless you die gracefully. And then it's not only noble, but brave." All this uttered in one breath accompanied with a blank stare that gives you the impression not all of him left the trenches of WWI.

The movie is essentially about self discovery and the idea that your ideal place and time is not what you want it to be, but what you make it. Living in a fantasy is all right for a while, but in the end it becomes too problematic. Better to find love and happiness where you belong than chase a dream you can never have.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving: A Story of Hell

Dave and I are now residents of Pennsylvania, a fact I take great happiness in. However, given what it took us to get here, there were points where I wished we had just stayed where we were.

The ordeal began on last Saturday, when we drove to Maine for the last time. Dave's mother, with whom we are going to be living, came up with us to help in the moving process. If she hadn't come with, I don't think we would have made it at all.

We got to Springvale at about 9 Saturday evening and packed for a few hours before going to bed. Sunday morning we went to Portland for brunch at Ri Ra, one of our favorite restaurants in Maine. We put off packing for a few more hours before getting down to it, deciding to call it an early night, and crashing.

Monday we realized that we had a ton of stuff left to pack, and not enough boxes to put it in. We went on a box quest, eventually being saved by the Subway cardboard dumpster. We stayed up late and finished almost everything. Our internet, which was supposed to have been shut off that morning, still lingered, and I was able to watch the season premiere of True Blood - the highlight of this miserable ordeal.

Tuesday was when the real fun began. Our internet was still intact, so I called to find out why. My request to cancel our subscription had apparently been entirely lost, despite the long conversation I had with the girl about moving to Allentown. The mistake was rectified, but this was not to be the last, or worst, instance of someone failing at their job we encountered that day.

The previous week I had reserved a Budget truck online. We had used a Uhaul last year and it cost almost $500, so we chose to go cheap and use a different company. I cannot express how big of a mistake this was.


Monday I called the truck pickup location to confirm that the reservation was set. I was assured that we could come get our truck on Tuesday any time after 10am. We arrived at about 11, only to discover that every truck had been taken by a group needing to transport fireworks. Not only was the truck I had reserved and confirmed not there, no one called to tell me. My lack of physical violence was a feat I ought to be congratulated on. The employee I had confirmed the reservation with was as unapologetic as it is possible to be, and the only reason I didn't kill him was that he was not actually there.

We drove to the next closest Budget location, 30 miles away, after being assured that they had a truck and that it would be there when we finally got to it. The employee we talked to at the second location was at least polite, if a bit dim. Unable to perceive my barely controlled rage, he thought it would be a good idea to "mess with me" and act like he didn't know what I was talking about when I identified myself. I came close to slapping him as well.

We finally got our truck, for $350, already not worth saving any money on. Then we started driving the thing. After about 30 seconds on the highway Dave and I began sniffing, and looked oddly at each other.

"Do you smell that?"

"Yea. Is that... cat piss?!"

It was.

We were so happy at finally having a truck that we didn't immediately turn around and take it back, which in retrospect we probably should have done. Maybe we thought the smell would dissipate. Maybe we thought we could ignore it. It didn't, and we couldn't. After a thorough cleaning, Febreze, air fresheners and a few squirts of Dave's precious Armani Code, the smell of feline urine persisted.

We began packing the truck, not at the 11am we had been aiming for, but at 4:30. With the help of Tyler we were able to get everything we had packed into the smelly thing in about an hour and a half. We went to go get a lock for the truck, something that really ought to be complimentary, considering the astronomical cost of renting the damn thing. We found one that can withstand gunfire, but stupidly forgot to check how big a lock we needed, so naturally it was one nanometer too small. My mother saved the day by randomly remembering the combination of the lock we had used the year before and still had.

We said to hell with it after that and went to dinner in Portland, at the amazing Hi Bombay! There didn't look to be that much left to pack, so we weren't worried about finishing it, and cleaning the apartment, the next morning. We aimed for a noon departure. Ha.

As anyone who has ever moved before knows, it never goes quickly. It took far longer than it should have to pack the remaining crap - where did we get so much stuff?! - and cleaning was dreadful. It was about 95 degrees inside and cleaning spots of black mold off the bathroom ceiling was the least offensive thing we did. We better get our damn security deposit back, because that place hasn't been cleaned that well in years.

At 6pm we locked the door to our now hated apartment for the last time, got in the truck, and drove away. We were already feeling a bit crazy, as you can see from the borderline homicidal grin on Dave's face. We hadn't even gotten started.

I don't remember the drive from Syracuse to Springvale last year being that bad. Of course, our truck was smaller, we were driving during daylight hours and the drive itself is pretty easy. Not so going Springvale to Allentown, which involves seven states and a close encounter with New York City.

At 1 in the morning I was deep in an anxiety attack as we drove down a stretch of highway not meant for commercial vehicles, where we had already seen a tractor trailer get a police escort off the road and were there was a tunnel every mile, steadily decreasing in clearance height. Bless Dave for being calm, used to little sleep and able to put up with me, because he let me pass out for about two hours after my heart palpitations stopped. I slept through the Tappan Zee Bridge and the ten miles of unpaved road, and woke somewhere in New Jersey. The first thing that registered upon waking was the smell of cat piss. I considered leaping from the moving vehicle, but I was still too tired. We made it to Allentown at 4am without further incident, and were unconscious in minutes.

Wednesday was devoted entirely to unpacking the truck we had not 36 hours before jammed with all of our worldly possessions. Splitting the boxes between the house and the storage unit (which we filled) we unloaded everything and took the old, unwanted bed to Goodwill. The woman Dave's mother had talked to, who had assured her that Goodwill takes beds, was no longer present, and of course Goodwill doesn't actually take beds. I think murder crossed all of our minds then.

We finally got rid of the evil bed today - truly, I pity whoever ends up sleeping on that thing - and the truck was returned with 5 minutes to spare. My demand that the thing have the shit cleaned out of it before it is unleashed on some other poor, unsuspecting individual fell of deaf ears and, too tired to argue further, we left.

We still have boxes to unpack but I have my desk and my bed, so for the moment, I am happy.

Did I mention that Dave's mother is in the process of selling her house? Yea, we get to do this again in a few months. I can't wait.