That's Yuko's mom in the comic there, and the offender is one of her two cats, Gonta. Gonta is named after Yuko's Dad's old cat, who was a cat that was secretly a dog. I'm visiting with Yuko's folks during the holidays, although maybe it is also true to say that I am visiting Mika (the other cat) and Gonta.
I really like cats.
The first time I heard about Netflix it was one of those, "Damn, I should have thought of that" moments. For the record, I am a big fan, for more than just the entertainment value - Netflix is a good example of capitalism at work. In Netflix, your Blockbusters and Hollywood videos finally had a tough competitor, which was great because they could no longer charge their outrageous rental fees. It's a measure of how successful Netflix has been that rental outlets have been closing down left and right ...
We've all been known to mispronounce words from time to time, but this was probably Yuko's finest moment. I will say this is nowhere as near as bad as the time that I informed my Japanese class that a word that I've now forgotten meant "Venereal Equinox." Clearly I should have been in an English class, but that's for another time.
Take special note of the bowtie on the dinosaur in the picture. It's an important part of the canon.
Conrad came out of his room with this huge ziploc bag full of quarters, and this is more or less the conversation that transpired, transcribed here for your amusement. You'll also note Conrad's rave-appropriate attire - glowsticks and glowloopies and glowglows and glowy-glow-mcglowertons. This is largely what I know about raves, although the rave-knowledge I received in my youth has been modified somewhat by the conventions I've attended since. My friend Nick, who will go without last name, was the first entrepreneur to think to sell glowsticks at conventions ...
Coffee is one of those grown-up things I never acquired a taste for. I like tea, and hot chocolate, and chai, and if you put a super sweet Starbucks coffee in front of me there's a 50/50 chance I'll like it, but when it comes to real, manly, black coffee, I have to bow my head to Yuko. She and her roommates like their coffee hard (well, compared to me) ... Yuko drinks hers with milk and a little bit of sugar, John puts in a lot of sugar and some chocolate syrup, and Conrad just drinks it black. There's a hierarchy there, and Conrad is at the top and I am at the bottom.
I don't know if this is an experience unique to this part of the east coast, but every house or apartment I've ever lived in has had crickets. When I was a kid living in Silver Spring, they were terrifying. They only came out at night, they looked sinister, and they did these ridiculous Michael Jordan jumps that left you wondering if they might accidentally leap onto you.
Back in the mid-90's, Parker Brothers made a series of activity sets called Sleepover Club (which I think were a part of some larger, terrifyingly girly franchise). I got the Fortune Telling box for one of my awkward tween-ish birthdays and the lot of us decided that it was a pretty mediocre activity set and it was sequestered down to the Board Game and Mice Closet in the basement.
I still remember this conversation clearly ... all of Yuko's apprehension about the house the previous night was burned away by the scorching heat of her untempered rage at the squirrel colony living in the sealed room next door. Here, let me repeat that:
GUYS WE HAVE TO TELL YOU ABOUT SPACKLEHAUS
There isn't a total vocabulary to describe how bizarre the year in Spacklehaus was. The name Spacklehaus is a story in and of itself, but in any event it was an old house right outside downtown Rochester. The landlord's name was Mort, which, I thought to myself, sounded like the name of an orcish innkeeper. Let it be known, this is one of those times a person looks exactly like their name sounds, much to your discomfort. Mort is also a story for later, though.