Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 1, or Kiss Mein Weinershniztel Lufthansa

As promised last Thursday, I'll be spending every weekday for the next two weeks covering my honeymoon with the newly minted wife to the Chianti region of Italy. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this yet. I've been given specific instructions by Mrs. Grump not to just bitch and moan about everything, so I guess I'll just give some this and that about the sights, some of the stories....and fuck it there will also be a lot of complaining.

Today's post, in fact, will be a heavy dose of venting at the sauerkraut slurping assholes at Lufthansa Airlines. And before you say anything, yes, I'm well aware that ranting about airlines is about as fresh as a knock knock joke. But I'll be damned if ever single complaint ever said, written, or sung about the airline industry isn't one hundred percent justified.

These polesmokers at Lufthansa are responsible for taking a trip that had been relatively smooth and taking a nice healthy scheize all over it. We flew out of Philly, but had a two hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany. As we boarded the bus that would shuttle us to our connecting plane to Florence, we realized something was wrong when the fully loaded bus sat motionless for about 20 minutes. Our suspicions were confirmed when we were told that the pilot for our flight was sick, and that we had to return to the terminal while other arrangements were made.

Well, apparently the "other arrangements" were for the entire flight to go fuck themselves. They just canceled the damn thing, and told us that a portion of the passengers would get the remaining seats on the next flight to Florence. Well, in another piece of good news, it turns out that Mrs. Grump had been included in the next flight but I had not. That's all I need. Mrs. Grump goes to Florence by herself where she's surrounded by gorgeous, olive-skinned men with sexy accents. No dice.

So I mention this foul up to the workers at the gate, but they tell me they don't have any control over who gets chosen for the next flight. They did seem to have the authority however, to rip up Mrs. Grump's ticket right in front of me when they realized she would not be going without me.

So our next move was to get our tickets transferred to a flight four hours later that would take us to Bologna, Italy. And since Lufthansa really goes the extra mile, they agreed to get us the rest of the way to Florence by bus.

But we couldn't get the tickets from the people at the gate, which I found odd considering they just gave tickets to all the people who got on the next Florence flight. We had to take a journey that literally had us go through customs three fucking times just to get a new boarding pass for the flight to Bologna. To put that in perspective, we didn't go through customs a single goddamn time when we got to the Bologna airport.

What the fuck, Germany? You are the country that brought us Mercedes, BMW, and, uh....less pleasant forms of meticulous planning and efficiency, but you can't even think far enough ahead to have a pilot on call for the days when the scheduled pilot couldn't keep his fucking hands off the Beck's and Jagermeister the night before? Or, failing that, perhaps you could hire employees that don't react to unexpected problems by turning into quivering piles of fucking stupid. Congratulations, Lufthansa. You really set the tone for our honeymoon by making my wife cry and giving me a migraine. Danke schoen, you bunch of pricks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back Just In Time For Halloween

Hey assholes! I'm back from the honeymoon to Italy, which means 2 things: 1) I can save time on my blogs by just saying Mrs. Grump instead of Mrs. Grump-to-be (oh and I have a lifetime partner, soulmate, etc). 2) I have plenty of European adventures to describe and, more importantly, to bitch about. Starting Monday, I'll be posting ten days worth of sharing my thoughts on what's great and what sucks about traveling to Italy.

Today, however, I need to warm up the old blogging muscles so I'm going to give a shout out to my favorite holiday: Halloween. And to do so, I'll be hitting you up with a list of some spookiness that can make your Halloween just a little bit, Halloweenier? Ugh, I really do need to shake the cobwebs off here. Anyway, on to the list!

Halloweentastic Movie: Stir of Echoes

Most people go for the obvious classics on Halloween, especially the John Carpenter movie of the same name. And while I'm usually an 80s slasher guy, there is something special about Stir of Echoes that keeps me coming back for more. A large part of that is due to a great show by Sir Kevin Bacon, who plays a man who's been hypnotized and gains the power to see a ghost trying to give him a message. More importantly though, is that the movie is just plain creepy. There's not a lot of gore, which is admittedly not often a plus for me. What it does have, however, is enough tension and atmosphere to make a freaky goddamn movie. Even after repeated viewings, it still gives me chills.

Halloweentastic Television: Psych-"Tuesday the 17th"

I was going to let my geek flag fly here with a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel, but I can only take so much of people laughing at me. Fortunately I've been watching the third season of Psych today and my favorite episode came on. If you aren't familiar with Psych, basically it's a better version of The Mentalist that came out before The Mentalist. In the epidose "Tuesday the 17th," fake detective Sean Spencer is asked to solve a mystery at a camp where there was a mysterious death years before. It's essentially just a nod to every great slasher horror flick of the 70s and 80s. Even if you wind up not liking the show, you can play a drinking game where you drink every time there is a horror reference.

Halloweentastic Book: The Dragon Factory

I did a post on Jonathan Maberry a little while ago and I mentioned that I was looking forward to his new book, The Dragon Factory. I used down time during the honeymoon to finally get around to reading it, and it's another winner from Maberry. It's filled with evil science run amok, and a great group of love-to-hate-em villains to make great matches for the good guys lead once again by Joe Ledger, one of my favorite horror/action badasses. If you're anything like me, you'll probably want to start off with the first book of the series, Patient Zero, but if you're not bothered by starting from the beginning than you probably won't lose much in terms of understanding what's going on in The Dragon Factory. It's just a lot of good, bloody mayhem.

Halloweentastic Short Story: "Masque of the Red Death"

I'm actually not a big fan of a lot of Edgar Alan Poe's work. My tendency towards the spooky made me really want to like him, but to be honest he gets a little too up his own ass using big, highfalutin' words to be truly scary. Or maybe I'm just one of the dumber people to bullshit his way to an English degree. Either way, I just can't get into most of his stories. Masque of the Red Death is different. Poe claimed that a short story should elicit one emotion from beginning to end, and "Masque of the Red Death" does that perfectly. The tale depicts a group of aristocrats who isolate themselves in a castle to protect themselves from a plague, when they are confronted by a silent stranger. The only emotion that I felt throughout the story was one of impending doom. There really aren't any surprises, but that doesn't make it pack any less of an impact. Take five minutes at around midnight tonight and read "Masque of the Red Death." Good luck getting to sleep afterward.

Halloweentastic Video Game: Friday the 13th

Ok, so let's just get something out of the way. As video game experiences go, this game is pretty fucking stupid. As a counselor at Camp Crystal Lake, it's your job to protect the campers from hockey-mask donning zombie hillbilly Jason Voorhees. And if that seems like a bad idea for a game, well you're pretty much right on the money. It's repetitive and it was made for the original Nintendo so the graphics suck. But I can't help but like this game and for some odd reason it actually still kind of scares me. The soundtrack is actually quite eerie for something that sounds like it was composed on the dial pad on a telephone. Plus, the game tells you what cabin you need to go to in order to find Jason, which surprisingly adds tension as you wait for the moment when he's going to pop on screen. Although, since this is what he looks like in the game...

I guess it's hard to be too intimidated. But what can I say, it's an entertaining homage to one of my favorite horror franchises. I'm kind of obligated to like it.

So there you go. Just a few things to darken up your All Hallow's Eve and to get me writing again. If you've got any suggestions for me I'm always looking out for new things to give me the heebie jeebies. Otherwise, I shall see you all again on Monday, where I'll be starting things off by tearing Lufthansa a new asshole for fucking Mrs Grump and I over at the start of our honeymoon. I know, airline humor...that's some original shit right there.

Oh, and just in case "Masque of the Red Death" doesn't keep you up tonight, enjoy this Halloweentastic costume: The Tron guy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Excuse Me, Can You Tell Me How To Get To The Sexy Time?

This may very well be my last post for the rest of the month. I've only got 6 more days until I've officially tricked Mrs. Grump-to-be into marrying me, and there is much to be done until then. After that, I've got ten days of Italiantastic adventures planned for the honeymoon.

One of the things we did today to get ready for the trip was to pick up a copy of Frommer's Italian PhraseFinder and Dictionary. We may look like douchey tourists with it, but I think it's a small price to pay to be able to phonetically stumble through phrases like "Do you know English?" and "We don't know Italian."

After a bit of studying, however, I've come to realize that the people at Frommer's know that people don't just go on family vacations or school trips to Italy. They also realize that some people go to Italy for the same reason that anyone goes anywhere: to find themselves a nice piece of ass. Tucked in between the "Golfing" and "Casino" sections is a category entitled "Nightclubbing." But I'm pretty sure they should have just called it "One Night Stands." Here is a sample conversation you studly fellas can have with the pretty ladies of Italy based on phrases learned in the Frommer's guide:

Stud:Mi scusi, posso offrirle qualcosa da bere?
Excuse me, may I buy you a drink?

Bella: Si.

Stud: Che begli occhi che ha!
You have nice eyes.

Bella: Grazie.
Thank you.

(Cut to Stud's place)

Stud: Sei bellisima. Vuoi entrare?
You are beautiful. Would you like to come in?

Bella: Sei
You are handsome...yes.

(Cut to Stud's bedroom)

Stud: Vuoi che ti massagi la schiena?
Would you like a massage?

Bella: No, per favore, non farlo...hai un preservativo?
Please don't do you have a condom?

Stud: Ho un preservato. Prendi la pillola?
I have a condom. Are you on birth control?

(30 seconds later)

Stud: Li?

Bella: No, non cosi.
That's not it.

(15 seconds later)

Bella: Li...piu veloce...piu profondo.

Stud: Piano! Piu lento!
Easy! Slower!

(5 seconds later)

Stud: Stai qui, ti preparo la colazione.
Stay, I'll make you breakfast.

Bella: Credo che questo sia stato un errore.
I think this was a mistake.

Fortunately for me, I'll have Mrs. Grump to disappoint in my own language. My only worry is that with intimate phrases included in our translation guide, a few errors could lead to something like this:

Enjoy the rest of your October, folks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Week In Non-House Hugh Laurie: Blackadder 3

I really was going to try and stick to posting a Hugh Laurie clip in the hour leading up to House, but as you can see that steadfast weekly tradition lasted about one week. In my defense, however, I am up to my balls in wedding plans (T-minus 11 days) and today I had to get to my first dance lesson with the fiance. Hey, you can laugh if you want to, but if anyone is going to make an asshole of themselves on the dance floor it's going to be my alcoholic family and not me.

I'll at least be keeping in line with posting today's clip on the same night as House, although I think Laurie's depiction of Prince George in the third season of Blackadder is about as far from Gregory House as a guy can get. House is very smart. George is very stupid. House is dry and quick. George is flamboyant and rambling. In fact, close your eyes and listen to the following clips, first one of House and then one of George.

I don't know about you, but if I didn't already know it was the case, I'd have no idea the same guy is playing both of these characters. Oddly enough, it seems that in real life Laurie might be closer to House, one of his more recent characters, than any of the goofballs he made a name playing in England. He's fought clinical depression throughout his life, and in most of his interviews he seems to want to be anywhere but where he is. Take this clip of Laurie on Ellen, for example.

But, in all fairness, I don't think anyone wants to be on Ellen. Anyway, here's another Prince George clip.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Use Your Indoor Voice, Burger King

I'd always thought it was just me. I couldn't understand why I'd be watching an episode of Sons of Anarchy at a reasonable level so as to hear all the violence and racism, and the show would cut to commercial and Coors would have Sam Elliot yelling in my face to drink their crappy beer (I don't drink and even I know Coors is swill). As if that's not enough, next I've got Mrs. Grump-to-be yelling at me because it's obviously my fault that the TV sucks.

Well now I know that it is in fact not my fault. In a story posted on the A.V. Club they reported that the Senate has voted into law a regulation saying that cable companies have to keep the volume for commercials at the same level as the shows they play. So this is great news on two levels for me. Firstly, I'm not crazy and it's not my fault that that the TV gets to loud every time a goddamn commercial comes on. Secondly, it's going away!

And not a moment too soon. It's bad enough that I have to watch a bunch of alcoholics that can only have fun when there is a tanker truck's worth of Budweiser, or the vaguely racist black caricatures they have hocking McDonald's. I don't need them to be blasting at me at decibels that are certain to make my ears bleed. So screw you, Progressive Lady. You can no longer make me miserable with your shrill, grating voice. Now, if we can only do something about that face.

Jesus! I'll buy from Progressive, just don't eat me!