What the hell is wrong with people?

When you ask someone what they do for fun, what are some of the typical answers you receive? If someone were to ask me that very question, I’d say that I enjoy reading books, watching movies, kicking back with some wine, and maybe even taking a nice little quiet vacation to a secluded beach or cabin somewhere. I’ve been known to explore the odd quaint town and even hike (ever so slowly). Some other acceptable answers may be camping, fishing, arts and crafts, or gaming, I mean the list of “what do you do for fun?” is literally endless.

However, one concept I have a hard time getting behind are the folks who put themselves in immediate danger for a little bit of excitement. Yeah, yeah, I get the whole haunted house genre, but I’m talking about real life “you can die” danger and not just the “might pee your pants if that teenaged zombie comes near me” danger. All for a kick.

Sure, virtually anything we do can be considered dangerous in some way, I mean, just watch the news. Even benign hobbies have their risks. You could end up getting mugged or shanked just from wearing the wrong sports jersey to the wrong game. A friend of mine saw this happen firsthand leaving an Eagles game in Philadelphia a few years ago when an elderly man in a Cowboys jersey got stabbed on the subway after the game.

While, yes, danger can be found anywhere, I’m referring to those danger-seeking adrenaline junkies who base jump from skyscrapers, walk along a barely-there ledge on the side of a cliff, surf shark-infested waters, or bungee jump over jagged rocks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole adrenaline rush and everything, but still, you have to draw the line somewhere, right? I saw a TikTok video the other day where a person jumped off a boat and into a group of sharks he and friends had just been feeding. What about those people who run and flip from rooftop to rooftop? “Parkour!” in the words of Michael Scott from The Office. If the whole situation goes south, it can mean certain death, permanent maiming, or dismemberment. Okay, yeah, I get that THAT is part of the excitement, but seriously? It begs the simple question… what the hell?

Just recently,  I watched a documentary on people who go “caving” as well, which is exploring the darkest, tightest caves they can find. I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that I’ve seen at least three horror movies that have me strongly convinced that journeying down into these deep, dark, unexplored places is a genuinely bad idea, not to mention anxiety-inducing. I’m already claustrophobic as it is so the last thing I want to do is wedge myself between two slabs of stone a hundred feet down in some pitch-black cavern where mutant wall-hugging monsters may or may not live.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “I kind of like some of those dangerous hobbies,” and if so, more power to you and safe travels! Perhaps younger me may have been a bit more adventurous when it comes down to risking my safety for a little bit of excitement, and let’s be honest, the world belongs to the younger generation. I’m reminded of this every time bands like Mötley Crüe, Nirvana, or Red Hot Chili Peppers come up on the classic rock playlist. Just know that some of you have some of us shaking our heads as we watch your antics and wonder what in the hell you were thinking getting into that predicament.

Hobby safely, my friends. And if you need me, I’ll be on the couch with a book, some wine, and a show queued up on Netflix.

that’s a big nope from me, thanks

Spinning in Circles

Since 2022 is about 75% over, I figured it was time to start making progress on my New Years’ resolutions! My first one was to cut down on my alcohol intake, but have you seen what’s happening in the world on any given day? Yikes! Yeah, that one got thrown to the wayside almost immediately.

Next, I wanted to cut down on unnecessary spending. Not usually a problem because I don’t spend much on myself, but still. It’s difficult because “unnecessary” is such a subjective word. Some people might say that buying an iced coffee every time you leave your apartment is unnecessary, but I say it is actually a part of my ethnicity as I discovered recently on Ancestry.com. Iced coffee is in my blood.

So, I settled on my last resolution: exercise more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate my body or how I look at all. I’m very much an advocate for body positivity, being comfortable in the skin you’re in, or whatever other Pinterest quote that comes to mind. I’d just like to stop getting handed weight-loss pamphlets when I go to the doctor for a sore throat. And since I’m not giving up the very things that contribute to my cushy padding, I might as well try to work it off.  I mean, it sounds good in theory, right?

Entering gym culture as a newbie is extremely intimidating and overwhelming – there are SO many options: CrossFit, Pilates, Barre, oh my! Or you can just go rogue and walk around the weight room pretending you know what you’re doing until “Chad” who has more muscles than the Hulk, mansplains how to do a bicep curl. Cool, Chad, I thought this was the “judgment free zone.” So, I settled on trying out some classes because at least there, I would be intentionally seeking out advice, unlike the unsolicited variety from the likes of dear old Chad.

Spin classes have always intrigued me because I love the thought of losing weight while sitting down. But they are expensive. Because of my aforementioned iced coffee addiction, I’m not exactly swimming in the cash, so I had to find a reasonably priced option to start my fitness class journey, and this studio near my condo offered one week FREE. Perfect, exactly what I could afford and more importantly, what I was willing to put into my fitness journey.

I signed up for my first class called, “Britney vs. Christina” even though I’m not really a fan of pitting women against each other. Then I realized I had nothing to wear. I don’t think the ratty sweats that are older than my children were going to cut it. So I went online and spent just over $300 on leggings and matching tank tops with sayings on them like, “biker gang,” ”ride and shine,” and “they see me spinnin, they hatin.” I was ready!

When I got to the studio, I quickly learned that my quirky graphic tank top was not enough. These spin people were intense! I saw people velcro strapping on these funky looking shoes and carrying around monogrammed sweat towels… and stretching?! I have never once stretched to just sit down. I mean, what the hell? Who does that?

I tried getting on a bike towards the back of the room, cause, you know, raging introvert.  But apparently that was “Susan’s bike” even though there were no name tags anywhere on that thing, so I ended up having to get on a bike in the front and center of the room. Ugh.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t even get on the damn thing. I’ve ridden a regular bike before, so I know how to mount a bike, in case you’re wondering. But these bikes are well, different. Our overly peppy instructor, Sasha, must have seen the complete and utter confusion across my face because she came and helped me adjust the bike to the appropriate height for me to hop onto the most uncomfortable seat I have ever placed my butt on, and I’ve even flown across the country on Spirit airlines. Seriously, who makes these seats? Someone who has never been handed a weight-loss pamphlet from a doctor, that’s for sure.

Sasha abruptly screamed through her headset that it was time for the class to begin, which almost startled me off the bike, but I didn’t quite fall off and I was able to clamber back on… reminiscent of that time I almost fell off a horse and had to scramble back on, legs and arms flailing, or else be squashed. I’ve also taken a couple of serious tumbles off bikes which are, shall we say, not fun. Now, I don’t think a spin bike would squash me like a 1200-pound Warmblood or toss me head over heels down a shale-lined lane like a mountain bike, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

Then, just as I had settled back into the god-awful seat, Britney Spears, “Toxic” began to blast over the loudspeakers in the too-dark room. For the first two minutes, a song that I have loved for way too many years turned into torture. Every spin class I’ve ever seen online shows folks happily smiling and loving life. This was not my experience. And this was just a warm-up?? For the last chorus of the song, Sasha, in an all-too-happy voice, told the class we could “freestyle” ride and “do whatever we want,” so I got up off my bike and walked over to the snack machine in the lobby.

As I sat on the ground eating a Snickers, I suddenly realized what their slogan “you’re not you when you’re hungry” meant on a spiritual level. I wasn’t me. I was at a spin class for goodness sakes. I could still hear Sasha in the studio encouraging the class to, “do whatever you want!” and I knew that this, right here, was exactly what I wanted to be doing. But, having spent so much money on spin class gear, I realized that it would’ve been cheaper to just sit at home on my couch and eat a Snickers than on the lobby floor of this spin class studio. It was over a $300 candy bar at that point. Who has that kind of money?

Why do they even have candy bars at a gym anyways? I guess that’s the circle of life, and capitalism. So, I left the spin studio to head back to my apartment, stopping on the way home for an iced coffee, because I have priorities. While sipping my drink and listening to the B-52s, I packed up the spin gear and sent it back to Amazon where it belonged. Existential crisis averted.

When You’re Right, You’re Right

I hate to say I told you so, but, well, you know… I told you so. I don’t have a photo to back up my story, but I swear to you, it’s true. My local store has Christmas trees for sale. The fake variety. I mean, it’s not like they have real pine trees standing around. But still.  Right next to the Autumn/Thanksgiving decorations and Halloween candy. I know time flies, but this is ridiculous.

 

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Holiday Rush

In the waning days of August, as summer inched closer to its end yet still had plenty of bite to put sweat on the forehead at the height of the afternoon, I was in a local store to grab a few items and, lo and behold, I saw Halloween decorations staring back at me. Really!? In August the merchandisers were already starting to push Halloween on us!? Halloween, people! Now, I love Halloween, but still, this was a little much. I did a double take just to make sure I hadn’t maybe forgotten that I had previously slipped into a coma and having recently come out of aforesaid coma forgotten that it was actually the beginning of October. Nope. No coma. It was definitely August, and I was already being nudged to think about how I’m going to decorate my front porch for a night more than two months away!

Absurd, I know, but this is how the trend has been going for years now. Each successive holiday season, the celebration du jour has their products on sale earlier and earlier. My prediction? By mid-September, we’ll start seeing turkey cartoons and cornucopia centerpieces. By the time Halloween actually rolls around there will be plastic sleighs and reindeer horns for sale next to cash registers. On Christmas Eve we’ll be able to buy chalky candy hearts with “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me” tattooed on them. After we sing Auld Lang Syne we’ll crack open a Cadbury Cream Egg which, by the way, has already been on sale for a week.

It’s getting crazy how early each consecutive holiday season starts but is it really that unexpected? Should we be shocked? We do live in an age of capitalism, so getting the jump on the competitor is how a business thrives. And who doesn’t like being reminded of these great excuses to eat more than we can fit in, see family we can barely stand, and drink more than we ought to? But when is it too much?

Keep pushing the clock back the way it’s been going and before you know it kids will be sucking on candy canes on their way home from the 4th of July parade.

Laborious Labor Day

Today is Labor Day here in the U.S.  I must confess that Labor Day is one of those holidays that has always confused me, mainly for its contradictory nature.

I mean on Mother’s Day, we celebrate mothers and gift them with the present of doing nothing all day (not that many mothers get away with actually using the gift).  Father’s Day is the same way. We encourage fathers to do “their own thing” on their special day. The effects of most holidays coincide with the original purpose behind said holiday.

But not so Labor Day.

“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Now, one would think from this description that workers should have the day off to relax and reap the rewards of the labor they’ve given to their employers and to society as a whole. And indeed, there are some who do have the day off. However, many of the hardest working folks do not. On this day of celebrating their contribution to the world as we know it and to the workforce in general, they are instead forced to work.

Retail workers bear the brunt, just as they do at Thanksgiving and Christmas, given all of the sales that crop up on Labor Day. But they’re by no means the only ones. Food service, convenience store workers, gas station attendants, paramedics, all manner of hospital employees to name a few.  And yes, some of these good folks are essential personnel and life is much better and much safer (for the rest of us) with them in their respective jobs, even on holidays, and we’re thankful for it. Others not so much. Retail, food service, convenience stores, grocery stores. There’s no reason to not let these people enjoy a much deserved paid day off except… except… that it cuts into bloated profits. And we can’t have that now, can we?

So when all is said and done, Labor Day has been turned into a perverse contradiction of its original meaning and rather than truly celebrating the worker, it has devolved into just another way to take advantage of those who cannot afford to lose their jobs by protesting a holiday shift.

Such is America.

click on the photo to see more info on the history of Labor Day

 

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Late Night Thoughts

You know, during the work week, I am tired as anything, but as Sunday evening rolls around and the dreaded Monday is on the horizon, I am wide awake. Go figure. It’s to the point of “okay, if I can just fall asleep now, that’s five hours, and I’m good with five hours, right? Right?” And no, I’m not good with five hours. Not good at all. But the countdown hasn’t stopped, so it’s hard telling how many hours of slumber I’ll actually get in.

But as I lay here, not sleeping, my brain is on overdrive. Here’s a question for you folks that is weighing on my mind. Now, it’s weighing on yours. Welcome to my world.

Just what the hell is Bugs Bunny shaving??

 

 

 

Let Us Prey

I consider myself a fan of the Predator franchise, even though the Predator and Alien smash up wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.  I’m not saying the concept isn’t fantastic. No doubt sci-fi horror fans around the world were thrilled to see a Predator finally square up with a xenomorph, just as much as slasher fans were excited to finally get Freddy vs. Jason (fantastic movie, by the way). I think what killed it the most for me was that the first AVP (Aliens vs Predator) entry was PG-13 and came with a mediocre script. What’s wrong with PG-13? Well, nothing really, but considering every Predator and Alien movie that came before it, and after it, was rated R, why on earth would the movie when these super violent aliens finally cross paths be rated PG-13? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s to reach a broader audience, but still.

However, the newest entry, Prey, is quite arguably a modern-day horror masterpiece. It was a GREAT movie. I loved it. Personally, I felt that it was a perfect addition to the franchise. The fact that the film featured a strong female lead, just like in the original Alien film, really set it off.

Now I understand that opinions are like, well… abundant. Yeah, let’s just say abundant. Not exactly the “A” word I was thinking of, but it’ll do. In other words, everyone has one. An opinion. Cause you know, they’re abundant. And sometimes those opinions drive me up the wall. There, I’ll admit it freely. I hate people. It’s no big secret.

Why this segue into opinions, you might ask? Well, like much of the world, I’m in a few online social groups with like-minded folks who share hobbies, interests, what have you. One of those groups is all about movies. Horror movies to be specific. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but misogyny tends to run rampant online and especially in groups about horror and sci fi. No, really, it’s true.

So, anyway, people in this group were downright losing their minds over the fact that Prey had a strong female lead. And just so we’re clear, when I say, “losing their minds,” I don’t mean in a good way. Like, oh wow, she’s a freakin’ badass!  Yeah, no. It was not like that. At all.

It was mostly men (remember, I did mention the whole misogyny runs rampant thing) doing the mind losing, and the general feeling was, “Let’s talk about the brother. Now HE was awesome. HE would have made a far better hero. HE should’ve been the lead.”  Yeah, great. Sure, the brother would’ve been the perfect hero, perfect for another cookie-cutter action movie. And we certainly don’t have enough of those out there. *insert eye roll here*

Now, let me step back to say the movie itself was very clever at putting the audience in the perspective of a strong, capable, intelligent woman who – without giving spoilers – was gaslighted and made to feel lesser than by all the big strong he-men around her, including her brother. So, the fact, that this freakin’ badass of a woman takes on a Predator was powerful and satisfying and made the movie the horror masterpiece that it is.

But back to the brother. The character added a great deal to the movie, there is no doubt about that. As a side character. Having him be the “hero” would not have added an extra element to the plot nor would it have made the movie better. The actor is fantastic, and he was perfectly cast in the role, and that role… was exactly what it needed to be.

You may be thinking, well those male movie aficionados may have a point. Maybe their criticism of a female lead has some validity. Let me explain something. The major consensus seemed to center around this concept (and I’m quoting): “Her fighting skills were exaggerated; it just wasn’t believable. There’s no way she would be able to fight like that.” Wasn’t believable. Wasn’t. Believable. In a sci-fi horror movie, something wasn’t believable. Go figure. I love when people watch a fictional movie and then tear it apart for not being accurate. I mean, hey, maybe I’m wrong, I guess I should go pick up a history book and see how the Predator vs Native American tribe battle really went down.

It’s like when people are legitimately upset because “cars don’t explode like that in real life.” As they’re watching Transformers, a film about giant robotic shape-shifting alien vehicles from a distant universe.

The same guys who thought the female lead’s fighting skills were unbelievable also expounded the view that (another quote), “The brother was more believable as a fighter and a hero, his action sequences were amazing.”  Cause you know, HIS fighting skills were right on the mark. These are the same folks who totally believe the whole Predator comes to Earth to hunt prey scenario, and of course, that checks out. However, it’s the FEMALE lead’s fighting skills that get called into question. That’s the unbelievable bit.

I’m serious, Facebook needs to add an emoticon of Picard’s facepalm meme. Or better yet, Dana Scully’s. I’m kind of singling out these few comments but know that there were hundreds more just like them, all from men, who took issue with a female lead in a Predator movie, a female who could kick ass, but should’ve been a man.

These are the same people who apparently forget about Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. Of course, those movies had the same type of male characters who downplayed the female’s role and tried to gaslight her (just like with Prey), so, yeah, there’s that.