Horror Movie Massacre…

I love movies. I’ve loved movies my entire life. Some of my earliest memories are of movies (my very earliest memory is of being forced to sit on the edge of a well for a smarmy family picture and being terrified of falling in. But that’s for a different post). I’ve watched movies of all types and from all eras and enjoyed them. Even my favorite TV show (Mystery Science Theater 3000) was just old movies that they talked over. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed a change… I’ve lost my patience with the horror genre.

There is absolutely nothing new in horror movies any more. I see these ads for new horror flicks and they look like every other horror flick that’s been made in the past five years. It seems to me that all film genres have continued to evolve except horror. Does anyone remember when a horror movie was tension filled and creepy instead of being nothing but cheap shocks and poor lighting?

I can’t blame my loss of interest all on the films; for every bit or ‘horror’ I experience in my life I drift farther and farther from the genre as a whole. No, I’m not complaining about my life, everyone has crappy things in their lives, I’m just saying that more crap in life means less crap I want in my escapism. That’s what movies are supposed to be, right?

But the films’ being so generic doesn’t help. Let’s take monster movies as an example; since the film Alien came out has there been a monster movie that isn’t just a variation on Alien? Alien in human form, Alien in a jungle, Alien in the sewers, Alien in a cave; but they are all just the movie Alien with a few changes. Take any of the styles of horror films now-a-days and you will find that they are all just slight variations on a theme.

Over in my favorite forums almost everyone is a horror fan and there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I feel like such a total outsider when I read the glowing reviews of the latest horror movie they’ve seen, or I’ll watch the latest trailer of Saw 24 and find myself scratching my head and wondering what the appeal is. Or worse yet; scratch my head and wondering what the hell is wrong with me that I don’t care about horror movies anymore.

But if my six year old wants to watch re-runs of Animaniacs, I’m there! As horror movies faded out animation faded in. My favorite movie of 2005? Wallace and Gromit! I laughed so hard I embarrassed my daughter.

Maybe that’s the ultimate reason for the lost of interest in horror; my daughter loves movies too and wants to watch them with me, so we choose flicks that are age appropriate. Not to say we haven’t sat down and enjoyed a Godzilla movie or two, or watched Bride of the Monster and laughed at how stupid it was, we just stay away from too much realism when we watch films together. Maybe when she is older I’ll let horror movies back into my life…

…But as long as they keep making good Pixar films I don’t think I’ll worry about it.:)

 

Published in: on July 30, 2006 at 11:57 pm  Comments (2)  

The service was “lax”-mongolica…

Customers are what keep a company in business, correct? Then losing customers with bad service is a stupid idea, correct? Then hiring ‘summer (seasonal) help’ who don’t really give a crap about the customers is an even stupider idea, correct? Then why do so many places do just that?

Wait… I’ve gotten ahead of myself…

It hasn’t been a good week; DSL woes have had me hobbled, uncertain deadlines on a project left me on edge, bad drivers with cell-phones glued to their heads have nearly hit me several times, and pain-in-the-ass teenagers acting as if the world owes them a free pass for stupid behavior have made me furious… And that fury makes me nihilistic about my fellow humans and the society we have constructed to pretend we are civilized, thoughtful, and peaceful instead of the arrogant, thoughtless, animalistic dolts who would kill each other for the most frivolous reasons given half the chance.

It was with that mindset that I walked into “The Genghis Grill” in Plano for lunch yesterday and experienced the absolute worst service of my adult life.

For those of you who don’t know “The Genghis Grill” is a Mongolian restaurant where the gimmick is that you go through a line (over and over again) selecting different types of meat, vegetables, spices, sauces, and starches and they stir fry them right before your eyes. The waitress’ job is to keep drinks filled, and bring you the bill. The rest is up to you… Could it be simpler? If there was any less for the wait staff to do it would be a self serve fast food joint.

Apparently having the easiest wait job in the world isn’t enough for the crew at “The Genghis Grill;” we waited for ten minutes for our waitress to stop chit-chatting with her friends two tables over and actually take our drink orders and when she finally got around to bringing them (another ten minutes) they were, of course, wrong. This kind of incompetent, inconsiderate neglect continued for the entire meal and beyond because this idiot couldn’t correctly run a charge-card through a machine either! To be fair though maybe her chatty friend was there on training day too and she was too engrossed in conversation to learn her job.

If I hadn’t been seeing red over the entire situation I would have laughed out loud when I saw the ‘Tip’ space on the charge slip! Can you guess what we put in that slot? Z-E-R-O! Sorry, I don’t play the compulsory tipping game; I leave what I feel the waiter or waitress earned. Usually that amount is pretty high…This is the first time it was ever a zero. This woman, evidently, felt that squeezing into a pair of jeans 2 sizes too small was all it took to earn a tip. If I wanted that kind of a waitress I would have gone to a strip-club… And I still would have gotten better service.

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Now a pause for my gratuitous Mongolian puns:

Maybe I should have used ‘Tartar’ sauce to attract the waitress over! Or ‘Tartar’ control toothpaste to keep her in line. Perhaps she screwed up the drinks because she didn’t have her Mongolian pencil. It may be that I was supposed to tip her because of her tight ‘Slacks’-Mongolica. I was so angry I could have hit her with an ‘axe’-mongolica. And I’m sure the manager’s name was ‘Max’-mongolica.

Whew, it’s good to get that out of my system.

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Anyway, the point is that despite the good food (and the overly high-brow puns) I will never return to “The Genghis Grill” and I will encourage any who will listen to avoid this place at all cost. Because bad service trumps good food every time when dining out. Now where’s the Tylenol?

 

Published in: on July 21, 2006 at 12:29 am  Comments (1)  

Fair weather politics….

There are some things that I just can’t tolerate… number one on that list is hypocrisy.

Israel and the U.S. have been allies for decades and every presidential administration, regardless of political party, has supported that alliance in some form. But now when the most unpopular president in history supports that ally it is treated like a mistake.

I hate being put in a position of defending Bush (for obvious reasons), but he is simply trying to support an ally. Why is that a bad thing now when it wasn’t a bad thing before Bush was president? Newspapers all over the nation are implying that he is doing the wrong thing by being patient with our ally, our European allies are abandoning us on this issue, and the talking heads on television (who thrive on misery and deceit anyway) are loving every second of it like the bloodsuckers they are.

This is another example of people all over the world not being able to separate the president from the country. Israel is an American ally not a Bush ally, but because Bush is almost universally seen as a shmuck it somehow makes it ok to give our ally the shaft. Is playing fair weather politics with our allies in their time of crisis really a good idea? By that rationale we should have let France rot under German occupation during WWII just because the Vichy Government ticked us off.

Supporting our allies in a time of need is the right thing to do whether it’s Bush, Clinton, Bush SR., Reagan, Carter, or Gomer freakin’ Pyle who happens to sit in the White House.

Published in: on July 14, 2006 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where did the time go?

I remember I used to experience a slowdown during the summer… I don’t mean a work slowdown or a drop off in life events, just a more laid back feeling; a sort of blase’, ‘no rush’ kind of feeling in the things that did occur. This is probably because as a kid I had summers off from school and it always seemed that there was time enough for anything. Summers seemed to last forever and school was a million years away… Time crawls slow for a kid.

Time flies as an adult… So fast it seems that moments of your life fly-by like leaves in an autumn breeze. You want to reach out and grab a hold of them, savor them, but time isn’t on your side. Too many things to do, too many commitments to fulfill, too many ‘projects that must be completed on time.’ And then time runs out when you least expect it…

I watch my daughter experience “slow time” and I wish there was a way I could tell her to enjoy it while she can without making her think that adulthood is one big drag… It is one big drag, but why depress her now? You know why it’s one big drag? Because adults lose their ‘slow time.’ The older you get the faster time seems to fly, and the faster time flies the older you get. Eventually you find yourself looking back over your life and wondering how the hell you flew through 15 or 20 years without even realizing it.

A lot of schools are toying around with eliminating summer breaks… Which means that kids will start losing their ‘slow time’ sooner and will more quickly become demoralized, depersonalized, drones of the ever-growing, ever-grinding machine that we call daily life. Is this really a good idea? Nervous breakdowns, mid-life crisis’ starting in the mid twenties, and high suicide rates are the sad direction this path will lead.

I would prefer the other route myself; requiring adults to take two months off a year. Not all at the same time, mind you, but two full consecutive months away from schedules, deadlines, commitments, cell phones, or business suits. If you want extra work during that time you can deliver papers, mow lawn, rake leaves, what-have-you; but the rest of the time you have to relax, play a game, join a neighborhood baseball team, go fishing, go camping, collect bugs (fire-flies were my favorite)…Whatever it takes to regain your ‘slow time.’

I bet folks would live longer happier lives… I know I would.

Published in: on July 10, 2006 at 5:46 am  Leave a Comment  

The third or the fourth (on the seventh)

The Declaration of Independence was signed on the 3rd of July and Thomas Jefferson said ‘Let the bells ring out on this day.’ So why do we celebrate the 4th of July? The 4th was the day that the document was sent to the last few signers for their signature (a formality at that point) and was eventually adopted as the holiday — even though our Independence wasn’t won until 1779.

So now on the 4th of July we gather our families together, cook outside, set off small explosives, watch large pyrotechnic displays, and annoy the heck out of other countries who could care less about an American holiday. Or in my case drag the entire gathered family to the movies to see Superman Returns…What better way to celebrate American Independence then seeing the return of an American hero who stands for “truth, justice, and the American way?” Unfortunately, while I loved the movie, that phrase was changed to “…truth, justice, and all that stuff…” It’s a sad commentary on the state of the union when our own heroic icon has to be distanced from the word “American.”

When did national pride become a bad thing? Have so many people been brainwashed by their high school civics teachers that they cannot separate the presidency from the country itself? America has a rich history that is entirely separate from whatever rich, white guy holds the office of the presidency at any given time, and while I may not like the choices that an individual president makes it in no way diminishes my love of my country or what it stands for. The presidency is an elected office, not the nation itself, so regardless of whether that office is held by a cowboy, a horny hillbilly, an actor, or a peanut farmer it shouldn’t diminish the pride that we the people should feel for our nation; The United States of America.

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 5:02 pm  Comments (2)