Sunday, January 18, 2009

Generally Annoyed

I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries asking if I intend to do a movie year-end wrap up. The answer is no. Many well-informed individuals whose opinions I typically respect have summed up the majority of my feelings on the movies of 2008 and I don’t feel the need to repeat them. We all loved The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Benjamin Button. The only difference is the wild cards, which all of my respected friends have; some loved High School Musical and the second Narnia. Some loved Punisher War Zone. I don’t have a cure for them, but am concerned.

I, on the other hand, have my own vices, two of which seem to be eternally loathed; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Speed Racer
. I enjoyed the hell out of both those films (not that either is perfect), whereas I have yet to find a single individual to share those sentiments. I always fall back to Domino for that one. I love that movie still. Tony Scott is one of the best directors of the last thirty years and Keira Knightley yelling “Put your fucking weapon down!” in her cockney accent makes my pee pee maker tingle.

Like I said, we all have our vices.

However, I want to talk about a few things that have been grinding on my nerves lately and hopefully you can relate. If you can’t, then you are probably part of the problem and perhaps this little blog will set you straight.

As many know, I am expecting my first child this year (we preordered) and throughout the process of preparing to bring someone into this world that will later hate and despise you, we have combed the stores, Internet, and parental advice in deciding what to populate our baby’s life with. Certainly there are a bevy of worthless items, made more for the parent’s amusement than for an actual purpose that serves your child.

And one of those most annoying and ridiculous things to surface is the “Baby on Board” sign. As if Garfield on suction cups wasn’t annoying enough (which seems to have fortunately gone to the fad cemetery), the general populace has been subjected to these obnoxious yellow and black signs that seem to have a purpose at first glance…until you give it some thought.

These signs (which come in numerous sizes at Babies R Us) seem to be telling you, the childless, pompous, asshole driver that you better watch your speed and proximity to the baby-lugging mini-van sporting the timeless message…or else!

Or else what, motherfucker? I can see it now; a cop pulls me over after one of these annoying vehicles with the sticker in the window cuts me off:

“Is there a problem, officer?”
“Yes, sir. You nearly hit that mini-van in front of you.”
“Uh, yeah, that crazy bitch cut ME off and nearly ran me
off the road…perhaps you should have pulled her over?”
“Maybe you weren’t paying a
ttention, sir…She had a Baby On Board sign. Did you happen to catch that, smart guy?”
“Oh dear…I-I’m so sorry, officer. I had no idea. I didn’t see it. I was busy texting and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken while changing song
s on my iPod. I must have missed the sign. If I had known…”
“I’ll let you go with a warning, sir…and one of those drums

I mean, seriously…am I supposed to somehow change the way I drive because some dumbass puts that sign in their window? Like I’m some speed demon, whipping in and out of traffic as if I’m trying to get to the Obama inauguration until I suddenly see that sign? Then I what? Slow down? Stay in the lines? Drop back fifteen meters? Is there some kind of protective bubble that I am to abide by because of that stupid sign?

There is no traffic law or rule that acknowledges or grants special road privileges because of that sign. And if your baby is in a car seat, which IS a law, then he/she is all fucking good. They are a passenger like everyone else and no sign is going to change that.

Let me clear up the little bullshit story that supposedly started that stupid sign; The old tale goes like this; Supposedly, a woman and her kids were in a traffic accident and when the police arrived on scene they somehow missed the baby in the car (because what? They didn’t happen to notice the fucking baby car seat? Come oooonnnnnnnn) and the baby died as a result. If they just would have had that baby on board sign, that baby might be alive today and they would be all grown up and driving a death trap mini-van with their own Baby on Board sign. And the world would be perfect.

If you are a new or old parent and you are still rocking that sign then it’s time to really think about the validity of such a mark of ignorance. Do you really think that sign is making a difference other than pointing out that you are making some asshole rich by buying his moronic suction cup sign? It’s junk!

In a fragile economy like this, which was made that way by our own ignorance as BAD consumers, we should all be more fiscally responsible and build those tools to continue throughout our children's lives and ours. Buying shit like these signs is a picture perfect example of a piss poor American consumer; someone who doesn’t really THINK about what they are buying and instead buying it because it FEELS like something they should have.

The only exception would be if you are buying one of these signs as a joke to piss off someone who hates these things. Which is how I got one for Christmas.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about bumper stickers with personal messages. If you ever want to really SHOW OFF your personality and beliefs and feel that the best place to do so is the ass end of your car then you have proven a few things; 1) You are a moron 2) You are a moron, and last, but not least 3) You are a moron.

I don’t fucking care if you love Obama or Bush. I don’t care if you’re Green. I don’t care if you love Jesus or Buddha. I don’t care if you don’t want to drill, mine, or fish. I don’t give a fuck if you think I should watch out for motorcycles. I don’t care if you are Christian or a Darwinite. All I really care about when looking at the ass end of your car is that you obey the rules of the road and don’t drive like a dickhead. That would be a PHENOMENAL start.

Your pretentious car message splattered onto a piece of weatherproof paper on the back of your shitmobile is not going to change my mind or inform me of anything other than the fact that you are a moron. In fact, if you really want someone to stay away from your vehicle for your baby’s safety then it might be in your best interest to put a bunch of hippie messages; Peace, change, green, gay, whatever stickers all over your car. Better yet, get a ribbon that says Support Everything.

I will stay far the fuck away from you. Rubbing into your vehicle would cause a rainbow of smudges on my truck that I just don’t need. Bottom line here: Nobody cares and your resale value just went down the toilet. If you want everyone to hear your opinion then start a blog (natch).

Look, I’m not an angry person. Okay, I do swear this much usually, but not when it’s not professional. However, this is my happy place. And I’m happy to share my anger. Let’s hold hands and continue, shall we?

Movie Theater Etiquette

We’ve all been to the movies. Most of us enjoy the experience. However, if you were to ask, probably those same people would say that their chief complaint with going to the movies is dealing with other, less courteous patrons.

Amen to that, I say.

Obviously, I go to the movies a lot. Duh. I am not an average moviegoer and I certainly don’t expect that everyone should follow suit. It’s a personal choice based on personal interest. I don’t frequent sporting events at all. I’m just not into it. I respect it, but don’t participate. So, don’t try
to make friends with me by talking football. I’ll just nod my head in that familiar “Yep, whatever you say, dude,” kinda way and wait for you to change the subject.

So, with so much experience frequenting the cinema, I can assure you that I have seen it all. I have seen the most despicable acts by people against other people while coming together to enjoy a movie. I’ve seen people arrested, kicked out, fights, screaming kids, the whole gamut. It’s obnoxious. It needs to stop.

There’s a simple formula to how you should behave in public. It’s the easiest thing in the world for the majority of the population. If you are in a big, congested area with lots of different folks, all you need to do is ACT LIKE YOU WOULD AT CHURCH. Now, we could go round and round about how people SHOULD act and how they ACTUALLY act, whether it be at church or the movies, but the bottom line is that we KNOW how we should act at Church and thereby shouldn’t have an
y trouble applying it here.

Notice how everyone gets dressed up nice, watches their language, and is generally nice, pleasant, polite, and respectful at church? Then, what happens when they go home? They change their clothes, pop a beer, put on the game, scratch their balls and curse everything from baby on board signs to the economy. If we could somehow bridge that gap and carry over our church manners into a movie theater setting then all would be well in the world.

However, since there’s no Jesus statue or robe-wearing preacher in the theater we feel that we can just be assholes in public since there’s no accountability. To me, regardless of what your religion is, you should apply the basic principles of humanity and society, which is simple kindness and respect for everyone around you.

So, before I jump into my rant, keep that in mind. Church manners.

Oh, where to begin. Let’s break it down.

Movie talkers: Check it out, if you want to bullshit during a movie then STAY THE FUCK HOME. If you are too dumb to understand what’s going on in the movie then you need to shut your trap and attempt to warm up that noodle in your head by reading, improving your vocabulary, or maybe going back to get that GED. Reserve your questions for after the lights come up.

Seat Kickers: Come on. Seriously. I wish I could go to the home of one of the many seat-kickers I’ve endured throughout the years and, while they are lying comfortably on the couch and watching The Hills, I’d just stand there and kick the back of the sofa throughout the entire show. I’d never say a word. I’d just stand there. And kick. And maybe giggle devilishly with my eyes open real wide.

The Movie Challenged: Perhaps because I am so well informed about movies that I find this so ridiculous. A couple shows up at the movies and have no idea what’s playing. They just decide to come out to the big city and see one of them picture shows. So, an
d it’s sad that the theater actually provides this, they are given a piece of paper with a listing of all movies playing and a synopsis of each.

So, these movie-challenged dingbats stand there, holding up the line as they decide what looks good and if it coincides with the time they want to see it.

I get it. Not everyone goes to the movie sites and reads up or gives a shit what’s coming. Same as I don’t give two shits who goes to the super bowl or playoffs or whatever. Fair enough. However, if I was going to buy tickets to a game I would know the time and the place beforehand so that I could prepare accordingly.

There’s this thing called the Internet that lists show times and synopsis as well. Five minutes of your time will save you that embarrassing venture at the theater, holding up the line only to decide to see some shit like August Rush.

The In Frequenters: This is more funny than annoying, depending on the individual. While seeing Australia this year on Thanksgiving, I noticed a lot of families dragging Grandma and Grandpa out of the house and to the theater for some good ol’ family movie time. However, this is the first movie said grandparents have been to all year…and it shows.

It’s like someone brought a short bus of window-lickers to the theater for the holiday. People tripping on the stairs, spilling popcorn and sodas, staring at the ceiling in awe, and still being wowed by the dumb ass Sprite commercial with the kids jumping into a pool that looks like a basketball court. I shake my head in disbelief and realize that I would probably look just as dumb going to the ballet. “Do they bring hot dogs to your seat here?”

And lastly…

Cell phone and Text abusers: Do I really need to reiterate that you aren’t at home? What’s interesting is that the movie theaters now have full on pre-show ads about turning your cell phone off. Of course no one gives a shit, but the fact is that theaters now have to pay for advertisements to remind people not to be discourteous assholes while the movie is playing.

Personally, I think a better ad would be to hire someone like David Spade to simply stand in a movie theater lobby and say:

“Hello movie patrons. Happy to have you at the movies. Unfortunately, there are likely some discourteous assholes in this theater that are going to text or even answer phone calls while the movie is playing because they don’t have any church manners or basic human respect for fellow patrons.

So, Cinemark has paid me $500,000 to stand here and remind you that you’re all in this together and you should respect one another by NOT using your cell phone during the movie. So, thanks for not doing the right thing. I like money and I didn’t even have to do a terrible VH1 show to get it.

Thanks for making me rich America! So, actually, I hope there are a couple douche bags that will break the rules so I can come back and do another one of these next month. Keep it up, you manner less a-holes and enjoy the show!”

The cell phone has really screwed things up. I mean that. We all view it as a necessity. It makes communication so much easier, so much more convenient. However, that’s not true. It has made us assholes. It has lessened our patience and made us spoiled technobrats.

Remember the TV show Miami Vice? Go back and watch an episode. Guess what’s missing? Cell phones. But guess what? Sonny and Crocket still cracked the fucking case and did so with Phil Collins playing in the background! Take that, cell phones!

If you were fortunate enough to have been around when cell phones weren’t even in existence then you might remember something that is missing today: Peace and quiet! How awesome was it to be out all day and not have a thousand people calling you to ask you minute questions and send you stupid texts? You came home, hit play on your answering machine, picked up your land line and returned calls, if you wanted to.

You had a little something I like to call freedom. Today, everyone from the rich to the poor and the black to the white have a fucking cell phone and are suckling on the telecommunication titty until it’s dry. Many times I will leave my cell phone at home only to come home and find messages wondering where the hell I am and how DARE I not pick up or reply. The simple answer is that I am not tied to my cell phone like a nameless cog in the matrix.

My point should be obvious. If you can’t put your stupid ATT shitphone down for a two-hour movie then you should STOP BREATHING AND NEVER START AGAIN. If you can’t sit through a movie without fucking with your phone then you need to either a) get some Ritalin, b) cease to exist, or c) NEVER come to the movies.

My favorite is how people open up their cell phones to text during a movie, thinking that the light from their phone won’t be seen from everyone above them. It’s not a simple little light in a pitch-black theater. It’s a fucking surefire and it’s blinding me and it’s obnoxious.

There are literally ZERO excuses for texting or talking in a theater. Go ahead and think of one and I will debunk it. Your mom is in the hospital and you want to know her condition? Go to the hospital then! Your babysitter is burning down the house? Get home then! You certainly don’t need to send back and forth texts. “Is the fire spreading or can it wait until the end of the movie?” Come on.

I would love to yank the phone out of a movie texter’s hand just to see what they are writing. I guarantee it will be some shit like this:

MovieTextDouche: This movie is gay
MovieTextEnabler: What movie r u seeing?
MovieTextDouche: Bloody Valentine 3D…I have 3D glasses on. Lol
MovieTextEnabler: Why didn’t u invite me? U suck!
MovieTextDouche: What r u doing?
MovieTextEnabler: Watching Keeping up w/Kardashians. I want her butt. Lol.
MovieTextDouche: Me too. RFLMAO. What did you eat for lunch today?
MovieTextEnabler: A piece of lettuce. Delish!
MovieTextDouche: I had BK. Whopper w/cheese. And a coke. And fries.
MovieTextEnabler: I love BK. I like their fries. A LOT! Lol.
MovieTextDouche: This movie is gay. I’m bored.
MovieTextEnabler: Why don’t u leave and come over here?
MovieTextDouche: I’m havin' too much fun annoying this dick behind me with my texting. LOL. He can SUCK it!

And so on an so forth…

Now, you could say, “Well, why don’t you say something?” However, that’s not the problem. The problem is that I HAVE to. Why should I have to say something? I have to disrupt the theater and probably cause an altercation (because manner less fucks are usually ill tempered as well) because someone is a dickhead? Because they have no church manners? I’m not the theater cops and I’m not Hank Moody. I’m just a simple patron who expects the same courtesy he affords others.

Church Manners. Pass it on. A message from The Way of The Shirey of Latter Day Church Manner users.

That wraps up my annoyances for now. I have plenty of others, which involve baby shit, baby names, parental visits, and Alaskan drivers, but I’ll save those for later. For loyal followers of this blog, I am about to revamp the whole thing and start an actual website. Blogger is fairly limited for what I’m trying to do and very time consuming. I am going to reformat to accommodate more posts, which will help keep me regular (like a column, not a bodily function).

Hopefully, the all new, all better Way of the Shirey will be up and running by summer, but I don’t have a set date. So, be patient! I do have a kid that will be keeping me up at night very soon and I doubt he’ll be like the e-trade baby right of the bat, full of investment and Dreamweaver knowledge. We’ll get him there, though.

Thanks for not texting while reading my blog!


J said...

I agree with you on Speed Racer. It is a good movie with one of my favorite lines in the history of cinema - "Was that a ninja?"

Anonymous said...

Good reading, Paul.

I really wish you would stop cut and pasting my text messages in your blogs. I mean, so what if I love BK?

I think instead of a Baby on Board sign I am going to get some rails installed around our car. Kind of like the ones go-carts have. That way our kid can ride shot gun and hold my mirror while I apply my makeup and continue to text while I drive.

Maybe they should hand out tasers at the theatre. Make it into a citizen arrest situatuion. WE THE PEOPLE can take back the movies!!!


Mr. Boy said...

Sounds like the rantings of a man who just watched "Gran Torino" and thought ot himself "yes! exactly! I'M JUST LIKE CLINT EASTWOOD!"

I'm with you, brutha!

Andy said...

Thanks for dissing me on Narnia...

And, yes, Speed Racer is vastly underrated.

I just sat next to a douche last week who felt the need to check his texts every 15 freaking minutes. I was like, "Is your life really that exciting and important that you can't turn off your phone for 90-fucking-minutes?!?!?" Asshole.

And, as Bender says as he puts a Jesus fish on the back of the Planet Express ship, "That ought to convert some tailgaters."

Later bro!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear what you think of people who Twitter.


Yer auntie