Monday, July 21, 2008


So I fixed the kitchen sink.

Not quite up there with building a twin seat turboprop in your backyard, but still.
I fixed the sink.

Growing up, my father handled all the repairs around the house. He could do oil changes, winterize the boat, put wood paneling up in the den (not such a good idea once we all escaped the ‘70’s and realized that paneling sucked), and in general did all the manly stuff.

Unfortunately, that part of the “Y” chromosome seems to have skipped a generation. I can assemble Ikea furniture (that’s how I learned all those cool Swedish swear words). I put Megan and Devon’s cribs together. I can change the vacuum cleaner bag, but the DIY channel won’t be giving me my own show any time soon.

Some reptilian part of my brain thinks I should be able to strap on a tool belt and make a six piece dining room set out of a single oak log. Especially if I cut it down with my own chainsaw, but it’s not gonna happen.

Every time I manage to make the smallest repair around the house it gives me an entirely unreasonable amount of pleasure. I have been turning the water on and off all afternoon and if I listen carefully I can actually hear the crown roar.

Of course since I am a geek at heart I have to confess I looked up instructions for changing a ball faucet on a YouTube video which cuts down on the macho factor by at least 50%. I especially appreciated the tip about blocking the drain so you don't send the parts for a tour of the sewer system.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Horror

When I was a kid I used to love to watch Creature Features. Creature Features was shown on Channel 5, one of New York’s then low-rent independent TV stations. It used to be broadcast at 8:30 on Saturday nights and I would tune in while my parents played canasta with our neighbors.

I never got too scared by the movies- though "The Blob" did give me a nightmare or two. Ever since then I have always enjoyed a good scary movie and I still love the campy 1950’s stuff, but it’s hard to find on broadcast TV. For some reason the Sci-Fi Channel hasn’t re-run “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” recently, even though Michael Landon makes a more convincing lycanthrope than Michael J Fox ever did.

I remember bits and pieces of these movies (I really can’t call them films), and one of the scenes that made an impression on me was a movie on featuring New England Witches. And I mean real witches, none of this eco-friendly wiccan crap- 100% genuine EVIL (and kinda hot looking at least to my 11 year old libido) WITCHES. I don’t recall any of the plot, but I clearly remember the hero of the film using the shadow of a cross to make all the witches burst into flame. Now if we were living back in the stone age (like say 1999), I would probably never be able to find out the title of that cinematic classic. But now thanks to billions of dollars in technology, countless hours of research from some of the finest minds in the world, I was able to type the words “film cross shadow witches burst flame” into the search window on my Google toolbar and I instantly discovered that the film was called “The Horror Hotel.” It’s also known as “The City of the Dead”- one title just wasn’t enough.

I tried to Netflix “Horror Hotel”, but as a result of some bizarre corporate oversight, no copy was available. I am going to have to go to Amazon and plunk down $9.99 for this little trip down memory lane.

As I recall the Creature Features portfolio leaned heavily on the 1950’s radioactive monsters. Channel 5 used to also run a lot of horror movies on Saturday afternoons, that’s when they also worked in a lot of Japanese Monster movies. The original Godzilla is a blast, watching how they inserted what appear to be almost random clips of Raymond Burr for the American audience is almost as much fun as watching Godzilla incinerate Tokyo. (For the record I prefer my Godzillas to be evil. No helpful Godzilla with cute offspring fighting off Monster X for me.) Channel 11 seemed to specialize in the more traditional Dracula and Frankenstein stuff, which I also like.

Anyway, I hope “Horror Hotel” arrives soon so I can see if it measure up to my memory. Maybe I can even get Debbie to watch it with me- but probably not.