Three Guys, One Book: The Detective & The Pipe Girl – Review

 

I read Michael Craven’s The Detective and The Pipe Girl. You should too. It’s the first funny murder mystery I’ve ever come across. And it works, trust me.

But, before you do any of that, read this review I wrote about it over on ThreeGuysOneBook. You know, just to make sure I’m not totally making this all up.

Then, go buy the book.

OK, enough directives. Enjoy.

 

#202 – Planning Your Meals

I’ve gone back and forth about this one. Part of me absolutely detests doing it. I actually get some anxiety when I take too long to plan things out, when I don’t know where I’m going to go with a particular meal or group of meals.

Buttttttt…. when it does work out, when I find a few different meals to make for the week that will last me at least those handful of days (and likely more) it’s a true feeling of accomplishment.

Typically, the height of this feeling is when I’ll plan two or three meals for a 3-4 day window. One of those meals is likely a staple, something I have all the time and always love. Another will be a new-ish recipe, something I’ve only tried a handful of times but have loved every time. And lastly, there’s the one that’s a total new one. Of course, they all have the theme of spicy/soup/stew/Italian-or-Mexican because I don’t really do much in the way of culinary exploration.

There’s also the thrill, admittedly it’s one that’s worn away as I’ve grown older and more accustomed to it, of being able to do it on a budget. Not a fixed, I-can’t-do-this-if I-spend-that-type budget, but one that still makes you feel good if you divide Meals Made/Money Spent and get around $8 or $9.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Knowing that you want to eat something, having food and time on your side and not being able to decide what you want because you are either too lazy or too indecisive about everything (or both).

#210 – Leaving the Dentist’s Office

I know those people that hate… yes, hate… going to the dentist. They’ll avoid it like the plague, throw away those nice little reminder postcards, deny the fact that they’re teeth hurt every time they even look at something with sugar in it—just to not have to go.

I’m not one of those people. One of my good friends is a dentist. His wife is a dentist. Three brothers on my mother’s side are dentists. Fact of the matter, they’re people just like the rest of us. Of course, their profession involves sharp metal instruments inside unwilling mouths, but I’m pretty sure it’s all done benevolently.

Point is, now matter how you feel about going to the dentist, leaving the dentist is a great feeling. First off, you know (unless there’s a real problem) that you won’t have to come back for a while. In fact, depending on how shitty your insurance is (or if you have it at all) you might not be back for years.

Second, while your mouth is probably a little sore, it’s certainly feeling cleaner. You can actually detect a space between your bottom teeth now that they aren’t glued together by whatever that shit is they rake apart with the mini-Captain Hook instrument.

Third, and probably most importantly, you get to go home with some free stuff. Tooth brushes, mini-tooth pastes, perhaps some other goodies. My personal favorite was the floss card (literally a card that has floss in it that you put in your wallet) I’d get each time I’d go.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: It’s a little obvious to say “Going to the dentist”, so we’ll go with when the dentist either has horrible breath or won’t shut the fuck up while they’re doing the damn thing. Or, both. I’ll never understand why my guy decides its a good time to have a chat when I’ve got a tube sucking the air and saliva out of my mouth, a sharp knife probing my teeth and cotton balls wedged up against my cheek.

#186 – Calling Something (Correctly)

Everyone has that uncle/cousin/friend that calls things during a game, constantly. Each time the bases are loaded, “Grand slam. You heard it here first, just watch, here it comes!” And, undoubtedly after some wild number of misfires that always go by the boards, that guy will ‘call it’, just once. That double play will happen, the homer will be hit, the touchdown thrown to that guy… And that honestly doesn’t count.

Those people are frustrating, because they mean well… but you and I both know they’re just charter members of the “Throw Shit at The Wall” School of Predictions.

For those of us who don’t put voice to every single prediction that pops into our brain, we know the true value of getting it right. Of being the guy that predicted, months in advance, who the villian would be in the new Batman movie or how Lost would end. Or that 24 would come back. Or… you get the point.

Point is, there’s something to being that guy that predicted something right, especially when you’re not doing it all the time.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When you boldly, loudly proclaim something will happen (because you’re essentially certain it will based on a tip or inside information you’ve received) and, of course, it does not. Think: telling everyone for years in advance how great Dustin Ackley would be.

#141 – Screaming at the Top of Your Lungs

 A few weeks back, I was watching the Spurs play the Dallas Mavericks. That’s a random thing to say, given the title of this post. Stay with me.

I am a (huge) Spurs fan. I also happen to hate the Dallas Mavericks. Other facts worth considering: the Spurs won 62 games during the regular season, best in the league, and were, by nearly every measure available (if not every single one), the superior team.

That said, you could imagine my frustration in watching the Spurs lose a potential clinching game to the Mavericks. At one point*, the frustration boiled over to a point where I couldn’t hold it in any longer.

I lost my shit, screamed at the TV like a lunatic and had a raging impulse to take my controller and smash it to a million pieces in spite. While I was able to resist the urge to do that last bit and I did feel slightly embarrassed for acting like a crazy person with my shouting, there was, in the short term at least, an incredible feeling of release upon allowing myself that primal scream.

And that, I’d say, is really what this feeling is about. The reason for the screaming can be anywhere from ridiculous to embarrassing to dangerous, but the release is what it’s all about. Everyone always works so hard to keep their emotions in check, to keep calm… It’s nice to be able to freak the fuck out every so often.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: That person that insists on telling you, “Calm down” after these moments. That just makes you A) angrier and B) more likely to want to punch that person in the face with your fist.

*I can’t remember exactly what caused the eruption, though that’s probably the best part. It was most likely a missed assignment on a boxout, or something similarly trivial.

#99 – Telling Someone What To Do

That should also include “And That Person Knowing They Have To Actually Do It, Or At Least Pretend Like They’re Going To In Your Face.”

Yes, we’re talking about power here. I have so little of it (some, in fact, may argue I have none) that when I do get to exercise that little bit… it feels great.

If you’ve ever had this feeling, you can easily imagine how it is that people go totally power crazy and wind up becoming dictators or supervillians (or, both… MUAHAHAHA)

Or, to put another way, it’s how I’d imagine people feel when they force strangers to do degrading, borderline homophobic shit in order to pay money to be their friends. Or, fraternity pledging*.

Point is, it all boils down to having a little bit of sway. It can be something as simple as, “Hey, do you mind taking care of this” because the actual “to do” isn’t the fun part, it’s the “telling someone what” that really is great. It’s knowing that you don’t have to worry if you’re putting someone out by asking, it’s knowing that you’re the one who they have to help.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When you think you’re dealing with someone that has to listen to you and you find out that’s not the case. You just got taken down at least one peg, most likely two or three.
*Sorry, unnecessary, unprovoked potshot.

Suck Fuperman

For the life of me, I’ve never been able to comprehend the appeal of the Man of Steel.

Seriously, what is it that you people love so much about any part of this character?

Let’s go over a few things about this fellow… First off, he really can’t be killed. Sure, there’s the whole Kryptonite thing but we all know that’s total bullshit. You can’t even find it on this planet and even when you can get it, he can sense it’s near. That would be like me, Scott Spinelli, saying my only weaknesses are bullets fired from guns, but I know when and where they’ll be coming from at all times.

Second, his alter-ego is ridiculous. Granted, in all of these stories about superheroes, the capacity that the citizens of these various towns have for ignorance on the part of the identity of their local hero is astonishing. They’ll root out the bad guy instantly, but no one can figure out how to simply follow the fucking Batmobile back to Wayne Manor. Still, that aside, at least a lot of these guys have the decency not to rub it in our faces.

Spiderman, Batman, the various X-men… at least a lot of them wear either masks or other things that cover their identity. Not Clark Kent. The sonofabitch has the audacity to simply put on glasses and no one says a word. Need I remind you, he works at a newspaper… The same newspaper, apparently, where the investigatory journalism was hard-hitting enough to UNCOVER SUPER-FUCKING-MAN… but can’t ID the exact same guy in glasses and a button down. Stunning, truly.

Now, I know what you’re saying… Scott, it’s just a comic book hero. Of course he can’t be defeated and so what if we all know who he really is!?

To the first part of that, I say, fair point. None of these guys ever lose, I get that*. However, at least with the other ones there’s a chance they might. There’s at least that point where they’re a little bit beaten up, weakened. That seems to rarely ever happen with Superman (and when it does, it’s such an obvious forced script point on the part of the writers that it doesn’t even feel true in the context of a movie where the plot centers on an alien from another planet who wears tights and a cape and saves the earth from destruction).

This all is brought about because I recently caught the most recent Superman movie on HBO. In it, there’s a fight scene between Superman and whoever the bad guys are in this movie. Basically, it’s just 10-15 minutes of these people completely and irreparably destroying a small town in Kansas with little to no remorse. Superman throws one guy through a building, another guy tosses a U-Haul van at a flying plane, another one takes Superman and flings him into the local IHOP (where, again, they destroy everything without concern).  And, after all of these things, they each just dust themselves off and get right back to it.

Watching, I got the sense that if neither party got bored, they could’ve kept fighting for hours like that. Just roaming the great plains of the United States, fighting/ruining everything the people of these small towns took lives to build and accomplishing nothing in their eternal struggle.

And why, you may ask, does it go for so long? Well, besides the fact that none of them have any weakness, it’s that Superman, apparently, doesn’t really like to kill people. I mean… come on.

If that right there isn’t enough to turn you off from him, I don’t know what is.

Apparently, they’re making a Batman and Superman movie that’s hitting theaters in a few years. Honestly, I feel bad for the scriptwriters because no matter what, there’s no way to make a bad guy/group of villians that can even remotely threaten those two together. Batman on his own has knocked off some pretty tough foes… how do you think he’ll fare when he has an indestructible flying alien on his side?

Exactly.

Fuck Superman.

 

*In fairness, I always root for the Joker to toss Batman’s ass of the building in Dark Knight Returns, but that’s neither here nor there.