Friday, February 23, 2007

Going Home for Vacation

I've been selling my RC racing stuff lately, figuring I'll step away from the hobby for the time being while still operating within the industry as a custom painter. The plan is for more of Lux Graphics' proceeds to go towards bills & debt reduction, and also it gives me about a day and a half more of Family Time every week. It's strange, given that I'm in the house all day, to say that I need more Family Time. But it's hard to separate work from family, so family time is never REALLY family time it's only at best a relative break from the work time. Since, when you work for yourself, it's ALWAYS work time.

For me, it feels like a vacation. My personal passion, spark of life and driving force have always been motorcycling. When we moved to LA I replaced that with the less expensive but equally consuming RC racing hobby and I never did turn down the intensity of my commitment. So it's been, unquestioningly, what I DO at least one day every weekend and for most of a day every week preparing for the races. New leaves are turning, there's wind under our wings and it's raining cheezy metaphores here so I feel free to close that chapter for now. As I always knew motorcycles wouldn't leave my life completely (I must say the itch is back . . ), perhaps I will come back to this, and I will continue to paint so I shouldn't miss my friends too much. But for now, it feels like a vacation every Saturday and I want to go do something very family-flavored on those days. And it also feels like a large monthly bill that just disappeared, so I can add to the mass of our debt snowball with a much more expeditious rate of contributiontude.

And AK told me today that with every bit of RC stuff I sell on Ebay, she feels me coming home. Now I should qualify that, if you've been reading here for the last 2-3 years you know I've been coming home for a long time. But still the journey tends to plod on, I lose track of my progress, and it's nice to be reminded a) I am on a path and b) it's popularly considered to be the right path for this woman's husband and these boys' father.

Today's Daily Muppet Thing of The Day for Saturday is only slightly Muppetacious but it's in the spirit of our Muppet explorations. Muppets are the new Naked Mole Rat, you know. So we've seen the original, we've seen the Sandra Bullock revival, and now. . . .



Sunday, February 18, 2007

I can't believe it's. . . *sniff*. . . OVERRRRRR!!!

This is a post about Firefly. Firefly is a TV series from a few years ago, I think it was on FOX? I was completely oblivious to it's existence, being generally oblivious to TV in general for quite a while now. When the movie "Serenity" came out around a year or two ago I guess, I was aware that it was based on a TV series. And all I knew about the TV series was that Sarah/Poppins was VERY enthusiastic about it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I decided Science Fiction was my next NETFLIX kick, and asked for every sciency or fictiony movie they recommended. Serenity was in there somewhere, and shoot I really liked that movie. Yes, it was like a TV show with a slightly bigger budget. But the writing was really something, it really drew you in to the characters and the plots. And it was a WESTERN IN SPACE!!! Who cares whether or not they pulled it off, what an idea. It sounds like one of the pitches in Robert Altman's "The Player": "OK, it's Pretty Woman. . .but it's in Vietnam! And it's funny. Tom Hanks & Gwynneth Paltrow. . . ".

So my interest was peaked. But that's all. Then Sheer Fate and her cousin Dumb Luck put the 4-disc DVD set of the whole TV series in my path! There was only one. And it was on the bottom shelf, where tall, relatively-handsome-and-unquestionably-nice-smelling-but-mostly-really-tall men like me seldom see the DVDs. And it only cost 20.00! That's a lot of painting background music for only 20.00 I thought, even if the show was doo doo. But this was not enough, no, those 4 skinny DVD cases had to earn their place on my crowded shelves.

So I contacted Sarah Poppins to see if maybe the TV series would be doo doo on account of it being so different from the movie. She did not hesitate to politely recommend that I run all red lights between here and Target to GET. THAT. DVD SET.

Did that. Watched DVD 1. Liked it. Gobbled up DVD 2. Very excited. Savored DVD 3, becoming increasingly concerned for the impending 4-ness of the set. Watched DVD 4 hitting PAUSE as often as I possibly could. Taking every opportunity to make it last just a little longer. Then I did NOT cry. But I wanted to. Because by now (even the movie was over years ago) it's abundantly clear that there will be. No. More. Firefly.

Every little bit of the show contains gems. Not the least of which is it's got RON GLASS in it! And you thought every member of the Barney Miller cast died 15 years ago. There are problems, like the fact that Joss Whedon has a LOTR, Star Wars-sized universe and plot in his head. So there are constantly references to stories that never get told. But SOMEhow, the fans and the producers got the movie made. How often does a TV series that didn't even survive a whole season get made into a MOVIE? The movie fulfills some of the promises the TV show made, not the least of which is the mystery of Kung Fu Christina Ricci.

Apparently I know very little about what makes a TV show succesful, since I loved this one so much and the TV exectutives hated it, putting every obstacle in it's path and cancelling it after I believe less than a season. They didn't even show the pilot first! Actually it makes perfect sense. I liked this, but the rest of the world did not (or was not given the opportunity to). While EVERY THING ELSE ON TV, i.e. the things the TV executives approved, I'm pretty sure is squid vomit.

I liked 6 Feet Under. But yeah, you've got your Muppets, your Firefly, your Alan Ball HBO series. . . . and your squid vomit.

Otherwise, 'twas a damn peaceful weekend. Snow and cavedwelling Hults dogs. Leaving the cave only for sustenance hunting & gathering. Knitting, reading, crossing things off of Lux's to-do list. I hope y'all had good weekends out in the blogosphere :)



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

They are all dancing.

Ben, Milo, Max and the I-Dog. The school district has declared tomorrow a SNOW DAY, so we are listening to a kids rock-like song we all love called "Snow Day". Ben and Milo are not so much with the knowing of the words, so they are chanting "na na na na na na na - - - - SNOW DAY!!!". And they are jofully circling/jumping on their new DBX Phantom Inflatable Sled: Juvenile Spine-Tweaker Special Edition.

For all of these reasons I really really and truly hope against all hope that this nasty stomach flu I've got subsides by tomorrow. This is the most snow/the best sledding PA has had since 2003 I hear. I'd hate to spend the day napping and sitting on the potty like today.

Sarah Poppins has been good enough to translate our Cycloptic German Whitney Singing Soccer Watching Beer Drinking Muppet Video. . .

"Bernie and Ert:

Oh, hey, Ert, I didn't hear you come in.

How could you with all that howling? You know I need you to be quiet because I was hit by a semi-truck yesterday when I went on a beer run. The doctor said I need absolute quiet.

Oh, no problem, Ert, I'll find something else to do.


Oh, hey, Ert, I didn't hear you come in. I thought you were sleeping.

How can I with this horrible, loud music? I need rest. A lot of rest. I have a terrible headache.

Right, right, Ert. I'll do something else.


Oh, hey, Ert, I didn't hear you come in. Do you want to watch soccer with me?

No, I want quiet, Quiet, QUIET.

Oh, ok, good, Ert. I'll do something you cannot complain about, guaranteed.

Yeah? I'm sure, Bernie. I'm alive with curiousity.

(tapes his mouth.) And if that doesn't fit, let me know.

Muchos gratuitous thankage to the Poppinator and her Mennonite upbringing! It's interesting. Though there are many questions left unanswered. Like what about that lewd photo on the wall??? She has also given me wise counsel on whether or not to buy the sale-priced "Firefly" series DVD set. I hope the one left for $20.00 is still at Target whenever my stomach decides to stay rightside out and I return. I really really liked the movie "Serenity" what with the beautiful Kung-Fu Christina Ricci character and the western-movie-in-space theme.

Also on my recent favorites list from Netflix list: "V For Vendetta" and "Brazil". I only ever saw Brazil way back when I was very young and I wanted it to be like another Monty Python movie. While some of that humor is in there, I appreciate it now as perhaps THE quintessential Terry Gilliam film and I also agree with his "Beaurocracy is The Shape of Evil" theme. Douglas Adams felt the same way. Both spent a great deal of time in England, maybe it's more of a problem over there. I personally can relate to this theme because I have spent my share of time in The California Department of Motor Vehicles offices. I also enjoyed re-renting Priscilla Queen of The Desert. Remember my problem with expecting Hugo Weaving to bust into an ABBA song in all of his roles? ABBA-singing Elf King? ABBA-Singing Matrix Bad Guy? Well unfortunately I watched "V" right after Priscilla (ABBA-singing dark masked vigilante hero). And now it's worse, I see Terrence Stamp (the older transvestite) EVERYWHERE and now expect him to love the nightlife and got to boogie as well.

Honey? When you walk into the workshop and see me giggling to myself uncontrollably? This is likely the cause. You'll probably see Hugo Weaving or Terrence Stamp on the TV screen. . . .

AK's parents are here, and that's a good thing. Good visit. Damn shame about the fact that we are all either in the throes of stomach flu, getting over stomach flu or about to have the stomach flu. Milo threw up ALL OVER the back seat of their rental car today :(. WELCOME TO BEAUTIFUL CENTRAL PA!

Today's Daily Muppet Thing of The Day for Wednesday is again, I'm sorry, not a muppet thing at all. It's a stroll down memory lane for people like me, of-a-certain-age. May it remind you of the those you've forgotten: Roscoe P. Coltrane, Flash the Basset Hound, and Cooter.

And also know this charming bit of trivia: The theme song is sung by the wonderful Waylon Jennings, and the very first frames of film we saw every week (I don't remember what night it was on, I think it was a weeknight) were his hands playing the opening notes on his guitar. Well, if you went and bought the Waylon Jennings album and listened the whole song, you'd learn that the very next verse he sings (after the theme ends), is an apology to his mother for the fact that no one ever saw his face. Just his hands.

Dy's blog, which I will put in my sidebar as soon as I get my sidebar together, has a game where we show a photo of ourselves as-we-really-are or as-we-feel-most-of-the-time. You know, not necesarily a good photo of yourself, but one that shows you most accurately in the real world. So go do that, that's a fun thing to do. I'll scan my hard drive as well.

That's all I can think of now :/



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sitting in a la la. Waiting for my ya ya. Uhunh.

Well, I don’t know what that song was about. But if by “la la” he meant “Ford dealership” and by “ya ya” he meant “Ford Expedition’s brakes to be repaired” then I know exactly how he felt.

I’ve got a package to mail to client a. I’ve got a package to hand-deliver to client b. I’ve got 2 more NASCARs to paint (and decal, and mount) for client c. And if for some reason I’m not painting for client c I really should be prepping client d’s job or painting the OTHER stuff (not what I need to deliver today) that belongs to client b. But I can’t paint that stuff until I have client b’s original body in front of me. Which is ludicrous because of the 264 bodies I’ve painted, I’ve taken photos of 262, and the missing 2 both belong to client b. I hope to pick the original bodies up from him when I hand deliver the above-mentioned package. Which I can’t do. Because I’m sitting in a la la and waiting for my ya ya and typing on my lap’ya to pass the time’la and trying to keep from obsess’ya about the above’la.

Mr. Mouseyface Report I personally have yet to hear from any of Mr. Mouseyface’s cousins, though Dr. J’s reminder about Hanta virus has me feeling less humane about the Mouseyface family. And his un-told story about cats with sticky traps on their paws has me both giggly and curious. How did you get them off? Were you laughing or crying?

Illicit Scooter Behavior Beth I’m afraid that Al Ludington has only ever seen “Naked Stunt Sunday” on video. And due to him valuing his cushy contract position with American Honda h has not participated in or in any way been associated with any of our two-wheeled shenanigans. Indeed, he probably wouldn’t know me from Adam unless you said the words “Naked Stunt Sunday”. And you know, Adam was naked too so there’s all the more reason for confusion. If we should be inspired, however, to create anymore artistic films like NSS – I know who owns Ben Bostrom’s custom tribal-painted pit scooter!

Today’s Daily Muppet Thing of The Day for Thursday is a true gem for collectors of Muppet Things and muppet trivia. Where else can you go, and find a video clip of one-eyed muppets, speaking (I believe) German, drinking beer, signing Whitney Houston and watching football on the telly? Indeed. Where. Else. Can. You. Go? I have no idea where or how I found this, but I’m glad I kept it.. . .

And I bet it’s going to get EVEN BETTER! Because, Twinkle, don’t you and/or your sister speak German? PLEASE tell us what the heck they’re saying and whether or not there is any explanation as to what kind of TV show they are on. And why. And did someone think that giving them only one eye would avoid copyright violation litigation?

Muppet Trivia: Did you know that Ernie & Bert were modeled after an orange and a bananna?



Monday, February 05, 2007

Well I liked the Rock Paper Scissors commercial.

At the end, when the guy walks by and says "low five. . . ", that got me. A close second is the lions saying Carne Asada like Ricardo Montalban. Did you notice that Ricardo Montalban does the voice over for the (name of whatever Taco Bell food the commercial is for)?

Which was your favorite?

We actually missed the whole first half of the game. It was a miracle that we saw any of it, really, since it was on the ONE channel our rabbit ears pick up clearly. Watching it on local actual AIR waves meant that our $2.6 million commercials were mixed in with the local Chevy dealer selling cars to aliens who came to Earth because of his huge selection of Chevys. We caught the last part of Prince, though, and I was proud to be a Closet Prince Fan. Well, I'm not that closet but I am a VERY big fan. Especially the pre-contract dispute years. I love pretty much everything up to Graffiti Bridge, & a little of Diamonds & Pearls, but it got all wonky after that. It was good to see him entertaining old-school even if his guitar fingers don't move like they used to.

FOOD My racing associate Lunchbox was telling me how Florida Sweet Tea had ruined him for tea. They make it special down there, something about hot or cold brewing or lacing it with methamphetamine or something. But he was frustrated because he really used to like iced tea in general but now whenever he gets it it only reminds him of what it could be. I am TOTALLY the same with corn. Living in MN I ate REALLY FRESH sweet corn, that had been steamed, out of the bed of an old pickup, at Plainview's Corn on The Cob Days festival -- and nothing's been the same since. It was so sweet, and juicy/succulent, like you never knew corn could be. I'm told it's to do with freshness, than the sugar starts to break down the second the corn is picked and it's all downhill from there. In any case, it's not just that corn tastes mediocre to me now. I actually get ANGRY when I eat corn! I always feel like you do when you stub your toe on the same piece of furniture you've stubbed it on for years. DOH! I KNEW that was there, why did I kick it??? For Alaska it's California and Avacadoes. She kicks herself every time she buys an avacado because, of course, she knew better. What food has ruined food for you?

Today's Daily Muppet Thing of The Day for Tuesday, again, is not technically a Muppet Thing. But it does include a furry, muppet-like feature! Remember the halcyon days of Blues Clues? When Steve would take kids AND PARENTS along on his innocent yet insightful journeys of discovery? Well Steve then ventured out on his own and tried to start a musical career. I followed him for awhile through his website. But my occasional glances at who's playing on XM Top 20 On 20 never say "Steve", so it would appear he's not made it yet. About a year ago I checked the link and his site was down. Anyone seen Steve? On MTV7? Or whichever MTV actually shows music these days? Or seen him in Branson, MO? Or seen him in a soup line at a homeless shelter?

Back then, he posted some of his musical stuff and some of his weird just generally alternative quiet-guy humor stuff. This is only barely humorous, but like I said there is a muppet'ish feature to it. (The guy on camera is not Steve, that's one of Steve's New Totally Authentic Alternative Music Scene Friends. Steve is playing with the camera. . . . )

I have one of his music videos saved, and it's not bad actually. But it has a very hooky hook, so I'll save that for a day when I need to get it out of my head and get it stuck in all of your heads.

Speaking of getting songs stuck in heads, I vote that a couple of people change the names of their blogs. For the simple reason that the name of the link in my Internet Explorer Favorites list invariably get's a song stuck in my head:
Twinkle's "There She Goes"
Alaska's "Faith" (because I get the Limp Bizkit version stuck, not the George Michaels version. Though that would be about as bad, wouldn't it though)
That's all, really. But MAN do I end up humming that Sixpence None The Richer song a lot. I don't have to visit Twinkle's blog, just click "Favorites" and see it there. However, upon consideration, Her Twinkness is excused because she showed me There I can go, plug in the name of some obscure band I like and find new music that sounds the same. Or I can listen while I paint and by rating the songs it picks, customize my own fantasy internet radio station.

Mr. Mouseyface Report Mr. Mouseyface has been a tenant here at La Maison de la House for quite a while. In the evenings, he munches on the veritable smorgasbord of twin droppings and dog leavings up in the kitchen. But in the daytime he passes his time by skittering around in the ceiling above AK's office. Much to AK's consternation. He has thus far eluded the stickytraps we've left in his favorite kitchen drawers. Indeed he has mocked them, by visiting them, pooping on & around them, then leaving them.

I understand that AK awoke to the sound of desperate Mr. Mouseyface thrashing in the drawer this morning. Yay! Not only was he caught, but he was disposed of. All before I so much as woke up. Go Mommy, go Mommy, with 'ya bad self, it's ya berfday. Our neighbor Jilla Tha Killa, of Justice League fame. . .

The Justice League of Jill

. . . was concerned about the humanity or inhumanity of the traps we used for Mr. Mouseyface. I'd like to take this opportunity to reassure her that there is a verrrrrrry good chance that Mr. Mouseyface has about 34 cousins cohabitating here at La Maison. And each one of them is verrrrrry likely living a fat, well fed and super-humane little Mr. Mouseyface life. :)

Aaron Weasel in answer to your comment query, no I've never dismounted a scooter in that particular fashion. I have exited in an equally dramatic way, however. It was off the rear, not over the front. And it was in Daytona. And it was behind a supermarket. Until the police came. And if I ever get around to digitizing the 8mm video I'll post it here. After the statute of limitations expires.



Friday, February 02, 2007

Oh. I am SO pooping at McCulloughs tomorrow.

We had an absolutely fabulous Family Date tonight. Max has been a little lost lately (no specific way, just generally. In most ways a boy can be lost -- he is) and this has had AK and I scratching our heads in parental quizzitude. AK decreed, in part thanks to her being paid *gulp* EARLY on some invoices (perhaps a first in her long freelance career), that we would be having a Family Date tonight. First we went bowling, and that was just perfect. Different, fun, but not too long. Max made great strides from his Pinball Using The Bumpers technique. Milo proved once again that he is the family's very best dancer (why even wait for the ball to hit the pins? Dance NOW!). And Ben was able to actually slow the hands of time, since he insisted on the run-and-drop bowling technique over the bowling-ball-ramp bowling technique. It. Took. So. Long. For Ben's ball to reach the pins. It was truly surreal.

That was followed by a trip to Highway Pizza, a local establishment that offers pizza just a cut above the usual in a cozy-but-kid-friendly atmosphere. Too often "Kid Friendly" is synonymous with "Atmosphere Like a Prison Cafeteria", and this place manages to pull it off. Feeding 5 people at a pizza place is tricky. It's not as simple as one drink, one entree each, nooooo. One must balance the pizza likes and dislikes of different factions within the five. And one must consider that pizza takes a while to cook, especially on a busy Friday night, and the coloring pages they gave Ben & Milo were likely to hold their attention for all of 7.26 milliseconds. Appetizers? Well now you've got to balance not only the volume of appetizer but again the flavors and various Hults preferences! AK would have had this situation well in hand, but she was alas trying to knit during Menu Management. So her important questions to me regarding what we should whom and how much had very clear and consise and businesslike beginnings. Then they trailed off into mumble mumble knit knit knit. When I saw that she was trying hard (in the very lucid beginnings of her thoughts. . . ) to take my own preferences into consideration I made it clear that -- very unusually -- I really wasn't very picky tonight. I told her I didn't need a Meat Special, didn't need anything heavy or substantial, etc. . .While I thought this clarification would help, her vague look of pre-panic told me that openness and flexibility were not helping her to narrow down the choices or make an authoritative ordering decision for us.

Ben had just announced to the restaurant's patrons with clear enunciation and Shakespearian voice projection that he had to PEEEEEE. On my leave, I recommended that she have it figured out by the time we return, and that my only criteria was this: I don't want to poop at McCulloughs. Her giggle had one of it's eyebrows raised in a half-quizzical and half-concerned way, so I explained that McCulloughs (the track we race at near Pittsburgh on Saturdays) has only a porta potty. And this time of year you use either a slippery frozen porta potty or a slushy muddy porta potty. It's a good 25 minutes from any other civilization, so we must all check our bowel status Saturday mornings as we drive by the BP station at the freeway offramp. I don't know about the rest of the chain, but at this particular station BP stands for Big Poop. We who drive 3 hours to McCulloughs every Saturday morning have conditioned ourselves to be mindful of our intake the night before raceday, and I was simply sharing my menu selection criteria. Not too greasy, not too much, Daddy's good :).

She handled it, I was assured on our return. I was also informed by Milo that it was his turn to pee so I'd be escorting him next. What is so FUN about peeing in strange bathrooms that every boy must do so almost immediately whenever we arrive anywhere? I trusted that indeed it was handled, the Hults Family Menu Management. Then the calamari arrived along with the Non-Vegetarian Monster Jumbo Nacho Platter Appetizer Special. Feeling relatively satiated after the nachos -- when indeed I should only have been appetized -- I was a little alarmed when the boys' Meatza Pizza Greaseola pizza arrived, followed by AK's own little veggie pizza thing and my own personal Vodka-Sauce Croissant-Crusted Proscuitto Delight. In half-pleased and half-concerned resignation I uttered the blog's title.

Today's Daily Muppet Thing of The Day for Saturday is not a Muppet Thing at all and for this I apologize. I have some more good Muppet Things on my hard drive and there are some wonderful Muppet Things I've found on the various video hosting sites. I look forward to sharing them all with you.

No, this is something I've saved for awhile now. It's a Motorcycle Thing. Yes, I know I'm on a break from that part of me for awhile but this is like a wonderful trophy that I can show off. See, most of my motorcycle friends hold true talent and have REAL trophies to show people. I don't have those. No, my off-road riding buddies call me "Crash" often times and my on-road riding buddies call me. . . well they call me Chris but if asked they'll tell you Chris is fun at a party but he doesn't win any races. What I have is this wonderful piece of film from the opening credits of a French film called "Taxi". My friend and I had just attended a semi-legal race/gathering of large people on small motorcycles & scooters on downtown Chicago's Goose Island. Much fun was had, the Hasty Bananas Mini Racing team was well represented and had several podium finishes. None were by me (see above) but I did exhibit some aggressive racing maneuvers for a large man on a highly modified 50cc scooter. My good riding friend sent me this bit of film, and said "Chris, this made me think of you".

No greater compliment has ever been paid to my meager but enthusiastic riding skills. . .



Pupp Daddy Dog spends his days working as an entrepeneur and as a Dad. He is passionately in love with/obsessively neurotic about his family. Imagine Kicking Bird mixed with Albert Brooks. Oh, and throw in some Notorious B.I.G.


Alaska is the frustrated but caring cat at the center of our canine universe. All of us alternately worship, rely on and ceaselessly whine to her. Her need to control everything is confounded by the fact that she really pretty much does control everything, so in her few free moments, she knits and searches desperately for things to fuss about.



Max is smart and handsome, with a big heart. He is not only growing like a weed, but he has the attention span and concentration abilities of a weed. Despite my best efforts, AK keeps feeding him and he keeps growing. Our plan is to keep him so busy with school, sports & the arts that he won't notice he's a teenager and is supposed to hate us. T minus 2.5 years to teen launch, so far so good.



 Ben and Milo are phenomenal little creatures who remind us minute-by-minute not only how little control we have in this world, but why we should cease our controlling efforts and just laugh at all of God's jokes. Lately, Milo likes to dance and is good on the piano. Ben likes to mimic Max and enjoys manipulating adults and anyone else who has no idea how quietly brilliant he is. Both of them would love your full and complete attention. Really, stop reading silly blogs and join the fan club now. Ok? Ok.








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