there’s no accounting for taste

years ago, i realized that even my closest friends who i respect the most may hate the stuff i love, and vice versa. it was mind-blowing when i learned this little nugget. i remember it well. my pal justin, who played in a band i adored and wrote a lot of amazing music, told me about a few different bands to check out that he himself adored. i did…and hated them. i couldn’t believe it. i wondered how justin, such an inspired artist himself, could be so into such trite shit.

the same thing then happened with a few other good pals in the years following. chris, gerod, i forget who else. they all recommended stuff or loaned me CD’s that i usually didn’t like much at all, and sometimes downright despised. the kicker for me was realizing that they probably felt the same way about the stuff i recommended to them — the same music and films that drove me to tears of joy were likely just annoying or bland to those gents. that was hard to believe at first but i knew it must be true so i accepted it.

i have thought about this regularly since then. it’s an important lesson for me because i tend to either love or hate things — there’s not a lot i feel indifferent to — so i have had to accept that not everyone shares my polarized opinions, or even cares at all about some of the inane shit that can keep me up at night.

enter ben and the police’s ghost in the machine. i wrote about my deep love for ghost in the machine many years ago here, back when i first got into blogging, and after getting fired up about the album again last week, i implored ben to read the post. he did, and he gave the album a fair shake. now, i love ben to death and respect him like mad, but he just sent me an email that included a spreadsheet which illuminated how he thought almost half of ghost in the machine was, in his words, “bad.” just like when justin recommended some crappy, sub-par metal record to me in glowing terms, ben just couldn’t see the magic in that record that i do.

even after all this time and knowing this lesson all too well, i still can’t help but balk when a good friend doesn’t see eye to eye with me on something that, for lack of a less cheesy term, touches my spirit. it’s nuts.

but it’s also only fair. i can’t get behind sigh, no matter how much ben wants me to. what goes around comes around, i suppose.

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it 2017

i watched the new IT film at the duncan caprice movie theater last night. it was quite an experience so i wanted to write it down here to capture all my various thoughts on.

first, the theater. i’ve only been there once that i can remember in the last, ooooh, 15 or 20 years, and it was positively dead in there that last time i went. i think there were a dozen people that night. but last night — tuesday, aka cheap night — the place was PACKED. the line was almost around the block, like i remember from going to movies as a little kid. it was almost nice to see such a classic sight except for the fact that 99% of the people in line were duncan’s lowest mutants. what a collection of underbites, acne-faced and horny teens, skull sweaters, and all other manners of freaks.

the line moved notoriously slowly. when we arrived, we were just outside the door but it took a half hour for us to get in and get seated. there were only maybe 15 people ahead of us in line so they must have had their ‘B’ team on last night. among the staff was a skinny, 60-yr old, leather-faced, bandana-wearing biker/welder, and a baby-faced, early 20’s, 6’5″ overweight fella who wore surgical gloves with all of the fingertips cut off and was stressed to the tits, sweating like a pig. it seemed like this tubby gent was the one running the show. the young woman who served dana and i must have been brand new because she had no idea what she was doing, but she was very nice so i didn’t mind her at all.

the signs for the snacks were incredibly shitty. the stock popcorn and coke images were just slightly different on each sign, sometimes positioned poorly so one obscured the other. the generic candy bar on the sign had a wrapper that only said ‘chocolate.’ and these appeared to be professionally made signs, specially made for that particular sign holder. it was so lousy that we were incredulous.

the decor of the theater is amazing. nothing has changed since i was a kid. so many oranges and yellows and reds. painted bricks, gross carpeting. fantastic.

on to the movie: believe it or not, i liked it! it certainly wasn’t a great, substantial film like the exorcist or blade runner but i thought it was fun and entertaining. i was surprised by and liked all the gore, and finn wolfhard stole the show with his performance. i also liked how the local bad kid, henry, was made to appear more mentally unstable than in the original IT in 1990. that makes more sense with him being institutionalized in the ‘adult’ portion of the film. i liked some of the sound effects, and i liked how pennywise’s blood floated. that was a small detail but i thought it looked neat, kind of dream-like.

but what didn’t i like, you ask. well, let me tell you.

  • the new pennywise the clown. that was pathetic. i’m so sick of this ‘face down/eyes up/”this is my creepy look” aesthetic, and pairing it with a clown is just even more typical. the thing that made tim curry so great as pennywise was that he managed to be creepy without acting creepy. he spent a lot of time in the original just being a legit clown but somehow made that scary, and that was special. the shit i saw last night tried way too hard and failed miserably.
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if you look up pics of bill skarsgard’s pennywise, he has this STUPID FUCKING LOOK ON HIS FACE IN EVERY SINGLE PICTURE, EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT SCARY AT ALL. besides that, what murderous person would make such a face, and why? it’s absurd.

  • period incorrect lingo. the film is supposed to be set in 1988 but early on, we hear the boys say “best…feeling…ever” while dumping their school books into the trash. but no one started using that lame, overdone line until well into the 2000’s. it’s a millennial thing, obv. the rest of the film was pretty accurate with it’s 80’s details but that one really pissed me off. what bothers me even more is that the film makers may have been aware of all this but used it anyway since it would allow the film to connect with a younger market. god damn it, how artless. i remember the stranger things tv show suffered from this very same problem.
  • mean parents. all the parents we were introduced to in the new IT were over-the-top mean, like so mean it was ridiculous. it was totally unbelievable and unnecessary. what was the point of that, to make all adults seem bad? why?
  • CGI special effects. not much needs to be said about this beyond the fact that despite many years and technological advances, CGI still looks like shit. if this movie really wanted to be a throwback, retro affair, it should have gone with old-fashioned special effects. you know, the shit that actually looks cool.
  • incidental music. i hate when films and tv shows insert popular songs to try to heighten a certain feeling in a scene. it’s a ham-fisted film technique. most notably in the new IT was the use of anthrax’s antisocial during the rock fight and the cure’s 6 different ways during the bathroom cleanup. in the former, it’s supposed to increase the raucous roughness to the scene. in the latter, it’s supposed to increase the awkward feelings of childhood friendship and crushes. both were totally unnecessary, those scenes would have been better without the songs. i’m not so stupid that i need really loud music to help me figure out what i should be feeling during a scene.

i think that’s most of my thoughts on the new IT. however, i want to point out that despite all the gore, murder, violence, incest and child abuse, the movie is only rated 14A. i thought that was crazy. dana said out that if there were any tits in the flick, it would suddenly be rated R. i think he’s right, and i think that’s so fucked up. our culture has such a twisted, backwards relationship with sex to think it’s worse than a father abusing his daughter, or a son stabbing his dad in the neck — both of which we saw in IT last night. god, humans are stupid and fucked up.

but like i said earlier, i actually liked the film. if it only tim curry had reprised his role as pennywise — if we could basically have the 1990 pennywise in the 2017 film — i think the new IT could have been something special. oh well. at least it’s not a complete write-off, i suppose.

tough swallow

a while ago on here, i wrote about how people get weirder and weirder as we get older. we get more opinionated and more set in our ways, and that makes us more annoying to other people. i know that this has happened to me, and i don’t like it — i want to keep all my old friends, despite my extreme views on humanity and politics and business and movies and how to fold socks and everything else. i’ve learned that these views sometimes make me unbearable to even my old pals so i try to tone some of that stuff down when i’m hanging out with chums who i know feel differently about contentious topics, or have zero interest in hearing me yammer on about them. i don’t know how well i’m doing but considering no one has cut me off completely yet, i suppose it’s going alright.

but sometimes i meet people who remind me of myself in this way — people i see a lot of value in, people who i like, but also people that i see that overly opinionated, stubborn quality in. i have a soft spot for them not only because i relate but also because i generally like opinionated people more. it sets them apart in a sea of boring, stupid, status quo-seeking braindead idiots. but i worry that these interesting people don’t realize how difficult it can make them to spend time with, that this is part of the reason they don’t have more friends.

it makes me sad for them. i hope other opinionated people are aware of all this and are making the conscious choice to stay true to their convictions at the cost of being hard for most other folks to get along with.

or maybe i’m just assuming that those people are as annoying as i am in an attempt to make myself feel better about alienating myself.

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is it me? or is it everyone else?
OR IS IT ALL OF US?

wise guy

a few weeks ago, jenn and i went camping in strathcona park. we had a great time. one of the most notable details of the trip were the words i heard coming out of the mouth of a young boy. he was probably 8 or 9, i figure. he was walking to the bathroom with his dad when he said these four sentences.

“there are wars still going on right now.

it’s weird.

i wonder when it will all end.

probably when the sun blows up.”

his delivery was great too. he was somewhat interested in and amused by what he was talking about but he was clearly not trying to get a rise out of his dad or anything like that. it was more like he was thinking out loud and almost chuckling at the absurdity of life. it was really funny, sad, and impressive. what a precocious child.

his dad didn’t say a word. he just trudged along next to the kid. i wondered what he thought, if he was used to the kid talking this way and bored of it, or if this particular tangent wow’d him the way it wow’d me. probably the former.

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“i wish he’d talk about normal kid things for once.”

so many bad dreams

my mind has been on a real roll lately. two nights ago, i had two nightmares. the first was that jenn and i suddenly realized that our house was actually a very dilapidated, rotten, rat-infested log cabin. i pulled back some blankets that were hanging on the wall and found a massive rats nest full of hay, dust bunnies, and chunks of chewed foam. then i noticed that the logs that made up the walls were so damp and rotted that i could poke my finger right into the wood. i was disgusted, and bewildered as to how we could be so stupid as to have bought a complete piece of shit.

the second nightmare was that jenn and i were up in the arctic with some sort of outdoorsy, expedition-type people. it was dark. then a giant yeti attacked. it was at least 10 ft tall and effortlessly tossed members of our crew around. that’s about as far as that dream got. that one really surprises me because i have zero interest in yetis, bigfoots, or sasquatches, and have never found them remotely scary. i wonder why my mind picked that, and why i suddenly found it frightening.

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almost as boring as me recounting my dreams

after those, i was really looking forward to last night’s sleep but it was just as bad. i had a dream that i was getting married to someone — i don’t know who it was but i know it wasn’t jenn — and i had huge misgivings about it. i didn’t want to do it but felt like it was too late to pull the plug. then i noticed that my dick was hanging out of my suit pants. i was so embarrassed. i put it back in but moments later, there it was, out in the breeze again. i couldn’t believe it. i wound up borrowing someone’s spandex bicycling shorts and wore those with my shirt and suit jacket for the rest of the wedding. it looked almost as ridiculous as letting my dick hang out.

then i had another suit-related dream. i dreamed that i got my suit pants back from the dry cleaner but the silver checkered pattern had somehow partially worn off in the cleaning process. my expensive new suit now looked like a total piece of shit. the odd parts were that i wasn’t really that upset even though the suit cost almost $1000, and that in that dream, i thought a dark blue with painted-on silver checkers was an attractive suit.

tonight i’m going to try to direct my dreams in a happier direction before i go to sleep. i want some easy, pleasant adventures now. wish me luck.

no, you don’t

i think one of the most obvious red flags that a salesperson is totally bullshitting you is when they tell you they actually own one of the very item they are trying to sell you, and that they love it. i first noticed this red flag when i was a teen or in my early 20’s, buying jeans from a hip shop in victoria. the salesperson there was trying to convince me to buy a particular pair of overpriced jeans, said they had the same pair at home, and they were soooo comfy, and they wore them all the time, and they were their FAVOURITE jeans. even that first time i heard this approach, i thought there was something a little weird about what they were saying. they appeared exceptionally enthusiastic but didn’t offer any specific details about the item — all their glowing comments were quite general and could be applied to any old pair of jeans. if they really had them and loved them so much, why weren’t they telling me about how those jeans hugged their upper thighs and had a nice, slight flare?

because they were lying through their fucking teeth, that’s why.

i didn’t end up buying those jeans after all, and i’m very glad about that because it wasn’t long until i heard some other scam artist salesperson use the same approach, at which point i realized it was a routine sales pitch. now, whenever i hear someone attempt to sell me some crap with this technique, i usually run away screaming.

but the other day, i was surprised to encounter this very approach in a place i didn’t expect it: the local veterinary clinic. our vet, who i normally like quite a bit, suggested that i try feeding our dog some hill’s prescription dog food in order to help with her recovery from an ACL injury. i took a look at the ingredient list of the food and thought, “this doesn’t look like a high quality food.” then the vet used the dreaded line:

“i give it to my dog for his arthritis and it works great.”

my heart sunk. even the vet, the person we trust with our dog’s health and well-being, was lying to my god damn face because she gets a kickback from hill’s for selling their ‘exclusive vet food line.’ how thoroughly disappointing. i have since looked up reviews of hill’s prescription pet food and found mountains of complaints about it. i also double checked the ingredient list and confirmed that there is absolutely nothing ‘prescription’ about — it’s just low quality ingredients (a ton of grains, “chicken byproduct meal,” whatever that actually is, and some pork fat — just what every injured dog needs) and a smattering of vitamins and supplements.

of course, exclusive vet food doesn’t come cheap. it was $135 per 12.5 kg bag — almost double what actual high quality dog foods sell for.

i’m not going to write my vet off just yet because she has been very good to us over the years, but this is a big strike against her so i will remember it. i will, however, completely write off hill’s and their bullshit food. what a horrible, unscrupulous scam.

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do not buy this junk

huh. i veered way off topic here. i started with complaining about lame sales pitches, and ended up hating on a terrible dog food. well, two birds with one stone, i suppose. always look on the bright side, i say.

a short revisiting to the art of conversation

when i was in my early 20’s, i made the startling realization that when i complimented girls, it was generally well-received. through this, i learned it was actually very easy to open a conversation and flirt with them. i went pretty nuts with it for a few years, learning and enjoying the art of conversation, flirting like crazy, and feeling like a real casanova in the process.

it eventually got old. i got tired of the energy required to be attentive and socially ‘on.’ i got out of the habit of being exceptionally social, friendly, and flirty, and recoiled into the loathsome, solitary pit of darkness i currently occupy (and quite happily, thank you very much).

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“fuck being social.”

then the other day, a strange thing happened.

i was at the dry cleaner, being helped by a pretty woman about my age. she had great orange hair with lovely curls. it crossed my mind to compliment her on her hair, but i initially decided against it out of habit. then i thought, “that’s dumb.” i don’t think people are as forthcoming as they could and should be with compliments, and this woman really did have great hair but probably didn’t hear it often enough, so i went for it and told her it looked great. it was amazing to see the effect this had on her. she was pleased, surprised, a little embarrassed — she positively swooned. at this, i felt the maddening thrill of wielding such power once again.

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“wither before my mere words, mortal! hahaha!”

i had forgotten just how much a compliment means to some people, how good it feels to give that pleasure to someone, and how charming it makes me feel when i create such a situation so easily. it’s all really quite disgusting.

i’m not interested in diving back into the games of flirting and subtly directing conversations — for me, they were but means to an end which i achieved years ago, plus i’m too lazy to be bothered with it again, plus my already bloated ego doesn’t require any more googly eyes from powerless damsels hypnotized by my spells — but after so many years on the bench, it was exciting to see that i can still talk good words ok when me want to.