Fixing All the Things – or Trying to, Anyway

Originally my post for today was going to be about my mad love for Moulin Rouge, as I watched it for the umpteenth time last night. Instead I will write about my day of attempted fixes.

First up, the blog. I had to do a manual update of WordPress, which in and of itself wasn’t too difficult, but when you haven’t done something the not-easy-but-not-all-that-hard way for a long time, it takes a while to figure out how to do it without screwing up a bunch of other stuff. I spent a lot of time searching the help forums, emailing back and forth with a friend who knows WordPress well, and fiddling with PHP files. I still cannot get it to create directories so that I can update my plugins, or even switch to a new theme, but that’s an issue for tomorrow or later in the week.

Second, my car. Agnes Lincoln has served me well for 5 years to the point I’ve gotten spoiled. Working from home means I don’t drive as much, so maintenance costs have been minimal. But tonight that all changed, as she wouldn’t start after I went to get tacos for dinner. A jumpstart didn’t work, so I had the car towed to a service station. The tow truck guy predicted a fuel pump issue, based on what he saw and what I told him. We shall see. I know enough about cars to know that I want someone else to deal with every aspect of their maintenance.

In true child-of-the-70s-and-80s fashion, I always think of Schneider from “One Day at a Time” whenever I have to be in fixit mode. He may have been a bit of a pest, and not the most skilled handyman, but he was funny and had a good heart. Here’s hoping the person who works on my car has excellent skills AND is as nice as Schneider, and has reasonable rates, too.

Schneider was THE fixit guy of the 70s and 80s.

Swedish Pop Music Has Taken Over My Brain

A couple days ago Giles convinced me to watch The Trip, a 2011 film with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Coogan is on assignment for The Observer to visit several well-renowned restaurants throughout the UK, and when his girlfriend backs out at the last minute, he asks his friend Brydon to come along. The movie is very funny and the pair do several impressions of actors including Michael Caine, Sean Connery and Woody Allen, but it was their singalong of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” that did me in.

Later that night I was up until 3 in the morning listening to ABBA songs. THREE A.M. It’s not like all their songs were fantastic, either. If you pay attention to the lyrics many of them don’t make much sense. It’s the melodies that suck you in – they are catchy. Momcat had several ABBA singles on 45s that she enjoyed.

What’s worse are the videos. Dear God, the videos.

There’s a clear formula to most ABBA videos:

1. Show the band members performing some activity together, such as eating, drinking, playing a board game.

2. Alternate between showing Agnetha and Frida singing, their faces wracked with emotion and longing for Bjorn and Benny.

3. Alternate between shots of Bjorn and Benny looking suggestively at the camera, their faces wracked with cool Swedish reserve toward their beloveds.

4. Alternate between shots of all four band members singing, looking happy.

5. Alternate between shots of Agnetha, Frida, Bjorn and Benny walking away from the camera, only to turn and look back as if to say, “You miss me, right? I know you do. I KNOW YOU WANT TO GET WITH THIS. But you blew it.” (This would all be said in Swedish, of course.)

6. Some camera tricks that reflect the latest in mid 70s-early 80s cinematography, such as morphing faces into each other, mirror images, etc.

My favorite example is the video for “When All Is Said and Done,” which came out in 1981. I think I have this song on an old K-Tel album.

Now it seems I’ve gotten more into ABBA than I anticipated. I can’t stop listening to their songs on Spotify, or looking at videos on their VEVO channel. I have fallen down the rabbit hole and wound up in Stockholm. Any minute now Steve the Mighty ‘Mo is going to bang on our shared wall and tell me to turn down “Waterloo.” Though this is really all Giles’ fault. Him and Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Damn them all.

Turkeys Away in Cincinnati

Those of you who were beyond the zygote stage in the 70s may remember the turkey drop episode of popular late 70s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati”. This Thanksgiving I’m seeing people post clips from this episode all over the interwebs. I found the entire episode on Hulu, so while you’re sitting around debating whether or not you really want that third piece of pie, you can watch Les Nessman deal with his turkey-drop-induced PTSD.