humor comments edit

People seem to be pretty wowed and disgusted at the whole poop knife thing. But if it’s as common as all that, then maybe there’s a market for them. I mean, you go to the local supermarket, hit the housewares section, and pick yourself up a PoopKnifeTM or three. Give them as gifts! Be the hit of the next bridal shower you go to.

Speaking of showers…

Jenn went to a baby shower this weekend, and since she’s broke, guess who got to buy the gift.

This got me to thinking, and what I’ve arrived at is this:

Anything called a shower that doesn’t involve bathing is a scam.

I mean, think about it. Starting with marriage, you’ve got your bridal shower, where you get the bride a gift. Then you’ve got the wedding proper, where you get… another gift. After that you’ve got your housewarming, where it requires the purchase of more gifts, then the baby shower (sometimes both pre-and-post-birth) - more gifts - and finally the baby gets born and you’re supposed to get more goddamn gifts.

Look at that! And I’m sure I’m missing some sort of fucking shower of some nature in there, but if you tally it up, that’s a few more gift-requiring opportunities than is really necessary.

I think maybe I should have a shower the next time I buy any home electronics. Like have a Playstation 3 shower (when that comes out). Then people can come over and bring me gifts that I can use with my Playstation 3. And it won’t even have to be my birthday! I almost wish I’d thought of this earlier, I’d have had a Game Boy Advance shower, and maybe a Brand New DVD Player shower, too.

Here’s how it works in Travis World: You get married, you get a gift. You have a baby, maybe you get a gift. It’s your birthday? Here’s a gift. Christmas? Gift-o-rama. But that’s pretty much it. I’m all over the Spirit of Giving, and sure, sometimes there will be a fun little gift for no reason. But these planned scam attempts at gift retrieval known as “showers” are not on the “accepted reasons for getting gifts” list.

Anyone else having a shower is just getting a PoopKnifeTM.

personal comments edit

I had planned a nice evening at home last night but instead got sucked into going to Denny’s to eat with Jenn and her Job’s Daughters group. I can’t say it was a complete loss, though. I’m never one to scorn cheese fries.

Plus, Brittany, the Laura San Giacomo look-alike, was there, which was cool ‘cuz she’s hot. Not that anything’s going on there, but she’s a good looking girl and that never hurts. So there’s that.

While we were sitting there I realized that all of my good party stories are not family-appropriate. That is, I could tell them, but they’re sort of anti-climactic and unfunny if I don’t throw a “shit” or a “fuck” in there. Drew Carey’s mentioned a similar issue regarding jokes in his book. Which meant I was unnaturally quiet and way less entertaining than normal. Maybe I should learn some clean jokes. (Except that they’re usually not funny.)

Yesterday was Jenn’s last day of working for free at the VA Hospital, which means I got to sleep in until 6:15a this morning. That extra half hour does make a difference, believe it or not.

Oh, and I also got my copy of the Buffy Season 4 DVD set from Amazon, but the case was sort of munched due to poor packaging and the second disc was “floating” (not attached to the spindle in the case, just sliding around), which resulted in some minor abrasions on the surface. I downloaded a utility to verify it can still be read properly, and it seems to check out okay, so I guess I’ll call it good. I’m really not ready to watch six hours of TV just to check.

Looks like the poop knife thing isn’t uncommon. That’s messed up. I wonder why people think that’s necessary.

personal comments edit

I just got an email from my mom regarding a story my sister was telling her. This is just too much.

A little background: My sister is currently rooming with a friend of hers, a girl with Down Syndrome, and a girl who is taking care of the girl with Down Syndrome (that’s a total of four girls). Part of the deal my sister and her friend get is that they take part in helping out with the Down Syndrome girl.

An example of one of the things they’ve dealt with: The girl with Down Syndrome has four ice cube trays in the freezer, laid out side-by-side. My sister’s friend moved them to make room for food in the freezer, and Down Syndrome girl went berzerk because you can’t stack the ice trays. That problem has since been solved.

Now I get word there’s a new problem to deal with.

My sister’s friend went into the bathroom and on the back of the toilet sits a basket. In the basket she noticed there was a table knife. She took the knife out of the basket and put it in the dishwasher, thinking nothing of it. Nobody really knew why it was there or said anything about it. Regardless, the knife went to the dishwasher. (The dishwasher wasn’t full, though, so it wasn’t run.)

Then a while later (a day or two?), the Down Syndrome girl comes out and asks, “Where is my POOP KNIFE?

Yeah. You’re thinking the same thing right about now that I was when I heard this story.

Apparently, the Down Syndrome girl cuts her poop before she flushes so it will go down easier. She’s been doing this forever, and normally she puts the knife in the dishwasher but this time she forgot.

Oh. My. God.

My sister and her friend have been spreading butter on their toast with a poop knife for a couple of months now.

I’m taking my own silverware if I ever visit.

personal comments edit

Jenn and I got off our collective lazy ass last night and went to an open house at a technical contracting firm that I work with.

After quite the fight with traffic, we kicked and scratched our way into a parking spot downtown and moved to the party.

Got there and saw my friends Kristen and Sharon (who work at the firm) and chowed down on the fairly decent spread of food.

Sharon had her s/o there who had written “Shaft!” on his name tag. I laughed about that and popped out a “Shut yo mouth!” at him, but now that I look back on the whole situation, I never really got the guy’s name. I guess I’ll just call him Shaft from now on.

Kristen’s mom and sister were also at this shindig. Her sister was generally quiet, but her mom is quite the character. I don’t think I can count on all my protruding appendages the number of times she mentioned that Kristen needs a boyfriend. Ah, parents. Ever the source of embarrassment.

Anyway, we hung out there for a while talking to Kristen, Sharon, and Shaft, then packed up and went home.

That whole story admittedly sounds pretty lame, but you have to understand - I wasn’t at home, I was out socializing, so you have to give me points for that.

Actually I’m not too bad with the social thing, but it’s difficult for me to mix business and pleasure. It may be a “party at work,” but I’m still sort of thinking, “Hey, I’m at work” rather than, “Paaaaaartaaaaay!” Maybe that’s just me. I think if Jenn, Sharon, Shaft, Kristen, and myself were in some other [more socially-oriented] setting, I might think less of the work aspect of things. After all, we were in their office.

I got the impression while talking with them all that “their group” (i.e., everyone not Jenn or myself) was into the social/clubbing sort of scene. I was sort of into that “social thing” for a while, but I think I may just be getting bitter in my old age or something. Large quantities of people I don’t know + cigarette smoke clouds + expensive cover charge = irritated Travis. I suppose if my group of friends did that stuff I’d be into it, too, just to hang out with them. Maybe. Either way, interesting to see how the “other side” lives sometimes.

Jenn’s out at her niece’s pre-school (or is it kindergarten?) graduation tonight so I’m popping my new Mr. Bean collection in the DVD player and kicking back. Jenn doesn’t like Mr. Bean, so… more fun for me.

Yeah, that’s a lame Friday night. But it’s cheap, which fits my budget, and it’s stress-free, which is even better. Oh, yeah.

movies comments edit

After discussing my thoughts on The Matrix Reloaded at length with friends/coworkers of mine yesterday, I figured I should probably post them up here so folks could see what the goings-on were all about.

For those living in a cave or sans pop culture influence, The Matrix Reloaded is the highly anticipated sequel to the ever popular 1999 film, The Matrix. To understand what The Matrix Reloaded is about, you really need to have seen The Matrix. But I understand that not everyone has, so let me give you the quick and dirty on The Matrix:

Keanu Reeves plays a computer geek, Neo, who starts waxing philosophic and questioning the concept of reality. Suddenly weird things start to happen - he gets odd messages mysteriously appearing on his monitor, he gets arrested by the police… and eventually you see that he gets taken in by some apparent superbeings who are somehow notorious in the computer hacker world named Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne).

As it turns out, Neo’s questioning was correct - the world we live in is actually a computer simulation called “The Matrix;” the real world is a place where machines have taken over and use humans as a power source (the heat, right?). Morpheus and Trinity want to free all the humans from The Matrix and take the world back from the machines. There’s a city of people (Zion) who have already been freed and are working on this effort as well.

Not only that, but Neo is “The Chosen One” and has the ability to manipulate the physical laws of The Matrix to suit his own needs. The other freed individuals can do some tremendous stuff this way (which is why they appear superhuman), but Neo’s a whole other story.

Okay, so while these characters are trying to free other humans, The Matrix itself has got these “defense mechanisms” - sort of like anti-virus software - called “agents” (picture the men in black that you see on X-Files or some such) that hunt down and kill freed humans running around in The Matrix. Hugo Weaving (“Agent Smith”) has a final showdown with Neo and Neo gains control of his newfound power at the last moment, defeating Agent Smith and realizing that he is the one who’s going to have to free all the humans.

There’s a lot more in the way of plot details and whatnot, but that’s the long and the short of it. I highly recommend seeing it if you haven’t.

Now, that’s the plot of the original Matrix, but what made it so spectacular?

First, the cinematography was brilliance. The whole thing was filmed like a comic book - very dramatic lighting, color filtering, and camera angles. You could hold storyboards up next to the finished product and every scene matches up perfectly. Put the storyboards in a book and you’ve got yourself a graphic novel.

Second, the philosophy. The whole thing was a discussion about the concept of reality - which is a whole other book (actually, a bunch of books). What makes something real? Is it something you hear, see, or feel? But that’s just electrical brain impulses - is that what real is? It also touched on a bit of religion with the Neo thing - they imply that there was “another man” who could shape The Matrix the way he saw fit. Jesus maybe? They never say. Regardless, they discussed the whole thing without getting too “preachy” or annoying with it. Good stuff.

So, now that we’ve talked about the first Matrix, how was Reloaded?

I wish I could say it was as good as the first one, but it really wasn’t. The story continues in this one with Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity returning to Zion (which is good, since we haven’t really seen that aspect of things yet) to find out that the machines are tunneling toward the underground city and will be there to destroy the human resistance very soon. It’s Neo’s job to figure out how to stop it. Basically.

I won’t go too much into the whole plot because frankly, I didn’t see much of one there. It was a light, fluffy, sci-fi/action film with two utterly superfluous love stories attached to it. Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity have to figure out how to stop the machines from destroying the humans. Obstacles get in the way. Panic ensues. Stuff happens. Roll credits.

Oh, and of course, this is a cliffhanger because the next Matrix film is coming in November.

So what did they do right, and where did they go wrong?

First, what they did right:

Continuing in the vein of philosophy, this movie was a discussion about free will versus destiny. Do we actually make our own choices, or does it only seem that way? If there’s a such thing as destiny, then it doesn’t matter what “choices” we make because in the end, everything’s already preordained to happen. But if it’s all destiny, then what about our own free will? That was the aim of this one, and I think they did a good job of getting that together again without being too preachy about it.

They also throw in a bit of feeling on the human “tribal mind.” People all getting together for a common purpose, feeling raw emotion together and harnessing that power. That was good.

But that’s about it. The rest was all wrong:

They didn’t maintain the same cinematography. The first Matrix was comic-book-on-film, and that was good. This one was a standard action movie. The innovation of the dramatic camera angles and whatnot just didn’t exist in this one.

The love stories were ridiculous. One (Neo and Trinity, established in the first film) was necessary but seemed a little more… animal… than it needed to be. The other, which I won’t go into, didn’t even really have a place in the story. If you had left it out, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the plot.

That’s actually how a lot of the characters were - if you left them out, it wouldn’t make a difference to the plot. Sort of like they were “placeholders” or something. There were some very interesting characters, but they just didn’t play any role. For example, the Monica Bellucci character

  • beautiful lady, but really didn’t serve any purpose. There was a German guy, Monica Bellucci’s husband, who was so extraneous that not only do I not remember his name, but the only thing I can classify him as is “an obstacle.” That’s all he was - something like a wall, just standing in the way. In the way of Neo… and in the way of the plot.

Finally, the fight choreography. All the fights in the first movie seemed fast and furious, yet still controlled. In this one… all the fights felt like they were in slow motion. There was no challenge for any character in any fight because everyone seemed to anticipate everyone else’s moves, making it less like a fight and more like a dance. Now, I thought about the fact that the moral of this movie was free will versus destiny and that the fights, with everyone anticipating the - dare I say it - destined move of their opponents, was just a way to further that idea… but then, I may be giving them too much credit, and the fights may just have been kind of bad.

All in all, I didn’t think it was as bad as people have told me it was. I’d heard enough bad reviews that my hopes had been lowered sufficiently to enjoy it for what it was. I do hope they pick it up for the third movie in the fall. What I am disappointed about is something that my friend Tim at work brought up when I was talking with him about this - that this is now a great idea that’s been done, and it was wasted on a poor execution. Very unfortunate.