Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cud Chewin'

R.a.n.t. of week 02/23/14
Every once in a while, someone will do something that completely drives me bonkers. True, there are many things people do that are minor irritations, but a few are real 'nails on a chalkboard' vexing. A few years ago, I talked about whistlers. You can find that rant HERE. So you know this rant is not about those people. No, the other type of people in this rant happen to be about gum chewers. But really, not all gum chewers are annoying, and there are varying degrees to which these people can be annoying. I've decided to sort them into categories. Which are you? And which are the ones that annoy you? Why do I do this? Because I can. Actually that last statement is another rant on the horizon.

1.) the Silent Type - This gum chewer is hardly ever noticed. They keep their mouth closed, don't blow any bubbles and in fact, hardly even chew. Usually this type of person is chewing a breath enhancing gum. I have no problem with these gum chewers. Keep on chewing.

2.) the Semi-Active Type - This person does chew gum but it's fairly silent for the most part. They may blow a bubble, but draw it back into their mouths and pop it silently. Depending on the activity, I'm usually okay with these type of gum chewers too.

3.) the Bubble Man - Chewing gum isn't a pastime for this type of person, it's a sport. Who can blow the biggest bubble? They may even take the gum out of their mouth to visibly inspect it. Did it break the world record? Let's find out. The gum is then sucked back into the mouth in a noisy fashion, almost sounding like a vacuum in reverse. The novice bubble man doesn't know when to stop blowing and usually explodes his bubble, sometimes covering his face in a gooey mess. Attractive? Not really. Annoying? Sometimes, depends on how active they are and at what skill level.

4.) the Over-Active Type - Bubble blowing? Check. Cracking the gum? Check. Chewing veraciously? Check. It's as second nature as breathing in and breathing out. In other words, they hardly realize they are doing it and even less aware it might annoy anyone. This person blows bubbles, sucks them in noisily, cracks the gum for a bit, has a conversation with someone to show off their gum, crack it a few times, then lather, rinse, repeat. (See picture above).

5.) the Smacker - Never mind bubble blowing, to the smacker the gum is enjoyable enough. So good in fact they must enjoy every chew. Mouth wide open and each chew is amplified ten-fold. How do they do it? I don't know. I'd almost be impressed by how much noise their lip smacking and cud chewing is if it were not so annoying. To make matters worse, it's not a random occurrence. It seems these type of gum enthusiasts always have gum in their mouth. These are the people who are found in most libraries. These are the people whose mothers had to cut gum out of their hair regularly or applied peanut butter or mayonnaise to their hair an a regular basis. They also sit a row behind me in the theatre, a line over in the DMV queue, ringing up my groceries, haunting my nightmares. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Where was I?

Honourable Mention.) the Improviser - This person doesn't actually chew gum. Instead they chew on whatever is handy. A loose thread from their clothes, a piece of hay, their own tongue, a chewing gum wrapper, two hour old celery, maybe even their own cud! Who knows? Point is, it can be just as annoying.

Gum Chewing Cow

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making Plans

R.a.n.t. of week 02/16/14
It's been a rough past week, so I've asked Jenni to fill in for me. Essentially, this Winter is getting tiring and I've been very busy. Perhaps a r.a.n.t. for another time? I'll be back next week. Excuse the photo of the week, Jenni supplied it. Thanks for reading.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last Saturday I hosted a dinner party. Or attempted to host a dinner party would be more precise. Twenty-five invites went out in January, thirteen R.S.V.P.ed in the affirmative. Of these, three couples arrived; less than a quarter planned. This left me with various leftovers. The ham & horseradish spiral hors d'oeuvres are now sitting in the basement cooler, I don't eat horshradish. The poutine with oka cheese appetizers still linger, though I've eaten more by myself than I care to admit. The pan seared maple trout? This will likely find a new home in the dustbin, along with the rest of the culinary creations to which I was unable to persuade any of the three couples to part with. The Rossignol? Yes, I'll be holding on to that for a bit. I have several bottles, so it should last till the next time I decide to foolishly plan a dinner party.

A recent article in 'Fille Forte', we talked about proper etiquette when visiting a friend. The magazine has an 8 -12 year old girl demographic and yet it seems more people would benefit from reviewing the simple tips found within. Below are a few excerpts, with additional comments provided by me.

1.) Don't be a Debbi Drop-in.
Make sure the parents are aware of your visit. Just because your friend says it's okay, does not mean it's okay with the parents.
{The same can be said for adults. Just because I am home, does not mean I have free time.}

2.) Make a date. Set a time. Have some fun.
Be smart about plan making. When done wisely, you can schedule time for school-work and play.
{Again, as adults there is a reason scheduling is done. I don't ask you to RSVP for my health.}

3.) Be true to your word.
After awhile, people stop inviting Libby Liar over. Having better plans is no reason to cancel on your friend.
{Unacceptable excuses? 'We couldn't find a baby-sitter.' 'My dog was sick.' Or my personal favourite, 'My data planner crashed and I couldn't remember when the party was.'}

If you hadn't guessed, the three responses above were just a few of the pathetic juvenile replies I received. Is it any wonder I used portions of a children's magazine to give helpful tips? It's time to start acting like adults. And if you don't want to show up to an event I've planned, have the decency to let me know. Don't have your child call me. (Yes, that happened too).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jenni Long is a writer and editor
of the Canadian children's magazine
'Fille Forte'. That being said, her
thoughts do not necessarily reflect
those of myself.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I, Human

R.a.n.t. of week 02/09/14
Sonny - 'I, Robot' (2004)
As most people know, I love many science fiction films and television series. Inevitably, the same topic resurfaces. The concept of a robot, android or mechanical man who becomes or yearns to become more human. In real life, I seem to run into the opposite. Humans who are becoming more mechanical in nature. I've talked about no sense of humour before, and this is just one aspect of that. Why laugh when it's easier to grimace? Laughing would only show an emotion. Why seek out companionship when it's so much easier to live alone, do everything your own way and shut everyone out? Because sharing, caring and wanting companionship are based on emotions too. How about the people that are completely unaware of their surroundings? Little kids are good at this. Going from point A to point B without taking notice of anything around them. It's scary to think, but there are drivers that do this. Ever try to walk down an aisle of the supermarket but there is a person(s) walking down the aisle with a cart, moving so slow and completely unaware anyone is even around them? These are the same people. Completely oblivious of anyone else around them. But maybe it's not their fault, maybe they've been dealt such a bad hand in life, they've rationalized the best way to move forward is to completely switch off all emotions, all awareness of others and focus on just themselves. Admittedly it's much easier that way, but why? And as it any easier?

Leonard Nemoy - 'I, Robot' (1964)
The Outer Limits
Speaking from experience, I know it's not. When I was a teen I was dealing with a traumatic family problem. I became well known for having switched off my emotions. My good friend at the time used to call me Spock and for good reason. I too decided it would be easier to switch off all emotions. When you switch off emotions you are less likely to be hurt. Feelings like shock, anger, disappointment and sadness can be buried and the emotional pain is neutralized. But that just presents other problems. Eventually, the anaesthesia wears off and the pain returns, sometimes even greater. If that doesn't happen, it's just a steam kettle which keeps building up pressure until finally everything explodes. That's no good. I've had to learn that too. So today, I am not Spock. I wear most of my emotions on my sleeve. When I'm sad, I cry. When I'm happy, I laugh. If I'm dealing with an emotion I don't want to trouble others with? I'll just put on a mask which usually takes the form of a joke. it's why so many of my rant's you can find humour in. Still, emotions can be hard to deal with and sometimes I do look back and wonder if purging all emotions should be the way to go again. But no, better to deal with my emotions. So I'll continue to rant. After all, ranting is one of my favourite emotions.

Adam Link - 'I, Robot' (1964)
The Outer Limits

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl 48 Review

R.a.n.t. of week 02/02/14
Every year there is one day in particular we all look forward too. Yes, that's right: Groundhog Day! But on this particular Groundhog Day there was a special event taking place. This year, Super Bowl 48 was between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Did you watch this exciting game? If you are like me, you got together with friends, food, beer, excitement, disappointment and above all, entertainment. But if you are not like me, then perhaps the Super Bowl came and went and you are none-the-wiser. So for those select few, I've decided to give my in-depth review of all that transpired during 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII. Below are all the hight-lights. But first a few words from our sponsors.

The Top 10+ Super Bowl Commercials

Doritos - Time Machine

Volkswagon - Getting Wings

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Wonderful Pistachios - Stephen Colbert

Audi - Doberhuahua

Radio Shack - Flashback 80's

Dannon Oikos - Full House

Budweiser - Puppy Adoption

Toyota - Terry Crews & The Muppets

Sodastream - Scarlet Johansson

Honda - Bruce Willis Hug Fest

Coca-Cola - Going All the Way

T-Mobile - Tim Tebow / No Contract

Transformers Movie Preview

Now that the commercials are out of the way, let's get back to the Super Bowl 48 Review.
First Quarter:
Seattle Scores a Safety
Seattle Scores a Field Goal
Seattle Scores a Field Goal
End of First Quarter
Seattle 8 / Denver 0

Second Quarter:
Seattle Scores a Touchdown
Seattle Scores a Touchdown
End of Half
Seattle 22 / Denver 0

Half time show consisted of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars

Third Quarter:
Seattle Scores a Touchdown
Seattle Scores a Touchdown
Denver Scores a Touchdown and 2 point conversion
End of Third Quarter
Seattle 36 / Denver 8

Fourth Quarter:
Seattle Scores a Touchdown
End of Game
Seattle Wins 43 - 8

Woodstock Illinois; Groundhog Day Filming Location

A few months ago I thought it would be cool to travel to the city of Woodstock Illinois, filming location for most of the film, Groundhog Day. As you'll see in the photos below, the locales have changed slightly, but will still be most recognizable. Instead of posting the photos once I got back, I decided to wait till today to post the set. The obvious reason being, (It's Groundhog Day)

Though the hole is now filled, the spot where Phil Conners repeatedly stuck his foot into cold, slushy water now has a plaque.

Ned to Phil: "Watch out for that first step, It's a doozy!"

From the centre of the park, you can see where most of the Groundhog Day festivities took place, including the spot where Phil declared there would be six more weeks of winter.

Buster to Punxsutawney: "Sorry folks, six more weeks of Winter."

My favourite scene of the film is when Phil has had enough of Ned and punches his lights out.

Ned to Phil: "Hey, Phil Conner!"
Phil to Ned: "Ned?!" BAM!

The diner in the film was called the Tip Top Cafe. Phil had many conversations here with various people. After the film was concluded, the cafe continued to exist for a while, but it's now a Mexican restaurant.

Phil to Nancy: "Nancy, Lincoln, Walsh"

You may recognize this as the building Phil decides to jump from. No worries though, he wakes up.....

Phil to Rita: "...without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender."

Later, Phil has finally gets the day right. His attitude has changed, he likes helping people and he's won the heart of the woman he admires. They dance here for the first time as the snow suddenly starts to fall.

Nat King Cole: ♫ What a day this has been, what a rare mood I'm in. Why, it's almost like being in love."