Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Reveals and Damage to our Jaws

not you

The best part about a long-running series is the Big Reveal, a turn that is so shocking, so game changing, people will slap you across the face if you spoil it for them. Just a scant few centuries ago, dropping an un-alerted spoiler was grounds for a duel. Little known fact: the famous Hamilton-Burr duel began when Alexander Hamilton gave away the ending of Catherine Cuthbertson's novel The Romance of the Pyrenees before Aaron Burr got a chance to finish it. (Spoiler alert, I may have made that last bit up.)

Sometimes, though, the Big Reveal does not cause our jaws to succumb to gravity. In fact, gravity itself is so annoyed by the plot development that it ceases to function around our jaw area, causing it, in fact, to rise. If you ever found yourself involuntarily grinding your teeth after finding out, I don't know, that as a boy Darth Vader built C-3PO, that's gravity expressing its disdain. (Seriously, don't annoy gravity. I don't think it likes us.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This Relationship Corner: Deal-Breakers and Details

Let’s talk about lists. No, I don’t mean jousting, although that isn’t a terrible metaphor. No, I’m talking about the lists we have about our ideal mate. (If you’re already in a relationship, I’m hoping that your list is your mate. If it isn’t, don’t leave it around for them to find; that’s worse than printing out a resume at work.)

There are two pitfalls when it comes to lists, and they both have to do with dealbreakers. The first pitfall is not having any dealbreakers. This can be a problem, because not being picky enough is how you end up being the getaway driver in a series of cross-country bank heists. You need standards, and you need to respect yourself enough to demand them from others. Don’t be afraid to turn down potential relationships because of a dealbreaker. That’s one of the reasons people have a string of bad relationships – they have no standards and then wonder why every person they’ve dated is terrible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Heart of Futurama

There you are, minding your own business, watching a show about a nitwit from the Twentieth-Century stuck in the future. He's got a beer-guzzling robot as his best friend and a crush on a cyclops. This show created by Matt Groening, who also gave us The Simpsons, is a clever, satirical send up of the present vis-a-vis the future. It's a typical fun episode, you're having a laugh, and faster than Elzar can misfire a spice weasel into your eye, the show takes an emotional turn. It floors you, you weren't expecting it, and chances are, eight to ten years later, you're still talking about it. Well, I am, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Find a group of Futurama fans, get them talking about favorite episodes, particularly the ones from the hallowed 1999-2003 years, and four inevitably come up. These are the four episodes that go right for that four-chambered organ you're slowly destroying with your diet. (In your defense, putting cheese and bacon on everything really is awesome.) Three of the episodes warm your heart, and when you're having a day in which Kill All Humans seems like a good action plan, these episodes will quickly change your attitude to I Must Hug a Human Right Now!

The fourth? This one stabs your heart, steals its wallet, and leaves it in a gutter to die. And yes, you know the episode I'm talking about, but we'll get to that shortly.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This Relationship Corner: Being Ready for a Relationship

My wife complained that for a blog about writing, I talk too much about pop culture.  So today, I thought I would take a look at one of my other passions, relationships.  I talk a lot about relationships of all kinds in my communications classes, but mostly romantic relationships, and I enjoy passing on my meager wisdom in these Dr. Phil moments. 

To be fair, I hardly know everything about relationships. I'm still figuring them out myself, and I make just as many mistakes as anyone else (as my wife will attest.) However, I'd like to think that I do have something to offer regarding relationships. And if you happen to be someone like me, an introvert, geek, gamer, owner of the Technical Manual for the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D, then hopefully I can help you out with what I know.

Today's topic is you. Before you can even think about getting into a long-term romantic relationship, you first need to look at yourself. You need to make sure that you're ready for a relationship, because unless you get yourself ready, it's going to be very, very difficult to find someone, let alone maintain a relationship.

Friday, August 12, 2011

8 Great 80's Movies

As a child of the 80's, I had many people in my life trying to expand my horizons, particularly regarding the merits of media from the 1950's. Sometimes it was the music (referred to as "real music") or the television shows (thank you Nick at Night) but, most of the time my elders wanted me to watch the great movies of the 1950's. To me, all these things were in the stone age. We're talking 3 decades and 6 presidents ago. That's forever for a child. It didn't help matters that when I watched Back to the Future, I was amazed at the primitive world of the 1950's and wondered how anyone could live in that decade. Why on earth would I want to watch a movie made in the 50's?

I was ignorant, and thankfully I was relieved of said ignorance about that decade and have now grown to appreciate those influences: the television, music, and of course the movies. Well, now many of my fellow children of the 80's have children of their own, children who hold a similarly ignorant view of the time period three decades prior, with the strange music, odd television shows, and of course, movies that they readily dismiss. They, too, need to have their ignorance eliminated so they can fully appreciate the contribution that this decade's movies made to our culture.

Today I will profile 8 essential movies of the 80's. It is imperative that this current generation see these movies. If I happen to converse with your child one day, and they don't get a single reference from Airplane, Ghostbusters, or Back to the Future, then I'm blaming you. Because that's just bad parenting.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pixar, Savior of Humanity

Many of us know what to do about the inevitable zombie uprisings, as we have made our plans to handle any type of undead apocalypse. Sadly, however, we don't devote as much thought to identifying and combating the replicants, soulless clones infiltrating humanity in order to learn our weaknesses in preparation for the inevitable invasion. How will we know who is human and who is the flawless replicant?

Fortunately for us, Pixar has been helping humanity fight this scourge for many years.

Why do you think their films are so sad? Is it that, like the scream of Monsters Inc., they need our tears to power their company? A good guess, but no; Pixar is, in fact, one of the last and greatest lines of defense against the replicant threat. After all, a replicant might be able to pass a generic medical screening, even so far as having DNA indistinguishable from ours. However, with the power of Pixar, we can now easily screen for who is a replicant intent on worldwide domination. Because only a replicant could watch the following Pixar scenes and be unmoved.

For your convenience, I have found the top seven Pixar moments guaranteed to help you identify whether the person you've known all your life is an actual human or a replicant. I've described each scene and assigned it a Replicant Detection Success Rate (RDSR) so you can know the potency of each scene. What you do once you discover the truth is up to you, but no matter what, you'll be certain whether the people in your life are actually people.