I’ve never gone “WOOOOOOOO” in my life, and can’t imagine I ever will.

Jenn just watched a reality show where the people shouted something altogether like, “we’re going to VEGAAAAASSSS, WOOOOOOOO!” It made me consider the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever gone wooooooo in my entire life, and how I think doing so is disingenuous as all hell.

It’s kind of like how we learn to say ‘ow’ when we hurt ourselves — that’s not the sound we would naturally make if left to grow up in the wild, but we are raised hearing it in that situation so it becomes our learned response. We say it without thinking about it.

Woooooo is kind of like that in that it is our learned response to fun or exciting things. However, I don’t think anyone says it without thinking about it because every time I hear it, it sounds stiff, unnatural, forced. It’s like I can hear the glacially slow thought process in their head: “that’s good news. I should be excited. Is it ok to raise my voice here, should I go woooooo? Of course I should, everyone loves woooooooo.”

This aspect is what makes ‘ow’ acceptable and wooooooo unacceptable to me. I mean, if you have to think about your spontaneous, excited reaction, it’s neither spontaneous or excited. It’s calculated and contrived. That’s fucked up and phony. It’s also insipidly childish — what adult would pretend to react to anything with such an exaggerated, showy display?

Answer: only the most intolerable ones.

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I don’t know what show this is from but it captures exactly what people do, and exactly what I hate about it.

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I suck at installing gutters.

Over the last several days, I’ve gone through the agonizing process of watching youtube videos on how to splice lengths of gutters together and how to install them, driving to the hardware store to get all the shit, strapping it to my car, bringing it home and putting the gutters together, realizing that some of the pieces I bought wouldn’t work for my application, strapping the stuff back onto my car and taking them back to the hardware store and having to jump through fucking hoops to return them and get the correct stuff, strapping more stuff to my car and bringing it home, only to have the 40 ft length of gutter pop all of its rivets out, twist itself into a pretzel, and fold its arms right down to the dirt when I tried to install it.

I could tolerate the process up until today’s anticlimax but there was so much buildup and the failure was so abysmal and costly that it was all I could take. After trying to problem solve it and look up more tips online on installing gutters, I finally decided to pull the plug on the project. I called several professionals and am now waiting for their estimates on the job.

It’s not often I collect multiple estimates on a job, and it occurs to me now how important it is to do it even though it’s fucking annoying. Beyond getting a feel for which of the lucky contestants know their trade, I also think it helps keep them honest. If an unscrupulous professional knows you’ll be talking to other pros, they’re less likely to quote you something outrageous since it will be obvious they’re trying to fuck you over.

But man, one of the clowns I talked to today already has a big strike against him. He asked me when I needed the gutters done, I said I’m not in a hurry, and he said “some time before the rain starts? Hahahahahaha!” He actually laughed as if he’d never used that line before in his life, even though I’m sure he uses it multiple times per day. Stupid line + acting like he never used it before + big fake laugh = a habitual liar. Big red flag. I wonder if the other gutter pricks will be any better.

To prevent myself from jumping off a bridge after this disappointing and frustrating day, I decided to tackle a job I knew I could successfully complete. So on the bright side, I finally got around to installing new rear speakers in my car. No more annoying buzzing from back there, yippeeeee. Always look on the bright side of life.

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I suppose today could have gone worse.

annoyed with phony losers

I came across this video. I hate it.

I hate it because all of the people in it look like fucking losers. But they don’t look like losers because they are hippies — they look like losers because they seem like they are trying too hard to be hippies. I mean, the guy’s sparse and scraggly beard, greasy hair, hideous sweater…the first girl looks like a normal human at first glance…the second girl is also wearing a hideous sweater, and a ridiculous haircut reminiscent of Spike from the original Degrassi Junior High series:

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Except that it looked genuine and kind of cool on Spike.

So the rag-tag gang in the video wasn’t off to a good start with their lousy fashion sense, but this is what really enrages me: at 1:40 of the vid, the first girl takes a few slugs of the spring water she and her friends are so into. The guy asks her how it tastes — a stupid question since water doesn’t have any taste — and she shakes her head briefly, as if it’s so good that you’d have to taste this water for yourself to truly understand how incredibly delicious it is. Then she responds like any good hippie would: “like heaven.” The guy chortles a “huh huh huh” in typical stoner fashion. The trio then proceeds to fill about 100 water jugs with the stuff, as if this is the elixir of life, as if no other water can compare to it.

This makes me sick. Nobody is this into water, because the only people that act like this about it are people who are trying to be something they aren’t, people who are uncomfortable in their own skin, people who have bought into a stereotype. Their behaviour is just as ridiculous and disingenuous as a metal head wearing sunglasses in a grocery store, giving the devil horns and saying “rock on” to the cashier as he leaves. It’s juvenile, childish, pitiful. These wannabe hippies are slightly less obvious than the metal head example but make no mistake, they are the same lost souls, grasping desperately for an identity.

People are pathetic.

As if that wasn’t enough, when I clicked to see what other lame videos the uploader had posted to youtube, I saw that the long-haired gent in the video has also made a bunch of dumb vids on ayahuasca retreats, searching for your passion, living life with less rules, and water fasting — all complete bullshit. Wow. It’s funny because I was just chatting with someone about how annoying it is when people talk about doing ayahuasca as if they’re not just doing drugs — let’s call a spade a spade, you’re going to the woods or desert to do drugs. That’s fine, there’s no shame in that. At least, not until you get all pompous about it and act like it’s actually a very important spiritual journey. Do that and your drug retreat suddenly becomes really fucking stupid.

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I want to take videos of people when they’re super high on drugs so that they can watch them after they sober up. Maybe when they see how gross they are and hear the ludicrous, nonsensical shit they say when they’re high, they’ll have a more accurate assessment of their experience.

Worthy of note is that I have drank the water from the spring featured in the video that sparked this rant. I can say from experience it tastes completely neutral — zero taste. Which is good, because that’s how water is supposed to taste, but would I call that “heavenly”? I don’t think I ever would. I think that’s a silly adjective for such a thing.

get real

i think people who live their lives as caricatures are goofy idiots who are inadvertently painting a stupid, unrealistic picture of their whole culture.

for example: 10 years ago, my pal lindsay had a good friend who was a gay man. he was doing online dating on plentyoffish.com at the time. i was also dating on POF (women though, mind you) so lindsay suggested i look up his profile. i said, “yeah, neat. maybe i’ll see hi to your pal.” i switched my POF search parameters to ‘men seeking men,’ and was absolutely shocked by what i saw — all the gay men were not flamboyant, fabulous, limp-wristed queens. 

on the contrary, they were all just normal-looking guys. they looked like any guy i see walking down any street, in any place, at any time. i realized then that gay men are just normal guys too, and that it was asinine that i previously believed i could pick a gay man out of a lineup.

not that i don’t see the stereotypical gay man every now and then too. they certainly exist. but are they being themselves? maybe a few are, but i think the vast majority are just playing a ridiculous role, and i’m not sure why. probably because that’s how gay men are portrayed in films and tv, and some insecure people want to belong to whatever club they can, even if it’s childish and lame. so they start copying the classic hollywood gay man tropes. that’s my bet.

but this concept of people moulding themselves after an image isn’t limited to gay men, of course. it applies to every person who lacks confidence and a sense of personal identity. i mean, military people don’t need to be strict, harsh pricks outside of work. artists don’t need to be gentle, overly sensitive pussycats. jocks don’t need to be beer-swilling boneheads. you get the idea: no one needs to be any stereotype.

but that isn’t what bothers me the most about this topic. what bothers me the most is that by buying into stereotypes and playing those roles, these people are perpetuating myths and misconceptions about whatever group they are associated with. they feed the commonly held belief that a person can be defined by a single aspect, that those people are crude, one-dimensional characters. that’s a real disservice to not only themselves but everyone else who shares that particular aspect with them. it’s a fucking shame that they think they’re being “loud and proud” when they’re really just selling themselves and a lot of other people short.

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get multidimensional, man

how to win an oscar, aka why i didn’t like ’12 years a slave’

jenn and i just watched 12 years a slave the other day. i know i’m 3 years late to the party but that’s beside the point. what i want to say is that it’s a crazy, nightmarish story and it’s hard to believe that such atrocities were ever widely accepted here. it’s eye-opening stuff.

but i think the film itself sucked. not because some of the acting was garbage, and not because i got really tired of the overuse of super long, largely static, ‘this is going to disturb you’ shots, but because the film took an extremely serious, weighty story and turned it into a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story.

how does one make a one-dimensional, easy to market, typical hollywood story?

  1. establish main character as strong, faultless, morally sound, devout family man/woman in a simple but pleasant living situation.
  2. inflict cruel injustices upon main character, eg kill their family, separate them from their family, convict them of a crime they didn’t commit, enslave them, etc.
  3. tempt main character to break their strong moral code but have them rise above the temptation and continue on with their dignity and values still intact, head held high.
  4. allow main character some kind of quiet or proud redemption.

ta daaaa, that’s it. now flesh it out with some details and sit back and rake in the phony awards for your mantelpiece.

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you know you’ve made a tawdry piece of shit when a bunch of professional critics are falling over themselves to suck your dick.

12 years a slave hits on all those things i just listed. so does gladiator. so does braveheart. and guess what, they won a bunch of academy awards too. so it’s no surprise that soulless film makers keep coming back to a formula that is proven to illicit tears and make people proclaim it “the best movie of the year.” why make something original when you can make something successful?

needless to say, that formula is hollywood cookie cutter shit, fairy tale shit. real people aren’t flawless heroes or perversely evil villains. real people are somewhere between those extremes. but if you want an old-fashioned hollywood tearjerker you need to simplify characters into good/evil, right/wrong terms so that it’s really easy to root for one person to win, and the other to lose — no shades of grey, nothing that might confuse the bovine audience.

for example, 12 years a slave implied that northup was steadfastly devout to his wife the whole time he was enslaved. i think that’s absurd. even if he personally maintained it was the truth, i wouldn’t believe him. i think that in 12 years, trapped in a world where sex would be one of the very few pleasures you could attain, i would bet my balls that 99.9% of even the most morally sound people would end up fucking a few other people. suggesting northup was some kind of moral superman who never even considered something like that was just plain dumb to me. but that’s what the dummies want to see — the perfect man.

the other characters were similarly bone simple. edwin epps was cruel and evil without a good bone in his body. samuel bass (the little we saw of him anyway) was confident and virtuous. well, that certainly makes it easy to tell who to cheer for.

fuck off. disney-style villains and heroes in a story based on real, horrific events. that’s insulting. it carefully, intentionally turns a true travesty into a marketable product that fits the tried and true formula. i don’t like that.

but shit, thinking about it now, that sums up an awful lot of big, ‘loosely based on historical event’ films.

oh well. i don’t like them either.

stephen king fucked up: the 1997 remake of the shining is a piece of shit and everyone who says otherwise is a delusional idiot

dana and i just finished watching stephen king’s 1997 remake of the shining. i say with absolutely no irony or exaggeration that it was a foul fucking piece of shit in every way possible.

what were we thinking? we were curious, mainly. we knew it would probably be pretty bad, like most film adaptations of king’s books, but we wanted to see exactly what king had envisioned, what he wanted to do differently from kubrick and his classic 1980 version film, what king thought he could do better.

nothing was better. everything was worse. it was so laughably cheap and terrible, from the start to the finish…4 and 1/2 hours later. yep, king’s piece of crap is an epic piece of crap.

here’s what was so fucking awful i had to blog about it.

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that mouth. yuck.

  • all the actors sucked. the guy from wings, the kid with the gross and horribly distracting weirdly-shaped mouth, the black guy, the hotel ghosts…all d-grade performances. rebecca de mornay was the only decent one.
  • weird, super bright colours. everything in the film had this strange look, like it was fake, because all the colours were so bright. sort of like when you could turn the contrast up so far on old tv’s that the colours would start to bleed into each other and distort. they were almost that bright, and it looked stupid.
  • CHEAP special effects. the CGI was god awful but what was even worse was the non-CGI stuff, like when jack is being stalked by the hedge animals. it just goes back and forth between shots of jack panicking and still-shots of hedge animals with some bear and lion growls added in. no joke. my pal rid saw this on tv when he was like 10 and said he thought it was stupid even back then.
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yikes!

  • the evil ghosts are inept. at the end of the movie, both jack AND the ghosts have forgotten to release the pressure on the boiler. give me a break. oh no, that means the ghost’s precious home is about to be blown up! so the ghosts get upset and start squabbling and try to open the pressure relief valve themselves, but they can’t! because they’re ghosts and their hands go right through the valve handle!! what a fucking joke. bumbling ghosts aren’t scary.
  • a croquet mallet instead of an axe? jack’s weapon of choice throughout the movie is a croquet mallet, not an axe like in the kubrick film. i haven’t read the book (i tried years ago but quit because it came off like it was written for 12-yr old kids) but the croquet mallet is certainly a lot less menacing. it’s even comical, stupid-looking.
  • “pup.” again, i don’t know if this was in the book or if it was changed for the sake of making a PG tv miniseries but it doesn’t really matter because no matter what, when the ‘wings’ guy is supposed to be really fired up and angry at his son and shouts half-heartedly that he’s a “young pup,” it just sounds stupid. furious men don’t shout ‘pup.’
  • shitty ‘scary’ lighting. everything that is supposed to be scary in this piece of crap automatically gets a green light bulb placed over it. it reminds me of shitty haunted houses where they make you put your hand in bowls of spaghetti noodles and peeled grapes and say, “these are brains, and these are eyeballs.” fuck off. only 5-yr olds might think green lights are creepy. you can see an example of the scary green light in the pic above.
  • super, super corny happy ending. i hate super happy endings, especially in movies that are scary or disturbing since it totally ruins the bad feelings you’ve been building up for the last hour and a half, but it’s sort of fitting here — the childishly scary show gets a childishly happy ending. and the whole “kissin’, kissin’, that’s what i’ve been missin'” recurring line is fucking gross and annoying. what a perfectly dreadful way to end a perfectly dreadful 4.5 hr slog of a film.

for those reasons, i think the miniseries version of the shining is straight up garbage. but what makes all of this even worse is that stephen king not only likes it, but thinks it’s infinitely superior to kubrick’s version.

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king is an idiot.

king doesn’t think kubrick focused enough on jack’s alcoholism and the disintegration of the family’s relationship. he thinks shelley duvall “just screamed and acted stupid” in kubrick’s version. he thinks kubrick downplayed the supernatural elements of the story and played up the psychological ones. he thinks that because kubrick himself was an atheist, he couldn’t make a film about about ghosts that was scary or believable.

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king’s preferred version of the shining

that’s all asinine horseshit. i think kubrick did a fantastic job of balancing jack’s alcoholism, the disintegration of the family, and both the psychological and supernatural elements in the film. king’s problem is that he’s a ham-fisted dunce who likes his films to be like kids’ colouring books with really thick, clear lines so that even fucking dummies can understand exactly what king intended. he wants to beat you over the head with each theme. he has no understanding of subtlety, tastefulness, balance, etc.

as for duvall’s performance, i guess it was very different from what king had written in his book (if rebecca de mornay’s version of wendy is any indication) but i certainly don’t think she portrays wendy as simply a screaming, stupid woman. i think her character is complex and believable — she’s a loving mother and partner, submissive, terribly nervous of rocking jack’s boat (and rightfully so considering his history of alcoholism and physical abuse), but ultimately unable to allow him to destroy her and danny. i think that’s probably pretty accurate for a lot of people who are partners with abusive alcoholics. in fact, i find that more believable than du mornay’s version of wendy, letting jack act like a psycho and toss her around without ever telling him, “you’re a violent freak, danny and i are leaving.” that response would be much more consistent with du mornay’s strong, reasonable character. but king is a dummy so he missed that inconsistency.

king’s criticism that kubrick couldn’t make a scary supernatural film because he didn’t believe in scary supernatural stuff is an interesting one. it’s a neat idea and somewhat intellectual, but it’s still complete bullshit. there is TONS of scary — legitimately scary, not ‘green lightbulb’ scary — supernatural stuff in kubrick’s version of the shining: the elevators releasing torrents of blood, the weird ghost twins, the woman in room 237, the unexplained men in the bedroom (one in an animal costume)…once again, king seems discontent with kubrick’s version of scary and would prefer more goofy shit like people wearing sheets jumping out and shouting BOO. king wants stupid simple scares, and plenty of em, and loathes anything remotely cerebral or legitimately scary.

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anyone who claims this scene wasn’t scary is a liar

you know, maybe the reason king claims kubrick’s version stinks and isn’t scary is actually because king finds it terrifying. maybe his pride can’t bear to admit that kubrick made something infinitely darker and more sinister than king could have, and rather than say “well done sir, you took my crappy book and made it into a fantastic film. i owe you a beer,” he prefers to act too cool and say, “nah it’s not scary. it’s not true to my original vision. he totally changed stuff. mine was better.” i honestly can’t see any other way that someone could claim the tv miniseries version is better than kubrick’s. it’s that ridiculous to me.

FURTHERMORE, some of the positive reviews for the miniseries version are absolutely jam-packed full of shit. entertainment weekly said

“There’s a deep, rich creepiness suffusing Stephen King’s The Shining that makes this miniseries the most frightening TV movie ever made.”

and variety said

“At six hours, its slowness is carefully calculated; the edge-of-your-seat creepiness unfolds with a languid believability that will rope in viewers early and hold them. This mini earns its massive length, using every minute to paint a picture of surprising emotional complexity and depth.”

FUCK YOUUUUUUUUU

these dick-sucking, uber positive reviews of something that is clearly garbage only further my belief that many professional critics are actually just writers being paid by the companies behind the film to pump it up. there is no way that anyone on earth actually feels like that about such a wretched diarrhea shit of a tv miniseries.

oh, and it got a bunch of awards too, for best makeup, best miniseries, blah blah blah. but i’ve already bitched about how awards shows are the same kind of dick-sucking industry blowhard bullshit as the above reviews.

go fuck yourself, hollywood. and stephen king. you’re all disastrous lunatics. the miniseries version of the shining eats my shit, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

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i sacrificed 4.5 hrs of my life so that others wouldn’t have to.

vulnerable

there is an old technique to aid in public speaking where you picture your audience in their underwear or something like that so that you feel more comfortable in front of them. i don’t need it for public speaking but i do like doing a variation of it pretty frequently, just to remind me that even the most snooty, lofty, clean cut, arrogant motherfuckers are as base and vile as the rest of us.

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despite what you or this guy or anyone else thinks of him, he is just as gross as anybody else. allow me to explain why.

my variation on the ‘naked audience’ technique goes like this: i don’t just like to picture them naked. i like to picture them at their lowest moments of humanity, doing shit they regret or wish no one else knew about. like snorting cocaine at a party while their kids sleep at home. cheating on their spouses. going through messy divorces that involve screaming phone calls. having the police called to their homes for domestic violence. lying to themselves that they really are happy with their family and career. the shame they feel each time they remember they will have herpes for the rest of their life. secretly seeing a therapist to help deal with their depression and suicidal thoughts. looking in the mirror and hating how their body has aged. hating themselves each time they ‘fall off the wagon.’ saying horrible things to their friends and loved ones that they wish they could take back.

sometimes when i see people i don’t like, i like to imagine looking them in the eyes and telling them that i know they do all these things, that i know they’re a horrible, disgusting piece of shit behind their thin veneer of cold professionalism, or overly loud phony confidence. i want to tell them that i know what they look like utterly naked, and they are every bit as pathetic and wretched as the poorest, sickest child dying in the dirt in some third world desert.

i know this because we are all pathetic and wretched, regardless of facades or perceptions — we’re all weak, susceptible, deeply flawed.

i know this because we’re all human, and those qualities are intrinsic to being human, regardless of where someone stands in the social hierarchy.

i just prefer it when people can admit it.

god, this one felt good.