Tag Archives: s

The Lesson: First for Everything

Personal Bits

Two upper middle class, housework-shunning, career women sit down to lunch, order martinis and the topic of their children come up. A common complaint is discovered and a plan is hatched.

When I was 13 (ish), my mother announced I would be going out on a date. Imagine the internal spit take that generated. My mother… the matchmaker! I was appalled for a moment at the thought of her talking about my inability to socialize with strangers. And my social ineptitude… Wait… What? With a girl?

Holyshitwaitaminnit… A date with a girl??! Would I have to kiss her?

At this time I had already had sex with a man. I knew it was right, my hard wired brain was just doing what it was genetically told to do. But somewhere in my chest, a voice said “Oh fuck it! Give it a whirl!” So when you hear earfucks saying “Gay is learned!” or “Gay can be behaviorally eradicated from your system!” punch those fuckers in the nuts for me. It makes me physically ill to think that people can “cure” you by rote (or disfiguring electroshock). I digress. I decided to give it a whirl, despite the huge fear that was in my goolies.

She was my age and slightly gangly and while she was not the most popular girl in school, she was smart. Near genius smart for her age. I was more intimidated by that, than her sex. My mom stood just outside of earshot (which, by the way is physically impossible) while I made the call:

“Hello Dorcas…?”

Let’s stop right there. I am sure the reason Dorcas was so intelligent and wise beyond her years was purely based on the need to constantly explain to people her name was not a vehicle for child-like slurs. Get it out of your system now, I’m sure she had heard them all well before she was 5 years old in numerous playground and recess gatherings. Dork Ass; Door Knob; Dork Face; Dumb Ass etc. Years after our date, I had seen her verbally rip the skin off of some drunk fucker who called her out about her name, during a illegal teen drinking party. While her words were venomous, her eyes were dead set and almost blasé. She had her name defense response honed to an art.

Of course, her name was the first thing we talked about on our date. I thought I asked politely but my question still riled her. “It’s from the bible,” she told me, “Not that I’m religious or read it at all.” We then tore into how embarrassing our mothers were: from naming conventions to matchmaking. We were friends then.

But throughout the evening there was a voice in my head. “You gonna kiss her when this is over?”

I admit that the night was a blur. I do know we went to Star Wars. I do remember her telling me that hand holding was not required. I do remember at the end of the evening, after walking her home, standing at her door, (thankfully without any parent in view – we lived in an age when 13 year olds could walk the streets unattended) we did kiss. I think I kissed her teeth.

We became friends after that. Like “holy Christ we will never, EVER talk of this again” kind of friends. When Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back came out, we went on another “date” much to the amazement of our parents. I remember my Mom reeling like being hit by a slap when I mentioned Dorcas and I were going out on another date, three years after the last. We laughed hysterically at the end of the evening when I kissed her hand.

Two upper middle class, housework-shunning, career women sit down to lunch, order martinis and awkwardly avoid talk of their children.

Last Tango In Jadac

Celebs and Media


A friend who knows I’m jonesing for Dexter and Mad Men to return, sent me this online game Last Tango In Jadac, based on the Movie Network’s show ZOS (Zone of Separation). The start of the game introduces a character called Speedo Boy, from which you can guess his costume choice (played deliciously over the top by Enrico Colantoni, who geeks will know as the guy who framed Gigolo Joe in Spielberg’s A.I.), and he invites you to wander the streets of Jadac and meet his people.

Being a newbie to The Movie Network, I’m trying to get as much cool, commercial free stuff in as possible and have watched a couple ZoS to recognize the characters around the game. LTiJ is an “interactive fiction experience” that utilizes 3D graphics as navigation, which takes a bit of getting use to to move around, and Flash video that lets you interact with Jadac’s population. Stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with an almost David Lynchian web adventure: surreal, death defying, unnerving and spatially discordant. It’s probably the best form of Flash/Video marketing I’ve seen in a while.

Moving around the square you meet up with many of the characters of Jadac who all want something from you or need to give you advice, drugs or tasks to complete within the game. Ultimately you’re trying to get out of the ZoS without getting zipped up into a body bag, of which I haven’t been able to finish without finding myself getting unzipped by a couple of Canadian peacekeepers (there’s a seriously frustrating bug in the game within the Speedo Boy/Minefield part – the game refuses to recognize any keyboard commands and you instantly wander where you’re not suppose to – boom, you’re dead). While the concept isn’t new the fusion between story and discovery/exploration is worth some attention and compliments the story well. Some areas of Jadac are not safe for work – you can choose to take on the job of porno cinematographer and film a mildly graphic sex scene (men’s bum, a tit) and some are seriously depressing (dressed down scenes of white slavery) but it does have flashes of fun. The stories shift between events and areas as you wander around interacting with characters, giving you a sense of the dark, almost Catch 22 vibe of the show.

LTiJ is a great marketing tool for the show, even if you’re not a fan. It’s worth a few minutes of your time. Pro tip: If you die, stick around for the credits – the final shot is a nice behind-the-scenes look at how they filmed it.

(Head)Phoning It In


Oh Apple. How I love and hate you simultaneously. Your iPhone is a thing of beauty. Sublime. Utterly life changing. But your accessories leave me thirsty for more, like some post-Survivor participant thirsts for their sixteenth minute of fame.

We all know the ear buds suck. No big surprise. I want to talk about how Apple knows they suck, made an equally maddening improvement that sucks even more so. And just as you’re about to play the boiling mad consumer when you return them, they soothe your pain with treacle and excellent customer service.

Yes. I bought the $90 In-Ear buds that may or may not work for iPhones and they were glorious. The sound was so rich I could hear the lead singer from Underworld fart during one track, I swear. But soon after the cons started.

Logically, headphones with a microphone suggests they made these buds for the iPhone, since voice recording isn’t all that much of a big need (or a huge selling app) on an iPod Touch. So I’m assuming it’s primarily made for the iPhone but on the iPhone, the volume controls don’t work – they only work correctly for the iPods. So why add a microphone if it’s an iPod accessory? Maddening.

Secondly, as I paid for them, the woman pointed out that I have 3 weeks to return them for a full refund. Not a store credit, or exchange. Full. Refund. Uh oh. Not a good sign but at least she pointed that out verbally and on the bill.

Another con is that the wire used for the buds have a habit of transmitting any vibration directly into your inner ear. So any footstep, any brush up against the wires, any silent burp, telegraphs to your ear bones like a tin cup and yarn telephone. It’s utterly distracting from the rich, beautiful music.

And finally, I don’t have the ears that keep the buds in place. I tried all three sizes but found I was reinserting them every block or so. I plucked my ear hairs, cleaned the wax out and yet still no grip. They constantly slipped out, reducing the aural impact.

I took them back last night to a very crowded Apple store, where they’ve banished the long wait for the cash by having floating remote cash points on the back pocket of the hip, young(ish) things that man the isles (tiny voice: Brilliant!). After a short exchange with the most popular and sexy Panda Bear that works there…

Panda Bear: (flashing his pay point machine) Paying with credit card?
Me: Returning, actually.
PB: Really? Didn’t like them?
Me: My greasy Italian ears can’t keep them in my ear holes.
PB: You said it, not me.

…I got to the counter and was out of the store with not an ounce of hassle. In fact there was only one question asked:

Clerk: Can I ask why are you returning them?
Me: (Offering my list of complaints, said nicely and with a smile).
Clerk: I am sorry to hear that these didn’t work for you.

Yeah. She took ownership of the problem. I was so shocked by that one sentence that I told her at the end of the transaction that her service was excellent. It was like getting a good night blow job when you only expected a kiss. I didn’t add that part.

Unfortunately when I got home, the 3rd party brand I bought were such utter shite I tore them from my head and cursed the day this nameless company was created. The jack wasn’t sitting correctly in the iPhone, producing a crackling noise, the microphone produced such poor quality playback over the phone that I sounded like I was in an empty bucket at the back end of a concert hall while trying to removing chicken feathers from my throat. The buds themselves leaked so much noise SharkBoy was holding his own ears. Yeah that bad.

I’ll recount my second return later. Wish me luck!

Not Laughing At You. Oh Wait. Yes I Am.


“Ma’am? Miss? Excuse me?”

The barista is hanging over the counter trying to get the attention of the woman at the creamer counter. Someone in the fairly longish line steps out and taps her on the shoulder.

“What?” she snaps.

“Your card is short by $2,” the barista says somewhat quietly over the crowd.

“You rang it through twice. I know there’s at least $5 on it left.”

“I can give you a print out of your purchase…”

With a huff she turns back to the front of the line and with weighted flourish, dumps her purse on the counter. She gets the bill and in hushed tones, tries to reason with the barista why she thought there was more money on the card. Finally, angrily, she hands over the remaining cash.

“This is the longest I have ever had to wait for service,” she offers as punctuation to her $4 coffee purchase, and storms off.

I’ve known the barista for some time. Not much fazes her, but you can tell that cow got to her somehow. At my turn at the counter, she takes my order and I stand slightly to the left to wait for my tea. I’m going to tell her that she’s doing a great job… that it’s a great day… something positive. Suddenly a soccer mom with daughter in tow stands directly in front of me and orders. And orders something else. And complicates something (I wasn’t paying that much attention). The barista places my tea on the counter and while I wait for her to take my money, tries to smooth out the soccer mom’s order, which she does, except for…

“Can you give me my coffee now?” the snotty soccer mom asks.

I make eye contact with the barista. I roll my eyes and make a “mah moo mive me my moffee mow?” face behind the soccer mom’s back.

Both of us laugh. Try not to. Then snort hard. Try not to. I give up and laugh and look at the stunned soccer mom. I drop a $1 tip into the box.

It’s just coffee, people!

Indiana Jones and the Wait, What?


Hey Kids! Shelly Here!

Oh Indy…

(Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned!)

I know that the Indy movies are all based on serial installments from the early days of film. I know that they’re emulating a forced, melodramatic style of acting. I know the Indy stories themselves are over the top and require a degree of suspension of disbelief, but the Crystal Skulls were… cracked.

I was loving where the movie started. Right back to the roots. The infamous warehouse (replete with a longing look at the Ark of the Covenant). Good one George/Steven! But the countdown clock for the rocket sled used LED lights made me think: “Waitaminnit! The US only started to develop LEDs in 1961, let alone have the technology to use them for numeric displays at secret military bases!” Okay okay… breathe. From there on, I started to suspect everything shoveled at me: Like how many fridges from the 50s were proudly labeled “Lead Lined”? Or dragging a motorcycle along with you to a South American adventure for two completely unnecessary establishing shots. The suspension of disbelief had been cut and I was left dangling.

I also thought we had to swallow the alien storyline way too soon. X Files The Movie had us questioning our beliefs better. With the previous Indys, we had a sense of mysticism that kept us just one step behind the mystery. A step behind the solution. With the alien plot, all bets are off. Lasers could have flown out of Indy’s whip and it could be too easily been explained by “alien tech!” Too easy and no payoff. With “Doom” or “Crusade” the mystery was faith-based and for some part, so it was for “Crystal Skull”, but there was no dual alternative explanation. The killer ants avoid the skull. The skull is magnetic to non-magnetic materials. The skull can control minds. Why? Alien technology!

I have to admit at this point that I’m getting alien CGI burnout after seeing it repeated over and over from Spielberg’s other speculative offerings (A.I., Taken, Close Encounters, Amazing Stories etc). What’s next? Shindler’s Schwa?

It was heavy on the action and light on the goofball comedy, which seems like the Star Trek Curse: odd number Treks suck, so I guess even number Indys aren’t as funny and are action heavy. In all, I did enjoy it, but the core was a bit shaky.

I give it four fedoras out of five.