Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Catcher in the Rye

I put off reading Catcher in the Rye for several years because I had heard so many people rave about it that I wanted to make sure that I had the proper time and situation to enjoy it. I had been really looking forward to reading Catcher since I was in about sixth grade. I tried to avoid as much knowledge as I could about the book beforehand (although being such a famous book, it is hard to avoid all), and I even switched humanities classes in college because it was assigned - which was definitely not the conditions in which I wanted to read it (it all worked out for the best though as I met my good friend db in my new humanities class).

About 10 years ago, I felt I was finally ready and took the plunge and read Catcher in the Rye. I thought it was horrible. It was such a disappointment...greatest American novel my ass! I really didn't like anything about it.

I am not sure if I went in with my expectations too high after listening to all the hype (most probably). Or if I no longer identified with the angst ridden teenager (possibly, but I thought I was still pretty full of angst and apathy). Whatever the cause, I did not like the book at all. To this day it still makes me angry. I have been thinking about giving it another shot without all the buildup in my mind...but as soon as I think about re-reading it, I hear someone say how "It is amazing! It is sooooo good," and all my distaste returns.

So why do people like this book? I have two hypotheses.

  • The first is that people are dumb and they just follow the herd. Someone tells them that this book is really good, so they think that they must also like it...because if they didn't like it, they must be missing something because everyone else likes it. This is also my justification for the popularity of Dan Brown'd The DaVinci Code.

  • My second hypothesis, involves people who don't read much. If you are a non-reader and are assigned this book in high school or college, I could see how this would be one of the first books that you liked. The characters speak and think closer to younger people than in most books and the story is not too complicated. I could see this being the first book that some people could relate to.

All in all, I just don't see the hype. I can't imagine this book influencing anyone to shoot someone else. It just was not that powerful to me. I was disappointed by the hype...it may be an OK book in all actuality, but I don't think it can ever be a great book in my mind. It is just not for me.

End Hate

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dangers Lurk at Every Corner

Over the weekend, GF-Unit and I headed to the Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa Book Sale. I love books and book sales. Which can be a bad thing for me, too often I can not resist buying a book, only to have that book sit on a shelf for years and years unread. I read as much as I can, but limited time (and reading speed) tend to destroy my plans to read many books. When moving into my house after college, I packed up box after box after box of books - many read but many also left unread for years to donate to the local goodwill. I had boxes full of all kinds of books - how to, fiction, autobiography, non-fiction, sci-fi, novels, hardbound, paperback, and everything in between. I could easily spend an afternoon at Half Price Books in Des Moines, or The Master's Library in Cedar Falls (sadly now closed I believe) and walk out with a box or two full of books and a wallet $100 lighter...and this happened many times. I could remember buying most and my intentions for reading them, but my tastes went elsewhere.

Nowadays, I tend to try to be a little more discriminating and try to plan to read everything I buy within a one year period. This policy in itself seems uncomplicated but when you factor in upcoming releases, recommended books, interesting things I stumble across, loss of focus, various time restraints...it is difficult to plan this all out while at a sale. But I try. So I kept my diet of books light this sale, concentrating on books that I don't see to often or belong to a series I have already started reading.

I wouldn't say that I found anything too amazing or got any totally outstanding deals...but I got some things that I have wanted for a little while. I picked up several of the books in the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle. I re-read Wrinkle a couple months ago (first time I have read it since fifth grade) with the intention of reading the rest of the series. So these were kind of a planned purchase. I also found a book by Lloyd Alexander (the Black Cauldron) that I hadn't read (another childhood favorite but our library only had a small selection). A few books in the series Bio of a Space Tyrant by Piers Anthony (Hetero-Life Pal CT got me into these after I read Incarnations...but I never finished the series). A few Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series books - I've only read the original trilogy. The second novel in the Golden Compass trilogy. A few other random novels that I have been wanting to read. Not a great haul, but for $30 not too bad.

I think the Planned Parenthood sale is great but there is so much there, that it can be a little disorienting. There are SO many books. They are broken down into very general categories like: Novels, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Hardcover, Paperback, Childrens, DIY, etc... For me that is a great start, but I can guarantee that if they were also in order by either Author or Title that I would be much more inclined to buy a much larger selection of books. I am sure it is cost prohibitive in both time and money but this would allow me to grab the books I really wanted first before going through all the rest. As it is, I think twice before picking up a book because I am not sure if I will want to carry it around while I scan the spines on table after table of books. Sure I will find something I didn't know I wanted through the random scanning but it wastes so much time of what could be confirmed sales if I was able to find the books I wanted faster and easier. I could do my initial shopping within 30 minutes if they were sorted and then go back for randoms and surprises...now it takes me 2 hours to just to get through half the tables that might find something interesting on.

Can't wait till the fall sale.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 Home Games Left

Go Meat!

The Iowa Chops have not had the best season this year although watching the games has been infinitely more fun this year than in the past. There are only 3 home games left this season, I suggest you give one a try. The Chops are right on the edge of making the playoffs so come help give them a boost!

I like almost everything about Chops Hockey this year. I like our guys, I like the crowds, I like the play (when they are playing and not being total slackers), I even like the name and logo (although that has taken me awhile to say). However, I do not like the mascot. Pitchy the Pig. He is cute, he is cuddly and kid friendly...plus he is named after the pitch-a-pig contest and so seems merely there to sell foam pigs...he is not what a mascot for a hockey team should be.

Pitchy the Pig - more like Porky the Pig or Babe than a cool mascot.

I had always proposed a meaner, more boar looking tough mascot that I call Chompy. Chompy would embody the toughness of our team, he would show that the Chops aren't just little piglets. He would be something to be proud of. If the Chops owners announced today that they would definitely be here more than one more year, I would definitely go out, buy the costume, and become Chompy myself.

Proposed Mascot: Chompy

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Excessive Soloing

I've been to many concerts and even more bar shows. I've seen some great shows (Incubus with System of a Down opening and a total crowd of around 25 people) and some horrible shows (Urge Overkill with Nash Kato so drunk that he couldn't sing but still tried to horrible results). I've seen everything in between. I am a big fan of live music in general but of course there are always those little things that tend to just piss you off every time you see them.

Mediocre cover bands that feel the need to have each member solo for 5 minutes or just throw random solos into songs is one of those things that drives me nuts. YOU ARE A COVER BAND...people are here to hear familiar music, not for you to show off your "musical talents." Seriously, the closer the song you are playing sounds to the original artist the better. You should not go off trying to show that you are a musical genius in your own right, because that is all in your mind.

Now, I am not getting down on those bands that play some covers, some originals. I am totally fine with that and I understand sometimes that you have to play covers just to get the gig. I am just talking to the bands who strictly play cover songs and somehow think they are rockstars. I hate it when bands I do like feel the need to add solos to their live set. God, how I hate drum solos...after seeing Terry Bozzio perform a clinic everything else sounds totally weak (don't feel left out guitar and bass solos, I hate you too). So if I hate when a very talented and famous band feels the need to solo...I really hate it when you do cover bands. I know you are trying to get laid by that one drunk girl with the short skirt and the tshirt that is shows off her cleavage...but really you don't need to try to impress her, she'll probably sleep with you anyway. Please stop the soloing.

This is Terry Bozzio's drum kit...cover band drummers - I am not impressed with your double bass drums (everyone has had those since 1988).

This may seem like I am hating on drummers...I am not, I actually like drummers (some of my best friends are drummers - ha ha). I just hate the generic drum solos thrown in a cover song for no reason.

End Hate

Monday, March 23, 2009

The World Grays A Little

I've had some form of insomnia or other for years. I am usually able to cope with it just fine and live life normally. The past few days have been especially bad though and right now I feels like everything has a little bit of a dreamy quality and the edges of world are turning a little bit gray and unreal. But at least I am not living a double life setting up fight club franchises...at least as far as I know of.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Holiday Road

Birthday Vacation

People keep joking that “Hey you’re as close to 40 as you are 30!” about my birthday…they think it will bother me or something. It does not, although I prefer to think of it as halfway to 70. I’ve had long standing plans to live to be 2500 (with my brain in a robot body of course until cloned bodies are perfected), so 40 is no big deal to me. For my birthday, GF-Unit planned a surprise trip to St Louis, Mo to see an NHL hockey game and have a mini-vacation.

We loaded up the Family Truckster on Friday and started driving (if only it was the Metallic Pea Wagonqueen Family Truckster). It all went well except for me driving about 40 minutes the wrong way (thanks to confusing directions, bad street signs, forgetting to reset the trip meter, and changing drivers at the exact wrong time…many small errors which by themselves would have been easily avoidable but together made for a poor navigation choice). The rest of the trip went smoothly and we pulled in to the hotel at 1am.

Originally, GF-Unit had reservations in a hotel on the East St Louis side (What’s the difference as long as we get across the river). I assume it was cheap and it was a Holiday Inn Express so you would think it would be decent. She then found several one star reviews (out of five) with titles like “Horrible,” “Roaches and Water Stains”, and the always enticing “Looked like a Murder Scene”…this one is especially entertaining as it involved the hotel manager calling the police on the hotel guests for harassment after they repeatedly ask him to call the police about the scene in the parking lot. I also sent her the crime stats for East St Louis:

Year: 2006 number of crimes per 100,000

So we moved on over to the west side of St Louis and stayed in the suburb of Clayton at the Seven Gables Inn (yes, I counted and there were seven gables…otherwise I would have demanded our money back due to false advertisement). SGI is definitely a different experience than staying as most hotels I have been to lately (like in Vegas). It is an old building (built 1926) so it had a cozy, kind of old world charm…no elevators, you have to take twisty stairs, decent sized rooms and bathrooms but not really “suites” as we know them now a days. I was a little wary when we first checked in, but it grew on me and I liked it quite a bit by the time we left. The hotel was in a really neat location. It was in a fancy business district with lots of restaurants within walking distance. The area was basically deserted on the weekends, so we didn’t have to deal with traffic or crowds and we free to walk leisurely throughout the area. In was very peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful as the beginnings of spring were creeping in. We also had a pretty easy walk to the MetroLink train station, and easy access to the interstates…for when we wanted to travel outside of the area around the hotel.

Saturday we went to see my favorite NHL team the Detroit Red Wings play the St Louis Blues. Although a Red Wing fan, I enjoy all hockey and was looking forward to seeing the Blues play as they have many players that I have seen play in the AHL over the past few years. I was especially looking forward to seeing former Iowa Stars BJ Crombeen playing. It was a good game. I was getting lots of “boos” and “Detroit sucks” because I wore my Detroit jersey (GF-Unit was wearing my Blues jersey), but many of those calmed down after Detroit scored 3 goals within a 46 second time span (ouch). I wished it would have been closer in score. I like tight, exciting games but it was still a lot of fun. I couldn’t bring myself to try one of the St Louis style hot dogs though…which looked like a Chicago Dog with chili on top (I think they made it up). Not just because I don’t usually like chili on hot dogs but also because it was like $10...for a standard (small) hot dog. I couldn’t justify that for something that I might not like and might give me terrible gas. $6 yes, $8 possibly, but $10 is too much...especially since we were going out to eat that night for my birthday.

We decided to go to Morton’s Steakhouse. It was expensive but really good. We ordered the Double Porterhouse…which was 48 ounces and split it between the three of us (me, GF-Unit, and Kinda-Kid). It was an impressive piece of meat…2inches thick and the size of a dinner plate. It was slightly more rare in the middle that I usually like (I am a medium-rare person and this was closer to rare), but it was perfect if you got a piece of the took a small slice with a little bit of the outer edge in each bite. Our waitress was fun, smart, and a little smart-alecky (reminded me of Jeanine Garofalo). She even gave me an extra 48 ounce steak bone when I mentioned that I would like to take mine home for my dogs. I know it really wasn’t a huge deal since they would have to through it away anyhow but it was nice of her anyways. My dogs loved getting bones that were nearly the size of their bodies .

Me, GF-Unit, and Kinda-Kid before the meat overdose

Sunday we went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which were pretty but would have been spectacular a little later in the spring when everything was green and in bloom. Not only do they have a climate controlled dome, but also 80 acres of gardens, fountains, ponds, etc… It is the perfect place to spend a few hours on a sunny spring Sunday.

GF-Unit and I in the Climatron dome at Missouri Botanical Gardens (I look really fat)

Of course plants and lovely spring weather did not really impress the seven year old Kinda-Kid, so we headed to The Magic House to let him blow off some steam. The Magic House is basically a children’s museum with all these exhibits where a child can explore, experiment, and (hopefully) learn. There were exhibits on construction, fairy tales, government, bubbles, sound, sight, and magnetism among others. I wish we had this type of thing around when I was a kid. It was very cool, although I was a little disappointed that since I had styling putty in my hair that the electro-static generator wouldn’t work on me. We spent a couple hours there but could have spent several more if it was open later than 5:30 pm.
(Left) President Gubby gives state of the union address (Right): Kinda-Kid gets a shocking experience

After the Magic House, we headed to White Castle for some sliders. I love mini-food and have never had a chance to try White Castle…so I was pretty excited (plus no one was up for a big meal after the pound each meat fest of the night before). Although the burgers were good, I did think they were a little tasteless. I could see how they would be really good if drunk or high though. I think the BK Shots from Burger King were much tastier and would highly recommend you pick up a six pack for dinner tonight. Even though they were a little disappointing, I was still very tempted to order the Crave Case so that I could have 30 mini burgers to snack on the following couple days. My diet has been severely lacking mini foods since Billy Joe’s closed a month ago…over a month without mini-corn dogs!

Monday, we did the tourist thing and went to the Gateway Arch. I had been there when I was a child but it is still neat to me still. It is an impressive structure and elegant in its simplicity. What I didn’t like was the post-911 security. It was just like airport, take everything out of your pockets, place everything in a tub (including all electronics, jackets, and belts), and walk through the metal detector. I am surprised they didn’t have everyone take off their shoes and do full body cavity checks. It is so ridiculous. Here is a tip…walk to the south side of the arch and enter there…the security line is about a quarter of the size that it is on the north side.

Thanks GF-Unit for a great birthday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

PepsiCo's New Logo Designs

I'm sure you've all seen the new Pepsi logos and quite possibly the various jokes and commentary on them, I know I am far from the first person to hate them. But I still have to throw in my voice to tell Pepsi how much they screwed up. I was disturbed by the logos when I first saw them in the store but it was the commercial during the superbowl that showed both the old and new logos on bottles that really brought out my anger.

Pepsi had an iconic red, white, and blue wave logo. It was a logo that was clean and smooth and just a solid, easily recognizable logo. The wave was soothing yet energetic, calm yet it motion. It contained elements of patriotism (it was almost like a waving flag) but also seemed zen yin-yang like in its balance between the red and blue with neutral white in the middle.

The new logos have lost all of that...yes logos, each product has its own logo (similar to the others but with their own twist). Seems like they are diluting the brand to me. The new logos are not balanced, attractive, or patriotic (although GF-Unit says she saw some news report talking about how they were based on Obama's symbol and campaign). They look like blobs...smeared blobs. They repulse me every time I seem them in the store.

I am not sure what made Pepsi decide to take this route (supposedly it is based on this advertising treatise - read it some time for a laugh, you will find out that the Pepsi logo has gravitational pull and magnetic fields!). I guess I could see if there were actually going for the emoticon route to appeal to the younger generation but I can guarantee you that no one sees these blobs as emoticons. Here is a small sampling:

These logos are going to look even stupider in a couple years...pretty much whenever anything tries to look futuristic it ends up looking very dated in a couple years. Plus this re-badging just seems like a lame attempt to make yourself seem relevant and hip. Reminds me of when MC Hammer became Hammer - no one believed the new gangsta-rapper image, it just seemed lame. Take a cue from Coca-Cola...go back to your roots and your classic designs, your new ones are tacky.

PS - I really hate that I now have to drink "MTN DEW" instead of Mountain Dew. Really? Was it that much harder to spell out mountain?

End Hate

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Lesson on Money

I am not going to tell you how to save it or invest it. But I will tell you how to spend the almighty dollar...at a vending machine. I learned this from several years working experience at an arcade. If the bill acceptor is not taking your bill and you have flattened it at least once - STOP - instead do the opposite, wrinkle the bill up. I can almost guarantee you that the acceptor will then take it without any issues at all. It may seem like it is against common sense but it works. And acceptors do not jam like they used to. The only thing that really need to be flat are the corners. Change machines / Vending don't like extremely flat bills because they can reflect too much light to the optical sensors...these machines are expecting used currency so they think your crisp bill is counterfeit. Whenever I see someone at the pop machine here at work having trouble, I grab the bill from them and crumple it before their eyes. They get mad until it works perfectly. So I just thought I would share this tip...crumple away!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's a banner f*@#ing year at the Gubby household.

My birthdays usually suck...several years I have only received cards from the likes of my mom and grandma. Not that it is a huge deal...I don't really expect gifts but still it kind of sucks when no one seems to remember. This year has been off to a great start.

First, Hetro Life Pal CT buys me the Doomsday Pegacorn Clock (I am pretty sure it is ticking down to the destruction of Earth). Thanks again CT! I haven't found a permanent place for it yet...but it still brings me much joy. Assuredly your present this year will bring you just as much joy and agony.

Secondly, I got a good present from Marlboro. They sent me these cool aluminum dice.

I am not sure if they are really aluminum or just chrome plated dice (they feel heavier than I would expect normal dice to be but I guess that could be the nickel and chromium). Either way, I think they are pretty snazzy and will go well with Trivial Pursuit the next time I play.

Why would Marlboro send me dice for my birthday? Well because they take care of their smokers and I have been a registered smoker with them for about ten years...even though I have maybe taken two puffs in my life. I always figured that the cigarette companies are pretty evil and I want to do them harm, but I am lazy...so I will sign up as a smoker and get free gifts from them - no purchase necessary. Wastes their money to make it, send it, and hey I get free stuff - zippos, carabiner key chains, etc... You get a gift each year for your birthday and then 3 or 4 throughout the year (they send you a letter and you have to confirm online.) Do I worry about lying to Marlboro? Fuck no. I've had to breath their secondhand smoke for years and years when I go to bars and concerts...they owe me.

I like the dice, they are much cooler than last years "personal" ashtray...yep an ashtray that was about 1.5 inches in diameter. It had good weight and would make for great object to throw at some one's head...but utterly worthless to both the smoker and non-smoker alike in any other way. It was given away. The picture actually makes it look bigger than it actually is.

Anyhow, GF-Unit is taking me on a surprise getaway this weekend...so this year has been great for me.
PS - don't smoke, it is gross...but take those bastards for free gifts all you want.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Minute Hate

The State of Checkouts

Self Checkout

I actually like self checkout at stores when it works as it is supposed to...i.e. you have just a couple items and you want to get out quickly. That is how it worked for several years and it was good. Lately though, stores have been cutting back on regular cashiers forcing more and more people to go the self checkout route. This has lead to longer and longer lines with people trying to scan 100 items themselves...this doesn't work. There is no way to work this...the bagging area doesn't have nearly enough room for those items. Plus it takes much longer to scan each piece at a self checkout. Of course, the person in front of me never knows how to use the machine, causing even more delays.

But that is not all that is wrong with self checkout: The self checkout often tells you that the item you just scanned and bagged was the wrong weight. I guess this is supposed to help stop people from scanning a cheaper item and putting a more expensive one in the bag. I've never done this, I have always been honest but yet it seems half my merchandise is the wrong weight...so you pick it up and set it back down once or twice until the scale finally notices it is the right item. Pain in the ass. You also can't scan an item and say you are buying 5 of them. Instead you have to scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, bag, scan, and bag. But even that doesn't work as it sometimes thinks you are scanning the exact same item, so you either have to scan a different item between them or wait about 10 seconds before it thinks it is a different item.

PS - home improvement stores - self checkout works like shit on large items...you can't scan them or place them in the bagging area. It works so much better when you could just leave it in the cart and have the cashier use their hand-held scanner. Yet, you only have open regular register open...even during busy times and the line is already 10 people long. You really are making me question wanting to shop their (in fact, just last night I went to a different store for this exact reason).

Self Bagging

Almost as bad as self checkout is self bagging. Again, I don't mind it in principle, but in reality I can't see how it helps save the store any time. Now instead of a line at the before the cashier, there is a line behind the cashier...an even slower moving line. The cashier can't start on the next person until everything from the previous customer is bagged and taken, but these people aren't experts at bagging and it takes forever. Customers can't get a bag ready when they aren't busy like the cashier could have, they aren't used to the bags that can usually stick together and don't pull off correctly, they don't know how much weight the bags can hold so they end up using more bags than is probably necessary. It seems to me that it is just a waste of every one's time. Now instead of bagging, the cashier just stands there looking slack-jawed. Not a money saver, just something to piss me (and other customers off).

I'm all for speeding things up and the stores saving money (which they will hopefully pass along to customers), but these measures are not working as planned. They MIGHT be saving a little bit of money but it is at the customers expense in both time and frustration. In my opinion it is just bad customer service. It makes me want to do even more online shopping. I can't wait for the day when every item has RFID embedded and I can just push my cart through the doors, having everything scanned automatically and charged to my RFID equipped credit card.

End Hate.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Mind is Messed Up

I have been been told by several teachers and professors throughout my scholastic career that I have habits, mannerisms, and idiosyncrasies of someone with dyslexia. I have never been officially diagnosed or anything but have had this type of thing said to me over the years by different instructors who otherwise have nothing in common. It has happened enough that I really do start to wonder if I did have some form of dyslexia growing up.

I think it would have been a mild case but I can see how it may have been part of my troubles learning when young. I had all kinds of learning difficulties. I was in pretty much every special education class (aka Retard Classes according to my brother) they had until the second time through third grade. Yes, I flunked third grade...it is a great story about a master plan that I will get to in the future. Reading, Writing, Math, Vocabulary, Speech Therapy, and every once in a while Physical Therapy...I'm sure there were probably others, I think there was even a class on social skills (that one still hasn't taken).

Eventually my mind just clicked and all of a sudden I was able to read, write, do math, semi-normally. I still read very slowly...but yet I love to read and read a lot. The only thing that really makes up for my slow reading is that I have pretty awesome retention and comprehension. I never had to re-read anything for school and that made studying so much easier...or actually non-existent.

I explored dyslexia and my situation a little more and even talked to one of the professors who could have diagnosed me...took some preliminary tests and was again told that I had inclinations that suggest I was mildly dyslexic. I didn't opt for more tests (because that is when they would have started costing money) and as the professor said - I seemed to have figured out a work around for my own brain and seemed to be doing well. An official diagnosis really wouldn't change anything as any treatment they might try could actually cause more harm than good in my case.

Most days, you would never notice...I don't even notice. But there are some days (especially if I am feeling very tired mentally) when my mind does weird things. Some examples -

  • I will say left when I mean right (and vice verse). I know my right from left but for my mind will say the opposite just to screw with me...it's like the label in my mind for each direction gets switched around.

  • I can't type well. My left hand will try typing my right hand letters (and vice verse)...they don't move over to the right hand keys, they just type the equivalent on their side of the keyboard. So if I wanted to type DASH, it would come out as K;LG. Which can be very frustrating since I am often not looking at my screen when typing.

  • Letters and numbers replace each other...kind of like l33t but not on purpose.

  • Typing sometimes comes out backwards.

  • If writing with pen and paper, I will skip letters and switch letters around...not just once in a while like an accident, all the time.

  • When speaking my R's start sounding funny...sometimes it will sound like I have a Southie Boston accent, sometimes they sound like L's (very Engrish!).

  • It becomes harder to talk and words get mixed around in my sentences.

  • Simple words don't make any sense.

  • Phrases do not read correctly. Real example from today, I received an email with the subject of "Gain Executive Skills" but my mind read not once but twice "Gain Elvis Presley" Sweet, sign me up! Finally the third time I read it, my mistake was evident. My mind picks up on certain letters and will make its own sentences.

Gain Elvis Presley!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Do you know Fred?

Do you know Fred Quimby? Think about it...

You probably don't know him personally (especially since he has been dead for 40+ years), but I can almost guarantee that as a child you saw his name three or four times a week...if not three or four times a day.

Fred Quimby produced all of the old classic Tom & Jerry cartoons...the ones that would cause you to race home from school everyday and wake up early on Saturdays.

Fred Quimby also produced many other cartoons - lots of Hanna/Barbera shorts, Tex Avery, and of course Droopy. It is Tom & Jerry though that is by far most prominent in my mind. Even as a little child, I remember at the end of each cartoon thinking "here comes 'Produced by Fred Qumiby.'" It wasn't until my late teen years when I was working with a huge fan of animation, that I actually start wondering who was Fred Quimby?

Before the age of widespread interwebicon, it was much more difficult finding out these types of answers. I went to my favorite book store and spent several afternoons reading about Fred. He was not what I expected. He was the head of MGM's cartoon studio...which is what I expected. I didn't think that he was a person that really didn't understand animation or even like cartoons. His name was always so prominently displayed after each cartoon, that I figured he was a huge fan of the art form and wanted to bring humor to the rest of the world. He was not and he was not well liked by most people he worked with. It is said that he really didn't even have a sense of humor. He was basically a middle manager between the artists and the front office...like Tom on Office Space (Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to!! I have people skills!! I am good at dealing with people!!! Can't you understand that?!? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!!!!!!!).

Since I looked him up, I have wondered "Was Fred happy with his job?" Did he enjoy what he was doing and take pride in the awards that he won? I hope so, because he brought a lot of good memories to a lot of people. For his influence you just have to look at The Simpsons - obviously Itchy & Scratchy are based on Tom & Jerry...and the Mayor has a son named Freddy Quimby, plus just the fact that Quimby is the mayor of a cartoon town. So here's to you Fred! I enjoyed your work, even if you were working a job you didn't particularly like (aren't we all at times). Thanks for all the memories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

DVD Piracy Warnings

I hate buying a DVD and have this warning (or similar) pop up as I try to watch it. I know that copying the DVD is a crime and I chose to buy it on the day it came out instead of downloading it from the internet where it has been available for at least a month. You are preaching to the choir.

Even more than that, you are pissing me off...by being this blatant and in my face it makes me feel like a criminal even though I did nothing wrong. It's like yelling at a group of kids for something only one of them did, they all feel bad and you are punishing the innocent. I hope you are just trying to remind people that copying the disc is stealing people's work...but you are not winning any friends here. Threats don't work on me, in fact they do the opposite...now I kind of want to download all future movies from the internet just so I don't have to watch your warning and feel your condemnation. You probably wouldn't want to eat at a restaurant that proclaimed on the door "Stealing silverware is a crime. Stealing silverware is punishable by a fine of $10,000 plus 5 years in jail." Not because you were thinking about stealing silverware, but because the place just seems like it was run by a bunch of assholes. That is the feeling that I get when I see this message on a DVD that I purchased.

I think the warnings should go more like this: "

Hey, thanks for watching.

If you enjoyed this movie, please remember that a lot of people worked hard to bring you this entertainment.

They are not all rich fat-cats and most need their royalties from disc sales to feed their families.

We would appreciate it if you didn't copy this disc, but please tell all your friends about this film.

This kind of message would make me feel so much more guilty about stealing a disc than being threatened with a ridiculous amount of money and jail time. So please stop threatening about items that I purchased legally.

End Hate

Hate Update...so not two days after posting about how the "tear here" bags ever work for me, I bought groceries and ended up getting 4 products with this kind of packaging (even though my hatred did give me pause on all of them). 3 of the 4 ended up tearing perfectly...they were all store brand products. The fourth, which was a big brand name, ripped terribly like always. So way to go Target on giving me some hope (and a little less hate).