Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #4

Last week, I was on a dating site (because I’m pathetic and desperate like that) and I came across a match I found intriguing. I opened this person’s profile, but before reading their information, I noticed they’d listed themselves not as male or female, but “genderfluid.” I’d never seen this before, so, being the sarcastic bastard that I am, I posted a joke about it via Twitter, which then reposted on my Facebook wall.

The joke was, I thought, innocent enough. I can’t recall the exact wording, as it’s since been deleted (you’ll see why in a minute). But it was something along the lines of: “Why is this an option? I don’t want to have to worry about a potential partner transitioning from one gender to another, then back again, only to repeat the cycle.” It was meant to be silly, stupid, and funny, i.e. a joke. My Twitter followers couldn’t have cared less. Not a single response, or even “like.” Facebook, however, was a different story.

I woke the following morning to find a plethora of responses from “friends” who felt I I’d been insensitive and less-than-PC. I read one comment after another about how wrong I was for posting something so heinous, that people were allowed to be whomever and whatever they chose, and that I should be a little more open-minded. As annoying as all this was (being attacked from every angle is never fun), what annoyed me more than anything, in hindsight, was that I posted three lengthy responses defending and explaining myself, as well as my ridiculous little tweet, when all I should’ve said was, “It was a joke. Get over yourselves.”

I suppose I kept the dialogue going because I didn’t want anyone to think I’m a hateful person who feels “genderfludity” (a term I hadn’t even heard until I stumbled across this person’s profile, truth be told) shouldn’t be allowed in modern culture. That this option should be removed from sites such as these and people should be forced to pick one gender or another. I never said any of these things, nor are they my personal opinions. In other words, I didn’t want anyone not to like me, so I continued to respond, but with each comment, I dug myself into a deeper hole, offending more and more people. I felt like Donald fucking Trump.

I think what did me in was the way the joke was worded. Had it been tweaked before going out into the stratosphere, perhaps the outcome would’ve been slightly different. But at the end of the day, it was just a joke and that’s all I should’ve said. So, I’m not annoyed at the dating site for including this option. I’m not even annoyed with all the self-righteous, holier-than-thou comments which flooded my inbox. I’m annoyed with myself because for feeding on the bait those initial responses became, thereby creating a clusterfuck. On this one, I accept 100% of the blame and accept full responsibility.

But people really should just get over themselves.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #3

Ya know what always bugged me about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? In the first reel, Cameron is bedridden with a severe flu and within five minutes, he’s up and dressed and even spry. Punching the passenger seat with indecision, jumping up and down by the rear bumper, throwing things... After that, his illness is never mentioned again. It’s like he was never sick to begin with.

I know John Hughes wrote screenplays on the fly, most of them over the course of a weekend. In this case, it seems like while in the process, he thought, “Wait, hang on a second... My protagonist is faking an illness to stay home from school. His best friend is staying home from school on the very same day because he actually is ill. That migt be a little too coincidental. Too much sickness for one movie. Maybe I’ll nix the 'Cameron being sick' subplot.” But then he forgot he’d changed his mind, shot the scenes of Cameron buried under the covers with a pharmacy by his bedside, realized his mistake, and just left it in anyway. I could be mistaken, but there might be a line about Cameron being something of a hypochondriac. Even if that were the case, it’s still a pretty big plothole.

I love the movie, but this has always driven me insane. Anyone else? Anyone?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

There's Blood in My Hair

I’m obviously idea-starved if I’m writing about this nonsense, but sometimes things happen that are so bizarre and such had-scratchers that you have to find some sort of outlet for them.

Yesterday, I received an odd Facebook friend request (odd because it was sent by a guy simply named Laurence, no surname, not even an initial). I assumed it was a bot, so I denied it. A few hours later, I received a second request, same guy. I figured it was probably a real person, so I accepted. I thought I’d send a playful DM just to see what’s what. At 4:45 AM, I sent the following:

“Two friend requests? Might I inquire why such persistence? And why no surname?”

My message was read at around 7:30 AM, but I received no response. Earlier this afternoon, I decided to have a look at the guy’s profile. According to the information listed, he works at VICE, Literary Orphans East, and Wind Nut Butters, and lives in Tecumseh, Missouri. While perusing his wall, I happened to glance up and noticed the “Add Friend” icon.

Wait, what? I thought he’d already...ohh...

For those of you who haven’t pieced it together, this Laurence character removed me from his list shortly after reading my DM. Repeat: the guy who sent me two friend request removed me from his list.

By this point, I’m scratching my scalp so hard, there’s blood beneath my fingernails. At 6:14 PM, I sent another message simply stating:

“Okey dokey.”

I figured that’s that. Just another one of those strange, unexplained episodes life’s full of. So, I went on with my day. Made a coffee. Figured I’d get back to work on my current novel. The Muse seemed to be taking a spa day, as I was feeling less than inspired. Grinding my teeth as I struggled to tweak a paragraph I wasn’t happy with, I happened to glance at my taskbar. Noticed I had a Facebook message. Desperate to free myself from the evil paragraph, I decide to investigate. Lo and behold, I had a response from Laurence. At 6:39 PM, he sent the following:

“Probably an accident, paranoid guy. Ha.”


I wasn’t sure what to say, or if I’d bother responding. It only took a moment to realize, however, that I couldn’t respond even if I wanted to. Laurence—the guy who sent me two friend requests, read my initial DM without responding, then removed me from his list—blocked me. Just in case you didn’t catch that, he blocked me. As though I were some sort of nuisance. Um...

What do I have to say in conclusion? What is the moral of this story? What have I learned from this experience? On that I’ll have to get back to you just as soon as I shampoo the blood out of my hair.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #2

Probably should've made the following disclaimer before beginning this obnoxious little series, but most of my annoyances/pet peeves revolve around poor grammar, words used incorrectly, and the butchering of common phrases. I’m not an elitist, but I am a writer with huge res[ect for the written word, so these things bother me tremendously. Side note: this applies only to those who claim English as their first language.
I've gritted my teeth and fought the urge to jam knitting needles in my ears for three and a half decades. The insanity must come to an end, people. I've literally heard a nameless individual, whose I.Q. is more than likely a single digit, use the phrase "two pies in the pot" instead of "two peas in a pod." I wish I were kidding. While describing the amount of duties he'd taken on, a former co-worker explained that he'd spent the day "running around like a chicken cut my head off." Seriously. It's amazing I've gone this long without stomach full of bleeding ulcers.
One of my biggest pet peeves—and I'm sure everyone reading this now is guilty of it, as it's so ridiculously common that it scares me—is the misuse of the phrase "I couldn't care less." For some reason, millions of people seem to believe it's "I could care less." This phenomenon I'll never understand. All I can do is implore you not to say it.
And don't get me started on those who say "on accident" instead of "by accident..." I’ll burs a fucking blood vessel.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #1

As anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows, the acronym “O.C.D.” represents the term “obsessive compulsive disorder,” key word being “disorder.” So, whenever anyone trying to be cute giggles and says, “Oh, I’m a little O.C.D. about that,” I can’t help but groan, roll my eyes, and grind my teeth. When you deconstruct the sentence, it breaks down to: “I’m a little obsessive compulsive disorder about that.”

This might be an obvious inquiry, but how can a person be a disorder? Wouldn’t a more appropriate statement be something along the lines of: “I’m a little obsessive compulsive,” or “I have a slight case of O.C.D.?”

Even better, how about not saying it at all  (unless, of course, you actually suffer from O.C.D.)? Better still, try thinking before you speak, people. A moment of thought before speech can make a world of difference. If only someone could pass this on to Donald Trump...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I Almost Got Molested in a Burger King Bathroom

When I was fourteen, I often spent Friday nights with Darcy, a friend I’d met in sixth grade. We’d loiter outside South Philly’s seediest taverns in anticipation of some cash-starved vagrant willing to buy us some beer in exchange for a few bucks. After scoring a forty-ounce of St. Ides (nothing but the best for this guy), we’d stroll on over to a nearby baseball field, where we’d head for the dugout to chug the beer on a hard wooden bench (yep, the ol’ dug chug) and chain-smoke Marlboro Menthols. What an example I was for today’s youth. Believe it or not, it gets worse.

After the dug chug, we’d wander the aisles of various department stores and do a little shoplifting. Boosting a bottle of Aspen is a hell of a lot easier with a little liquid courage. That part of the evening came to a end, however, when I made the mistake of lifting a previously viewed VHS copy of Hideaway from a local Blockbuster and we got caught. They didn’t call the fuzz, but we were banned for life. Funnily enough, I ended up getting a job at the very same store just four years later. The manager who busted us still worked there, too. I shit you not.

On one of these crazy Friday nights, we found ourselves wandering a strip mall when a full bladder sent me running for the closest establishment open for business. That establishment happened to be a Burger King. I slipped inside and went straight for the bathroom, which was clear of patrons. Bypassing the one and only urinal, I decided to go “shy guy” and headed for the stall placed strategically close to said urinal. I quickly did my business, zipped up, and turned to leave.

Door opens. I step out. Standing in front of the urinal was a middle aged guy sporting a leather jacket and white tee, pants and underwear at his ankles. He turned toward me in a very hey, I got somethin’ to show ya! kinda way.

And show me he did.

His white tee was pulled up over his poochy belly and his cleanly-shaven junk was on full display. Needless to say, I was more than a little taken aback. Time stopped as I looked at him, looked at his baby hamster of a penis, then looked at the door, where I hastened without saying a word.

I found Darcy and we headed out. In the parking lot, I recall saying, “Uh, some guy in the bathroom totally just showed me his dick.” She just kinda laughed and the evening went on as if nothing happened. We continued our Friday night shenanigans for several months, but when the urge struck, I chose elsewhere to relive myself.

Friday, June 17, 2016

I Got Sent to Copyright School

So, it hasn’t exactly been a stellar few weeks. I’ve been dealing with many personal issues and doing a lot of moping/feeling sorry for myself. What I needed was a distraction, so I took to YouTube. No, not to record a bunch of weepy, “woe is me” video journals, but to upload some genre rarities and work on revamping B-Movie Bonanza, a movie commentary project I started back in 2014, but let fall by the wayside.

For B-Movie Bonanza, I wanted to record commentaries for films outside the mainstream. Cult films, nade-for-television camp fests, and a few hidden gems. A lot of the stuff I had on my calendar had yet to see new life on DVD, or had been released in crudely edited versions (i.e. Prom Night III), so I wanted to make it easy for my listeners (all five of you) to have a source with which to follow along. Since many of these movies are so obscure, I knew it was up to me to provide that source.

I spent many hours uploading content to my YouTube channel (this includes new episoes of B-Movie Bonanza). Some of the films I’d already recorded commentaries for, others I’d intended on adding to the roster. And then there were the films so obscure and hard-to-find that I wanted millenials who’d never experienced what it was like to rent a film on VHS (the only source for some of these movies) to enjoy. In other words, I thought I was doing something good for mankind. A service to the future generations, if you will.

Yes, I fully admit that many of the films were protected by copyright law, but I figured if I were in violation, I’d just receive some sort of “cease and desist” e-mail from the YouTube powers-that-be. All I’d have to do would be remove the file and no harm done. Right? Yeah, not so much.

While perusing my video manager earlier this evening, I came to find one of my uploads had been taken down. I found this a little strange, as in the past, I’d receive a notification that the file had been blocked in certain territories due to copyright infringement. Not wanting to step on any toes, I’d just remove the file from my catalogue. I found it a little strange that the file had already been removed for me. I read on.

Turns out I’d been reported by the copyright holder of a poorly made, ridiculously bad, shot-on-video shitfest called Cenetery Sisters. Because of this, I got a strike added to my account. The copyright holders, a pair of doofballs who call thmselves “slasher // video,” provided Olive Films with content to produce a DVD edition of the “film” (the goddamn thing is literally 59 minutes long) last year, so they didn’t particularly appreciate my upload. Fair enough. I assumed that since the video had been taken down and I’d been properly penalized, the whole thing was over and done with. Wrong again.

In order to access my YouTubechannel, I had to complete “Copyright School.” In all actuality, it sounds a lot worse than it is. You just have to watch a video, correctly answer a few questions, and you’re in the clear (unless, of course, you make another violation). While all this sounds like a slap on the wrist, I had no idea the barrier I’d crossed by uploading a shitty little movie like Cemetery Sisters, and what lay ahead should I become a repeat offender.

The Copyright School video stresses that it’s wrong to upload content you didn’t create. Fair enough. But it goes on to threaten the offender with thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, and *gasp* permanent suspension of my YouTube privileges.

They may seem silly and nonsensical (and in a lot of ways, they are), but I work pretty hard putting together the content for B-Movie Bonanza (I know, I know, just as hard as the filmmakers who created the content I uploaded sans permission). I’d hate to see it all taken down just because I’d made the mistake of uploading something I shouldn’t have. And, if I end up doing time, it sure as hell won’t be over a shitfest like Cemetery Sisters, or a couple of doofballs like the “slasher // video” guys. So, I went ahead and removed all content, with the exception of the posted episodes of B-Movie Bonanza, from my channel. Even the stuff not presently copyrighted.

It bums me out that all the work I’d done over the past few weeks is down the tubes (pun intended) and that those five listeners of my silly little podcast won’t have a copy of certain movies to watch with me. But in all honesty, I spend much of each episode rambling on about personal experiences and the good old days of my local mom and pop videostore that video accompaniment isn’t really mandatory.

The moral of the story? Don’t cross the “slasher // video” doofballs. You, too, might end up getting sent to Copyright School.