Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pet Peeve: Trucks Driving Next to Each Other

We've all seen it. Cruising down the highway, trying as hard as possible to make "good time" even though everyone else in the car is begging for a rest stop, when suddenly you car goes from 79 mph (because the cops will usually let you go if you're under 80) to a sloth-like 55. What has caused this tremendous impediment to progress? Has there been a wreck? Is there roadside construction? Is there a family of ocelots crossing the street? No. It's this:
Ocelots aren't usually found north of Texas.
Two trucks side by side on a highway may just be the bane of any driver's existence. The right lane was created so slower vehicles could stop being jerks and let faster, better vehicles go along their merry way without having to suffer undue amounts of road rage. So what does an 18-wheeled semi think it's doing there? They move about as fast as a Snorlax and they know it.
Couldn't have said it better myself, big guy.
I understand that there are instances in which one truck is being so absurdly slow that a rival big rig just has to get ahead of him, and while I'm not opposed to anyone passing one of these gargantuan snails, there should be a rule stating that trucks trying to pass other trucks must do so as quickly as humanly possible. That means they signal, change lanes, slam on the gas as hard as they can without spilling their Big Gulp, signal again, and get back into the right lane before too many people give them the finger.

Instead what happens is the truck moves from the horrible person/minivan lane and into the nice/upstanding individual lane, only to attempt to pass the more evil truck as slowly as possible. There is a special level of Hell devoted to truck drivers who do this. I don't know if I've made it clear, but this is something I really can't stand. And if this business happens on an incline, I get so mad I go Super Saiyan (or I would, if that was a thing).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pop Culture: Why Kids Movies Need Villains

As the oldest of seven children, I have been watching kids movies way longer than is healthy or reasonable. For this reason, I think I can provide a pretty good perspective on that type of movie, both as someone who loved them as a kid, and someone who still watches them as an adult.

What makes kids movies great is the characters. They're quite possibly the most loveable people/animals/cars/toys in movies, and they are great at showing the children watching them the right thing to do without the annoying recap at the end found in children's television.
Pictured: the right thing to do.
But as I look back on these movies, there are some seriously evil villains doing some downright dastardly things. Maleficent turns into a dragon to kill a dude who is trying to wake up a girl that she put a spell on just because she wasn't invited to that girl's birthday party. Steel from Balto tries to kill Balto for attempting to help bring diphtheria antitoxin to a small, dying child. Captain Hook repeatedly tries to straight up stab Peter Pan (this one is moderately justified because Peter Pan did cut off Hook's hand). Jafar tries to stab Aladdin when he brings him the lamp, even though Al was bringing him the lamp because he asked for it. And the dude from The Rescuers Down Under kidnaps a child and locks him in a cage so he'll tell him where an eagle lives. There are some nefarious beings at large in the Disney universe, people.
Cody should've learned not to get scooped up in a sack by strangers. It's his own fault.
When you think about it though, it's important for children to see that there are bad people in the world because guess what? There are bad people in the world. While trust is certainly a good thing to teach little ones, an equally, if not more important lesson is that not everyone has your best interests at heart, and it's necessary to be wary of such people.

But kids movies don't stop there. They don't just have the main characters face adversity against evil and then have the ones responsible apologize and go about their business. Scar gets thrown off a cliff and devoured by hyenas, Ursula gets ship's broken prow plunged into her chest, and Gaston falls to his doom off of a ridiculously tall castle. Why don't we teach the younglings to forgive and forget?
And that's why you don't stab bear-ox-wolf-men, kids.
This has another important lesson in it. There is evil in the world, and sometimes it can't simply be stopped once, but must instead be annihilated. We didn't teach the Nazis to forgive. We punished them severely and put their leaders to death. We teach kids through these movies that good can, should, and usually will triumph over evil, and then we teach them that said evil needs to be stricken from the earth.

These sound like harsh things to teach children, and they are. But by showing them these movies we are also showing them why we have armies, police forces, and hall monitors (okay, maybe not hall monitors). Forgiveness is great and should be put into practice (for evidence, see Veggie Tales), but there comes a time when people have to fight for what's right, and that's what Walt Disney is trying to teach us when he sends the Witch to her death (via cliff-fall-off-ing, because originality isn't that important) for trying to kill Snow White because she's too pretty.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pet Peeve: Same Side Boothers

We've all seen it. We're at a nice restaurant like Bojangles or the Waffle House (those are nice, right?), and there is a couple there "enjoying" their own fried, greasy, delicious meal before it comes back to bite them in approximately twelve hours. But this couple isn't sitting normally in their booth, with one person on either side. No, this couple has made the incredibly poor choice of having both individuals share the same side of the booth.

No matter how much fun they think they're having, they're not. They're just not.
What those old people pictured above are doing is being fools. Old, loveable, apparently drunk fools. How can they be properly partaking in their meal if they insist upon using only half as much booth as they were given? Look at them, they're crowded in there like two crowded people being crowded (I'm still working on my similes). And the question that should immediately come to mind is: Why?

I've heard the arguments. And they are all untrue. Better conversation? False, it is much easier to have a conversation when you're looking directly at the person with whom you are conversing, instead of having to crane your neck like the Finding Nemo seagulls or just talking straight in front of you at nothing. Physical intimacy? If you're so concerned with being close to another person, go to any club in New York City and you will never again feel the need for that kind of togetherness. And what's wrong with footsie (I know what footsie is only because it was explained to me by a sinful friend, mom)? If the only way you can think of to be close with your significant other is to have your shoulder against theirs, you may need counseling.

"We are having so much more fun than those old people from before!"
The most logical argument for the Same Side Boothers (or as they shall henceforth be know, Satan's Sitters) that I've come up with is that it's not for them, it's for us. They sit uncomfortably, looking at the empty booth and bumping their fork elbow with their partner's knife elbow (or both knife elbows if one is a lefty) not because they enjoy it, but because they know we're watching and they want to show us how great their relationship is. But we see them. We see them and we hate them. We hate them with a passion that burns with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Look at them over there, pretending to be happy. It makes me sick.
So the problem may not be foolishness, but a misguided idea that the general populace cares whether or not you're in a good relationship. Because we don't. So quit it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pop Culture: Argo

So Argo won Best Picture at the Oscars last week. I watched it. I thought it was really good. I liked that the girl from Season 9 of Scrubs got a decent role. That's it?