Monday, June 29, 2015

Beach Trip 2: The latest chapter in my war against nature
My intention when I started this blog wasn’t merely to recap all of my catastrophic and near-catastrophic run-ins with nature. My actual point was to give myself an outlet where I could write honestly about life and the experiences which shape us and make us who we are. Nuts to that though, I almost died on Friday and guess whose fault it was? That’s right. Nature. Allow me to explain.    
                A little over a year ago, I wrote about my complex relationship with the sea. The long and the short of it is that I used to love the ocean and then I got really weird and awkward as a teenager and decided that I hated the ocean. Once I put the teenage thing behind me, (never managed to shake that weird and awkward thing though, what a bummer) I warmed back up to the sea and we’ve been pals ever since.
                As we discussed in my blog about my harrowing run-in with a horseshoe crab, my family and I were down the shore last week. All week long, I frolicked in the sea. I went in a least twice a day, sometimes going out so far that my feet were nowhere, and I mean nowhere, near the bottom. I learned this by thrusting myself in an upward manner and then submerging myself rapidly. Often times it took quite a while before my feet touched. So yeah, I was out there. Not so far out as to draw the ire of the lifeguards because I am no rebel. I’m a line-toer if there ever was one.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mitch Hedberg, the value of aquatic life and how I doomed humanity

(Not the one I helped,

Mitch Hedberg once said “If fish could scream the ocean would be loud as shit.” I’m going expand the scope of Mitch’s brilliant yet simple observation to include all aquatic life and the beach based on events which transpired at first light yesterday morning.
                My fiancée and I were down the shore and decided, as folks do when they’re down the shore, to take a walk on the beach. So there we were, just a-walking down the beach, when we saw it. A horseshoe crab. Laying on its back on the sand. Its hideous legs and tail-thing all stuck up in the air. As we neared, I think I said something to the effect of “Aw poor little guy.” As we got even nearer, out of nowhere, it twitched. Right around there I think I said something less sappy, probably along the lines of “Jesus! Kill the beast! Kill it dead!” as flashbacks of the “Alien” franchise danced through my head.
After I’d managed to compose myself, my fiancée, with her too-big heart announced: “We should help it.” Apparently the sight of its moving pointy, mutant spider body hadn’t put her passed the “Aw poor little guy" phase. Also, tangent: Fellas, when your lady says “We” should do something and that something involves a creature that H.P. Lovecraft pondered while eating breakfast cereal, it’s a safe bet to go ahead and replace “We” with “You.” That’s my Jeff Foxworthy impression for the day and, Foxworthy as it may be, in this case it was true.
I sighed the sigh of a man who knows he must touch one of god’s more ill-conceived ideas or risk angering his lady friend. I approached the still-twitching nightmare creature. I feel like now’s a good time to point out that I know nothing about horseshoe crabs or their powers. I vaguely recall asking my fiancée “Is it poisonous?” She didn’t know. I still don’t know. I don’t think they are, but who can say? Also, they have that weird pointy-tail thing that I think is used for swimming but could also be used for puncturing holes in hands of misguided Samaritans.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Ways “Jurassic World” Dropped the Ball

“Jurassic World.” A review two blog posts in the making. See what I did there? Sure you do. Anyway, there was a lot of positivity yesterday as we talked about my overall thoughts on the dino sequel as well as five ways that it managed to exceed my expectations and be really awesome
                Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t all ice cream cones and cat videos. There were a few pretty glaring warts that need to be addressed. Some parts were less-than great, others were downright pretty bad or just dumb in a way that I couldn’t accept or live with. This list is made up of those parts. Here are the 5 Ways “Jurassic World” Dropped the Ball.

Monday, June 15, 2015

5 Ways ‘Jurassic World’ Was Really Awesome

Now that “Jurassic World” made Scrooge McDuck-level coin over the weekend, it’s time for me to share my two cents. I mean that’s what everyone’s been waiting for right? What does that anonymous internet guy who writes 800 words on getting menaced by swans think about this pop cultural phenomenon?  
                Well wait no more. I enjoyed the movie. It was big dumb fun. I’d give it a solid B.
                It’s been 20+ years since the events of the first movie and the genetic-engineering conglomerate InGen has finally managed to open the island-based dinosaur theme park of its dreams. Humanity is pretty psyched about this for a while but then something happens. We get kind of sick of it. That’s right, people – with our ever-shortening attention spans – have grown weary of seeing animals of unfathomable sizes from millions of years in the past walking around in the present. Attendance is dropping off and InGen decides the only way to reverse course is to give us something bigger and scarier than silly old T-Rexes and raptors. So they cook up a genetically-engineered hybrid dino that is made up of all of the scariest parts of other animals. Needless to say, this goes poorly and eventually the hybrid (called the Indominus Rex) gets out and runs amok on the island. From there it’s up to Jurassic World’s chief of handsome and raptor training Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), its Director of Operations or whatever, to get the situation sorted out. Oh and also they have to find Dearing’s teenage and pre-teen nephews who are lost on the island (because kids) and deal with the scheming of Hoskins, (Vincent D’Onofrio) who seems to be InGen’s Director of Shady-Doings and who naturally wants the island’s raptors for his own dastardly machinations.
                There’s a lot to like about “Jurassic World” and so let’s stick to that for this post. Let’s make this post 5 Ways ‘Jurassic World’ Was Really Awesome since we’re all still riding high on a dinosaur and Pratt-fueled wave of good vibrations. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

'Game of Thrones' and dream jobs: Reminiscing on my own personal limits

New York Post
As you probably know from the outrage cloud that has engulfed the internet so far this week, something shocking happened on “Game of Thrones” on Sunday. In the interest of not spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, let’s just say one character killed off another character one who was very, VERY important to that first character. That first character did this in the hopes of one day getting his/her dream job. Now, whether or not this incident will actually allow that first character to get his or her dream job is kind of up in the air, but the potential is there and that was enough for him or her to do that thing.
                That character’s predicament got me thinking, what would I do for my dream job? Would I kill off someone very important to me? Unlikely. I’m too much of a wimp. I can’t even listen to the “It Follows” soundtrack with headphones on without getting all squirrely. The idea of somehow actually offing somebody with my own two mitts … yeah, I just don’t see it happening.
                But what would I do then? I don’t know. I’m not even 100% sure what my dream job is anymore. How can I figure out what lines I’d cross to get it if I don’t even know what it is?
                What I can do is talk about what I did to try to get my last dream job.
It was the summer of 2010. Humanity was in the midst of a FIFA World Cup-driven high and wouldn’t come down until some blonde guy Wiki-leaked government docs all over the place. “Toy Story 3” and “Inception” were ruling at the box office and yours truly had just graduated from college. My hunt for full-time employment hadn’t turned up any leads and even though it was still in its early stages, years of joking with my friends about my bleak post-graduation prospects had left me pessimistic.  
And then I saw it. A posting on my favorite horror movie news site advertising an open morning news writer position. The job paid next to nothing, had no benefits, no defined work space and the hours it called for would leave it next to impossible for me to do it and also find a real job. What it did have was me potentially writing about horror movies. That was perfect. I was sold. I applied. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Life lessons from a busted doorknob
I’m not sure if we’ve been over this or not, but I’m not a handy person. What I am is a stubborn person who will avoid asking for help long past the point when basic common sense would indicate it to be the proper course. Occasionally this stubbornness will result in me eventually fixing something around the house, probably in double or triple the amount of time it would have taken someone who knew what they were doing to fix. The rest of the time I either end up breaking something or learning to live with it in its un-fixed. When I’m successful, an outsider may think: “Hey, you fixed that! Way to go, Tool Man!” But to anyone in the know, the reaction would be more along the lines of Col. Kurtz at the end of “Heart of Darkness.” “It took you how long? To do what now? The horror. The horror.” 
Case in point: My recent battle with a loose bathroom doorknob. Peter Jackson himself could not have concocted something more epically over-wrought.
So yeah, the knob on my bathroom door has been getting looser over the last several months. I’d say the primary cause of this is my one cat who insists on continually rubbing his head on the door, which in turn drives the door – and the door knob – back against the tile wall at a decent rate of speed. Repeat that process several thousand times and you get a door knob that’s pretty well ready to fall off.
Every so often, I’d notice it and give a half-hearted attempted to fix it. I’d grab each side by the base and sort of twist them in opposite directions, my intention being to tighten it that way. I had no idea if this was the proper way to fix it or not, but what the hell?