Friday, April 08, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday

Happy belated birthday to my niece, Maddie. You are officially a one year old now. When I was your age I would have had to go to work. You're very lucky that your mom really cares about you and wants to keep you out of the coal mine. I hope you that you had a fantastic day and enjoy the gifts.

I love you very much little MJ. I am very glad you were born. When you turn two, I'll buy you a cat. I know you want one. Perhaps I'll even bring two...or three.


Your uncle

An Open Letter to Fanboys & Fangirls in Movie Theatres

Dear Fanboys and Fangirls,

Shut up! I get it. You are super duper excited for the upcoming Star Wars film, or Sin City, or whatever. However, the rest of us normal people just want to watch our movie in peace and quiet. As I sat through the previews of a film recently, two of you stood up (yes, STOOD up) and cheered as a Star Wars preview began. This is not really what bothered me. What bothered me was when you began speaking the dialogue and acting out the scenes of the preview. THE PREVIEW!! I know you don't get alot of real social action in your basement. Usually you just IM each other while playing an online game. But for the rest of us, acting out a scene is really annoying when we're trying to relax. I just paid $7 for a matinee, I don't need an extra show. This also goes for the vendors who come to the theatres and offer to sing for money. Shut up and go away. If I want to hear Annie butchered, I'll go to the local high school production. Yes, that was me who shouted, "I'll give you five bucks if you shut up and go away." You would have made more money if you had listened to me.
It's not just the previews either. When a group of us went to see the first episode of Star Wars back in 1999, the guy sitting next me acted like a Heroin junkie. He was rocking back and forth in his seat, shaking, saying over and over again, "I've been waiting thirty years for this!" When the Lucasfilm logo started, he jumped up and screamed, "STAR WARS!" at the top of his lungs. When I asked my friend Corey if I could switch seats, he gave me a look of death and said, "Oh hell no!" As the film proceeded, I swear the guy had a joygasm. What made it worse was when two people in the front row jumped up and began to recreate the fight scene while it was going on in the film. Woohoo! 3-D action of a John Goodman-sized Jedi and a man so white that when the lights were out, I could still read thanks to his glow. And if you hit an audience member with your lightsaber, don't say, "uh, Jedi healing power." Apologize to that person, moron. You hit her in the head with a plastic sword. It probably hurt.
This isn't limited to sci-fi pictures either. The kids who dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite and company and proceeded to act out the film in front of the audience. Go away. The people who sang ALL of Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Shut up. The guy who called his girlfriend during Hostage and described the film: Bring her next time. Yes I was hitting you with ice, you were ruining the movie for me. You told her how the film ended right after it started. I hadn't seen it, you jackass.
I have no problem if you want to line up over a month in advance just to get a ticket to the opening. I have no problem if you want to have conventions where you show off costumes. Good for you. However, if I go to see Hamlet, I don't dress up as Hamlet and spout the lines as the play goes on. I don't hop up with a Laertes clone and begin fencing while the fight scene is happening on stage. That's bad form. I am not, by the way, speaking just to the Star Wars fans. Star Trek, Matrix, Lord of the Rings, even the girl who dressed up as the villian from The Ring. No! (and oh my god, just because you have to look dirty, Little Samara clone, doesn't mean you have to smell that way.) And If I ask you politely not to talk, don't, Star Trek Dude, tell me that you are going to "assimilate me." Jedi Girl, don't tell me that you can use your mind trick to shut me up. And for the love of god, a six foot nine inch man cannot pretend to be a hobbit and hide from me by using a ring. When you say, "I can't see you anymore," YES, I CAN! You're right there in the costume your mom sewed for you with the hope that you would at least leave the house for a little while. And you, the guy who wore all leather to The Matrix sequel. That noise you bitched about was YOUR squeaky leather. All because you had to look like Neo.
Look, I applaud your commitment to a passion. The fact that a guy can make a Darth Vader costume that appears real is amazing to me. However, your average woman is not going to be impressed (having witnessed this) that you can say EVERY line from any Star Trek film from any point. That "oh dear lord, help me" look is not a good sign.
Movies are different from your own home and, yes, different from concerts. You want to yell out stuff at home or at a concert, great. Go ahead. Just not at the symphony, they discourage that kind of thing.
And yes, I understand that certain films encourage audience participation. The Rocky Horror Picture Show wants people to dress up and sing and etc. However, there is a reason that this happens at midnight. That's because the normal, everyday patrons are gone. This is the time of the true fan. So, get them to create a midnight showing of your film where you can dress up and shout the lines and whatever. Just don't come to a matinee and sit next to me (I mean really, there were only sixteen of us and over three hundred seats. You HAD to sit next to me. Come on!) and spout the lines. And while I may appear friendly, please, PLEASE, do not turn to me and say, "my favorite Jedi is (Name I can't remember), who's yours?" My answer will always be the same: "Is that from Star Trek?" I love the looks it gets me.
So in conclusion, with the summer movies having started, please Fanboys and Fangirls, leave the rest of us normal patrons alone. Otherwise I may need to come to your Starbucks or Kinko's or whatever and make your lives difficult. I just want to watch my movie in peace, and I already have to deal with people on cell phones, parents who leave their children to see another movie, and the occasional couple having sex in the back. I love going to the movies, and I do like hearing your views and opinions. BUT NOT DURING THE FILM!
Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a nice summer of movie going. I'm sorry that the two biggest fan franchises (Star Wars and Star Trek) are coming to an end. I think you'll survive. Sorry for all the rage, you just make me so mad sometimes. Still I admire your courage. Most people who are over three hundred pounds wouldn't be caught dead in the Princess Leia Bikini Outfit in public.

Have a nice summer.
A movie patron

Thursday, April 07, 2005

You Have Your Thoughts, I Have Mine

This morning I headed down to the university where I am receiving my Master's Degree (It's Spring Break in my school district, so no teaching this week). I wanted to find out if I could get my sheepskin without having to walk with the entire school. I won't name the university (to keep them anonymous, though I really am not a fan of the program). I usually park outdoors at this lot in downtown Minneapolis and then walk a few blocks to the school. It's exercise and it's Spring, so it's gorgeous outside. Unfortunately, Minnesota is a largely religious (though more liberal than most) state. I have no problems with other people's beliefs. I want to make that very clear. However, I DO have a problem when a person thrusts their beliefs on me and will not allow me to continue on my way unless I believe like they do. One thing I love about the Jehovah's Witnesses is that they say their piece, and then they move on to the next person. If you don't want to agree, they don't get agressive (At least here they don't). In fact, they'll even give you time to convince them to convert (should you want to try for giggles).
Ok, on to my point. After I parked, I immediately ran into a group of people who were (I guess) having a pro-Pope rally and mourning session. I'm not a very religious person, so the fact that, after talking about the Pope last night, I ran into this was quite ironic, at least to me. So, as I passed by these mourners, one of them turned to me and asked me to join them. When I politely passed, this person became slightly agitated. The following script is true, the names have been changed because I got pissed off, and I shortened it a little for time:

Crazy, Religious Lady: Would you like to join us in mourning his holiness?
Me: No, I have be somewhere. Thanks though.
CRL: Fine. We don't really want a Jew joining us anyway.
At this point, I have walked by, but after her comment, I had to stop.
Me: Excuse me!? How do you know that if I'm Jewish?
CRL: Well, you look like a Jew.
Ok, I shouldn't have lost my temper, but it was morning, and I was angry about having to return to the university about the graduation after having been there the previous two days. So I responded very improperly:
Me: I'm not Jewish according to the rules of Judaism. I just don't feel I have to waste my time morning a man that wasn't really the cornerstone of my religion.
CRL: But you should. Jesus is our savior, and if you don't open your heart to him, you'll burn. His Holiness was closer to God than anyone else. He should be mourned for the hero he is.
Me: Look lady, that's your belief, not mine. Jesus was a guy. He may have done great things, but he isn't my savior. And the Pope. Well, he's just a guy as well. Did some great things, did some not so great things. Now have a nice day.
CRL: Well.....You're going to burn in hell!

Me: At least the parties will be fun.
CRL: Your family and friends will burn too. All for knowing you.
Me: (As I walk away) That's your belief, lady, not mine. But the way you're acting isn't very Christian, so I look forward to having you as a roommate down below.
CRL: God, this is (CRL), strike down this non-believer.
Me: God is not on call. He won't strike me down because that would be wrong. He doesn't work that way. Re-read the bible.

CRL: Go to hell, Jew!

Now that, to me, is the problem. She wouldn't let me have my beliefs. Because I wouldn't mourn the Pope and accept Jesus, she called on God to kill me? That's a little extreme, isn't it? Wouldn't that be like using your car to kill a spider? In the end, I just feel sorry for the lady. She uses religion as crutch to help her get through the day. Feeling lonely? Talk to God. Feeling angry? Talk to God. Me? I just believe that God is not a cosmic bellboy here to carry our baggage for us and grant our every whim. That's just my belief, don't crucify me for it.
I'll try not to talk about religion so much in the future. I just found it funny that after talking about the Pope, I'm getting in trouble again.

Falling Across the Starting Line

So here is the first of (what I hope is) many entries. It took me a long time to think about what would be the best way to kickoff the Ironic Teachings. What if I picked the wrong story or idea? Then, after falling down a flight of stairs (no joke), the idea came to me. I want to talk about the Pope. Now John Paul II (the Revenge) and I were not really the best of friends. In fact, he led to one of my most embarassing moments (more on that a little later). However, I do have a lot of respect for the man. He had one of the longest tenures as Pope in the history of Catholicism. He was outspoken, a fan of athletics (if you haven't seen the Papal Skis, check them out online), and even pushed the church to forgive the Jews for that whole Jesus thing. Was he perfect? No. There's still that whole homosexuals go to hell issue, but everyone has their flaws, right? Still, with his passing, he gave me one last great idea: The Papal Emergency Kit. With the world with out a Pope for a few weeks, wouldn't it be nice to be able to feel his holiness' presence? So, for the Catholics who need it, there would be a box with the following items: a Papal hat, a gaudy gold cross, a mini-edition of the Papal staff, a Bible (of course), and a book called: The Papal Posits. A fun little look at life as described by the Pope. But wait, my little Australian friend here says that for just $5 more, you can have a life size cardboard replica of the Pope. How about it folks? Just send the money to 666 Happy Street. Act now and you'll get a free Pope Soap on a rope: a replica of our former Pope's face that smells of lavender.
Now I promised a story before, so I'll end this first posting with a true tale from my life. In 1999, I was a junior at Washington University in St. Louis. That year, the Pope decided to visit the town (probably because of the large Jewish population, right?) It was because of this visit that we (JPII and I) are no longer friends. You see, I was actually accused of wanting to hurt the Pope by our beloved government. Anyway, I was late for an evening scene painting class, and I needed to cross the road (insert chicken joke here) over by Forest Park Parkway. Unfortunately, I did not know at the time that Pope John Paul II (the Revenge) and former Vice President Al Gore (thanks for the Internet) were heading downtown via this route. I began to cross the street when a cop told me to stop and go back. Seeing as I was over halfway across, I yelled, "I can't be late, I have to go!" As soon as I made it across, I was grabbed by two men in gray suits and a female police officer and shuffled into the "detainment area" of the parking lot security office. This was basically a corner with a chair and a water cooler. With my hands cuffed behind my back and not even a single offer of a drink, the larger of the two men (we'll refer to him as Jim) began asking me questions. It went a little something like this:
Jim: What do you think you're doing?
Me: Uh, going to class?
Jim: Why do you have paint brushes and a sketch pad
in your bag?
Me: It's a Scenic Painting class. Painting....So I need
Jim: Shut up.
Me: Uh, ok.
Jim: Why do you hate the Pope?
Me: Huh?
Jim: What were you planning?
Me: I was late for class. I just wanted to avoid getting
another tardy to get an absence. (After noticing the
clock on the wall) Is it really 6:30? Have I been here
for two hours?
Jim: Yes.
After another 45 minutes passes
Jim: It seems that you were just trying to go to class.
You're teacher has verified this. We're sorry for the
Me: Umm, can I have my brushes back?
Jim: No. Now get out, sir.
And with that, I went on my not-so-merry way to class, where I was able to make it with about four minutes left and made fun of by my teacher. I lost about fifteen bucks in brushes, and I actually had a record of my arrest which was tied to the Pope. Nothing like being detained for a drive-by-painting. Of course I was also the inventor of the Papal Wine Cozy (think beer hats, but more Papal and full of sacremental wine). Perhaps it was just Karma getting me back for trying to make a buck on God.
Well thanks for stopping by. I'll try to keep these more interesting.