Monday, March 13, 2006

Ferret Man

My wife Kara and I finally got around to watching the documentary “Grizzly Man” a couple of days ago. It came with our subscription to Poor Man’s Netflixx, which is completely free to join and has no monthly fees. To subscribe to Poor Man’s Netflixx, just wait until my parents buy a DVD that you want to watch, then ask them to send it to you. After you’ve watched your selection, you can return it for free simply by waiting until they come to visit. Then ask them to buy “Batman Begins” next.

I’m actually excited that my parents find any use for their DVD player at all; they were a little slow on the uptake with this particular technology. My sister Amy and I gave them the DVD player for Mom’s birthday several years ago, and until very recently, every time I’d come home, it would be in a different corner of the house, unplugged and buried in a blanket of dust, with two footprints on top of it from Mom using it as a stepstool to get to the top cupboard.

My parents were very reluctant to stop using the VCR-o-saurus that had treated them just fine for so many years. The first time we hooked up their DVD player, I still couldn’t wait to show them how superior their new toy was.

“How do I rewind it?” Mom asked.

“You don’t rewind DVDs,” I said.

“But I want to go back to the beginning,” she said.

“Just hit the menu button, Mom.”

“There are too many buttons on this remote. Where are my glasses?” she said, holding the remote control in her outstretched arm like she was trying to take a picture of herself with it.

“These buttons don’t make any sense. Which one do I push to record my shows off the TV?” she asked.

“Oh, man. You can’t do that.” I said.

Which is why, three months later, I came home to find the DVD player on the floor in the basement. “Why couldn’t you just leave it plugged in and pretend like you’re using it?” I asked.

“I didn’t like the red light on it blinking at me all the time,” Mom replied.

But my folks have finally started to come around, and the DVD player, at last check, was actually plugged into both the TV and the wall, which was a huge improvement, even though Mom has also affixed a pink Post-it note over the blinking red light.

So when they finished watching “Grizzly Man,” they kindly rewound the DVD and shipped it over our way. Though I found parts of the movie to be a little slow, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s one of those movies that sticks with you, like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Life is Beautiful” and “White Chicks.”

For those unfamiliar with the film, it’s about Timothy Treadwell, a rather unhinged nature enthusiast who lived with grizzly bears in Alaska every summer for thirteen years. Thirteen was not Timothy’s lucky number. At the end of that final summer, a grizzly finally figured out that Timothy and his girlfriend were both, as I recently heard someone turn the phrase, “made of bear food.” (For the record, you find out in the first five minutes of the film that Treadwell died, so it’s not like I just told you that Kevin Spacey was Kaiser Soze.)

Before his death, though, Timothy captured some of the most unbelievable footage I’ve ever seen. In one scene, he turned back a charging grizzly by slapping it on the muzzle and saying, “Go away!” He also recorded himself petting wild foxes like they were cocker spaniels, except not as slobbery. His control over animals was incredible. I bet he could’ve gotten my ferret to stop leaving me presents two inches to the left of the litter box.

You can step on Mike Todd to reach the top cupboard online at


  1. I haven't seent he movie yet but I have the soundtrack. Love it.

    My mom has a VCR-o-saurus too and I can't get her to even try a DVD yet. Shestill picks up the remote control when her cell phone rings and says "hello?"

  2. funny. my mom's dvd is approaching 2 years without being used.

    just saw another "feel good" movie, Open Water. check it out.

  3. Hee! Just wait until they get to Tivo.

  4. Mike - Would you hate it if I told you that Joe Pesci dies at the end of With Honors? Or would you rather find that out on a plane? Does that make sense, my "At Right Angles" brother?

  5. Ah, Mothers! Something similar happened to me too:-)

    I had no idea the spectacles bit was so universal.

  6. OMG Kevin Spacey is Kaiser Sose???
    Now, there's a great documentary.

    I'm a little slow on the DVD uptake as well. I have a combo deal, but still tend to get VHS because the DVD tends to skip. Cheap piece of crap!

  7. hey, this shorty could use a new step stool... howsabout sending me a dvd player, mike? ;)

    (btw, that movie sounds interesting! I like Kevin Spacey.)

  8. Took me a while to get used to the idea of DVD players, I was amused by its ejecting tray for a while, since that archaic time 2 years ago I have used and killed 4 DVD players!! Why do they die? I blame evolution :)