Deep Space Nine

The lame, tiresome, obligatory year-in-review

I love end-of-the-year countdowns and retrospectives.

Recalling what happened in the last 12 months brings sepia-toned tears to my eyes.

When I go to the toilet, I get nostalgic for the last meal I ate.

But, as sentimental as I am, when it came to writing a retrospective blog post for Basement Life, I was of two minds.

On the one hand, every newspaper, magazine, television show and blogger does this sort of hackneyed thing.

On the other hand, I just drank a bottle of Glenfiddich.

I also have a couple draft blog entries I wanted to use up before the new year. You know, so I could start 2012 clean.

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the exciting events of 2011.

A milestone

2011 was a year of anniversaries.

Every day, it seemed, was an anniversary of something.

But September 29 was the most special because Jacquie and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary on that day.

I wasn’t sure what the traditional gift for number four was so I played it safe and got her nothing.

But when I got home from work that night, I saw her through the window, preparing my favorite meal of salt.

I had to think quickly and get her something she desperately needed at that moment.

Parsley.

And a Nivea deodorant sampler, which I’d found on the street a few weeks before, but held on to just in case I ever decided to start using deodorant.

Dodged a bullet on that one.

Other notable milestones include December 21, the second anniversary of Basement Life; November 2, the second anniversary of our arrival in New Zealand; and that’s pretty much it.

…And a millstone

The other thing that happened this year was I watched the entire Star Trek franchise—after the Captain Kirk years, which I’d seen too many times already—from The Next Generation, to Deep Space Nine to Voyager to Enterprise.

As regular visitors to this blog may recall, I started down this path of misery in the throes of a deep depression at the start of 2011. I thought that I could numb myself to my suffering. It seemed to be helping. But by the time I reached the final series to witness Scott Bakula’s performance as Captain Jonathan Archer, I realized that I was no longer just depressed, but that I also had lost the will to live.

Luckily, heavy medication and an accidental chemical lobotomy, the details of which are too disgusting to get into right now, protected me and I was able to finish watching Enterprise and learn a valuable lesson, too.

Before this series, I assumed that the formula for a successful Star Trek spinoff was simple: feature an alien chick in a skin tight space suit emphasizing her prominent gazongas, and you’re golden.

That was based on the assumption that the average Star Trek viewer had never matured past the oral/anal stage of development.

Enterprise taught me that it takes a lot more than a pair of alien gazongas to keep a show aloft for more than four seasons. It takes at least two pairs of alien gazongas, some minimally engaging dialogue and story lines, and a compelling leader, since every spinoff pivots on the character of this or that captain.

While Enterprise does well in the gazonga department, it falls short in every other dimension, especially Archer’s character. Bakula gives this character no swagger or toughness, so instead of coming off like a ship’s captain, he seems more like the guy who changes the water cooler bottle at work and flirts harmlessly with the receptionist on the way out, while leaning on his idle hand truck.

One more thing

Another thing that happened to me this year was that I found out I am fat and boring.

In conclusion

And that’s pretty much it for the year. Apologies for the very lame blog post. I’m on holiday.

Have a happy new year, New Zealand and the rest of GMT+12.

How I found out it was my wife’s birthday

Jacquie and I had a candid discussion the other day about our marriage.

She had just come home from the supermarket laden with many bags of groceries. I was busy watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD, otherwise I would have helped Jacquie unload the car.

Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a show that I've been watching on DVD to ease my crippling depression. Unfortunately, it's had the opposite effect.

When the episode ended, I went to the kitchen to help Jacquie as she stocked the cupboards and refrigerator.

“Good work, honey,” I said. “You’re doing great.”

Then I went back to the lounge to take a nap.

For some reason, this upset Jacquie and she asked me why I wasn’t helping her.

“But I did help you,” I said. “As I understand our relationship, your job is to get up at the crack of dawn and till the fields and plant the potatoes and disembowel the livestock. My role is to wait at home for you to return from your 17-hour day of sweat and toil and tell you a joke while you make dinner. I’m pretty sure those were our vows.”

“You know,” Jacquie said, “there are reasons that only you find that funny.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just don’t ruin my birthday, dip-shit” she said. “If you fuck up my birthday, you’re going to be sorry, motherfucker.”

“When’s your birthday?”

“Do something thoughtful, and not hideous.”

“OK. I’ll start right now.”

I immediately went to the kitchen to stock the refrigerator all by myself. But almost immediately there was trouble.

“What are you doing, you idiot?” Jacquie said. “Tasty Cheese does not go in the vegetable crisper.”

“Well, I can’t win, can I?” I said.

(It’s for reasons plainly illustrated by this post that I am offering $20 to any reader willing to plan a thoughtful and not-hideous evening for Jacquie’s birthday. Make it something nice, but not too expensive. Jacquie is fond of Burger King, but she’ll happily pick through the garbage behind most of your fancier restaurants. For entertainment, take us back home after dinner so that Jacquie can organise things around the house, since that’s what she likes to do best.)

Jacquie's favourite restaurant.

After the refrigerator fiasco, Jacquie and I got into a terrible fight in which she used the worst insult she could think of to describe me–“disorganized”–to which I replied with a satirical fairy tale narrated in a voice that was supposed to mimic Jacquie’s as nasally, juvenile and snide. As it turned out, that’s how I normally talk, so Jacquie didn’t realize I was making fun of her. Anyway, my fable went something like this:

There once was an incredibly virile lumberjack named Simon who lived deep in the lushly appointed western slopes of Mount Eden with his wife and scullery maid, Jacquie. Every night the couple would engorge themselves on takeaways of one kind or another from the shoppes on Dominion Road.  Mondays were fish and chips, and Tuesdays were referred to as “Kebab Night”, but Fridays were best. They called Friday “Smörgåsborgasm.”

Every Smörgåsborgasm, they would separately purchase a meal in a plain brown paper bag so neither would know what the other had bought. Then they mixed the dinners together in a third plain paper bag until the meals were completely indistinguishable one from the other.

These peculiar dining habits persisted for many years, and over time, the lumberjack and the scullery maid slowly evolved into a pair of disgusting lard asses. All the children in the neighborhood shrieked in a mixture of delight, terror and confusion whenever the lumberjack or scullery maid were seen in public. The opprobrium of their neighbors confined them to shadow and despair, burrowed in the mountain’s frigid heart of scoria, to a life of severe isolation and gloom, which pretty much describes life in New Zealand anyway, so nobody noticed the difference. Myth fell to legend, and some things that should have been remembered, were forgotten (ie, the couple in this story).

The gloom and isolation of two disgusting lard asses.

This went on for many years, day in and day out, and the couple grew repulsed by themselves and one another. Then one day something incredible happened. Jacquie had boiled a pot of water in which to soak her bunions. She reached up into the cupboard for her bath salts but she didn’t notice was that she had knocked into her pot  old beans of different sorts from the days when the couple used to cook along with some dried soup mix.

But after a while of soaking her toes, she began to notice an aroma and tracing the scent to her pot, she tasted it and decided to feed it to her husband as a kind of practical joke. Simon loved it and asked for more and for weeks after, Jacquie would prepare the soup in the exact same manner. But finding it impossible to keep the joke to herself, she eventually confessed that she had been soaking her feet in her husband’s soup.

“I do not mind,” Simon said.

“Why not?” Jacquie said. “Are you not disgusted by my freakish prank?”

“Why, no, it’s quite the opposite,” Simon said. “I’m elated.

“Why?”

“Because thanks to your bean soup, I’ve had the most wonderful bowel movements of my entire life and…

Jacquie interrupted me in the middle of my fable.

“OK, I have two questions,” she said. “What are you talking about and will you be stopping any time soon?”

I didn’t know the answers to those questions, but at least I found my wife had a birthday coming up. The only trouble was, when?