Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pet Peeve: People Who Tell Me About Their Dreams

I'm not sure why this is, but we as a species are under the impression that dreams matter. So much so that every single dream depicted in media (be it books, movies, or television) is prophetic and important. But that's just how dreams are in pop culture. It does not mean that dreams are this way for normal people. Hell, I can't even remember 99.99% of my dreams, so if they were important I would be screwed.
"Simba, I'm totally just a projection of your subconscious." -Real Life Mufasa
So since dreams don't really matter in the real world, can people please stop telling me about them? I get it. A weird thing happened in your dream. Dreams are like that. No, I don't care. I'm only putting on the thinnest facade of interest so that I can show you that I'm listening, but in reality I care even less about the dream you had last night than I do about soccer.
Soccer: Popular because of convenience, not quality.

It might be different if I had the exact same dream as you and we could both talk about how wild it was, because then it's basically a shared memory. But since I wasn't in your dream, your recounting of it to me is the epitome of a "you had to be there" moment.

Pop Culture: The Kings of Summer

This movie is awesome. It's the story of three teenage boys who build a house in the middle of the woods and live there for a whole summer. It's like Stand By Me, but way funnier. Filled with heart and so amusing I laughed out loud while watching it alone, this movie is great to watch with your family, provided your family is cool with the occasional F bomb.

Other notes:
-Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation is in it and is hilarious.

-Alison Brie from Community is also in it and is not that funny but really good looking.

-Everyone should watch this movie so that we can all talk about it. Because it's just tremendous.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pet Peeve: People that Use the Pool at the Beach

I've spent the past two weeks at the beach with my family, and have fortunately been able to forget my usual frustrations with society in general, but there is apparently no place devoid of the depravities of humanity anymore. Every day on my way to the sand, ocean, and book reading that I so enjoy, I pass by a pool. Every time I wonder who in their right mind would use a pool when there is a perfectly good ocean not 100 meters away (I'm not afraid to give distance in meters, haters) and every time the pool has had patrons.
This is what you get when you google "beach pool." This is not what you get when you go to the pool at the beach.
The only people allowed to go to a beach pool should be people with small children, and them only for 20% of their vacation days. The ocean is good for you. It's science (probably). And it seems like a waste of money for someone to pay to stay at a special house so they can make use of a body of water that exists in places other than the coast. Pools are all well and good, but to me they are the ocean's substitute teacher. Fun for a little while, but ultimately not as good at providing what you're there for.
Substitute teachers still think that Clip Art is relevant.
So stop using the pool at the beach because it is not only a waste of money, but lame. All kinds of lame.

Pop Culture: Star Trek: Into Darkness

This is a movie that I greatly enjoyed, not just for the movie itself but for the brilliance that J.J. Abrams applied to it. First, the way that he payed homage to Wrath of Khan by having Kirk die (as opposed to Spock dying in the original) in the nuclear reactor was very cool. It allowed a gap to be bridged between the old and new Star Trek universes, and it was definitely a touching scene just like the first one was.

Second, this movie just confirms how brilliant Abrams' decision to create some parallel universe mumbo jumbo in his first movie really was. In his first movie, it just seemed like a weird way to go about messing with the way that things actually happened, but it took on a new life in his second installment. Abrams can now recreate stories that old school Trekkies know and love for a new audience while simultaneously keeping those selfsame old schoolers engaged and guessing because nothing has to go the same way that it went in any of the original material. I can't think of a better way to make everyone at least moderately happy (there are still many vehemently opposed to the idea of an Uhura/Spock relationship), and it makes me optimistic to see what Abrams can do as the series continues and as he embarks on continuing other classic film series. There is a possibility that the Star Wars universe need not be marred by the debacle that was Episodes 1-3.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pet Peeve: People Who Add/Mix Letters to Words

"Warshington" is neither a state nor a statesman. How has this even become a way that people say "Washington?" They added a letter. Why the hell would anyone add a letter? It's not easier. It doesn't roll off the tongue better. It doesn't make sense why this has become a thing. Stop making it a thing!
This is not what I meant by Freedom of Speech.
"Calvary" is the hill on which Jesus was crucified, not a type of military unit. This one at least makes a little bit of sense, because "cavalry" takes a little bit more effort. But is it really so hard to enunciate that we use another word instead? Next we'll have people saying that the United States placed Japanese Americans in "internet" camps because "internment" is just too much to say. Come on, people.
Pictured: soldiers on horses?

Pop Culture: 42

I went to see this movie a couple weeks ago, and it is worth the trip to the theater. I'm not saying that it was ground-breaking in terms of either a sports movie or a film about racism, but it should still be watched. The best thing that I took out of it was Jackie Robinson's struggle not to fight back against the people who stood in opposition to him. His ability to check his ego and just play baseball must have been quite impressive indeed.

Alan Tudyk's performance as Phillies' Manager Ben Chapman was quite good in that he really showed a good image of what other people in the game would do to try and antagonize him. Probably the opposite of Chapman was Pee Wee Reese, played by my man Lucas Black, who made a great effort to embrace Jackie (both literally and figuratively) as just another member of the team. Where Tudyk left me feeling angry, Black made me optimistic and reminded me that despite what happened in the past, both baseball and the world have become more accepting. Good performances on both sides.

42 is certainly nothing new or original, but that doesn't mean it's bad. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed it. I'm also excited to learn more about Jackie Robinson's life via Eric Metaxas' new book 7 Men.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pet Peeve: Listening to Other People's Problems

I like people. I like to talk to them, spend time with them, and learn about them. With that comes the need to talk about more than what happened on TV last night, and occasionally to discuss issues that are less than pleasant. I'm fine with that, I think it's valuable and necessary for quality relationships. What I'm not great at, however, is listening to people's problems.
This scenario has never happened in real life.
Maybe it's just me, and maybe it's an issue that only I have, but I'm terrible at making people feel better. If someone comes to me and shares their problems, I have very little to offer them other than "Oh, that sucks. Sorry, man." They know it sucks. They're going through it. How can my assertion that yes, they are indeed in a difficult situation possibly do anything to help?
I see that you're about to fall to your death. That must be challenging for you.
This is not to say that I'm not a good person to talk to about your problems. On the contrary, I am able to offer a great deal of wisdom, knowledgeable advice, and personal experience (also, tons and tons of humility). But what I can't do is try to sympathize. The best response I've been able to come up with that is not advice is "I hate that for you." This may be one of the most useless platitudes around. How does someone respond to that? "It's very nice that you hate that for me, but I am doing a pretty good job hating it all by myself. Do you have anything of substance to offer? Perhaps a picture of an adorable kitten?"
If this doesn't cure your broken leg, I don't know what will.
So instead of attempting to sympathize with problems, I think it might be better to just listen to the situation and say something like this: "Your situation is clearly quite difficult, and I'm sorry that I can't fix it for you, but I would like to offer you the following advice: [insert wise advise that is available only from years of experience or extreme narcissism]. Does that help?" It'll help. It always helps.