Sunday, December 23, 2012

Redbox is Chocolatebox

I'm sure most of you have seen the movie Forrest Gump by now, and I'm sure you remember the famous line: "Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're gonna get."  Well guess what else is like a box of chocolates?  Redbox.

Prepare yourself for mediocrity.
Let me clear this up real quick.  Redbox isn't like a new box of chocolates.  It is the box of chocolates that has been sitting around in the break room at work, full of promise but delivering only disappointment.  If you aren't familiar with this phenomenon, here is a little dramatization:

    One day at (INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE), Ted left the sales floor and went to the break room, looking forward to relaxing for a few minutes before getting back out on the floor and helping customers find just the right Christmas gift.   
   He entered the break room, and was pleasantly surprised at what he found; emptiness.  Not a soul in sight, not even in the Comfy Chair.  He began whistling 'Jingle Bells' as he sauntered over to the Comfy Chair, and was just about to sit down when he saw it: A box of chocolates on the table in the corner, with a little sign that said "MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY! TAKE ONE!"  Unable to believe his good luck, he hurried over to the box and snatched the top off, ready to claim his prize.
  His cheerful whistling trailed off as Ted was suddenly faced with a difficult decision.  He clearly wasn't the first person to get to the chocolates, not even close.  There were a couple chocolates remaining, but without the chocolate chart there was no telling which flavors were left.  Everybody else couldn't possibly have know which ones to avoid and which ones to eat, could they?
    He grabbed one at random and popped it into his mouth just as Betty, his boss, walked in.  "Heya Ted!  You are doing great out there today!  Everybody loves how cheerful..."  But Ted interrupted her, mouth half full, practically growling as he spoke.
               "I have to go home, Betty, I don't feel well."
               "What?  Ted, I don't understand, you seem so energetic..."
               "There's a cherry in it, Betty.  I have to go"
               "A cherry in it?  In what, Ted?"
               "O-ok Ted, no problem.  Just go home and get some rest ok?"
     Ted walked past her and straight out of the building.  Everyone he passed could only Hear him muttering about "cherries" or repeating to himself "How did they know? HOW DID THEY KNOW?? 
What does all of that have to do with Redbox?  Just imagine Redbox as Chocolatebox, and think of how many times you went to open the box hoping to find something delicious to watch eat wheatch, only to find the orange creme and cherry filled movies left.

My metaphor got tangled, but you get the point.  You go in to Redbox hoping to find The Avengers, but end up having to choose between Wesley Snipes' latest direct-to-video crapfest or a romantic comedy starring Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand andnowivethrownuponmykeyboard.  Seriously I'm already hating the future of my Redbox trips.

Trash is usually free.
Whoever made this hates everyone.


That being said, maybe you will be one of the lucky ones.  Just maybe you will be the one to open Redbox/Chocolatebox and find nothing but delicious treasure with just a few pieces of nastiness inside.  Or maybe you'll just chew on some crap.


Convenience: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Actually having anything worth watching: 2/10
People in front of you don't know how to operate the machine properly so they take forever and they have to look  through every stupid movie two times before they finally decide on whatever the last crappy movie Gerard Butler put out was:  10/10, or 0/10, whichever one is bad, I got confused.

Overall: I hate you Redbox, except when I want to watch crappy movies.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Celebrity Review: The Pretty Much One Faces of Danny Trejo

OK everybody, I want you to close your eyes (but keep reading).  Think of a movie with a villain in it.  Preferably an action film, but it doesn't have to be.  Now think about the right hand henchman of that villain.  What do you see?

Scaring Good Guys Since 1944
Of course that is what you see.  How could you not?  Danny Trejo may be the hardest working man in Hollywood, with IMDB crediting him in a completely ridiculous 241 titles.  That is just about double the number of credits I can find for almost anyone else that I thought to look up (Full Disclosure: I didn't look anybody else up), and he isn't showing any signs of slowing.  In 2013, he already has THIRTEEN DAMNED TITLES that he is attached to, and 2013 hasn't even started yet.  It seems impossible, I know, so I began thinking to myself: how can this be?  It seems like he is in too many places all at the same time.  Does he never sleep?

And then it dawned on me.

Danny Trejo is not just one man.  Danny Trejo is Triplets.

I'm gone back and done exhaustive research tried to remember as many of his roles as possible to see if I can point out where Danny Trejo ends and Danny Trejo begins.  It's a working theory, but here is what I have come up with so far.

Stache-less Trejo?  The gods forfend.
The scene stealer.  This is the Trejo who you see in the most high profile roles, eating up screen time and badassing his way into the hearts and minds of moviegoers everywhere.  You probably got your first glimpse of Trejuno in From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado, or Anaconda.  But Most likely you remember him from his turn in Con Air as "Johnny-23," where he earned the distinction of being the only person ever to play a rapist and not be the creepiest character in the movie (Thanks for the nightmares, Steve Buschemi!).  Although he usually plays the villain, it is said that he only agrees to sign on as the villain as long as he is going to die at the end.  What a Trejero!  (pronounced tray-HERE-oh)

Much more elusive is Danny Tredos, the one that does the dirty work.  He is the one you are watching when you see him turn up for an episode or two of some random television show, usually to kill somebody or attempt to kill somebody or talk about killing somebody or get killed by somebody.  The truth about Tredos is that he just isn't as good of an actor as his twin brother Trejuno, and too much exposure would surely expose the ruse.  Next time you are watching your favorite show and Tredos appears on the screen, be sure to raise your glass and toast him for doing what his brother won't do, and doing it well.

Sometime around the year 2000, a strange thing happened.  Nobody knows how or why, but Danny Trejo appeared in a movie, and not strictly as a villain.  My "sources" (AKA brain) indicate that the third Trejo Triplet, who had shunned the acting business his whole life, was suddenly given an opportunity due to scheduling conflicts that Trejuno and Tredos had at the time.  The result?  the "Machete" character in Spy Kids, resulting eventually in his own movie in which finally a Trejo, ever the villain, became a hero at last.  "reports" (this blog) indicate that the success of Tresjo as a movie hero has created a rift among the triplets, a score that will only be settled in a cage match whenever the trio decides to reveal their secret to the world.

A true underdog story.
 I know what you must be thinking right now; yes, I really did think this one through.  I've covered all of the angles here, and there is no way I am wrong.  Trejo is three men... unless he is actually four men, which is a theory I'm willing to entertain if not endorse.  If any of you are thinking of writing the Trejos and extorting them for money in exchange for not outing them, think very carefully about what you are doing.  I don't want to be the person responsible for sending Tredos back to jail.

Time to test your knowledge!

Match the correct Trejo to the corresponding roles:

A. Trejuno                                          Predators
B. Tredos                                           Reindeer Games    
                                                          Breaking Bad
C. Tresjo                                            Modern Family

Highlight the white bar for the answers!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Only Sort of a Review: Talk-to-Text

Hello everyone!  I was wondering to myself recently what I should review next for the blog.  A celebrity?  A band perhaps?  Maybe that creepy house across the street? (note to self: blog about that later.)  Before I could make a definite decision on my own, I became inspired.  I decided to try out the talk-to-text function on my cell phone just to see how unreliable it was, but was shocked to find that it in fact works extremely well!  So now, when I find my hands full of babies rescued from fires heroically defused bombs Chick-Fil-A, I will be able to send perfectly coherent text messages without trouble!

But that isn't why we are here.

No, after trying all seven of George Carlin's words that you can't say on TV and discovering my phone could understand and translate them all, (even if it did censor them! What a bunch of bulls***, phone!  NOT YOU TOO, BLOGGER!) the only next logical step was to see what happened when I sang at full volume into the phone.  The results?  F***ING PRICELESS.

Cab jew dake me hi urn?
I want everybody else to have as much fun as I have had with Sing-to-Text technology, so I have prepared for you a helpful guide to get best results.  Remember people, this is an art, not a science, and it might take you some time to figure out how to get the best results.  If at any point you find yourself thinking, "Thomas, this isn't funny at all," don't panic; you are just doing it wrong. Follow my advice, and thank me later.

When preparing yourself for sing-to-text, it is important to consider many different variables.  Where you are, who you are with, and what song you choose can all have serious effect on the outcome.  Make sure that you employ at least one, but preferably multiple of the following practices when preparing:

  • Choose a band/singer with a distinct voice, preferably one that growls a little (Pearl Jam) or makes noises after every word for no reason (Metallica.)  Basically any 90's grunge music is a slam dunk.
  • Pick a song you don't know all the words to.  Sing too clearly and your smart phone will be smart enough to catch every word, and then you are just singing to your phone like a sad, lonely little weirdo.
  • Play the song in the background simultaneously.  The background noise can't do anything but help to confuse your poor smart phone, while giving you a frame of reference.
  • Sing with a friend!  Duets are more fun, and guaranteed to blow your phone's pitiful little mind.
  • Avoid singers with high pitch voices.  In my experience, it just makes your phone give up, rendering disappointing results. 

Sing loud and sing proud.  If you are an excellent singer, you may have to mess up a little bit on purpose, but that is just fine.  Cheating you say?  I say I JUST MADE UP THE RULES AND NO IT AIN'T.  Don't abide by the breaks in lyrics during the song, your phone will jump on the opportunity to process what you have already sung.  Sneaky bastard phone!

This is the best part, obviously.  If you did everything correctly, you should have some truly nonsensical gibberish that may also surprise you with a little bit of insight.  Here are a few of my favorites that have come from the brilliant mind of my GeniusPhone.

Disclaimer:  I don't know song names or sometimes band names.  Deal with it.

Alice in Chains- Rooster
-The first one I did, on a whim.  Not amazing, but I could tell there was real potential.  I think it was right at the beginning of the song:
 "Ayn Rand no way me then here on me yeah um um her staying and when I have time"
 -Like I said, nothing special.  But it made me try again, with:

Pearl Jam- Dissident(?)
-I couldn't believe my luck when Pearl Jam was next on the radio, so I hit the sing-to-text button and let it roll.  I forget which part of the song exactly this was. (I've added breaks where I feel my phone wanted them)
 "Oh I'm sorry were my girl/oh hell burger you're wrong"
 -Short and sweet.  I started laughing but then realized that might actually be what Eddie Vedder is singing in that song.  So I'm actually more excited about finding a method for deciphering Pearl Jam songs in the future.  I moved on to an old standby next, singing right over the radio.

Creed- Higher
-Just when you thought Creed didn't have anything to offer:
"Where to go/ order of banana man dollars/ damn come on and go/ order of worms/ girl on girl"

Creed- Higher attempt #2
"Can you heard me to your house on girl who are birds/ brine beer on the ear"
-This is where I figure my phone became GeniusPhone.  It has deciphered Creed, and here you can see Creed admits to being a form of torture: "Brine beer on the ear."  Good work phone, you've cracked the code!

I did a couple more, but I'm bored of writing this.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Review of Grocery Shopping

I'm going to go ahead and end any suspense there may be on this post, and tell you that I absolutely hate grocery shopping, so any grocery store enthusiasts there may be wandering on to this blog, you may want to turn around now.

How people look at you when you say you like grocery shopping.
I'm willing to admit that this is probably a personal fault of mine, but I simply can't help it.  I have some kind of mental block that prevents me from acting like a normal human being once I get inside a grocery store.  The circumstances of the visit don't matter, nor do the people who I go with.  Once I cross that threshold, I suddenly devolve into A. An 11 year old child or B. a severely undermedicated basket case.  I'm assuming there was some kind of repressed trauma in my past buried deep in the recesses of my psyche that my family won't tell me about.  So what was it, family?  WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FOOD LION?

5 year old me may or may not be buried under there.
I've found that I have a hard time explaining just how much I hate grocery shopping to people, but that won't stop me from trying.  I think my best bet will be to walk you through a standard grocery store experience, step by excruciating step.  Am I overreacting? Yuuuuup.  And I'll be overreacting in CAPITAL LETTERS a lot too.  To make this most realistic, I'm going to walk you through it as though my roommate, who I will refer to as Lars Barnarnars, is with me for the trip, since I don't often brave the grocery store alone.


ARRIVAL: I'm already upset by the parking lot situation.  Everybody walks a little bit slower in a grocery store parking lot, every car parked a little bit worse.  Nobody looks when they pull out of their spaces, and that old lady is walking RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD INSTEAD OF OFF TO THE SIDE LIKE REGULAR HUMAN UGH.  OK I'm sorry I'm sorry, I'm getting upset already.  Inevitably we park much farther away than we should, and trudge sullenly into the grocery store of choice (please god not Food Lion).

FRUITS/VEGETABLES: After wrestling free a shopping cart from the long row of carts, getting some unidentifiable gunk all over yourself from the handle and getting another cart, you realize that your new cart is WORSE THAN THE FIRST CART RRAARRGH.  It's probably got the gunk from the first cart, as well as a bad wheel, and probably a moldy McDonalds cup or somebody's lost child in it.  If I were by myself, I would hastily grab several apples, a bundle of bananas, and some lettuce and move on.  Thankfully Lars Barnarnars is there to calmly and carefully select an appropriate array of fruits and vegetables for the next couple of weeks while swatting my hand as I reach for the croutons and craisins.  She'll thank me for the practice when she has some kids.

MEATS: As the roomate takes care of the ground beef and chicken situation, I swagger confidently (Sons of Anarchy style) to the hot dogs/sandwich meats section; here is something I can handle.  The selection:
  1. One 8 pack of hot dogs, Ball Park.  All beef franks, or honestly whatever the hell hot dogs you want.  It's all the same.
  2. 1 pack sliced turkey
  3. 1 pack sliced roast beef
  4. 1 pack sliced ham (optional)
Feeling pleased with myself over my poor food choices, I rejoin Lars Barnarnars who bought us real food that we won't be ashamed to eat later.  No unnecessary capital letters for this leg of the journey.

What I expect to find in every toothbrush box.

WHATEVER IS NEXT. CEREAL?  BEANS OR SOMETHING?: Confronted by an impossible selection of delicious cereals (not even Lars can save me here), I go in to total shutdown mode.  I make what is probably the worst possible selection health wise (BEST OPTION DELICIOUS WISE) and throw it dejectedly into someone else's grocery cart.  Peanut butter has also been bought, which makes me vaguely happy.

SALAD DRESSING: The only time where my roommate steers me wrong.  I think we generally spend an hour here as she carefully chooses the most healthy and probably very delicious choice.  I'm unwilling to accept her sage advice, grabbing some random vinaigrette ranch dressing and moving on.

Free at last, Dobby picked up a second job as Doughnut Goblin
CHEESE: The only acceptable choice here is "everything."  The roommate will not allow us to buy one of each, but an acceptable compromise of "lots of cheese" is reached.  I try to sneak doughnuts into the cart but they miraculously disappear when my back is turned.  Touche, doughnut goblin, touche.

BREAD/CHIPS: Sensing the end, I devolve from 11 year old to 6 year old with ADHD.  The shins and ankles of Lars Barnarnars become a victim of blunt force trauma with a shopping cart.  Everyone is very impressed by the authenticity of the trumpet and race car noises I'm making with my mouth, and also how far I can ride the cart without touching my feet to the ground.  BBQ chips please.

CHECKOUT: My face becomes more and more frowny as the total climbs ever higher.  Bagging is a whole new frustration, usually best left to the professionals.  If the roommate is present, I usually meander over to the Redbox and don't get anything while Lars handles the business.  Check is in the mail, Ms. Barnarnars!

THE END: Unparalleled joy.  The ordeal is over, and I have food for my own refrigerator that I have to PREPARE in order to EAT IT like SOME KIND OF IRON CHEF AMERICA.  Oh no, the pain of the grocery store never ends. Never.

So, in case it wasn't clear enough, here are the scores of the grocery store experience:

Grocery store- TERRIBLE out of TERRIBLE.  Because it's TERRIBLE.