|Hey gang! I had something really great planned for you all, but guess what? I haven't been able to access my computer all week, so I couldn't do it. My house is in the process of being remodeled, and the latest job was sanding down and revarnishing the wood floors. Because things were about to become unbearably dusty, no one could live in the house for several days.|
|This was the alternative. For
almost one full week, me and the parents had to stay in a
cheap old hotel on the top of a cold windy hill
overlooking a busy highway. This was my prison for five
days. The main reason I have no desire to travel around
the world is that I hate paying to sleep in lumpy used
beds that countless flatulent fat men have been in before
me. Even George Bailey would have to agree with that.
Despite the calendar clearly stating it was mid-April, temperatures were ice-cold up there for the entire week.
|If there's anything I hate more than anything else I hate, it's getting sick, and given how frequently nightly newsmagazines fill time with reports on how germ-filled the average hotel room is, I played things as safely as possible. They said the filthiest item in the room is the TV remote, so I used the buttons on the set. Most hotels only wash the sheets and leave the comforter there for months, so I washed my hands after touching the comforter every time. I never touched the carpet floor with my bare feet out of fear of catching athlete's foot.|
|...Within one day of my stay, I got
Like with most coldlike viruses, this one started with a sore throat. But through every progression of symptoms, the sore throat stayed, torturously scratching my throat hour upon hour, and it drove me zonkers. After this I fondled the comforter all I wanted to, because I had nothing to lose.
|In two days it had strengthed into a full-blown stomach flu. I spent one sleepless night in total agony, vomiting from both ends. I can't say with absolute certainty I got this nasty thing from the room, but I hadn't gone to very many other places before it revealed itself. I finally woke up in mid-day with the stomach symptoms gone, but everything else remaining. The first thing I did was march up to the front office and demand a disinfecting of my room. Even if I didn't get it there, the next occupant was certainly going to unless something was done about it.|
|My only peace of mind was invested in the fact that the hotel was right across the street from a hospital, so it wouldn't take me long to crawl there if I came too close to croaking. In the course of my stay at the ho-hell I discovered something very bizarre and aggravating: the street both buildings are on is a one-way street. This meant that to drive the car out of the ho-hell, one had to drive in the opposite direction, into the large winding hospital parking lot, through said lot, and onto the main street. Two minutes for an act that would normally take ten seconds.|
|I don't have cable TV, especially
now, when the rich mosaic of free streaming Internet
video has made cable so very, very unnecessary.
When I saw the TV choices, they made me sicker. This was the worst cable selection I'd ever seen. All three big news channels were there, but not Comedy Central or Cartoon Network -- not even PBS which you can have for free outside of the hotel. Not even Nickelodeon was available and I've never seen that channel left out.
Maybe LodgeNet was to blame -- the evil porn merchant that's taken over hotels across the country and did not spare this one. If there was better cable, people might not pay extra for LodgeNet PPV, and they couldn't have that.
|At least there were video games. I made sure to bring along every handheld I owned, including the old Game Boy Advance. I have been stuck in the same place in Oracle of Ages for over five years. Throughout Zelda history, there has never been anything more aggravating and confusing than Goron Mountain, which you have to navigate to obtain the sixth dungeon key. The only real solution now is to have my hand held by GameFAQS through the entire area, but I'm almost never playing OoA in a life situation that allows easy Internet access. Thus, I was stuck again.|
|It would be much nicer to bring a
gaming console, but there's no guarantee you'll be
allowed to set it up.
The AVGN complained about this in a recent video. Rolfe remarked, "Why do hotel TVs not have front plugs to hook up things you bring from home? Have you ever seen a TV sold at the store that didn't have that?" Well, this TV DID have the plugs -- but the sinister black LodgeNet box attached to the back somehow made them ineffectual!
|The plugs in the back, though? Luckily, those worked. And equally as luckily, I'd brought along the living room DVD player, disconnected during the remodeling.|
|Then I realized I forgot the remote.|
|I couldn't use the DVD player to
record programs either, meaning I couldn't save the
latest episode of ABC's The Unusuals. I don't
think there's ever been a cop show on TV that I really
cared about (except for maybe Bonkers when I was
11 years old). This one finally managed to skewer my
one-person demographic by making every single character
in it weird. Not in an unfunny overdone Police
Academy way, but in a charming way.
The reason I want to save as many episodes off-air as I can is because I'm not convinced this will last long enough to earn a DVD set. Sure, plenty of failed shows get sets, but when they're on ABC, it's not a guarantee. The Knights of Prosperity didn't get one.
I've talked about bad promos before, but the promos ABC's been running for The Unusuals really tick me off. They don't want anyone out there to know it's different or good. They've been portraying it as Generic Cop Show #3775 and emphasizing a quote from some idiot in New York who called it "gritty." There was a guy in a hot dog costume in the pilot! This isn't The Shield!
If they wanted Generic Cop Show #3775 then why didn't they make THAT so they don't have to lie to people? Now no one who's interested in something different will watch, and the people who wanted the advertised show will tune out in five minutes!
|As my sentence at the ho-hell entered the home stretch, the virus reached the final stage where it realized it couldn't kill me, got bored, and became determined to make someone else's life miserable. "Not on MY watch you don't," I vowed, and covered my painful coughs with everything I could. But man, its will was strong. (As I write this, I'm still coughing.)|
|Then I tried speaking -- and
realized that due to all the damage my incessant coughing
had caused, I now sounded like a stereotypical cartoon
This was a problem because I had an interview scheduled for right after I got back home. Not a job interview; this was far worse. I had an interview with the caseworkers from the state unemployment division, whom I had to convince not to give up on me.
Since this is getting bad enough that it's risking disbelief, I feel I'm going to have to pause and recite the Dave Barry reminder that I am not making any of this up. Except my wall didn't have "REDRUM" written on it. I also drew this, but that didn't happen either.
|It was at this point I realized I
had enough of a crazy story to qualify as a character on The
Unusuals, possibly even date Casey Shraeger. That'd
Casey is a great character and she's brought about an appreciation for Amber Tamblyn's acting I never had before. She's some kinda combination of Mulberry and Cornfed from Duckman, if that makes any sense to you. She's at least a better character than Joan was.
As for that meeting, it went better than I had feared, but it still required a bit of nervous explanation.
|If there was anything good about
this whole week at all, it was this bizarre moment: I had
just returned from a jog along the smog-choked sidewalks
outside the hotel, and there was a five-dollar bill lying
right outside my room door. No kidding. No one was around
but me and the bill. I never get this kind of luck,
especially during one of the most unlucky weeks of my
It was as if God was saying, "Sorry for the crummy time. Have a Subway Footlong on me."