Pet Peeve: People Who Talk During a Movie

It’s a Saturday night, you’ve decided to have a chilled weekend and a movie seems like the perfect plan. You head out, get there just in time to avoid the rush, buy two tickets for yourself and your better half, purchase some popcorn and try not to overdo the salt&vinegar.

The trailers are about to start. A few people are filing in last minute. You’re not watching one of the latest releases, so it shouldn’t be a full house. In fact, there are a lot of free seats.

But, two people have decided to sit directly behind you. It’s like your presence in front of them is somehow comforting as opposed to sitting in some lonely, isolated seats elsewhere. You feel slightly annoyed by their decision to sit in such close proximity, but you decide to rather put it out of your mind and relax.

The trailers start. You haven’t been to the movies in forever, so you’re looking forward to seeing all the upcoming attractions. The lights have dimmed and you’re ready to sit back and enjoy – but – it’s like the people sitting behind you haven’t even realised that when the lights dimmed, that was their cue to shut the hell up!

You try to ignore their idiotic chatter and attempt to placate yourself with the thought that they will most likely stop talking in the next few minutes. Perhaps they frequently go to the movies and have seen all of the trailers. They’ll definitely know not to talk when the movie starts.

You strain to block out their annoying voices while you try to follow the trailers. It’s getting closer to the time when the dimmed lights will fade into insignificance, and surely then tweedle dee and tweedle dumb will shut their pie holes.

Finally, the moment arrives. The lights go out and the intro music starts up. The only other pleasant noise that you expect to hear is the faint sound of crackling popcorn. But, life sucks! Instead of movie bliss, you’re getting a blow-by-blow about x’s marital problems. Their conversation is becoming more animated and your chair is now receiving the occasional jolt from an expressive arm or leg gesture.

You breathe in deeply and look at better half who is significantly less confrontational. Somehow, he has managed to use his super powers to block out external irritants. Oh, how you wish you had these powers, but right now these two lame brains are your kryptonite, breaking down the limited powers of self-control you possess.

The movie has just begun, you can still get into it if they stop talking. right. now. You will them to keep quiet. right. now. Nope, they continue chatting. You look over at better half again. His blissful oblivion is now starting to irk you. You sigh loudly and toss your head back hard against your seat, hoping someone will take note. Better half notices, gets a quick summary of the situation and encourages apathy for the sake of peace.

By the time the chatter ceases, it is too late. You have missed the introductory story line, and you’re too annoyed to care anymore.

Yes, perhaps this has happened to you. I feel your pain. This is my story and this is why I hate people who talk during a movie.

Photo by Mark G. Power

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My Two Month Bloggerversary

Those couples that celebrate anniversaries month by the month really annoy me.

Lara: Craig and I are celebrating our anniversary today, so we’re going out for a special dinner tonight.

Me: Wow, congratulations, how many years have you been together then?

Lara: Well it’s actually our 14 month anniversary.

Me: Oh …

I don’t know why I find the month by month anniversary thing so annoying. I suppose I just see it as an excuse people use to go out and have a nice meal together. Why do you even need a reason to do that? And what sort of statement does a month by month anniversary make? One month is a real milestone for you, wow, so why are you together again?

But as I criticise these corny love birds, I have to admit that I feel similarly about my blog. I’m counting our writing relationship month by month – but – the difference is, each month that my blog continues to exist is a significant milestone for me. And I totally feel it’s worth celebrating! So here’s to many more months of me writing about whatever prickles my fancy, and to being a very candid cactus (whatever that means).

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Pouting Photos: ‘Say Mwah’ vs. ‘Say Cheeeese’

Pouting photos have become all the rage over the past two or three years. I’m not quite sure who started the trend – Paris Hilton? Kiera Knightly? Angelina Jolie? But, whoever it was, the trend has caught on, and nowadays it’s become really difficult to get women to just flash you their pearly whites. You say, ‘smile for the camera,’ and they act like you asked them to do their best Nemo impersonation.

There is one woman I know who doesn’t have a single non-pouting photo on Facebook. You can click through the hundreds of photos she’s got up, all taken at different places with different people, but her expression remains the same :-X (that’s a pouting smiley for anyone who wasn’t sure).

I would like to point something out to all the pouting gals out there – we were not all blessed with a gorgeous set of juicy Angelina Jolie lips. When a thin-lipped lady is giving her best pout, her mouth looks a lot like a sea anemone closing in on its prey … it aint pretty. And even when a full-lipped gal is puckering up for her best pout, if it’s not done subtly, she just looks like a deranged fish.

I miss the good old days when people would smile if they saw a camera pointed at them. Nothing brightens up your face like a genuine, or well-faked, smile. Instead, hundreds of pouting photos are being taken every day. Snap out of it ladies! Even the celebs can’t get it right half the time …

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The Emmy Awards: Thumbs Up For Modern Family Win

I LOVE Modern Family – love. love. LOVE it! I watched the first season in the space of two weeks, and I was most upset when it ended. I can’t imagine a better cast than that showcased in this fabulous mockumentary.

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy had me laughing out loud on many occassions, with his dorky ‘I’m trying to be a cool dad’ act. That one episode where he talks about how he’s in touch with texting lingo – LOL, laugh out loud, WTF, why the face? He just does dork so well. And he’s like a dumb puppy when it comes to gorgeous Gloria, played by Sofia Vergara. She’s like, ‘ello Pheeeel’ (in her thick Columbian accent), and he starts pawing at her dress like she asked him to feel. bahahaha.

As a whole, Modern Family is just fab – the writing, the directing, the acting, all of it. So I’m glad it was recognized in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. I think the fact that it beat outrageously popular shows like Glee and 30 Rock really says something.

Some more shining moments for Modern Family included the award to Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd for Outstanding writing for a comedy series – and this was specifically for the Pilot episode. This also proves how amazing the show is, because in my not-so-humble opinion, pilots are never great. It always takes a while to get into a series. This one grabs you from the very first episode. I mean Cameron introducing their baby Lily at the family gathering to the Lion King soundtrack was just ridiculously funny.

And I’m glad to see that Eric Stonestreet who plays Cameron in Modern Family also won an Emmy. If I recall correctly, it was for his performance in the ‘Fizbo the clown’ episode. That part where he got out of the car at the gas station to defend Mitchell, dressed like a clown, was definitely an award-worthy moment. Although I can think of a few more – the episode where he cries more than Lily (their baby) while trying to sleep train her, or the pilot episode when he claims he is nesting in preparation for receiving the baby, and then it flashes to a shot of him gorging himself in the pantry.

After watching Eric Stonestreet play camp Cameron in Modern family, you’d never believe that he’s really straight. I know I’m no expert, but I think he plays gay better than his co-star, Tyler Ferguson, who is gay in real life.

If you haven’t watched an episode of Modern Family, you simply have to get your hands on the entire first season and watch it from the very first episode. It’s a hoot from start to finish.

The praise garnered by this new comedy series made the Emmy Awards for me. As some may know, I wrote a post a little while back about my hopes for Michael C Hall to win an award for Dexter. I’m still loving every moment of Dexter, even though I’m only on the second season. Unfortunately, he lost to the guy from Breaking Bad – maybe he deserved it, I don’t know because I’ve never watched the show. Does anyone care to enlighten me?

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Stuck in a Chilean Mine ‘Til Christmas: Would You Keep Your Sense of Humor?

The thought of those Chilean mine workers stuck underground all this time really disturbs me. I am really claustrophobic, so ‘miner’ was never going to make it onto my list of possible occupations. Nevertheless, I keep imagining how I would react if I were trapped in the ‘bowels of the earth’ as some articles have eerily described. I think I would be the one that absolutely loses it, goes balmy, crazy, stark raving mad, loco – I think you get the picture! But then I think, oh my, that would have such a hectic effect on all the others, I’d really have to try with all my might to keep it together – but how??

Well, an Aussie mine collapse survivor has offered some advice: keep your sense of humor. It seemed so profoundly simple when I read it, but then I backtracked just a little and noticed that Mr Todd Russel was only trapped underground for 14 days. How long are they predicting the Chilean miners will be down there? Try 4 months Mr Russel! My maths isn’t great, but that’s 8 times the hardship you had to endure buddy!

Okay, so he does go on to describe other ways of coping, but I mean, why is ‘keep your sense of humor’ highlighted as a precious pearl of wisdom? It’s not funny! I don’t know why I feel so touchy about this story *ahem* let me compose myself.

I suppose I just keep thinking about how long one day can feel when I’m bored out of my mind and have absolutely nothing to do. We’ve all had days like that, where minutes feel like hours, but now add to that – a confined space, with the same people, hardly any food (even tougher if you’re someone like me who confuses boredom with hunger), a hot and humid environment, and no private loo. In fact, the loo question has been on my mind for days now. How do they work that one out?

Okay, this is scary, another article I just read says that, depending on the constitution of each Chilean miner, there is a possibility that some could just ‘give up’ psychologically and die.

Well, I can’t stop thinking about these men. I wake up, they’re underground, I eat breakfast, they’re underground, I drive to work, they’re underground, I wade through my pile of work as the hours fly by, they’re underground, I come home and relax in front of some mindless television, they’re underground, I eat a lovely dinner, they’re underground, I have an after dinner snack, they’re underground, I sit here typing in my bed with my electric blanket on, they’re underground! The thought of them underground is plaguing me.

If there’s anyone out there who’s also thinking about the Chilean miners non-stop, join me in saying a prayer for them. I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through and are yet to go through in the coming months. Well, actually, I can begin to imagine, but that thought just makes me want to hyperventilate.

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Inside the Crazy Mind of a Conspiracy Theorist

I worked as a copywriter last year, and one of our business’ clients required huge quantities of articles for his conspiracy website. Some weeks I would be required to churn out 15 articles on the same subject. And the worst part – these articles had to incorporate the most ridiculous SEO keywords I’ve ever seen! Here are just a few of the most bizarre keywords:

  • airport screeners security
  • arms of mass destruction
  • beverage food industry
  • biometric fingerprint door locks
  • dick cheney is evil
  • effects of overpopulation in humans

Obviously those are some of the funnier ones. But I’ll tell you one thing, I didn’t find it very humorous writing ‘informed’ articles with keywords like these, especially because we had to insert them about 8 times into every post. It was challenging. Just try it if you don’t believe me. I’ve never felt so ashamed of my writing. Those ghastly keywords inspired sentences like this one:

Airport screeners security measures represent yet another form of government control and a subtle attack on our civil liberties.

But if you thought those keywords were bad, what do you think about these (for the same conspiracy client):

  • bret michaels bus of love
  • britney spears story
  • real world seasons

And these keywords had to be incorporated into conspiracy articles my dear readers. We were instructed to write about how these forms of entertainment distract Americans from the looming New World Order, da da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

I probably wrote close to a hundred of these 500 word articles last year. After spending hours researching the various conspiratorial topics, I did not leave with a newfound respect for conspiracy theorists.

In fact, it gave me insight into how terrified these people actually are – they are frightened of just about everything! Anything you can think of represents something that is out to get us, whether it’s as significant as the government, the tax system, the banking system or as insignificant as a TV series, a hamburger or the plastic container that houses your ham sandwich (mmmmm, I feel like a ham sandwich). Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING represents an obscure ‘they’ who are out to get us.

While I can appreciate that some conspiracy theories make plausible arguments, they also play the most absurd connect-the-dots I’ve ever seen – like some immunizations are linked to disorders such as autism, the pharmaceutical companies are owned or have ties with the world’s Jewish elite, therefore ‘they’ are trying to create a New World Order by disabling the population.

Hopefully there aren’t any conspiracy theorists reading this right now, but if there are, I’d just like to remind you that I could be working for the government, and I may have tapped into your computer, and I will totally use all of your details for the government database which will ultimately facilitate the emerging New World Order. Tee hee.


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Zero to Hero: Manchester United Signs Beaming Bebe

The Portuguese footballer Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, otherwise known by his nickname -Bebe – can’t stop smiling, and neither can I. Everyone loves a rags to riches tale, and here’s one that beats all others.

Bebe’s Sudden Success

It’s the stuff fairy tales are made of. Bebe spent his childhood on the streets and in an orphanage. It was just last year that he played in the European Street Football Festival and was considered for the Homeless World Cup. He didn’t make the cut for the Homeless World Cup, but I’m sure he’s not bothered now – the homeless wouldn’t have him, but Manchester United will! I’m sure he has had to pinch himself a few times during the past week. It’s a dream come true for the young footballer.

A Sneer From The Critics

Some have called the decision to buy Bebe from Vitória de Guimarães for over 7 million pounds ‘rash’ and ‘impulsive.’ Manchester United manager, Alex Feruguson, only met Bebe the day before the transfer was made. The relatively unknown Portuguese footballer was recommended to Ferguson by Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese national coach. It still came as somewhat of a surprise given that Ferguson had recently stated that he did not want to add to his squad, and of course Bebe’s insignificant profile made the decision all the more unexpected.

Will Bebe Prove Himself Worthy?

Only time will tell if Bebe was a worthwhile bet, but it’s been said that the 20-year-old player is very talented – fast, quick in the air and a technically gifted striker.

Bebe stated that he has hopes of emulating Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo who once played for Manchester United. He also admires Nani and Anderson who are still at the club.

My bet – with a life story like Bebe’s, he’s undoubtedly got one heck of a fighting spirit. I don’t doubt him for a moment when he says that he plans to work very hard. People like him don’t take opportunities like this for granted. Only time will tell (that I am right).

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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start a Lift Club

The destination

From 2006 to 2008, I studied at the University of Cape Town which is roughly 40 kilometres from my house. Petrol was (and still remains) very expensive, so the logical thing to do at the time was to find people who lived nearby and wanted to share the driving and cost of petrol.

It was quite a big step for me. I love my car, and I love being alone in my car to listen to the music that I want to listen to, to sing along as loudly as I feel is appropriate, to blast the aircon as much as I feel is necessary, to stop off wherever I feel my heart or stomach leading and to drive as slowly or as fast as I want without having to endure any comments. I also don’t enjoy waiting for others, and we all know that patience is a virtue and a necessity in any lift club.

Phew, there were a lot of ‘I’s’ in that paragraph, but I suppose I do just feel plain selfish when it comes to my car – it’s MINE, ALL MINE, mwhahahaha. Ahem, let me compose myself. I thought I’d compile five reasons, based on my own experiences, why you should think twice before car-pooling or starting a lift club:

Reason 1: The Waiting Game

There were 4 people in my lift club at one stage – a drama queen, a Russian and a serious joe. The four includes myself for anyone who is mathematically challenged. The four of us had agreed to wait for each other for up to a maximum of 2 hours to compensate for different lecture times. The problem is that serious joe was also seriously forgetful.

We would all assemble at the agreed upon home time, and serious joe would have somehow lost his keys, misplaced his wallet or dropped his student card during the course of the day. Russian would give him a hard time which would create awkward vibes. He’d always say something like, “I keep my keys in my one pocket and my smokes in the other pocket, what’s so difficult about that? We’re guys, that’s why we have pockets.”

Although I agreed wholeheartedly, I didn’t want to have to endure a 40km drive with awkward vibes, so I’d suggest that we help to find the misplaced item. Of course, by the tenth time it happened, I was far less patient, in fact, I was most probably the source of ALL tension as I let rip on serious joe and became frightfully serious myself.

Unfortunately, when it came to serious joe, he wouldn’t just lose things that took time to find. He would also forget things – like the fact that he had an essay due the very next day and the book he needed was only available on short loan and therefore needed to be photocopied – all 100 pages! Or he’d forget which day it was, agree to leave with us at 3pm and then realise that he actually needed to stay til 5pm.

It just felt like we were always waiting for serious joe – me, the Russian and the drama queen – waiting together, all feeling miserable that we couldn’t just leave. The traffic was crazy in the evenings, so the longer we waited, the longer the car drive home would be. It was a serious waiting game, and with the unlikeliest combination of people!

Reason 2: Unreliable Cars

Between the Russian, the drama queen, serious joe and myself, we had 2 and a half cars in our lift club. My car and the drama queen’s car were in good nick. On the other hand, serious joe’s car was falling to pieces (hence the half) and Russian didn’t own a car (apparently he had written it off in an accident). Russian agreed to pay for his lifts instead of driving.

In theory, there should have been quite a few days when I got a break from driving, but this was not the case. Drama queen had recently passed her driver’s licence after failing three times, and she was too scared to drive beyond a particular shopping centre. This is where we would fetch her every morning. So she also landed up paying for her lifts instead of driving.

Serious joe’s brakes were failing. It was very scary, I prepared myself for death many times over that period. He maintained that his brakes were fine, but honestly, when the whole car starts vibrating and you have to turn the nose out so you don’t hit the car infront, your brakes are so not fine dude!

There were various other things failing on serious joe’s car, but my real gripe was the fact that he would often lock his keys in the car or leave his lights on. We spent many an afternoon breaking into his own car with a hanger (which couldn’t have looked good in that neighbourhood) or attempting to push start it – it didn’t work, ever! Despite the fact that his lights were left on several times and I had let him have it for not owning jumper leads, serious joe did not catch a wake up call. The Russian, the drama queen and I would sit on the pavement hopelessly while serious joe appealed to strangers for help – which doesn’t get you very far if you don’t have jumper leads.

In the end, I became the driver. My petrol costs were just about covered – although getting people to pay is another trial in itself – and I was the sole driver. I really didn’t see that one coming.

Reason 3: The Clash of Personalities

What do you get when you put a Russian, a serious joe, a drama queen and myself in a lift club?

Serious joe was incredibly conservative. He did not like a lot of mainstream music, which wasn’t a problem when we went in his car which didn’t have a radio or CD player *crickets*, but which kinda posed a problem when we went in my car which had both. Drama queen, being somewhat oblivious and very extraverted would hear Justin Timberlake’s ‘I’m bringin sexy back’ on the radio and turn the volume up full blast! Serious joe would look like he was having an aneurism, and I, being very aware of vibes, would feel so incredibly awkward.

Russian, on the other hand, told the most outlandish stories. He had the capacity to talk the whole hour we drove to varsity. The problem with his stories were that they just seemed like tall tales, fibs, lies, figments of his imagination – ‘My friend passed his driver’s licence with beer bottles all over the floor beneath him and no side mirrors’ or ‘I’m getting a brand new car next week’ (which never happened in the year or two he was in the lift club) or he would tell us about the ridiculously exorbitant salary he earned before studying (which didn’t seem correct when he finally dropped out of varsity and went to work at the video store).

But serious joe would repeat Russian’s stories to me as fact, and he would become extremely defensive if I cast doubt on them. The whole scenario was so strange.

Serious joe also liked to turn the heater up really hard during winter – pointed at his feet. But he got claustrophobic with the heater on, so he also wanted the windows wide open while the heater warmed his feet. I felt so annoyed, so I’d push the magic button which child locks the windows so serious joe couldn’t roll them down. He was not impressed, especially because I found it so hysterically funny!

Reason 4: Money, Money, Money – Not so Sunny

The reason why people start lift clubs is to save money, so I realised that I was faced with a big problem when I became the primary driver and saw very little cash. The biggest problem with me and money is that I don’t like to talk about it, I don’t like to ask for it, and I certainly don’t like to demand it.

I tried hinting at it for a while, but serious joe and Russian became progressively more forgetful. I started to feel like I was in a parallel universe – one where my nickname is doormat and I ‘welcome’ people to walk all over me.

Reason 5: The Exit Strategy

What do you do when you realise that you are not in a lift club anymore, that instead you are like a charity driver for people from outer space? My advice – run for your life before it sucks the life out of you!

What did I do? I took the long and painful route, but eventually I got out. I actually became good friends with drama queen and forced her to start driving beyond the safety net of her beloved shopping center parking lot. I also found another person for the lift club – this one like-minded and the owner of a reliable car! Then I used him and drama queen as my excuse for why serious joe and Russian could no longer get lifts. I’d say, “well I’m working according to accounting guy and drama queen’s schedule, sorry!” Where’s my backbone right? I really don’t know, if you find it anywhere, please send it to jellyfish over here.

Ha! If only ...

Things to Consider Before Starting a Lift Club:

In closing, I’d like to offer just two things to consider before starting a lift club:

1. Be absolutely certain you want to start a lift club.

2. Be careful who you accept into the inner circle (or in my case, the inner square with wheels) – all those hours in the car add up to what feels like an eternity.

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Paris Hilton: Dating Malaysian Tycoon or Teletubby?

What! Paris Hilton is dating a teletubby? You mean she isn’t as shallow as we’ve been made to believe?

He’s a what? A Malaysian tycoon? So he’s an incredibly rich teletubby? Ooooh, It all makes sense now!

I thought I’d shed some light on recent celebrity gossip doing the rounds. Apparently Paris Hilton has been rubbing shoulders with a few more members of the world’s upper echelon, and it’s been said that she is dating Malaysian billionaire Jho Low.

Paris was spotted partying it up at a nightclub in St Tropez where her rumored Malaysian tycoon lover spent in the region of 2 million Euros on Cristal champagne to impress his ever-so-classy mistress who proceeded to bathe herself in bubbly.

Paris Hilton has also been photographed soaking up the sun on Jho Low’s yacht and flitting about on lavish shopping sprees. Recession? Like what recession? Spending money is so hot right now!

Paris Hilton has denied that she is dating the Malaysian tycoon, but these pictures tell a different story. Mr Jho Low certainly isn’t a Greek god, but he’s definitely managed to impress Paris Hilton – and we all know that it takes a lot to impress her (a lot of money that is).

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The Curse of To-Do Lists

Whoever said planning is the way to get ahead in life did not take someone like me into consideration. Not only is planning my worst nightmare, it often proves to be my downfall. I have written many a to-do list only to find that the things listed become the things that I avoid at all cost. I’ve sat down and written to-do lists which look something like this:

Monday:

  • Start assignment which is due Friday
  • 1 hour gym workout
  • Clean
  • Talk to boss about taking leave to write exams
  • Sew button back onto coat
  • Prepare presentation for Tuesday

There’s something about the act of writing a to-do note like this one which makes me want to avoid ever doing any of these things. I’ll write a to-do list like this on a Monday, and I won’t go to the gym for another month, I’ll only get around to my assignment on the day that it’s due, I’ll hardly prepare the presentation, I won’t speak to my boss about leave until it’s almost too late, I certainly won’t clean and I’ll NEVER sew the button back onto my coat. My to-do list morphs into a mutant what-not-to-do list.

It’s made me realise that I shouldn’t write to-do lists. I’m quite capable of remembering what I have to do in a day, and it seems like listing things together makes everything seem more daunting.

The same principle applies to New Year’s resolutions. Who actually keeps those ‘well-intended’ goals which are often proclaimed in a half-drunken merry stupor anyway? I know I don’t! The year to lose weight becomes the year when every cupcake seems to beckon my name, the year to study hard becomes the year when I wake up with sleep marks on my forehead and drool down my cheek every time I pick up a textbook, the year to get involved in non-profit/charity work becomes the year when I find so many cool new hobbies to fill up my time (none of them involving those less fortunate). The year to get into shape becomes the year of the couch potato olympics – I think you get the picture!

This year I did not make a single New Year’s resolution. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m still trying to decide. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t feel as though I have these weighty goals hanging over my head. It’s August already, and if I’d made any New Year’s resolutions I would definitely be feeling some form of anxiety that the next New Year is fast approaching and the current resolutions are becoming less and less resolute.

If you’re anything like me, don’t, I repeat DO NOT make to-do lists, because they are a curse! And scrap those New Year’s resolutions; if they were really important you would’ve done them by now.

So to end off this post, I’d like to share the new and improved to-do list that I now live by:

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