Callaghan and the prism of Luc Besson.

Being with Callaghan has taught me to see things in new ways. Like action flicks. If not for him, I’d never think to ask myself: “How bad is this movie on a Luc Besson scale of 1-10?”

As a French person, he’s sensitive to Luc Besson. Or, should I say, he’s not sensitive so much as he’s annoyed by Luc Besson.

I listen for his comments when we’re watching action movies. If he starts grumbling about Luc Besson, I know that he’s annoyed. That’s because Luc Besson is the yardstick Callaghan uses to measure his opinion of the movie’s worth, even if Luc Besson had nothing to do with the movie.

This morning, I asked him to summarize his feelings about Luc Besson. I actually recorded his answer. Verbatim:

“Hmm. Luc Besson. Alors. His movies are too easy. I mean, the stories. The resolution of the problems. It’s always, like, ‘Oh! Everything’s fine now. She turned into an intergalactic f*cking cloud of black matter, so everything’s fine’.”

Some comments I’ve heard from him while watching action flicks, or while talking about them:

10). “Putain, the person who did this movie was influenced by Luc Besson.”

9). “This could’ve been a great movie, but Luc Besson.”

8). “The CGI is cheesy. It’s Luc Besson.”

7). “Luc Besson outdid himself with Valerian!! I had to stop after a half-hour. It was bad, it was SO BAD, it was the quintessential Luc Besson movie.” (Yes, Callaghan knows the word “quintessential.” No, I wasn’t with him when he watched Valerian. He shared this opinion with me afterward.)

6). “Ugh, this movie has that Luc Besson vibe.”

5). “Taxi was ridiculous, and Luc Besson made three of that!!”

4). “You can tell Luc Besson was involved in this.”

3). “Dobermann was good because it wasn’t Luc Besson. If it was Luc Besson doing the same movie, it would be ridiculous.”

2). “The Family. That was a stupid movie. Luc Besson.”

And his #1 general comment, applicable to any action flick that annoys him:

“ET VOILA. LUC BESSON.”

Sidenote: This post is rather a tribute to Luc Besson. Love him or not, he’s an iconic filmmaker. Two of his films are on my list of all-time favorites: The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and La Femme Nikita (1990). Callaghan likes those movies, too, as well as The Fifth Element.

 

Frosty the Rude Man.

Callaghan was outraged when he read our friend Nick’s FB post the other night. I could tell that something was wrong, because I could see him fuming as he stared at his phone.

He yelled, “Did you see what Nick posted on FB? THIS is what happens when you try to be nice to people now!!!”

Thinking back, I remembered that Nick had posted a joke about Frosty the Snowman earlier in the day.

Before I could say anything, Callaghan ranted: “Seriously! WHAT is wrong with people?!!”

I struggled to hold back a snort. “Uh… Baby, no… read the whole post.”

“I AM reading the post!!!”

I try not to laugh when his English as a Second Language gets in the way of his understanding, or being understood. In this case, though, his lack of understanding came not from a language barrier, but from a cultural one. Callaghan wasn’t familiar with “Frosty the Snowman.”

“It’s ridiculous what this guy did,” he said with great indignation. “HE PEED ON NICK’S FLOOR!!!”

I lost it. “Baby. It’s a joke. The ‘guy’ is a snowman.”

“What?” He stared at the spectacle of me cracking up while he sat on the couch seething with fury on Nick’s behalf.

“Yes, the ‘guy’ they brought in was a snowman!”

He read the post again. “Oh. He was NAKED except for a scarf. I get it now.”

When I stopped laughing, I reassured him. He didn’t get the joke because he was never a child in America, I said. I quoted the pertinent “Frosty the Snowman” lyrics:

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul/With a corncob pipe and a button nose/And two eyes made out of coal

Thus, Callaghan learned another little piece of Americana.

Here’s the joke in question:

Yesterday it was so cold out that we took a man into our home out of the kindness of our hearts. We felt so sorry for him. Poor thing was trembling out in the cold. But this morning he had just vanished. Not a word … Not even a goodbye or a thank you for sheltering him !!!
The last straw ?!?! When I realized he had peed all over the living room floor !!! That’s the thanks I get for being good to people ?!?!?!
Now I’m going to warn my friends to watch out for this man !!! He is heavy set & wearing nothing but a scarf. He also has a corn cob pipe, a button nose & 2 eyes made out of coal !!! Don’t bring him into your house !!! What a huge mess he made on the floor !!!

One thing about the holidays: they can make it extra fun to be with a European who came to the States as an adult.

Sweet nothings.

Things that make me sleepy: being tired (duh); wearing my retainers (weird); being under some kind of cover(s) up to my upper body, if not all the way up to my neck… meaning, my lower body has to be covered. Especially my feet.

If my feet aren’t covered, I feel exposed. Not scared, just not right somehow. This phenomenon of perception is common amongst us, I know. It comes from childhood, maybe from the “monsters under the bed” phase. Not sure. But as far as I’m concerned, “monsters under the bed” is the most amusing of the theories… that, or, “the boogeyman.”

(In all honesty, I don’t remember whether I actually had a “monsters under the bed” or “the boogeyman” phase.)

So if I’m in bed snuggling with Callaghan and my legs are draped over his lap at an angle such that my right foot is sticking out of the covers on his side AND I’m not sleepy, but he is, then any attempt at conversation I strike up about the boogeyman goes awry.

Our “sweet nothings” conversations can easily go something like last night’s:

“My foot is sticking out of the covers. The boogeyman is going to get it,” I said.

“Poor boogeyman.”

I start laughing. He doesn’t, as he’s mostly asleep. But I continue on, because I’m having fun being entertained at his expense. I want to see what he says next.

“What? Are my feet that gross?”

“ALL feet are gross.” (He has a foot aversion.)

“So you’re not a foot guy?” (Knowing full well that he’s not.)

“No, I’m not afraid to die.”

“I didn’t ask if you were afraid to die. I said you aren’t a foot guy…”

“It’s all about the foot.”

“It’s all about the foot?”

“It’s all about the foot.”

This morning, he had no recollection of this conversation. I’ve got it word-for-word, though… because immediately afterward, I got up and sat down here to write it out. And that, my friends, is the danger of living with a writer. Anything you say can or will end up in a blog post.

By the way, some of you are pushing it, even if you don’t live with me. You know who you are.

That concludes this ridiculous post.

 

Bright morning, blue wash. (12 July 2017)

 

“The End!”

Incidentally, Callaghan has no idea that I’m writing this. He’ll read it later. That will start a whole new conversation. See how that works? haha!

Scrabble, Callaghan edition. (+ a favorite vintage commercial!)

Callaghan and I started playing Scrabble last week. Have you ever played Scrabble with an English as a Second Language (ESL) person?

It’s been fun! It’s been interesting and instructive, and it’s a great way for a non-native speaker to learn how to spell words in whatever version of Scrabble you’re playing. (I would love to have a French version.)

For instance, Callaghan’s first move was “ew,” which, according to Merriam-Webster’s (MW) Scrabble dictionary, isn’t playable. “Maybe because it’s an exclamation,” I speculated. He replied that “ew” is NOT an exclamation. It’s a female sheep. See? Now he knows how to spell “ewe.”

Then I put down “pantie,” which he challenged on the grounds that it ends with a ‘y’. MW said that both spellings were correct.

MW’s Scrabble dictionary is a great resource. We pulled it up on Callaghan’s phone so he could have it at his fingertips. He didn’t like that “pantie” came up on the page when he opened it from his bookmark, but that was easily fixed. He deleted the bookmark, entered a new word in the search field, and re-bookmarked it.

Now his dictionary opens up with “igottaewe.”

“Because I learned that a female sheep is a ‘ewe’,” he said, knowing that I was going to ask. “It’s generic.”

Of course!

We decided that we’ll disregard the challenge rule; we’ll both be able to consult our MW Scrabble dictionaries while playing.

The last time we played was Sunday, and he won.

 

The game I lost!

 

On a completely different awesome note, I was thrilled when a reader found this commercial and sent it to me a few days ago. Some of you may remember that I’d been looking for that one Charleston Chew commercial from the 70’s. Thanks to Dirk, here it is!

 

 

Callaghan thinks it’s hilarious, too… even more than I do, in fact. Because he’s French.

 

A little levity, literally. (Height doesn’t work that way!)

If we’re friends on Facebook, you might already know that I went to the doctor recently and found out that I’d lost over an inch in height. Almost two inches, actually.

My whole worldview was shattered.

I’d gone to my mid-day appointment and stepped onto the height-measuring apparatus without thinking about it, because I had no reason to. There was no suspense. My height’s never changed: I’m 65 inches tall. That’s 5′,5″.

But the guy in the blue scrubs said, “Looks like you’re 5′,3″ and just about…” He looked closer at the number lines. “A quarter.”

I shook my head in surprise. “No, I’m 5′,5″.”

“Sorry. It says 5′,3” and a maybe a quarter.”

“There must be something wrong with it,” I said, referring to the apparatus. “I’ve always been 5′,5″.”

He chuckled. “Okay. Here… let’s try it one more time.”

I stepped onto the apparatus again (is there a name for that thing?) and stood as tall as I could.

“Five three and a quarter,” he said. “For sure.”

I thought, This is fake news. 

“Everyone loses height as they age, I’m afraid,” he said, still grinning and chuckling.

I stalked after him to the examination room. His cheerfulness was out of line. It could be that his height-measuring apparatus needed to be recalibrated, but he wasn’t questioning it!

I thought, how could I lose almost two inches?  I was measured at the V.A. – where I usually go – just weeks ago, and their result was the same as always: 65 inches. 5′,5″.

It wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it was wrong.

Later, a friend told me on Facebook that most people tend to measure, on average, half an inch shorter during the day, then spring back to their normal height overnight while they sleep. My appointment had been in the middle of the day, so I thought, that could be it. But still! Almost two inches?

I asked Callaghan to measure me first thing the morning. The result was exactly 65 inches, as it should be. Ha! Then he measured me again in the afternoon, and GUESS WHAT. Still 65 inches. Ha! Ha! Not only am I 65 inches tall, but I’m 65 inches tall all day. My driver’s license is still correct: 5′-05″.

 

65 inches.

 

“His apparatus does need to be recalibrated,” I said to Callaghan. I was annoyed. “The guy was totally condescending. He didn’t even consider that his equipment might be faulty. He probably just thought, ‘She’s old, so she’s shrinking, and I’m young, and I’m wearing blue scrubs, so I’m right, and I’m not going to listen to her, ha ha ha’.”

How would this be characterized in the parlance of our times? Did he mansplain my own height to me, or did he youngsplain it? (If he -splained anything by way of not questioning the apparatus.)

“It’s true, two inches is too big of a difference, especially all at once. It doesn’t matter anyway, though,” Callaghan said. “He’s going to die of a moltnoma!!”

“What’s a moltnoma?”

“I can’t believe you still don’t know what a moltnoma is. Over the last seven years you’ve asked me five times what is a moltnoma, and you never remember it when I say that someone will die of it.”

“I don’t know why I can’t remember it. So what is a moltnoma?”

“It’s a county in Portland, Oregon.”

Typical Callaghan.

“…when I was working in California, we worked with this person who lived in Portland,” he explained. “And then I learned that the county was “moltnoma.” That’s where Portland is.”

I was already cracking up when he concluded, “So I was like, it sounds like a disease like “melanoma” so now I just say that someone will die of a moltnoma as a general cause of death.”

I looked it up. “Multnomah County.” Cool.

Anyway, I’m going back to that doctor on Wednesday, and I’m going to inform the guy in the blue scrubs that his machine is off. People probably do shrink a little over time as they age, but I’m not there yet, and I’m probably not going to lose almost two inches all at once, either. Ha.

It’s Callaghan’s Birthday!

My birthday two months ago happened to fall on a blog Friday, so I felt I should address it. I said that I was 48 and still not wearing granny panties. Today, two months later and also on a blog Friday, it’s Callaghan’s birthday, so it’s only fair to report that he’s 47 and not wearing granny panties yet, either.

“What would your birthday reflection be as you turn a year older?” I asked him at dinner last night. Because, you know. Deep thoughts about life.

He considered for a minute, then said, “I came to the United States because of my two wives.”

I’ve known him for almost eight years, so I didn’t blink an eye.

“The first time I came to live in the States, it was because I married Magali,” he went on, speaking of his first wife. “The second time, it was because I married you. If I never married you guys, I never would’ve come to the United States. I would still be in France.”

I said, “You were a Russian mail-order bride.”

– because I was thinking of one of my co-workers from 10 years ago. The guy who got himself fired because he spent work hours shopping for Russian brides on his work computer, right out in the open in a common room. He met the woman through the online catalog, brought her over, married her, and then convinced our boss to re-hire him. He came back to work and his bride went to sell fancy perfume at Dillard’s. As far as I know, they’re still happily-ever-after. No green-card marriage there!

That’s one of my favorite love stories.

But my very favorite love story is ours. And today is the day that Callaghan can stop telling people that he’s two years younger than me. He’s only 14 months younger, and now you can see that on paper.

I went to meet him at his workplace yesterday. Before we went to lunch, I took some pics of him with a couple of bikes he’d recently finished. Here’s one:

 

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

 

Then we went to dinner later and we took this selfie with unfortunate lighting, which is the best kind of selfie:

 

Callaghan's birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

Callaghan’s birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

 

Happy Birthday to this crazy, hilarious, unpredictable, dreamy guy!

Callaghan is designing clowns and I don’t know what to do.

Heading into off-season at the amusement parks, Callaghan’s evenings of late have been filled with lots of freelance work. He hung onto a few of his European amusement park clients when he accepted his position as a motorcycle designer, because why not? It’s feast or famine in that industry. He’d only be swamped a few months out of the year.

Now that American Halloween hype has started to gain traction in France, French theme parks want a piece of it in a more major way. So they’ve asked Callaghan to design some clown attractions… because you can’t have spooky, ooky Halloween décor without clowns, of course. If there’s one thing the French have picked up on in their Halloween education, it’s that clowns are essential elements of the fear factor.

Even better, some of this Halloween-inspired design will remain a permanent fixture, so visitors can enjoy the park’s creepy side no matter when they go. Here’s Callaghan’s first design, a rough draft of a horror fun-house-type attraction (with mirrors inside):

 

Clown mirror house of horror (original design by Callaghan)

Clown mirror house of horror (original design by Callaghan)

 

You have to have clowns with wide open mouths as entrances, you know.

And there will be more. Oh yes. I’m already imagining waking up at night, shuffling into the kitchen for a glass of water, and noticing a dim screen-light casting vague shadows on the wall. I see that it’s coming from Callaghan’s office. I go in and find that his computer has turned itself on. The clown file is displayed, and it’s flickering.

Thanks, Parc St. Paul. And Festyland (You mean FESTY THE CLOWN-land, I said to Callaghan when he told me the park’s name), and thank you, Parc du Bocasse.

Here’s a draft of his Parc du Bocasse poster, featuring the bee mascot he’s been creating for years:

 

Buzzy (the bee) the Vampire (original art by Callaghan)

Buzzy (the bee) the Vampire (original art by Callaghan)

 

He loved my idea of designing a vampire version of the bee. Buzzy the Vampire is made of awesome because Callaghan’s art is kick-ass. It’s great no matter the subject. Even clowns.