Questionable survey choices at Carnival

Since I’m getting older, and thus far estranged from the demographic being targeted by most consumer surveys, I like to take them when offered. My goal is to make sure that those in the 18-39 demographic have to put up with the same bullshit I did when I was part of the cash cow group: Make sure they have to listen to music they don’t like, see entertainers they have never heard of, deluge them with ads for investment firms they are still two decades away from caring about, and that kind of thing. When I was taking a recent survey after returning from a cruise though, I found that Carnival takes it a step further than even I would have. Here are the options presented for what kind of music you enjoy:

carnival

I don’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of current popular music or culture, but Jesus Christ.

I’m not familiar enough with country to know about the choices there. I think Carrie Underwood might be fairly current? Toby Keith and Brookes & Dunn are probably still shitting out albums that fall just below mediocre, as country acts tend to do that for decades after they had their hit. I guess they may all be current in that way.

But a couple of the other choices are full-on WTF.

I don’t think anyone listed on girls vs. boys bands (and why vs.?) has had a record since like the late 90’s -barring some reunion, quick-cash bullshit. I think Boys 2 Men might still be touring in support of the CooleyHighHarmony album (or the more popular reissue of it, at any rate). Hell, if I had an album that sold 9 million copies in the U.S., I’d milk that shit until the day I died. But is anyone really going to check that box on a survey? Even without listening to this kind of music (as far as you know), I would think that they could have put something more current in the list. Hanson was a thing for a while, and I think they are still touring. The Jonas Brothers were hugely popular for a decade or so before they got a little too old and ugly to make anyone’s heart (or anything else) throb. One Direction is currently bringing me within inches of suicide every time I’m within a hundred yards of a shopping mall… I will give them a pass on the girl bands portion though, because I can’t name any more current.

Of course the biggest issue with the selections is obviously the Rap/Hip Hop. Kris Kross, Doug E. Fresh, and Vanilla Ice all came and went while I was still in high school –twenty-five fucking years ago. I don’t think any of them had even a minor hit after about 1992. Chris “Kriss Kross Daddy Mac Mac Daddy” Kelley died in 2013 and hasn’t yet succeeded in pulling off the release-a-bunch-of-new-albums-posthumously thing that Tupac was so good at (and Tupac would have been a more current act to put on their list of rappers, despite being dead for the last decade). Kriss Kross also loses points for never releasing an album called the Kriss Kross Kollection, which would have been cool as hell.

Doug E. Fresh had his hit in 1985. It was the very definition of a flash in the pan. Since this song was recorded with the much more popular Slick Rick, you can’t even really call Doug E. Fresh a one-hit-wonder. More like a half-a-hit-wonder. But half a hit, thirty years ago, is enough to make it onto Carnival’s list of Rap/Hip Hop acts!

caiFinally, Vanilla Ice. Seriously? He stole his high-top fade from Kid ‘n Play and the hook from his only hit from Queen and David Bowie. Sure, he put a lot of seventh-grade asses on the gymnasium dance floor in 1990, but he was hardly a rap or hip-hop act. Yeah, sure, he put out other albums and has managed to stay in the public eye (as recently as February 2015 when he was arrested for burglary and grand theft). He was also fucking Madonna, back when that was a good thing (prior to Dennis Rodman destroying her for all men in 1994. I’m not talking about size either. Maybe he’s hung like a donkey and totally destroyed her. Who knows? Answer: No one. Would you stick your junk into something Dennis Rodman did?) He also put out one of the shittiest movies of all time. Cool As Ice sat at 0% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com for several years before this douchebag gave it a 5/5 with a 20 word review, ending in “Ice Rules!”. I’m not saying Vanilla Ice sucked his dick to get that review, but I’m also not saying that he didn’t (maybe Robert Matthew Van Winkle did). As shitty as the movie was though, I’m glad he made it. It has some of the most memorable one-liners I’ve seen in a movie review. A few examples:

“So bad that it’s borderline fascinating.” -Mike McGranaghan (Aisle Seat)

“Having established that he can’t rap or dance, Vanilla Ice now adds acting to his resume — call it the tri-imperfecta of pop.” -Richard Harrington (Washington Post)

“This one is absolutely pricless in its awfulness.” Scott Weinberg (efilmcritic)

I know some would say, “well, then, where’s your movie, smartass?” The answer to that is that I had the good sense not to make one (I also didn’t have the opportunity, budget, or desire). Something I bet Vanilla Ice wishes he had back in 1991, when Carnival put together the survey question that I had to answer in 2015.

Destiny’s Bastard Son

Founding members of the metal band Destiny’s Bastard Son(DBS) have agreed in a principle to a one-time reunion/farewell concert in July 2014. Shadowtwin.com was able to secure an exclusive interviews with both Donnie Burgess and Ryan Goldhammer about the upcoming concert, a small portion of which you can see here:

ST.com: “So, Ryan, what brings about the sudden talk of a reunion/farewell concert?”

Ryan: You’ll never get me lucky charms!!! [Ryan runs to the next room and hides behind the sofa]

ST.com: “Donnie, there is speculation that this concert may be more about the money than the music. What do you say to that?”
Donnie:
“Well no shit. We haven’t put out a record, hell even a single song since, well, ever really. We just looked at this as a quick way to score a huge sack of cash.”

ST.com: “Regarding the lack of any studio albums… Some critics have argued that DBS doesn’t qualify as a “band” since they have never released any music. Would one of you card to respond?”
Ryan:
“I’ll respond to that.” [he pauses for 20-30 seconds] “They’re magically delicious!” [he again retreats to the other room and hides behind the sofa]
Donnie:“If I may… DBS has never been about the music, we have always been about a clever name creating false recognition -really just straight ripping off another group. When we came up with the name back in ’98 or ’99 we knew that we would never have to write a song to sell out stadiums, and to date we haven’t.”

ST.com:”Haven’t written a song or haven’t sold out a stadium?”
Donnie:“We’re here to talk about the future, not the past.”

ST.com:”Donnie, much has been made of your highly publicized battle with mediocrity. The critics say that there’s no way a second-rate guitarist can propel this band to stardom. How do you respond to that?”
Donnie:“Perhaps one second-rate guitarist can’t, but we have two [Burgess motions to the sofa in the other room; Ryan quickly ducks behind it]! And if two isn’t enough we will add another one… and another… We will just keep adding second-rate musicians until the group is so big people have to take notice, it worked for Earth, Wind & Fire.”

ST.com:”Your answers are so crass, it seems you’re not too concerned with offending or alienating people…”
Donnie:“Look, we’re not here to talk about music, we’re here to talk about reuniting long enough to grab that huge sack of cash and run. If you ask questions on that subject I could certainly give you a more polished answer.”

ST.com:”Fair enough. What do you plan to do with the huge sack of cash?”
Ryan:“I’m going to use my share to buy a small island of the coast of Tanzania… I’ll build a huge castle with a mote, pitfalls, secret passages, booby traps… Then me lucky charms will finally be safe!”
Donnie:Lottery tickets. Quickest investment on the planet. I’m going to put all my money into the powerball.


Stay tuned to Shadowtwin.com for this interview in its entirety and updates on the proposed July 2014 DBS reunion/farewell concert.

humorous spam in comments

I get many, many spam comments since converting to wordpress. I have it set so that I have to approve them so that I don’t cover all my pages with small dick ads though. I read this one today and it made me chuckle:

I enjoyed the article and thanks in greetings to posting such valuable poop advantage of all of us to be familiar with, I caste it both auspicious and enlightening and I mesa to examine it as commonly as I can.

That came from user “Ray Ban Store”, which is odd ’cause I would think English would be the first language of anyone devoted to sunglasses. Surely that wasteful accessory is purely American?

Amusing Videos

I have just finished converting the last of my old webpages to WordPress.  The total page count was 441, which I thought was a little bit low for every page I have posted since January 2004, but it must be right.  Hell, I haven’t been posting much of anything lately, in fact I have only about 10 posts since January of 2008!

While trudging through the content of all those old pages, I did happen across a few things that I had completely forgotten about.  The first is Pandora. This is basically a radio station with a 30 second commercial every 15 minutes or so. You tell it a song or band that you really like and it will start picking out songs and artists similar to that. If you like what it is playing give it a thumbs up, if not give it a thumbs down. It will then find more songs and artists like that one, and on and on. I remember liking this a lot when I first started using it years ago, but giving up on it because I was crippled with a 56k modem connection that made the songs break up pretty bad. Now I am getting back into it. Even though my mp3 library has some 82hours of music on it, I find that I am getting pretty tired of hearing the same stuff all the time, and Pandora likes to throw in something I have never heard of from time to time. It’s a bit refreshing to hear something new now and then.

Cartoons I’d Like to Fuck (C.I.L.F):

This is a pretty damn funny song. I remember laughing out loud, alone, in real life the first time I heard it. I posted it previously, but it is worth putting up again.

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny:

This is another amusing song/video that I posted about some time ago.  It is also elol-able enough to warrant a second posting.

This last one is a group called “Tripod” that has a wonderful love song.  They do love their video games:

I strongly recommend that no one else click anything prior to mid 2005 in my archives.  I did take a few things away from going back through them though, the videos above, for instance.  I also realized that the old posts weren’t nearly as bad as I remembered them, at least once they were set into the new format.  Amazing how the visual presentation can make them seem less like they were written by a retarded three-year-old who was very sleepy while writing.

C.I.L.F.

I heard a humorous song on the radio that I wanted to share with you all. Of course the radio doesn’t lend itself to linkage in web pages, so I found a video (of sorts) of it on you tube. It seems that I am not the only one who found Jessica Rabbit just a little bit too hot. Check it out, but be warned it is certainly NSFW.


The seldom used pedal that sits directly beside the brake pedal

One of the biggest differences between my new job and my old one -well aside from being treated as both a human and a peer- is the commute. My previous commute was about 2 blocks, and them is small town blocks where it actually only worked out to about a half a mile. The new job is 48 miles each way, but most of it on highways and the freeway during off peak hours, so it’s not really all that bad. Now that I have to spend two hours a day in the car though, I can tell you firsthand that the 12 bucks a month for commercial free radio is so worth it.

Having to make the drive everyday, I have been finding out that all the stereotypes about people and the way they drive are pretty accurate. Not to say that every guy that is driving a convertible is exactly 50 years old with a small dick, or that every SUV is being driven by a blonde woman on a cell phone, but enough of them are that I can tell that the stereotypes are at least grounded in fact (although I haven’t actually yanked the pants down on any of the guys in the sports cars to check penis size).

One thing that I have learned while driving around on the outskirts of a huge metropolitan area is that a lot of people tailgate. I’m not talking about the type of following close enough to put you a bit out of your comfort level either, I’m talking about cars following at a distance of less than 18 inches from the car in front of them. I’m sure that the people who are doing this assume that their superior driving skills will be able to keep them from getting into a collision (and a note to everyone out there: most wrecks are collisions not accidents. In order for it to be an accident, it must necessarily be unavoidable. Unavoidable means that driver error didn’t play a role. So say an axle snaps and your car rolls over, that is an accident. If you are following someone too close and smash into them when they lock up the breaks, that is a collision, it can’t be an accident since it was your action that directly caused it. Just because you didn’t do it on purpose doesn’t mean that it was an accident), but it just doesn’t wash. First off, if they indeed possessed superior driving skills they wouldn’t be following so close to begin with. Secondly, humans all have roughly the same reaction times in given circumstances, regardless of how good a driver you are, or how good your vision is, it takes the same amount of time to react to what you see. Give or take a couple thousandths of a second.

There are two simple ways to judge if you are following at a safe distance or not (well three I guess. Since if you can read the dash instruments on the car in front of you, you are following too close). These are the ones that they teach in driver’s ed. The first one was always pretty vague and subject to your ability to measure distance. It says that to follow someone safely, you should maintain a distance of one car length per 10mph. That method works pretty well for driving on surface streets, but that would mean that in order to fit that definition, you would have to be about 70 feet behind the car in front of you on the freeway, which I think we can all agree is just too much distance. The other method is the 2 second rule. Which is pretty self-explanatory. You should be passing any given landmark two seconds after the car in front of you. This one works pretty well since the distance will increase as speed increases. Two seconds is a good distance to be following at anyway, since human reaction time is about .8 seconds. If you are 2 seconds back and you see the car in front of you lock up the brakes, it will take you about .8 seconds to register it and hit your brakes as well. But since the car in front of you may have better brakes, you may need every bit of the 2 seconds to stop before you hit them.

Of course no one, myself included, ever really follows those rules. The only time I will actually maintain a full 2 seconds behind the car in front of me is if I am being seriously tailgated by the car behind me. You see, I don’t want to get into any collisions, even if they aren’t my fault, and I also know that it is going to take the guy behind me about .8 seconds to react if I hit the brakes. If he is following me at, say, waytoofuckingclose, he is going to hit me if I have to lock up the brakes. So I give the car in front of me a cushion that will allow me to to touch the brake pedal just enough to make my lights come on for a half a second or so before I start braking. That should give the guy behind me enough time to react to seeing the brake lights and hopefully avoid a collision. Probably also reinforcing the guy behind me’s belief that his superior driving skill can keep him from smashing into the car in front of him. But what do I care as long as that car isn’t the one I’m in?

But how to know if the guy behind you is following too close to stop safely? If you can see a bit of pavement between you and him in the rear-view, give that guy a fucking medal; he is at least 2 seconds behind you. If you can see his bumper in the rear-view, he is probably far enough behind you to react if necessary, this assuming that he is paying attention to what he is doing. If he is close enough that you can’t see his headlights, he is way too close and you will have to make an extra effort to keep him from hitting you if you do have to brake suddenly. If you can’t even see the hood of the car behind you, he is going to hit you, and it probably doesn’t matter what steps you take to try to avoid it.

And that is Donnie’s guide to safe following distances in a nutshell. Also, and totally unrelated to actually driving, you can walk around a parking lot and pick out cars of people who habitually tailgate. Since that type of driving leads to braking hard, often, it tears the brakes up. Cars should have an even amount of brake dust accumulated on all four wheels, but if they habitually tailgate it will wear the front brakes out 10 times faster than the rear ones (since the front brakes do about 2/3 of the work in normal circumstances, but that amount goes up significantly when the full weight of the car is thrown onto them by locking them up at freeway speeds). So people who habitually tailgate will have a much thicker coating of brake dust on the front wheels than the rear ones. Which also generally leads to having to replace the front rotors with every brake job, thereby doubling or more the cost to maintain the brake system. That information is, of course, completely useless.

All of the judging of distance and increasing my following distance to accommodate the jack-ass behind me is done pretty subconsciously at this point. In fact it doesn’t really even bother me anymore. Well, most of time. Sometimes, though, a situation will develop that I just know is going to lead to a collision. I found myself in one of those situations a couple of days ago.

On a two lane road with a 65mph speed limit (one lane each way, undivided), a girl in a green Ford Taurus was following me so close that I couldn’t see the hood of her car in the mirror, just her face. She was talking on a cell phone. I was behind a Budweiser delivery truck that was going about 5mph less than the speed limit, but oncoming traffic made it impossible to pass. We were a few miles away from the Blackwater Trading Post (which is actually just a small store that specializes in beer sales. They sell a lot of beer, being that they are the first store you can buy beer at once you leave the reservation -beer sales are forbidden on the reservation). I want to pass the beer truck, so I am staying close enough to him that I can get around if a spot opens up in the oncoming traffic. I made an attempt to go around, but had to fall back when a car turned onto the road from a side street. The girl behind me came inches from hitting me and, well, that pissed me off.

She nearly hit me when I accelerated to go around the truck then just let off the gas. If I were to have to hit the brakes she, being so distracted on her cell phone, would surely hit me. Knowing that the beer truck was most likely going to be stopping at the trading post, which requires coming nearly to a stop on the 65mph road, I needed to get that girl behind me to fall back a bit. But since I was already a touch miffed (if you are going to tailgate, pay attention, damn it!), I decided to use the “scare the holy fuck out of her” technique. I fell back from the beer truck just a bit, and smashed the brakes with my left foot. I only hit them for a fraction of a second, and I accelerated hard with the right foot immediately to keep her from hitting me. In the mirror, I saw an expression of terror on her face as she locked up her brakes. She also dropped her cell phone. What I did was foolish, sure, but it usually makes them fall back a bit, since now they are worried about the maniac in front of them. Not this girl. She picked her phone back up and got right back on my ass.

At this point, we are maybe two minutes from getting to the trading post. I still think the beer truck is going to stop there, and the traffic still won’t allow me to pass. The girl behind me is going to hit me when we have to stop guaranteed. My only other option is to slow way down, which I did. I just let off the gas and coasted my way down to 40 or so. There still wasn’t a break in the oncoming traffic, but the girl passed me anyway, forcing me and two oncoming drivers to pull partially off of the shoulderless road. Dumb bitch. Anyway, since the beer truck was going under the speed limit, I caught back up to them just before they got to the trading post. The truck put on his brakes to stop to make the turn and…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

The girl smashed into the back of the beer truck.

I dialed the local police on my cell phone (yes I know the number, don’t ask), and pulled off the road. I grabbed a sheet of paper from my leather binder (still in the car from the job interviews in September and October), and started writing out a witness statement (which I am an old hand at at this point, again, don’t ask).

When I saw the guy get out of the beer truck, I went over to talk to him. His name is Lenny, he used to deliver to the store I worked at. We were looking at the back of his truck, which took only minor cosmetic damage, and talking about me, actually. He hadn’t seen me since I quit working at the store here in town, so there was some catching up to do. The Taurus was pretty fucked up though. The front end of it was smashed up accordion style (well the hood was), with the requisite smoke billowing from it. The girl was crying, begging us not to call the police -which Lenny had already done as well- screaming that if she got into another wreck she would lose her license.

The cop arrived only a few minutes later. I went to his car to give him my witness statement and let him check my ID. I let him know that I was on my way to work and all my contact info was already on the statement. I was back on the road within ten minutes, and made it to work on time (of course I am usually about 20 minutes early since I leave early enough to account for getting stuck in traffic).

The whole thing leaves me wondering though. How many wrecks has that girl caused? If you aren’t driving drunk, how many collisions do you have to get into before they actually take your license away? 3? 5? Hmm. What if it was like that for other things as well? Say you shoot 2 people and the judge says, “okay, that’s it. You shoot one more person and we take your gun away!”

Curse you Mr. Kodak and your new-fangled picture box!

I got a curious email today from someone who wanted to know what I look like. I suppose that is a fair question. I know I have posted pictures here sometime over the last couple of years, but even I can’t find the damn things (curse my lack of pre-blogger archiving!). So since I had been meaning to get a couple of photos into a digital format anyway I will force the gruesome spectacle treat you to them.

First up is a picture of me circa 1978. I am 4 years old in that picture (just turned actually). Do you like that shirt I am wearing? Isn’t it cute with the little elephants and whatnot? Yeah, that is an old bedsheet (possibly pillowcase) that my mother turned into a shirt because we were a frugal family. Mind you, this was while my parents were still together and money wasn’t that big of an issue (as far as I know), but no sense letting perfectly good, if aged, bed sheets go to waste, right? I would also like to point out the size of my ears in that picture. If memory serves (and it is funny how dead-on memory can be on matters like this) the photographer had me position my head in such a way to try to detract from the size of my ears, which I swear to god were as big when I was four as they are today. I got called dumbo a lot. Later I would use my hanging lobes (that’s hereditary) to my advantage and get the nickname changed to budha, not that it is a significant improvement, either I was the fat man or the elephant. Ahh, the joys of youth.

Ohh, you were looking for something a bit more recent? Okay, here we have a picture from 1980. That’s right, folks, two years later and I am wearing the same damn shirt! Those with a keen eye might observe that the shirt appears to be long sleeved in the 1978 photo, while it is certainly short sleeved in the 1980 photo. I honestly can’t remember, but I do know that many of our long sleeved shirts did get trimmed down to short sleeves, as boys can be particularly brutal to the elbows of dress shirts. Not that this was really a dress shirt, like I say it was a recycled bed sheet, but you get the point. In fact during my early years I remember going to yard sales with my parents and picking out odd t-shirts to buy with my allowance. Once I even bought the loudest, ugliest, Kiss: Dynasty sweater you have ever seen. The thing was a hazard orange color with a big iron-on patch on the front of it. I loved that thing, which is probably why my mother wouldn’t dare to let me out of the house with it on. And certainly not on picture day, no no, I had to wear something nice. Something so nice, in fact, that I only ever wore it on picture day. And so did both of my brothers. One of these homemade shirts, and I am not sure if it was this one, is the same one that each of us wore to school on our first day of the first grade, immortalized for all of time, wearing a horrid bedsheet turned big-collared, Saturday Night Fever-esque split-tail chaser. Thanks mom.

This is really one of my favorite photos from all of my childhood, and not only because someone had the good sense to realize that the colors that were in fashion in the 70s weren’t going to last forever, and instead opted for black & white. To my knowledge, this is the only photo of me ever taken where I do not have a huge scar on my right wrist. Sure there were other photos of me before I got said scar, but this is the only one that I can look at the wrist to prove to myself that it once was as normal as everyone elses, because honestly after walking around with the scar since I was 6 years old, I certainly can’t remember what my body looked like without it. If you really need to, you can click on that one to see it much larger, but still only half of the scanned resolution because really, who needs to look at my cute little face any closer up than that? Oh, also this was my first Student of the Month picture. This one was for the month of September in 1980. I would go on to take down that award in October of 1981, November of 1982 -notice a pattern?- then once each year it was available, but the months just got all random after the third grade, since I was changing schools so much.

Shortly after that photo, I started going through that awkward phase that all kids go through: the 80s. Hmm. Come to think of it, I guess not all kids go through that. Here is a picture of me from one of those years in the 80s, this one happens to be 1982. Again I am wearing a shirt that at one point was a bed sheet. You will also note that it is a newly made shirt, since it is still long sleeved. No doubt the next year’s school photo (which I don’t have) was in a short sleeved version of the very same shirt. My ears stand out nicely in this one as well, but at least my head is catching up to them as far as size goes. This also must have been right around the time they decided that the background profile added a lot to pictures. Yeah, nothing like catching that awkward youth from every possible angle, eh? I can almost hear the photographer yelling to get me to pose, for the front view he must have been saying, “Okay, Look like Opie Taylor”. While for the profile, he must have been saying, “Now you are smug. You are too good for this god damned photo shoot. What the fuck are you doing here? It’s beneath you!” And I gotta say, I nailed ’em both!

Then there is this gem. This would have been in 1984, and by the looks of it, it was also the very day that they put a bowl on my head and gave me the customary hairstyle of every kid that just wanted to fit in, yet never did. Around the same time, paternity tests were being filed to see if the beaver that lived in the nearby lake might have been my biological father. There is a cautionary tale in this photo as well. Because of when my birthday falls, I was always a year younger than most everyone in my grade. While Junior High coincided with the beginning of the teens for most, I would still be twelve. It didn’t matter so much by the time of graduation, since the difference was only 8 months or so at worst, but when I was younger and the kids around me were all going through puberty at about the same time I was finally filling in my big boy teeth, it made a huge difference (that is exaggerated a tad, but the point remains the same). So I was always smaller than the other boys in my class, and I was always more intelligent than them as well. That is not a good combo to have, since bigger boys like to pick on the resident class brains anyway, and when they outweigh you by forty pounds, and are six inches taller than you, there just isn’t much “standing up” to be done. Unless you happen to like getting your ass kicked, that is.

I don’t really have any recent photos. In fact the most recent one I have handy is this mugshot um, professionally photographed headshot. Yeah, I didn’t really pay for this photo, and it kind of shows. What horrible lighting. And did I even comb that mop? Could there possibly have been a more plain backdrop? All in all I am not at all happy with the way this one turned out, but I got no response to my request for a reshoot. Those damn uppity photographers! Whose idea was the maroon shirt with the blue background anyway?

That picture is about five years old and little has changed since then. I have a few more gray hairs, and there are little crows feet starting form around the edge of my eyes, but aside from that I don’t look much different at 32 than I did at 22. I also started wearing glasses last December. I don’t actually have a photo of myself with glasses on, which really isn’t that odd, I suppose, since I would guess that at best someone actually takes my picture maybe once a year, and then it is only on vacation. I am just not an interesting enough person to be photographing. Oh yeah, I don’t have any pictures, but I do have this one artist’s rendering. I am really a bit ticked about the way it came out though. I never wore those big, ugly 70s era sunglasses. The ones I was wearing were top of the line Ray Ban, and they certainly weren’t those cheek-covering monstrosities. Also, my hair was never curly like that, it was just like it was in the one with the blue backdrop, just kind of falling funny across my forehead. Other than that though, I think the artist did a pretty good job. The chin and mouth are dead on, he made my nose just a touch to narrow, but that could just be bad shading, who knows.

Well anyway, there you have it. That is what I look like.

Well, I thought it was funny. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

I was text chatting with my Mother the other day (it seems the world has come full circle, we used to exchange letters, then came the telephone, followed by emails, which has now led to real time text chat, which will probably be followed by morse code, odd how that is going, eh?), and we got to talking about movies. I don’t watch many movies, since I am generally disappointed with them. It just seems to me that if they are going to spend 150 million on a movie, it really should be somehow better than the 1 hour shows that are on television every week, yet they rarely ever are.

I find that the movies I enjoy seeing the most are the ones that were released at least five years ago (from today’s date, you know?), and that I have never heard of. Or in some cases, like The Butterfly Effect, it can be of any age, and as long as I never paid any attention to the press about it, I can still enjoy it. By far the biggest part of enjoying the movie, for me at least, is not knowing what is going to happen. I don’t mean that they give to much away in trailers, I mean that if I have seen a trailer at all, I probably already know too much to actually enjoy it (I exclude comedies from this, since my only expectation when watching a comedy is that it will make me laugh. If it accomplishes that -no matter how absurd the plot (if there is one) or the characters- I am satisfied).

A great example of this is the movie Seven. I had absolutely no idea what that movie was about when I sat down to watch it (on video). When it went into the VCR, I was kind of expecting to see a gangster movie about gambling in Vegas (no idea why), and having absolutely no knowledge of the story really made that movie. I have since watched it again and I still find it enjoyable, but there is something about seeing it with absolutely no knowledge or expectations that ups the ante as far as the suspense is concerned. Good stuff.

When I recommend movies to my Mom, I like to recommend the ones that she has probably never heard of either. We have roughly the same taste in movies (imagine that), so I am perfectly comfortable with giving her the titles of some of the dark comedies that I enjoy, yet would not really cop to watching -at least not in person-. Sometimes I manage to recommend movies that she really enjoys, sometimes though she is forced to yank that crap out of the deck ten minutes into it. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

I recommended two movies to her while we were chatting. One is 11:14, and the other one is Lucky.

When I watched Lucky a couple of years ago, I threw up a review typed thing that made complete sense to me when I wrote it, but as I look at it now it is quite convoluted. I remember that when I wrote it, I was just pissed off that everyone that reviewed it had missed one extremely key point, and I wanted to note that. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but I was probably as drunk as old Millard himself when I wrote that, so I suppose it is to be expected. I am not going to try to fix that pseudo-review, so read it at your own risk and don’t expect me to answer any questions about it. Do watch the movie though, well if you happen to really like your dark comedy. Lucky was probably the best dark comedy I had seen in at least ten years, and some might not even classify it as “dark comedy” (which would just further prove my insanity, but who is really doubting that at this point anyway?).

11:14 is another movie that I had never heard of. The cast is a who’s who of people you’ve never heard of (or forgotten all about). Patrick Swayze is in it, but he is far enough removed from his bad-ass-turned-into-wussy-spirit days that his role in this one wasn’t huge, and I almost almost made it all the way through without once thinking of Whoopi Goldberg. Hillary Swank was also in it, but while I have heard the name, a quick look at her film credits (while impressive) shows that I have actually only ever seen her on screen in the movie Insomnia, and I don’t know which character she was playing in either film (at least I don’t recognize her face in either film. I never watch any of the shows or look at any of the magazines that paste the faces of actresses all over them. I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell apart Hillary Swank and Hillary Duff. Unless one of them really is named after the skin mag, in which case I probably had a few or her pictures on my wall at one point -no tape, no glue, no thumbtacks, just stuck right on the wall-).

11:14 is another movie that I went into knowing absolutely nothing about. I had never heard of it, didn’t know who was in it, and only decided to watch it since it was on a free preview channel so I knew it wouldn’t have any commercials. It is another dark comedy, and another one that works pretty well. An event happens at the stated time, actually several events, and you get to see it all through the eyes of five different people. The flow of the movie is similar to that of the older comedy Noises Off, in that there are so many things happening at the same time that you find yourself rooting for a bad person who is doing a bad thing, since there is a worse person who is doing a worse thing, and you just hope that they don’t run into each other. If you find yourself rooting for anyone, you are rooting for someone who, were it to happen in real life, is going to be spending a long time in prison. But you do root for people, ’cause just when you think you hate someone, another guy trumps them in the evil deeds department.

Yeah, I really liked this one. Again, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never heard of it (I wish Ebert had so that I could steal a snippet of his review; mine does it no justice. Alas, Ebert has no such review, so you will just have to take my word for it). It is obviously going to help if you are able to make light of death (deaths), because if that offends you it is going to be a real deal breaker.

Yeah, anyway. So my mom put these movies on her blockbuster on-line order list, and she got one of them in the mail yesterday. She started watching Lucky, and called me a few minutes into it to ask me if she had the right movie. See, when I told her about this movie, I gave her the release date, the actor’s names, and the character names to make sure that she got the right one, as there are a lot of movies that share that title. She was reading the description from the back of the box to me, and she indeed had the right movie. But when she took the dvd out of the player to see if perhaps it was the wrong disc, she found that while the movie was indeed called Lucky, that was only the US title. The one that she had was a foreign release distributed by Eros entertainment. Yup. They put a porn in the box for the movie they sent my mom.

Being the caring and compassionate son that I am, I did what any caring, compassionate son would do in that situation: I laughed so hard that it gave me cramps. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

Evanescence has a fan, and she is pissed!

While looking through my junk mail to find the one with the little tid-bit that became my last post, I happened across this one from xxxxxx1993@aol.com (there was actually a name before the 1989, but I don’t think I really need to share it. Just wanted to make sure and note that it was an aol address -which my email filters all of into the junk. When you think about it, how often do you actually want to read anything that comes from an @aol.com address?). It seems that my post on song remakes struck a nerve or two with her (I know it is a her based on the screen name, that or a really unfortunately named boy).

I am going to throw the email up here not just because I find it hilarious…Okay, truth be told, that is really the only reason I am posting it. I don’t get much site related email -particularly now that you can comment on posts- and this one is really good, in that hate-filled, flaming way. Oh, and to note that I am going to copy and paste it, so the whole thing should be taken with a huge [sic] :


Your a fucking idiot. Emanescence is the best band there is right now eveyrone else just beats on there instruments and screams Emanescence plays perfect melodys and Amy Lee is the greatest singer of lal time. At least you can understand what she is saying when she is singing heart shpaed box. I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music just because they are the first rock band that ever had a woman for a singer. YOu must be some kind of shovanistic asshole pig. How can you make a judgemnt on a band that you dont even know do you even think before you open your mouth?


your a fucking moron!

Okay, where to start? First off, she managed to misspell the name of her favorite band not once, not twice, but three times -even neglecting to capitalize it once. Sure I was beating on them when I made the post about their cover of Heart Shaped Box, but at least I took the time to look up the proper spelling of their name. But if I want to start faulting her for her spelling, there are much bigger (smaller) fish to fry. Seriously, my grammar is horrible, but the sheer number of mistakes in that thing makes me cringe. What are they teaching kids in school these days? Obviously they aren’t learning their homonyms.

She made two very valid points in the email, the first is “Your a fucking idiot”, I couldn’t agree more. The second is “Your a fucking moron!”, again, I concur. Beyond that, she seems to be suffering from the same bit of ignorance that we all have when we are that age (assuming she was born in 1993): she seems to think that the history of music started when she was about 5. Before that the world was devoid of music of any sort, and it took her listening to the radio to start the musical ball rolling. How else could she make the claim that Evanescence was the first rock band to have a female singer? Depending on the definition of “rock band”, I could probably name at least a dozen that came before her -some of which were entirely female bands. I mean, Courtney Love is still in the headlines a lot (and not for the best of reasons), and she is female (I think), and she sings in a rock band. Just looking at a couple that I can think of off-hand, Doro Pesch was the singer for the band Warlock, and running a close second (right behind Lita Ford) for the 80’s rocker chick I would most like to bang.

As for the claim that Amy Lee is the greatest singer of all time, we are all entitled to our opinions. I don’t think she is a bad singer, in fact, I really do like her vocals. Evanescence has some great songs, and her voice is a welcome departure from some gruff dude barking out senseless lyrics. I actually really like the song Bring Me to Life for exactly that reason. A really melodic voice with some heavy music behind it works well, and it isn’t what most bands are doing (unfortunately, it is what Evanescence is doing, over and over and over…). I think it works fabulously in this particular song, it does not, however, work in Nirvana’s song. To be fair to Evanescence though, I will say that I would have the same bitch no matter who it was that covered that song, if they were to try to turn it into a fucking religious hymn.

The part in the email where she says “I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music…” kind of took me by surprise, since I have never made any such claim. I never claimed to be an expert on music, nor did I claim that Evanescence was the worst band in the history of music. I did say that their remake was the worst remake in the history of recorded music, and I stand by that. As for being a music expert, I would never claim to be one. I am just a guy with a website. I like the type of music that I like, and I realize that I am far too biased to make a fair judgement on any other type. If a barbershop quartet remakes Seasons in the Abyss, though, you can bet it is going to piss me off.

Also, it is a sad, sad world that we live in if she is really only thirteen and already knows what a chauvinistic asshole pig is (even if she hasn’t quite gotten the spelling of it down). One would like to think that a girl wouldn’t learn that until her late teens, alas, I suppose that the men in the U.S. seem to pound that point home at their earliest opportunity. It’s good to see that she isn’t willing to take that off of a man, even though I think she picked the wrong man and the wrong fight for it in this instance.

She goes on to ask the question: “do you even think before you open your mouth?” Well, the simple answer to that is: Nope. That actually gets me in trouble a lot of the time because my brain already sent my mouth a message, unfortunately that generally happens long before my logic banks kick in. It does make for some wonderful, quick-witted retorts, but it also leads to making jokes at really inoportune times. That goes double for anything I post here. If I think it, it is likely going to hit the screen in all it’s unedited glory. What is the point of having a website if not to speak my mind?

I am not without emotion though, so I must say that I am sorry. Xxxxxx1993@aol.com, I am truly, deeply sorry that Evanescence did the worst remake in the history of recorded music. But that was their choice, not mine.