There’s spoilers in this review. I’m far too lazy to install some sort of onClick or onMouseOver javascript thingy on my blog. I’m going to mark the spoilers, but if hearing about movies before you see them bothers you, you might want to skip this.

Alright, this movie was awesome. I’m hard pressed to think of a time I enjoyed rolling my eyes and groaning so much.

First off, the acting was horrible. Even though the special effects looked like they had to have been expensive, they used a lot of those editing tricks of the scary B-movies of old that were meant to save money, but in this case I think it’s more homage than limited budget. The plot was silly, and even though I don’t normally dig horror movies that pick off the cast one by one (totally a George A. Ramero rip-off/tribute), the whole movie was fun in spite of itself. It’s like junk food. I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoyed Janet Evonavich books. It’s junk food for the mind. Salty, fried, greasy mind food.

I didn’t expect to enjoy a movie about an Archangel, and yet I did. The thing is, I think that in the same way that a religious person would like Book of Eli, this movie might very well offend followers of Abrahamic religions. I’m an outsider, so I can only imagine how much this movie would piss of religious people, but you see, the plot of this movie is…

[spoilers below]

The god of the Bible/Torah/Old testament exists, as do his army of angels led by his Archangel generals like Michael and Gabriel. As an atheist, I always say “If you really believe that the God of the old testament really did the things in the Bible, like the Great Flood, how can you have any respect for such a cruel and unjust creature, let alone worship him?” In this movie, God is the bad guy, and his zombie minions of terror are none other than his loyal angels.

Although it ends with the unseen, but often referenced, God being somewhat redeemed. he is portrayed as a literal interpretation of the God of Abraham with all the human-like flaws that non-believers like me see in that interpretation. He’s the kind of person who is a slave to his emotions and known for throwing out the baby with the bathwater (or flood water), but you can kind of relate. I mean, if I was as powerful as God and lost faith in humanity, I just might be so corrupt from my power that I would have a “Kill ’em all and let Me sort ’em out” mentality. I’m a little surprised I haven’t heard more outrage over a movie where God and his Army of Heaven are unmistakably the villains.

There’s a couple vague plot devices that never make sense or are explained. Maybe I’ll find more satisfaction listening to the commentary track on the DVD.

Man Wants Mt. Diablo To Be Mt. Reagan

I was alerted to this news story when I saw one of those adorable Facebook groups that people join to protest things, support things and try to get 1,000,000 people for the sake of getting 1,000,000 people. I saw a lot of alarmist posts from freaked-out people, but I didn’t want to dignify the group by joining it so I could calm some very angry people.

So I’m doing it here.

Mt. Diablo is not “going to be renamed Mt Reagan.”

There, don’t you feel better? The beautiful and famous sticky-uppy-groundy thing in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Contra Costa county is going to keep it’s name. It was never in danger of being anything except “Mount Diablo”. Not “Mt. Yahweh”. Not “Mt. Miwuk”. Not even “Mt. Ohlone”, which I even kind of like. Definitely not “Mt. Reagan”.

It’s one guy. He’s been filing paperwork on this for five years and has gotten nowhere. He’s really, really into the Big Jeezy, and having a mountain whose name references the devil offends him to no end. (And it’s in Spanish… the language of PASSION. That makes the mountain like three times as sinful.)

The proposals were all rejected. Though he was always given the polite courtesy and consideration of any concerned citizen filling out the proper forms and filing them correctly in the name of trying to change something about his community, none of his attempts were ever given serious consideration. Unfortunately, one of the times he made a suggestion the people doing the rejecting were lazy and instead of tossing it out on the grounds that “there is no compelling reason to change the name at this time”, they tossed out his Mt. Reagan suggestion because Ronald Reagan hadn’t been dead long enough.

And that’s why it’s in the news again. Since President Ronald Reagan has finally been dead long enough, he’s put in some more paperwork. It was in the news before. Remember? It’s still Mt. Diablo, just for the record. This too will end in Mt. Diablo staying Mt. Diablo.

Your historical geological feature and its history remains safe. Worry not, Northern California. March 31st will be the first day of the rest of Mt. Diablo’s life as Mt. Diablo.

The guy makes my brain hurt, and I could probably double the length of this article by making fun of him or getting my panties in a bunch about oversensitive busy-bodies. I mean, he cites his religion as the reason for his offense with the name, so does he not realize that the people who named the mountain in the mid-1800s were also very much Christian? I won’t be too hard on Mr. Mijares. See, I appreciate a person who actively and tenaciously uses the system as it was designed in order to change something. For that, he gets a dash of respect from me.

Mr. Burns: “Welcome fellow Republicans. To start on new business, brother Hibbert will read a report on our efforts to rename everything after Ronald Reagan.”
Dr. Hibbert: “All Millard Fillmore schools are now Ronald Reagan. The Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Reagan.”

When you think about it, Mt. Reagan really isn’t a bad choice. I mean, of all the people up in arms, freaking out as if there is even the slightest chance for a name change, who amongst them DOESN’T think Ronald Reagan was the devil?

Sooooo… I just saw Book of Eli. I’m kind of pissed off now.

People tell me that I should’ve known what to expect here. “Duh! It was obvious from the commercials what it was about,” they say.

Forgive me for overthinking things. From the high-contrast, not-quite-monochrome quality of the cinematography, it seemed clear to be that this was a high-budget work of art. Well, great art is generally about nuance. I let myself see nuance where there was none, and so I saw this movie expecting a twist. I expected a little more mystery about what was so important about this MacGuffin… this Book. Oh, those clever screen writers… what’s the book going to be? Das Kapital? How to Win Friends and Influence People? Helpful Hints by Heloise? Rebuilding Society in the Post-Apocalypse for Dummies? To Serve Man?

The twist never came. It was exactly the movie that the trailer depicts. The book is the King James version of the Bible.

Everything visually about movie was amazing. The sets were perfect and the surreal and stylistic high-contrast filming was absolutely stunning. The acting was pretty damn good, and if you’re playing the Denzel Washington Drinking Game, you have to wait only three minutes or so to see his signature neck rub. The fight scenes were cool and looked like River Tam herself did the choreography. It was kind of gory at times, and even though they occasionally stooped to having the main character “be funny” about the violence, it didn’t come off as cheesy. This had all the makings of one of the coolest movies of all time.

Oh, and TOM Freakin’ WAITS was in it.  I LOVE Tom Waits! Did I say “one of the coolest movies of all time”? I meant “This had all the makings of THE perfect movie!”

*sigh*

But the twist I was expecting and hoping for never came. The movie had an ending that made the movie not just incomprehensible and silly, but far more offensive was that it was a vehicle for morals and lessons that, in less civilized times, caused people to feel justified in blowing up strangers in Tel Aviv coffee shops.

…more incomprehensible than than the sketchy science-fiction plot device of “a hole torn in the sky” which caused everyone to need awesome goggles and Ray Bans for sun protection but didn’t require SPF 300 sunblock. (Wait, hold on… let me go try something. Okay, I just had an epiphany about why the stylized cinematography was done how it was. I grabbed a couple pairs of sunglasses to test my theory and I think I got it right. It almost perfectly mimics the world viewed through dark sunglasses. It’s supposed to be like you’re following around the protagonist, as if you’re someone in his world. Great. Wonderful. Even that touch couldn’t save this movie from itself. Okay, back to this review.)

…sillier than the contrast of the gritty, Mad-Max-looking characters compared to the silky, shiny hair of women who haven’t seen Garnier Fructis in 30 years. (By the way, Mila Kundis looks GORGEOUS without make-up… even though I’m sure she was wearing make-up, she looked like she wasn’t.)

There was “a twist” and I suppose it was something I didn’t expect, but ultimately I was disappointed. A twist alone does not a good movie make.  It has to be… oh, I don’t know. It has to be good. This movie sucked. I hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. If it was merely a waste of my time, I’d be fine, but I paid money to see this thing, and that makes me angry.

When the morals of the story we’re supposed to take home are “If you must be violent, be ultraviolent”, “the path of righteousness means only helping others when you have no other choice ” and “Jesus is magic, kids”, the directors have just flipped me a huge bird on a larger-than-life-screen. I don’t care who says “Duh! What did you expect?” I was pissed off.

Pissed… off…

I wondered if I was allowed to get a refund. I almost asked.

It was the best movie I ever hated.

08.15.2009

http://oxtweekend.com/

How many times have you been frustrated by the ambiguity of such terms as “this weekend” and “next Friday? Maybe it’s even gotten you into some hot water.

When you say next weekend, and today is Tuesday August 4th, do you mean the 8th or the 15th? When I hear it, which do I interpret. We already have a term for the weekend coming up, called “this weekend” so logically “next weekend” would be after “this weekend.” But this weekend is the next weekend that we will come to.

Oy, so much confusion… until NOW!

From now on, “this weekend” is coming up, or happening now. If you mean the weekend after this weekend, you can say “oxt weekend.” If today is Sunday the 9th, that’s this weekend, Saturday the 15th is oxt weekend and Saturday the 22nd is the weekend after oxt. If it’s Friday now, oxt Friday is in a week and this Friday is today. If it’s Christmas Eve, 2009, the Christmas after oxt will be December 25th, 2011.

This guy is a genius. My new hero. Sure the site is clearly tongue-in-cheek humor, but it’s just such a perfect solution to a very real problem.

I say we run with it.

If you convince everyone you know how wonderful the concept of “oxt” can be, this could be in the common lexicon by oxt winter.

08.15.2009

Father Capretta by Day; Big Mama Capretta By Night

THERE is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Roman Catholic circles in the US over the recent revelation that a Catholic priest, Father Anthony (aka Vincent Capretta), is a drag queen who performs as Big Mama Capretta.

Not only that, the gay priest, from Columbus, Ohio, has a single that is currently No 25 on Billboard’s Club Play dance chart called “Big Mama’s House.”

He’s a big guy, so you’d think it would be his panties in a bunch, but instead it is Catholic Online that is quick to point out he’s a different kind of Catholic and not a real Catholic.

To set the record straight, Capretta is actually listed as rector of the Community of Charity, an Independent Old Catholic Church that describes itself as all-inclusive. That definition includes ’sexual orientation’ in this group. He is not a part of the Roman Catholic Church and his church is not in communion with the See of Rome.

The Dragfather[Hold on. I just strained my eyes from rolling them too hard. Ow. Alright, I’m good.]

Oh yeah? Well, I’ll See your Rome and raise you a catchy dance tune from a guy who is living life on his terms.

[Aw crap, now I’m rolling my eyes at my own dumb pun. I’m going to get a repetative stress injury here. “See your Rome and raise you…” *groan*]

I like how they don’t attack him directly which might come off as uncouth, so they take the opportunity to bash a religion slightly different than theirs.

You go, Father Anthony. Shake that Original Sin.

If you’re curious, the single is on Youtube. I have to warn you, you’ll never get those two minutes back, so you might as well get up dance your ass off when you listen.

This article is verbose and ranty, so feel free to ignore most of it and skip straight to the link at the bottom for a chuckle, eye-roll or disgusted slow head shake depending on how you react to stupid-people stories. You need an expert who handles wildlife control in your area.

I believe a few things because I have faith in humanity. I think your average person is a pretty great person, which means “below average” can still be pretty good and “above average” juts up into the realm of amazingly wonderful, interesting, talented, kind, smart, helpful, giving or any combination of those or any other good adjective you can pull from a thesaurus.

Along those likes I like to think…

Not everyone in the South has been on TV imitating wind noises and the crash of things being destroyed as a storm passes through.

Not everyone in cold climates hollers “Wooo! Go [nearby football team]” outside the context of discussions upcoming or past football games.

Not everybody in Texas is… we’ll, you’ve seen how Texans can be on camera, right? Every Texan I’ve talked to at length has been polite and interesting. They’re good people down there, with many fine schools and cultural centers.

Not every black urban-dweller is a fan of loud music with too much base, investing in rims worth more than the car, or covering their teeth in precious metals and jewels. Nor will your average black city-dweller be found on a local news program shouting “Woo WOOO!” in defense of noisy car modifications. (Knowutumsayin?)

You wouldn’t know it from watching those “man on the street” interview segments. From comments from bystanders on local news shows to comedy shows that ask easy questions and get wrong answers edited together for your amusement, one would think that stupidity is the baseline.

I think the media just loves an idiot, and the only reason they would love an idiot is because we love an idiot. Seeing idiots make us feel better about ourselves. It makes us feel smart. The problem is, we often use these idiots as strawmen to justify our ill will toward their groups.

“So, that’s where my property tax is going. We need to stop throwing good money after bad.”

“No wonder that state went to [least favorite candidate], they’re all a bunch of morons.”

“Ugh, another dumb hick/hippie/fake gangsta/dye job/blonde/welfare recipient/PETA-supporter/democrat/republican/kid/woman/man/black/mexican/fat white guy/jesus freak/skateboarder/pro-lifer/lazy union member/gun nut/activist celebrity etc. I just hate those people.”

And I have a feeling, it’s all in the editing. I bet they have to talk to a lot of people in a hurricane’s path to get that lady who says “And we were praying and outside, it was like ‘woooooosh’ [hand motion to go with wooshing sound], and there was a loud ‘crash, boom!’ and the generator died, and ‘snap’ which I think was the palm out front going down the street.” Nobody wants to hear about the guy who installed storm shutters, then hid in the center room of his house watching a battery powered TV so he’d know when he could come out.

Those “Jaywalking” segments and videos like them can’t possibly represent the majority of Americans. I think, or at least hope that the majority of the footage is on the cutting ceramic room floor installed with grouting joints using weber, and only the best dummies make it to prime time. I know that the average person being interviewed has had decades between them and their last elementary school civics/geography/history/math lesson, but I want to cry when someone is asked “What country is [blank] the capital of?” and they sheepishly suggest “Europe” or “Al Queda”. Surely there are dozens of people who know who the current Vice President is for every usable gem when Idiots Say The Darndest Things.

Please tell me I’m right. Please tell me that smart people just aren’t good television in “man on the street” segments. Somebody who worked in the production department at a news station, tell me that people who edited the stories had to throw away 5 people saying insightful, intelligent things so they could cut and print “Well, I guess basically, you know, the death penalty makes sure they don’t like escape and, you know, kill again. So, uh, yeah, it’s a good thing.” They’re trying to entertain me. They’re trying to make me feel smart by comparison, so I’ll want to watch them and I’ll support their sponsors. “Why yes, Sleep Train IS my ticket to a better night sleep. Thank you.”

Right? Right!?! They’re just following the money? There’s not a moron around ever corner and behind every bush, right? This HAS to be it! Somebody reassure me, please!!! Puuuh-leeeeeze!

Please?

I sometimes fear it’s the opposite. You don’t find smart, insightful news interviews because smart people make the average person feel uncomfortable, inadequate and dumb. No one wants to feel like someone knows more than them, unless it’s accompanied with a folksy aphorism like “I was born in the morning, but it wasn’t yesterday morning.”, “No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach.” or “You’re just puttin’ a dress on a pig.” What if the average person watching the news is on par with the interviewees. The only reason that I think this might not be the case, is that comedy bits like “Jaywalking” wouldn’t be very funny if the viewer at home didn’t know the answer to the question. Still, what if they aren’t looking at the idiocy with disgust, but instead familiarity and fellowship?

“Hey, that’s what the storm sounded like to me too!”

“I also agree that its sad when people die.”

“J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets! Wooooo!”

“He says irridisregardless too! And they say it isn’t a word. Sheesh.”

It makes me want to drop my crusade for universal health care, and fight for a well funded federal school system, (with voucher/non-test-based accreditation system for private schools). If those people are running the country now, I’d hate to see what the future holds.

What makes me want to write about this? Glad you asked.

This woman. She apparently sees a problem with pesticides and has her own solution.

I think that we should make a perfect pesticide for the crops but it’s good for people and healthy and keeps the crops preserved too because we need the food because it’s food and stuff, and healthy food is necessary to keep us healthy the same as good medicines and supplements such as Caruso’s coenzyme q10 and others that are good for different things.
However, we do need to contact a rat extermination Tampa expert,
we don’t want those animals wondering around our crops.

Not all environmentalists, hippies, Californians, Northern Californians, Bay Area Residents, or those residing on the Left Coast are as dumb as this woman.

Anyone thinking of holding this woman against California, I will gladly forget that woman brandishing her birth certificate in a plastic bag at Rep. Mike Castle’s town hall meeting, which after the woman started whooping like a loon it somehow ended in an impromptu group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, if you forget this “let’s make pesticides that are healthy for people” lady.

Deal?

There are dumb people everywhere. Dumb southerners. Dumb Walmart shoppers. Dumb Mexicans. Dumb Persians. Dumb Christians. Dumb Surfers. Dumb gun enthusiasts. Dumb college graduates. Dome Marines. Dumb men. Dumb vegans. Dumb poor people. Dumb stoners. Dumb Democrats. Dumb animal lovers. Even dumb intellectuals. (“I paid $400 so I could join a club to brag about how smart I am. See my MENSA card? Pretty smart, huh?”)

They understand how frustrating it is to deal with pests which constantly put your day-to-day operations into halt. With this, Jims Pest Control SA created a pest extermination strategy that will allow us to Manage our problem.

If there’s a group of people, it has it’s share of dummies. If there’s a group of people you have a distaste for, your prejudice may very well be coming from your experiences with that group’s dumb.

Just be careful when you’re judging a group by its dumbest, loudest, rudest or most obnoxious members. Don’t think less of a group to which they happen to belong when you should be focusing your disgust onto another group they belong to: idiots.

On the other hand, there is undeniable wisdom to be found in the unlikeliest of places. Indeed, we do need the food.

Because it’s food and stuff.

“First they came for the smokers, but I didn’t speak up because I’m not a smoker.”

I can’t believe he signed it. I gave him money, wore his button and cast my vote by his name. In return, instead of hope and progress, we get authoritarian feel-good pandering and “Think of the CHILDREN” politics

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090612/ap_on_go_co/us_fda_tobacco

Smokers, particularly the younger crowd, will find they can no longer buy cigarettes sweetened by candy flavors or any herb or spices such as strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon or vanilla. Cigarettes advertised as “light” or “mild,” giving the impression that they aren’t as harmful to health, will no longer be found on store shelves. A great way to improve health is to start this fat burning program, it´ll make you feel and look great, and for the ones who doesn’t even need to lost wait, they can always take natural supplements since you can buy kratom online, so you feel and perform better.

[emphasis mine]

And the YOUNGER CROWD won’t be able to buy them? Bull****. They can’t legally buy them NOW. It’s the ADULT crowd that can buy them today and won’t be able to buy them at some point in the future.

There are lots of things that children should not do and should not have. Since when does that mean that those things can’t exist?

I’m not a heavy smoker, and it’s not an expensive luxury for me to buy some cheap dab rigs at this point, but it’s something I enjoy. It makes me feel good to smoke. My favorite brand? Djarum. Cloves. I’d say I smoke fewer than 30 a year. That’s a pack and a half.

Now I’ll have to get them from indian reservations (if they have them) or smuggle them here from Canada if I want them. I suppose I could stock up, but I kind of like only having to buy a pack at a time, working on that pack for a few weeks or a couple months and getting another when I run out. They also get acrylic pipes and less fresh tasting after a while, which is another reason it sucks to stock up.

I still don’t have Canadian-style health care. Labor unions are still weak. We’re still stuck in a war (5000, by the way.) It’s still really hard for a small business owner to get a loan. Still no affordable electric cars on the horizon.

But thank god I’m being saved from the horrors of Grape Camel Lights and cherry pipe tobacco.

What did I ever do to you that I deserve to have one of the few pleasures I have in life go away? I don’t smoke where people are going about their business. I go as far from people as possible. I don’t blow smoke in anyone’s face. If someone asks me to put out the cigarette, I do. If someone does that passive-aggressive fake coughing thing, I still put it out. If there’s no ashtray or trash, I extinguish it and put it in my pocket until I can throw it away. I’ve done NOTHING wrong.

I understand why people hate smokers. Rude smokers piss me off too. The problem is that people form bad anecdotal statistics in their minds and it seems like “all smokers are rude smokers.” Polite smokers smoke in places where you can’t smell them. They do their jobs without constant smoke breaks. The don’t litter. They are pleasant, even when they’d like a cigarette right now but can’t have one. Polite smokers go unnoticed and therefore don’t exist. This means all the data that gets filed away in the “Smokers” folder in that information schema file cabinet of your mind are the smokers who block the sidewalk in front of bars with their stink (just a side note, if you are one of those people who likes anti-tobacco laws, YOU put them in front of that bar). The vast majority of smokers don’t bother anyone, in the same way that the vast majority of homeless people don’t hassle you for spare change, but when the only members of a group you notice are the annoying members, it’s hard to think about anything else.

I get it. I understand. This is how human brains work. You’re mistaken though. Read Freakonomics. It’s a good book. It has nothing to do with this, but it talks about these sort of associations that human minds make. Plus it’s the kind of book where strangers will start conversations with you if they see you with it in public.

If you don’t like smokers who are rude, outlaw the rude behavior and here’s a novel concept: You know all those laws that states and counties and city councils love to pass about littering and second hand smoke and “25 feet from entryways”? How about we ENFORCE THOSE LAWS. We don’t enforce them, because they’re not meant to do anything except log “Aye” votes into the columns of the politicians who vote for such popular laws. Meanwhile, as the laws go unenforced and people light up in line at Disneyland people’s hatred for “those filthy smokers” grows and these stupid laws become even more popular in spite of solving nothing.

For me, this is like when Firefly was canceled. This is like when they started putting high fructose corn syrup in Ben and Jerry’s. This is like the inevitable departure of the fleeting McRib (limited time only.)

No… even those don’t sum it up. Those were corporate decisions. This is LAW.

This is like when I was told I was no longer allowed to wear my bright red deck shoes to school because they were “gang-colored”. They were Keds and Vans. Jay-sus, man. Keds… Vans!

What do you like that might be next?

And everyone here pointing out how annoying cigarette butts in your lawns, parking lots and sidewalks are. Everyone mentioning how obnoxious people are when they just light up sitting next to you. Everyone complaining about how people can be jerks when they’re jonesin’ for a cancer stick. Everyone talking about the smell. Everyone worried about the health risks of cigarettes to you, as a non-smoker.

This bill does NOTHING to stop that.

It bans a certain kind of cigarette and allows a different kind of cigarettes. It limits advertising, which will probably make cigarettes cheaper. It allows the FDA to order lower nicotine levels, so rude smokers will probably be spending more time blowing smoke in your face and throwing 10% more butts on your law.

Anyone can still smoke those unflavored, unadvertised, low-nicotine cigarettes where they damn well want. Right in your face when you’re walking into a store. And they’ll still smell bad. And they’ll still be just as unhealthy.

It’s just some of us who liked the flavored kind can’t get the flavored kind anymore.

You lose AND I lose.

Sometimes, though, it seems that some people just like to have someone to pick on. I just wish it was sub-prime home-buyers again.

I think promoting health is a good thing. I think taking away rights, even if those rights are the right to do something unhealthy and/or stupid, is a bad thing. You all know how I vote, but sometimes the people I vote for piss me off and the snarling libertarian that lives inside me takes over. I don’t like when that happens, because it puts me on the same side of the privacy fence as people I’d rather not be fenced in with. Sure, there’s weed and hookers over here, and the taxes are really low, but I can’t hear myself think with all the automatic-weapons-fire, bottle rockets and people quoting bible scripture.

I can find a little humor in this though. Of all the flavors getting banned, I noticed menthols were saved from the firing squad. First black President.

http://www.infoniac.com/science/scientists-observed-the-transformation-of-speech-into-song-when-repeated.html

For the first time Diana Deutsch noticed such illusion when, back in 1990s, she revised a recording of her own voice. She noted that the phrase “sometimes behaves so strangely” somehow morphed into a song when it was repeated several times.

Here is the link to the audio.

This effect makes me want to record phone calls and biology lectures to see what high-energy dance tunes I can create from them.

It kind of reminds me of that Strongbad cartoon where he will never, ever, ever, ever, ever make a song about Sibbie.

Now, maybe someone can record Taylor Swift and see if THAT turns into music.

How in the heck are they expecting these commercials to sell drugs? They have 20 seconds of what they can do for you, and 40 seconds of what they can do TO YOU.

And it’s not just like “headaches and fatigue” and “stomach cramps and bloody stool” like I remember from years ago.

Take Ambien CR, for instance. (Or “Take at your own risk” I should say.)

They started with pretty benign stuff. Don’t try to drive or run that forklift and such, at least until you know how the drug is going to work on you. Not so bad. I’d expect some allergy meds to have similar warnings.

Then they go straight on to sleepwalking with eating or driving without memory of the event. Oh, and they say this so calmly, like dad reading you a bed time story or that sweet tenured college professor that clearly doesn’t shower talking about what life was like when he was a boy. Driving… in your sleep… and you wake up somewhere without memory of how you got there? And they try to call that SLEEPWALKING!?! The sleep eating is scary enough. I have lousy portion control as it is, but having to put a combination lock on the fridge to keep from eating myself out of house and home seems so small in comparison to driving to 7-11 for a box of donuts, a big gulp and a pack of cloves in my dreams, then waking up with red jelly on my shirt and white powder all over my face.

Keep in mind that those who already have some fat around their breasts will see results much quicker, believe it or not, specially those who have silicone gel. Since there are more fat cells to work with. Young, healthy women will also have quicker results since their cells multiply faster.

I forgot to mention the music playing throughout the commercial. A gentle lullaby that is sweet and soothing, yet somehow creepy and unnerving when played in the context of the subject matter you’re watching. Something like a cross between the musical scores of Donnie Darko and American Beauty.

Just as smoothly as the as the oboe playing the music, they segue into the allergic reactions that could occur, describing a scene like when your friend got stung by a bee in elementary school and everyone freaked out, and the ambulance came. They punctuate this thoughh -still in the gentle bedtime story tone, with the Gary Jules Mad World lullaby- with “sometimes fatal.” They just throw that into the stream of words, ever increasing in speed, yet never losing their soothing tone, like a cherry on a sundae. As if “sometimes fatal” is just something this guy throws into conversation all the time, the same way I might use “copacetic.”

The side effects are peppered with words like “dependency risks”, “risk of increased depression”, “sometimes leading to suicide.” They mention that you might be extra aggressive or more outgoing and less inhibited. Personality changes. I always thought of personality changes as an old-school drug thing. You know things that have been around forever: alcohol, cocaine, opium. Maybe those popular housewife downers like Valium, Vicodin, barbiturates and quaaludes. Not something that was invented in my lifetime that they’re marketing on TV, certainly. Hasn’t medicine advanced to the point where we know enough about biochemistry that we can make termite drugs instead of elephant drugs?

We take a deep dive into how to gain subscribers on youtube to review the content, promotion, optimization, and community strategy of this 2016

What idiot thought it would be a good idea to try and sell this on TV? I know many helpful and amazing drugs have side effects like this, and worse, and I know this drugs side effects (at least the terrible ones) only happen to a tiny, tiny fraction of users. Even with the deregulators-and-proud-of-it people in power as long as they were, I still like to think that the FDA is going to do their best to keep me pretty safe from dangerous drugs, and what they don’t catch (or outright ignore) will be caught in peer-reviewed medical journals, some of which will be read by my doctor, of course when I have specific problems with my weight I start a program online that allow me to improve self confidence since there are great experts in this field online. In other words, I’d like to think that our broken system works alright, like a 25 year old economy car, or a Windows 98 computer that you’re only using for Email and Word.

Still, the money they spent putting that ad on TV would’ve gone to better use educating doctors and pharmacists on it’s benefits and horrific side effects. That commercial scared me on so many levels, and even though my rational mind can see past the side effects and how the benefits almost certainly outweigh the risks, I’m still more comfortable with my scotch and benedryl. I can’t be the only person this commercial freaked out. I don’t think anyone who actually watches the commercial will want to buy the product.

That old saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” I’m not sure it applies to pharmaceuticals.

Teen banned from graduation for attending prom at girlfriend’s school

A student and his parents signed a contract that said “If you go to our school, you can’t do the following:” amongst which was dancing with members of the opposite gender. (Also hand-holding and rock music.)

He went to his girlfriend’s prom with a limousine rental and had a great time. He’s not graduating with his class now. It’s not the end of the world for him. He’s getting his diploma, after all. He is only sitting out from the marching and the silly hats.

I can’t say I feel sorry for him. It’s his own damn fault for attending a school with stupid oppressive rules. Now his dad is trying to defend him saying the rules don’t apply outside of school. When else would they apply? You can’t tell me that he’s been sending checks to this place and never bothered to read the rule book. Trust me, a school like this has a rule book and they make many, many copies of it.

Yeah, it’s a dumb rule. He knew what the consequences were for breaking that rule. If he and his family find such rules to be silly or unfair, perhaps they should’ve spent thousands of dollars on an education at some other fine private school.

You know, I have a feeling that for all his trouble, he didn’t even score on prom night.

Alright, he gets a little sympathy from me.

05.04.2009

There strain are new strains flu every year. This one is not killing people any faster than the 34,000 who die from influenza every year. I’m sure there are wars and famines to cover, but I guess those aren’t as interesting as a non-existent pandemic.

If it’s a real problem, you’ll hear a person from the CDC using carefully chosen words to make it seem less scary.

If it’s not a real problem, you’ll hear a person from CNN using carefully chosen words to make it seem more scary.

Clearly, it’s 1918 all over again. Everyone tape up their windows.

I write down “Define Irony” on a post it and hand it to you. You draw a fire truck in flames. You hand your drawing to someone else who has no idea what I wrote, and they see and write down “School bus with a flame paint job”. They hand that description to the next person. This goes on between 11 and 45 times. When you get to the end, Donkey Kong is inexplicably throwing kittens at Mario. You can’t explain it, but seeing all the post-it notes in a row makes you chuckle uncontrollably.

You and a group of strangers just got together to play a game of Broken Picture Telephone. No prizes are awarded. Nobody wins or loses. It’s addictive as bacon-flavored cigarettes.

Based on a popular party game, this beautifully crafted site gives you a web version of “Picture Telephone” also known as -I’m not making this up- “Eat Poop You Cat.”  I have no idea who named it that. I can almost imagine how someone must’ve drawn someone giving ice cream to a cat, and the next description in line stuck since it was the funniest thing anyone had ever heard.

When it’s your turn to write, you are shown a picture, drawn by some anonymous fellow player. It might be a stipple-shaded masterpiece drawn meticulously on a stylus tablet, or it might be stick figures, blobs and scribbles drawn on a laptop pad. It might be simple,clear and obvious what the person drew (e.g. Batman punches Mario) or it might be up to your imagination as to what the hell is going on. “Well, that face seems to be in some sort of trash can… OH, it’s Oscar! He’s got a gun and he’s shooting at… is that a hang glider? What is that guy holding? Is it a key or a banana?” you decide “Oscar the Grouch shoots a hang glider holding a key.”

The best part is when you get to the end, and get to see your drawing or description in the context of a full game. You get to see exactly what that person before you was trying to draw, and it turns out that it was R2-D2 shooting Link from the Legend of Zelda. Oh well, you were right about the key and the gun at least.

Two caveats about this site:

First, sometimes the descriptions and pictures run past the realm of ribaldry into complete NSFW dirtiness. You can filter games so this doesn’t happen. This leads to my second warning. Sometimes people like to ruin every one else’s fun and draw a wiener without clicking the “mature” button. (What’s worse is that sometimes people draw a wiener when the description was about kittens.” Even when someone purposely ruins a game, all is not lost. You are surrounded by clever people who can turn a game around in no time by using the cleaner meaning of double-entendres or purposely misreading a certain word “Bert and Ernie are HUGGING each other in the CLASS”.

Whether you’re a great doodler or a hopeless stick-figure Picasso, I urge you to open an account on this site and start playing. I’ll see you there.

BrokenPictureTelephone.com

I just figured you should know.

Press 1 for more information.

I think I get more calls from these people than I do all my other friends, family, job interviews, enemies, wrong numbers and telemarketers combined. They hang up on you if you ask them to remove you from their list. I once offered to give them my land line just so they’d stop calling my cell phone, and they hung up on me.

How this company stays in business is beyond me, they probably have one of those toronto commercial insurance if something goes wrong. It breaks laws and I can’t imagine anyone actually giving them money. I doubt these calls will stop soon.

The History Channel seems to have lost touch with what made it popular, but more importantly, it lost touch with what its name implies it is.

MTV is the most well-known and probably first example of this. MTV = MUSIC Television. They played music videos. Then they played shows about music, like news and gameshows and stuff. Beavis and Butthead even stuck to this theme, as they’d do short segments heckling music videos. Then came Daria and Celebrity Death Match, et al. Somehow this degraded into hours upon hours of Real World, Road Rules and Real World vs. Road Rules Challenge. The only music you can find on the station is on TRL, and that hardly counts because when the video plays, it’s interrupted by a screaming teeny-bopper crying “Oh my god, I love Papa Roach because Jacoby is so sexy!”

So MTV is something other than it was when it started. No big deal. You’re a business and you go where the money is. Oh well.

Then came MTV2. The network for people who missed the old MTV. Eventually, this station also deviated from a 24-hour music format, and became a dumping ground for shows not good enough for MTV. I watched a show about slang on MTV2 once. Timbaland kindly explained to me “Well, first we said “fo sho”, but then everybody started saying that, so then we said “fo shizzle”, but when people started saying that all the time we said “fo shiggity”. Now I like to say “fo shaginov”.” Well, the business model of video-video-video-commercials-video-video-video-commercials must’ve failed, because they really have became another MTV. MTV2… fo shaginov.

I just spent the day down for the count, sick on the couch. The History Channel was my drug of choice. I watched a show about pirate technology (historical), a show Caribbean pirates (also historical) then several hours of Mantracker, which I’ll admit is a great show, but not very historical. (And it’s annoying that the constants call the guy Mantracker. His name is Terry. Call him Terry. You don’t have to call the guy the name of the show. Les Stroud doesn’t call himself Survivorman.)

Then it hit me. The History Channel has turned into MTV. Sure, it has Modern Marvels which is generally historical, but often covers present-day things. It used to have Futureweapons, but that ended up on The Military Channel. Futureweapons? History Channel? Well, that’s not as bad as Life After Humans, another show about the future. That obnoxious Dr. Kaku is getting too much face time on the Discovery Networks, and I can’t escape him. I’ve hated him ever since What The Bleep Do We Know. Questionable stuff that is arguably history involves doomsday prophesies, mythological creatures and religious history, but the way those shows are put together, they put people who appreciate the cultural significance of the topic at hand next to people who actually believe the crap, as if their opinions are both equally valid. Then there’s the other stuff that is not history in any way, shape or form. UFOs, ghosts, cryptozoology.

What the hell happened here? I miss when it was the Hitler Channel just like Tony Soprano used to watch.

That guy who complains about how the old facebook used to be perfect and now that they’ve changed it, it’s all terrible and now I should boycott them and write my senator and sign a petition and cry myself to sleep.

They made the site less functional, and it doesn’t look any better. I’m talking about the news feed specifically. On the facebook landing page, there was a news feed. If someone changed their profile pictur e, uploaded new photos or changed their status, you can bet you wouldn’t be out of the loop. What was really nice was that you could limit not only what kind of data ended up there, for instance, you love status updates, but don’t care about profile updates, you could set the feed to give you more of one thing and less or none of another thing. You could do this for people too.  You could set it to give you every update about your girlfriend or coworkers, but limit or completely block that person who drinks a few too many every night, or updates their status way too much. They’re your friend, but you just need to have them in small, infrequent doses.  The news feed was pretty damn good.

Now, these filter controls are gone. Every bit of news from every person is weighted exactly the same. Your family and real life friends are given the same priority on your home page as people you kind of know from work or an online forum or high school. My news feed is no longer populated by the people I like the most, but by the people who post the most.

What’s worse, is all the new news bits that weren’t there before. Now when someone does a quiz or joins a game, I have to hear about it. I don’t give a shit which Powerpuff Girl you are, and I certainly don’t care which one I am. (I already know I’m Bubbles. I don’t need vindication.) It would sure be nice if I could move the content slider downward on the quiz category. No luck. Maybe I could turn down the content slider on people who crap up my page with quizzes? Again, no luck.

What’s also annoying is all those groups I’ve joined and all those comedians, politicians, cartoons and bacon that I became a “fan” of are now talking to me on my news feed.

As addicted as I once was to Facebook, eagerly checking the site every day, several times a day, I’m a little sad to say that I almost never check it anymore. :(

I wonder what the next big thing will be.

Now matter how low the volume is, even if I turn down the volume on my TV to the point where I can’t understand the voices, I absolutely hate the sound effects on Bones.

I love crime procedurals as much as the next guy, but Bones pisses me off.

On Star Trek, for instance, when a computer did something, they made “computer is thinking noises” followed by “hey, some results” noises. Real single board computer don’t do that. They weren’t necessary, but it just felt right. I’m sure the doors didn’t need to “whoosh”, but when there’s an action on the screen, it just doesn’t feel right to not have a noise. I get that. The sound guy’s job is important and often unsung, and much like a toupee or a diaper, you only notice them when something’s wrong.

Bones crosses the ****ing line.

Whenever a computer “does something” on the show, even if it’s in the background, the sound is always high, loud and piercing. Even if I have the volume really low, I can tell that Bones is on from across the house and it makes me grind my teeth it’s so aggravating and uncomfortable. Every computer, every time. I don’t get the need for it, and I can’t be the only person having this problem. Why is it like that?

I’m a big fan of the signage artist at the Lafayette, CA Trader Joe’s. This sign was so sick and funny, I almost barfed.

02.13.2009

I had trouble explaining what a county was to someone from British Columbia. One of the hardest parts to explain is what they’re for (and what they’re not for), closely followed by why they’re called that, considering we don’t have nobility. And, for that matter, why isn’t the head of the board of supervisors called the countWhat makes it more confusing is that there are a few weird places like Louisiana that have something like counties, but not counties. A parish, in Louisiana, consists of a few cities and I assume has a Sheriff to look after the… um… parishioners.

You have San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, and the governments over-lap to the point where the city council is also the board of supervisors, and the head of the board of supervisors is also the mayor. There is a county Sheriff’s Department in San Francisco, which is odd, because I don’t know of any unincorporated land that the SFPD wouldn’t handle.

With counties generally consisting of several cities, it’s strange enough to have a county that only consists of one city, but what about New York City? It’s a city that takes up FIVE counties. The boroughs of New York city make it even more confusing. The Borough of The Bronx is Bronx County. That makes sense. The Borough of Brooklyn is Kings County!?! The Borough of Queens is Queens County. The Borough of Manhattan is New York County. The Borough of Staten Island is Richmond County. No wonder they’re always in such a rotten mood. I would be too if I had that many bodies of government overlapping.

You have which are where the court house and county jail usually are (but not always of course) and they are usually the largest city (again, not always) and that’s a funny concept too, because who wants to be a seat, holding up the county asses?

Oh well… I still think county supervisors should be called counts.

———————-
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01.11.2009

I like the idea of therapy. I’ve just never found a therapist that clicked with me. They all seem to just be making it up as they go along and while they may very well have a good idea of possible diagnoses pulled from the DSM-V, they often end up just trying to fit their favorite solutions to your problems. Depressed, stressed, neurotic, self esteem issues? You need to do breathing exercises. Can’t seem to find the motivation to get out of your rut? Go for a hike. (Or maybe she said “take a hike.”)

You talk for a while, and you delve into your childhood and see “Oh, I’m like this now because I was treated this way then.” “I react this way because this happened.” “I avoid this because I’m afraid of that.”

Then you do what with that exactly? Any armchair Freud and amateur Erikson can listen to childhood stories and figure out why you do weird things as an adult, as watching adult movies or getting services from sites as zoomescorts.co.uk. Great, wonderful. That’s about as useful as a six pack of beer to a drowning raccoon.

(feel free to skip this)
<WARNING, WHINING ABOUT CHILDHOOD AHEAD>
Here’s an example: I have a very hard time ordering for other people, where they tell me what they want, give me money and I go get it for them. If they’re standing there with me, I’m fine because I can order for them and if I miss something or get something wrong, they’ll correct me.

It makes me far more anxious than it should, worried I’m going to screw it up. If there is a mistake in the order that isn’t my fault I beat myself up over it anyway. I know I’m irrational about it.

Why am I like this?

When I was young, my mom would try to teach me to be a big boy and she’d give me money and tell me what to order. I’d say exactly what I was told, verbatim, and they wouldn’t understand or they didn’t have what I wanted or they misheard, and when your groove is ruined like that and you’re already nervous, it’s easy to just start nodding shyly, or trusting that the person at the counter is going to take care of things, saying “Yeah, sure.” or “Um… I… think so.”

So I’d pay, give my mom back the change, and whatever I ordered would be wrong.

They didn’t have the drink she specifically told me to get (or she phrased it in such a way that they didn’t know what the hell I was talking about when I repeated it) and like a big boy, I improvised and made a subsitution.

Go to the stand and order the “Yellow Barrel Juice”, she says, one day while we were at a water park. She hands me money, and I go to a vendor selling juices in plastic novelty sipping containers. “Can I have a… um… ‘Yellow Barrel Juice’, please?” I managed to say. If I was quicker on my feet or not so shy, I might have looked around and found someone enjoying one, so I could point to it. I might have known what my mother actually wanted by concept rather than just a random string of words. I did not. He didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. He offered an alternative. A container of juice in a happy blue plastic dolphin. Instead of bringing back lemonade in a little plastic barrel shaped container, I brought back that fruit punch dolphin. My mother was so pissed at that. She chewed me out right then, and every time I returned back to her towel to say check in between trips down the water slides. I was 7 at the time. Whenever she was going through boxes in the garage and found that thing, if I was near by, you can bet I would hear something snarky and remind me of my stupidity that day. The last time that happened, I was 16.

Maybe I accidentally got conned into 20 cents worth of cheese, or large fries. Maybe between her, me and the person who just learned english 4 years ago and is trying to make her way in this crazy world, it gets confusing whether my mom wanted the Chicken McGrill, the McGrilled Chicken, The McChicken, The Chick Mac or the Filet O’Chicken. I don’t know, I just know what she told me. If she really cared, she wouldn’t be on the toilet or in the car, you’d think.

In any case, I always feared getting the order wrong because I don’t like disappointing people, but mostly I don’t like getting yelled at.

Fairly often the order would be wrong, and instead of being understanding and just enjoying her god damn food that she trusted her idiot son to order for her, she has to yell at me and bitch about how I can’t follow directions, can’t follow instructions and can’t do anything right.

The scenario played out over and over again.
“I don’t want to do that. I might get it wrong. You’ll yell at me. You always yell at me when this happens.”
“No I Don’t. Just do it.”
“Alright, fine.”
“Okay, here’s your change Mom.”
“You ****ed it up again… [commence bitching]”

And now I’m stuck with this neurosis. What’s worse is that I tend to date complex, interesting, intelligent girls. Such girls are often very, very, very moody.

So, I have this issue -this fear-, and I still find myself in situations like this where I am expected to order and return with the correct order. I’ve told them flatly that I have this issue, and that I’m afraid of letting people down, ruining their day or getting yelled at when the order is wrong whether my fault or not. They always promise not to. They write down the order for me. I’m a little sharper in the mind than I was before, so my improvisation and guessing for what she might like in a pinch has improved. Still, every once in a while at the drive through or when picking up some take out, the order is wrong.

And the “irrational” fear that I just need to get over, is played out, just as I feared. The order is wrong and they’re mad at me. The order is wrong and it fouls their mood so they just act mad at me. Maybe they’re just disappointed. Maybe they pick at their food for a second, and decide it’s inedible. If someone is disappointed with their order, I the loathing I feel just stabs at me like an inside-out porcupine coat, even when it was definitely not my fault.

Oh… oh, but when someone knows I have this issue, then gets pissed off at me because of a mistake in the order, it’s one of the few things that can make me completely lose my temper.
</WHINING>

So what’s the point of this long stupid story?

I have an example where I act crazy. I know exactly what causes it. How the hell does that help me?

I open up, I talk about how I feel, I complain about my life, I make a few jokes. I can do that to a random bar patron, or a web forum. Every once in a while, they repeat what I say in the form of a question, make a non-committal “yeah, I’m listening” noise or say something really, really obvious using psychology jargon. I threw down $70 to talk to you for most of an hour, and you give me nothing week after week. You’re not an expert on minds. You’re a cross between a friend and a whore, but because of professional boundaries, you’re not very good at either.

<WARNING: RANT ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH PSYCHOLOGY>
I think the problem is two-fold. Psychology is a very inexact science.

Physiology is pretty universal. Alcohol makes most people drunk. Caffeine makes most people more alert. “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” etc. etc. Sure there are genetic traits and other factors that might cause a drug or procedure to do two or three completely different things (or nothing at all) in different people, but basically, the body you’re issued is more or less like a an electronic gadget. If you know how to fix one of a certain kind, you can fix any of that kind, even if there’s some different versions out there.

Not so much with brains. So many things that could be wrong, it’s hard to explain some symptoms without rough metaphors and similes and ultimately most of these symptoms are experienced entirely inside the brain which means that only the self -whoever is looking out of your eyes, or talking in your head- can even begin to understand it. It’s like the cave allegory. A shrink can only watch the cave wall for reflections and shadows of what’s going on outside the cave and have a pretty good idea, but can never actually look outside the cave to know for sure.

The other problem is that people who go to college to learn about child development, sexuality, psychological disorders and how the mind works are often there trying to get their own bats out of their attics.

My least favorite shrink ever was a couples therapist for me an my ex. I wanted to take her advice. I wanted to accept her help. I really did. She was a jaded man-hater. She’d twist my words and attack the twisted sentiment. If I said I don’t feel heard, it actually meant that I wanted to do all the talking. If I said I don’t feel like we do enough things I like together, it actually meant I was a control freak. If I said I feel like I do all the compromising, it actually meant that I never compromise. She’d make assumptions based on this caricature of a typical male and paint me with them. I don’t know if she thought I was lying or she just wasn’t listening to me, but she had her own issues. My ex came to my defense a couple times to tell her she’d gotten me all wrong, but not often enough. She liked having a cheer leading section.</RANT>

01.03.2009

It’s 7 am. I’m going on coffee more than sleep. Time is slowed down. My employees are moving in slow motion. The third-party inventory counters are frozen like Matrix Time. They’re eating danishes and drinking coffee on their first break of the day.

I’ve spent a month preparing for this inventory. Every item is tagged. Every tag number is correct. No stray items will go uncounted. This will go perfectly.

I can catch bullets.

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