Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Bit of Unsolicited Advice Regarding Your Television Watching

Listen, if you consider yourself to be any kind of television connoisseur (or even just someone with relatively high viewing standards and a low tolerance for the Fox network) you would be amiss to go any further in your search for truly brilliant television if you have not already watched the original UK series Life on Mars. Yes, there is an American reinterpretation of the series by the same name, but I urge you, by all that is good and proper and acceptable in polite society not to dilute this masterfully crafted experience with a counterfeit. For what is perfect in its original state needs no reinvention.

I don't know what currently rests atop your totem pole for award-winning television, but as I just finished watching the final episode of--what I now consider to be the standard by which all television must be judged--I feel compelled to declare your pole-topper rubbish.

Life on Mars first aired in the United Kingdom back in 2006-2007, but I only recently became enamored of it this year when my TV Guide, Kristi brought it to my attention. As she cautioned me, I caution you: Life on Mars will absorb you into its psychedelic mind-ride faster than you can admit to only trying meth once.

Your ears will adjust, your pupils will dilate, your heartbeat will race and over the course of 16 quick-witted, hard-hitting, socially unsettling episodes this intelligent British procedural will kick your ass and remix what you thought to be the formula for gripping TV.

I don't know what element of the show will seal the deal for you. Maybe it'll be the 1970's backdrop or the era's impeccable soundtrack. Maybe it'll just be the revival of leather jackets and broad collars. But whatever it is, it will catch you off guard. Then from the first crime scene to the last stomach-churning moments Life on Mars will take you somewhere remarkable.

Somewhere you may just spend the rest of your channel-surfing days trying to get back to.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Diary, The Pigeons are Relentless

So, when I was younger I kept a journal. It was an almost daily collection of my thoughts, fears, excitements, and disappointments all intermingled page by page with the clippings of Seventeen magazine and Rolling Stone. 

If nothing about having filled those pages brings me a hush of pleasant reminiscing, I am at least comforted by the worthwhile and honest subject matter I covered. At fourteen, I was wrestling with the issues of nations. Debating the wilds of the human heart against the head and the little life experience I had in my--even then--chubby gut. Present day, I don't really journal. But, when I do sit down to write to blog--as I have given rare indulgence to doing--the only things I can effortlessly spout off about are usually criminal in their frivolity and likely the cause of my passing fury. 

Today, it's the pigeons turn.

For the second Saturday in a row, Air-Force-trained pigeons have gunned the passenger-side of my vehicle starting at the headlights and polishing off the mess with excellent trunk coverage. 

Consider this cry delivered to them: Why pigeons, WHY?!

The first time it was marginally humorous, now I'm just appalled! And yes, someone has already tried to convince me that since birds lack strong sphincter muscles that the attacks cannot be deliberate. But I know a hate crime when I see one and Lieutenant White Dung has it out for me. That's a fact. 

To the Pigeons:

Listen here, flock of birds I have never seen, and your infamous leader. Your days of target pooping are numbered and I will stop at nothing to bring this fight to your doorstep, birds! NOTHING. NOTHING!!!

A little melodramatic? I didn't think so either. Besides, my attention span is far too short to allow me any sort of proper follow through on my threats. It it also guaranteed that something far more infuriating will get my goat while I'm setting up surveillance equipment for the pigeons. At least now I know that if they, the pigeons, read this blog they will find themselves formally acquainted with the depths of my wrath, and I suppose that is enough.

Also, was part of that line from The Bourne Identity? Three maybe?

Alas, unimportant. The more important thing is that I lower by blood pressure by looking on the bright side. That bright side being that at least the birdies were being mindful of their diet this time around. Last week's order was of an entirely different consistency. 

Damn birds.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Does Anyone Know What 'Literally' Means Anymore?

Is now a good time to rant about something of genuine non-importance? I wasn't sure. Based on my father's example growing up I am left to assume that the best times are during the 6 o'clock news and 'when-it-pertains-to-nothing-else,' but I wanted a second opinion. Too bad I can't hear you advising me not to continue. So, onward.

Recently, I have made an observation that irks me immensely. So immensely does it irk me that I would gladly have forfeited the original observation just to be rid of the damn thing altogether!  I don't know if this is the fault of texting, or instant messenging or computers or Al Gore but I have noticed that people--mostly young adults--seem to have lost the original translation of the word, "literally." 

Now, I'm going to make up some history to explain my point.

You see back in uh... Egyptian times the word 'literally' meant something to the effect of, 'in a very strict sense.'  This way, when the little servant dude ran into the Pharaoh's court, bowed, struck his breast and declared--

"Great Pharaoh, reign forever! Your chariot has been trampled under the hoofs of a thousand pre-historic elephants! It has literally been flattened into a single piece of iron no longer fit for your royal transport!"

 --Pharaoh, time-conscious prude that he was,  didn't need to be all like, 

"Whaaaa? Like fo really, really?"

Cause he knew servant dude wasn't playing around. He said literally, which back then meant 'I have already qualified what I said, please continue with the appropriate emotional response.'

Today, in an effort to further waste my precious time, the people who most frequently use the word 'literally' use it with the expectation that I then should have to inquire if by 'literally' they meant 'lit-er-ally' or nothing of the sort. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant. 

See what I did there? Precisely. Now, I rant:

If you, the speaker take it upon yourself to use the word 'literally,' why is it then MY responsibility to follow up to make sure that I understand correctly what YOU meant to say? This is ridiculous. Widen your vocabulary. The movie didn't make you literally cry your eyes out. You still have your eyeballs and they are in your head. The movie made you cry a lot -- say that! This way I can go back to being genuinely enthralled in a story that utilizes a word that in short means 'THIS  ACTUALLY HAPPENED." Otherwise you are robbing me of the visuals that inevitably accompany your statement.  

Therefore, the next time someone yells,

"Oh my god, I was so mad, I like literally-shit a brick!" 

You ask that jackass for proof.  


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Netflix Killed the Video Store

There are a number of potential blog entries that float through my mind on a daily basis. The majority of them go untapped on account of sheer laziness really. It's almost a shame that the initiating spark for unsung blog posts such as, "You--Tiny Human, to Whom do you Belong?" are given into my hands to be delivered to the world at large. But alas, a few nuggets make it through. I happened upon one such nugget on the bus today as we passed a BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO. 

Now, aside from the fact that this particular location failed to replace the bulbs on a few crucial letters (the storefront actually read _LO_K_USTER __DEO) there was no real reason for it to catch my attention other than the fact that seeing it, sad and vacant as it was, made me realize that as a contemporary American consumer--the 'video store' is simply a concept I have no more use for. Commence bulldozing.

Be honest, who uses video stores? Most people who still have video store memberships are busy moving to different counties to escape the criminal fines. Let's face it, there just aren't reasons to drive to a building to rent a movie when society has declared, "Packaging be damned! Just gimme the square paper thingy with the clear plastic circle."

And I'm not saying this is anything new. I, in no way, was an early-adaptor to the online movie rental phenomenon. Yet, just a few short weeks of Netflix enrollment has restructured the entire way in which I come into contact with post-theater flicks with enthusiasm that far exceeded my expectations. "What's that Inner-Self? Time to check the mail? The movies I cued up yesterday are here? O delightful morn!" 

It's magic, I tell you. Maybe evil magic.

But some critics (read as, unbelievers drowning in a sea of instant-gratification filth) will complain that it's too long to wait 24-hours to get a movie. What if you are called upon to entertain a group of unannounced slackers? You can't tell them they have to wait until tomorrow to see '27 Pounds' or whatever that new Will Smith tear-jerker is. Certainly, now one must rush to a Hollywood Movie Emporium or Mr. Filmtastic, right? Incorrect, again. While Netflix holds the 'video store' in a headlock, Redbox goes straight for the nads. 

Tough, scrappy and available everywhere, the Redbox movie rental kiosk sniffs twice, wipes its upper lip and asks, "You want ya movie? I got ya movie right heera." 

Though rapidly becoming a common watering hole for lowlifes and change collectors, Redbox offers the selection and the immediacy demanded by the quick-fix movie consumer. Besides, you can forgive yourself for rushing into the world's worst movie rental decision EVER if you only paid a dollar (a day) for it. 

Okay, so here's the last straw. The last reason America needs video stores. Video games! Surely, the three racks of previously scratched copies of Extreme Tournament Golf will keep them coming back for more, right? O dagger in my breast! I guess now would be a bad time to bring up Game Fly dot com, where you can even rent the gaming console?

Your honor, I rest my case. 

There you have it folks, a solid three-point defense. Netflix killed the Video Store. Now, give it a slap on the wrist and send it off to play with iTunes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A pessimistic Sunday leads to pleasant memories

Do you ever have those Sundays when you wake up far too late in the day to accomplish anything worthwhile? Those are exactly the kinds of Sundays I am used to having.

They aren’t all bad news. By loosing half a day in slumber you save up on those precious calories (yes! 789 left!). But the downside is by the time you get moving everything seems dull at best. The warm sunny skies give way to a neutral weekend gloom, and every television station reminds you that unless you have an interest in golf or poorly written situation comedies you need not tune in. Even your multicolored Cap’n Crunch seem downgraded to a murky Private Chewy. The next thing you know, without your consent, it’s become Sunday Afternoon with your favorite Pessimist, you.

That could have been ‘all she wrote’ for me today, that is until an unmotivated dig through a spool of unmarked cds lead me to a rare gem: what might as well had been a musical time capsule from 2003, the year I graduated from high school.

Suddenly, instead of mindlessly populating a PHP database to the hum of my disaster-prone dishwasher, I was reliving moments from the summer I gained my independence. Musing about Commencement weekend to some poppy anthem by Vitamin C, laughing at my own embarrassment for finding the need to capture whatever drivel Vertical Horizon was putting out at that time. All at once, warm and jovial inside a bubble of melodies and memories and seventeen year old bliss.

How bright and unexpected the moments we happen upon when content to bask in mediocrity.