January 31, 2011

No service attached @ No Strings Attached

Saturday was another blistery snowy freezing Arctic day, so in the afternoon we went to a movie. Looking for a fun escape from winter, our movie of choice was the Natalie Portman romantic comedy No Strings Attached at Cineplex North Edmonton, a nearby theatre we go to regularly.

The roads were bad. The parking sucked. Then the crapfest really began.

As the ticket line was endless, we used the machines. Or tried to. I have a Cineplex gift card, one of the 8 Hanukkah presents left under our Christmas tree, and the machines didn't take it the first time. Or the second. Or third. So now we have the option of getting in the line that is now even longer, or pay full price. Here comes Mr Visa! At $25.50 for the two of us, this better be damn good.

So we walk in, looking to grab some popcorn and coffee. The lines are longer than opening day at an Apple Store. Geez, they charge nine bucks for a medium soda and pay those kids behind the counter like twelve cents an hour, couldn't they have more of them there? Not standing in that damn line either.

Then into the theatre. Totally dark. Pitch black dark. Slasher film dark. Had to walk like blind people with our hands outstretched to find our seats dark.

So we are sitting there unhappy with the ticket process, and the concession bar, in the scary dark unable to read the freebie movie magazine they give out. We should tell them about this. Hey, there's an app for that! I have the Cineplex app on my iPhone, so I tap "contact us" and send an email listing everything gone wrong.

By the end of the movie, my email has been answered, with a very polite "don't contact us, talk to the theatre manager". Um, no, I was afraid of being stabbed by the horde of noisy teenagers behind us in the scary dark, and I couldn't find a staff person if I tried.

So I answer back with my contact information, the movie we saw, blah, blah, blah, and get back: Thank you for your response. Please be advised that your feedback regarding the automated ticket machines, concession line ups and the theatre being dark is the theatre's responsibility. We will forward your feedback to the management team for further review.

Uh, so why have the Contact us tab on your app if you don't want me to contact you? Why not have a Contact someone else tab or an It's not my department tab or a Just give us your money and shut up tab?

And have I heard back from them? What do you think?

Oh, and the movie? Liked it. Totally predictable and totally fun. But we can watch a recent movie for five bucks on a really big TV, without the driving hassles, a gaggle of annoying chatty giggly teenage girls behind us, and all the popcorn I damn well want.

January 28, 2011

Blog-o-rama: I am versatile...

Oooh, fame, you are mine, finally MINE!

Well okay maybe not, but I would like to thank my buddy Annie of the smart blog http://www.thedayafteryesterday.co.uk/ for listing alfred lives here as her favourite blog ever in the whole wide world and bestowing this Versatile Blogger award on Alfie. Fave blog ever! Well, okay, she said top five, I was rounding up. Whatever.

Oh, and I am not sure why this is called the Versatility Award. Sounds totally X-rated to me. Or does it mean a blog that can transform into a giant alien killer? Or maybe Alfie is versatile because he can be the cutest canine in the world AND Oprah's secret half-brother?

Like all good things, this one has strings attached. In this case, to nominate five of my favourite blogs for the same award. Well there are lots of blogs I read and follow and love, including Annie's which is not eligible here, so it's tough to select just five. But I did, and here they are.

1- In Jayne's World
http://www.injaynesworld.blogspot.com/: smart, funny, liberal, big-hearted, politically aware. Read her, especially her Sunday recaps. I laugh and think and wave my fist at the idiots and hypocrites she is calling out.

2- Attack of the Redneck Mommy
http://www.theredneckmommy.com/: funny, touching, opinionated and so brave to reveal so much of her life in a wise and insightful way. I read her blog and feel that I know her.

3- Patty Punker
http://www.pattypunker.com/: smart, good-hearted. opinionated, judgemental, vulgar, drops the f-bomb a lot. I love her.

4- The Didactic Pirate
http://www.didactic-pirate.blogspot.com/: the real life adventures of a teacher and father who apparently expected a Jack Sparrow kind of life. Smart and funny, and a helluva writer.

5- My newest fave, The Pop Eye
http://thepopeye.blogspot.com/: Xanadu-loving, pop culture obsessed, Beckeye reviews and spews opinions on all things TV and pop culture. Aside from the American Idol obsession, she had me at hello.

There you go, five blogs to read and follow and love... Check 'em out!

January 27, 2011

Chocolate Cake in a Crapper...

My love of unusual and under-the-radar holidays continues, and today we have two, yes two, to celebrate!

Today is Thomas Crapper Day, which commemorates the death of Thomas Crapper (Jan 27, 1910). Though Crapper did not invent the flush toilet (it had existed for the previous century) he perfected the flush mechanism, so he basically made the toilet what we know it to be today. And his name became synonymous with the toilet forever. Not sure why we have this holiday, but we do. How are you going to celebrate?

Today is also National Chocolate Cake Day, which has three objectives: To bake a chocolate cake, to decorate a chocolate cake, and to eat a chocolate cake. Not sure I will do either, as I am trying to take off a few pounds. And I prefer carrot cake. My extensive research did not find the creator or the origin of this day. I suspect Duncan Hines.

Let's hope that Chocolate Cake Day and Thomas Crapper Day are not in any way related...

January 26, 2011

Harps is for Homophobes!

Before today I'd never heard of the grocery store Harps, as we don't have them here in Canada, but man those boneheads are getting a bunch of well-deserved bad press.

These lunkheads decided that children needed to be protected from the Us magazine cover with Elton John and David Furnish and their baby. Uh, really? All the crap out their on tabloids and magazines, and this is what you need to hide away?

The fun part of this is that the Harps facebook page is currently asking for suggestions for a Produce Slogan and a Produce Mascot.

I put down We are homophobes, let us be your store for the 12th century!

Other people did better:
Harps: Gay Families Unwelcome Since 2011
Harps: Where the produce is as stale as its values
Harps: Where produce moves slower than its PR department.

I wish we had Harps here in Canada. Then I could go spend my dollars at their competition across the street. Homophobic bastards.

January 24, 2011

Howard Stern on gay marriage...

Hey Howard Stern -- I gotta admit, I don't listen to your radio show, but after reading this, dude, I am a fan now!

"My feeling about gay people is that we have a responsibility not only to make gay marriage acceptable and to make gays feel accepted as much as heterosexuals…

Gay people are downtrodden. They are beaten. They are abused for their sexuality, and it goes across race. In the white community and the black community gay people are the bastards of the world.

And in order for things to change, because any one of you could have gay children, or gay relatives, or gay friends…we have a responsibility to make this acceptable, to get all this bullshit so that some gay kid going to high school doesn't get the shit beaten out of him just because he's gay…I'm as heterosexual as they come. What is this hang-up about gay marriage? Who cares? Get on with your life!"

- Howard Stern

January 22, 2011

Wedding Ring Number 4...

Eight months ago tomorrow, K and I were married... and hey, look, Sarah Palin, the planet didn't burst into flames when two adult men got hitched!

We had a terrific wedding day, and more importantly I have been incredibly fortunate in marriage. I have not had such luck with wedding rings. Those little bastards taunt and torment me. Until now.

Prior to our wedding, we had beautiful silver Tiffany commitment rings and engagement rings. All went well.

For our wedding, we bought matching white gold bands with three small diamonds in the middle. Very classic, with some sparkle. Our nieces were ringbearers and were absolutely adorable.

Ring #1: Five days into our honeymoon, the trouble began. I was putting my ring on that morning, and thought "hot damn, this thing got really dirty". Uh, no, a diamond fell out. After we returned home, they replaced that ring. Having your wedding ring fall apart on day five isn't an omen, is it?

Ring #2: Replacement ring, just like the first, except it seemed tighter, and I got this slight reaction to it, and then a bigger reaction to it, and then yes there was a very brief very painful hospital visit to get the damn thing off. On the upside, the doctors were hot. Read about that misadventure here: http://tinyurl.com/4bfoe7l

Ring #3
: As I am not smart enough to learn from the past, and because I urgently wanted my damn wedding ring, we waited a few weeks for the swelling to go down and then took another run at it. Ring 3 was just like its predecessors, only a bit larger. Which means it took longer for the reaction to start, and then I stubbornly waited longer to do something about it, and I ended up in hospital while on vacation, getting hopped up on painkillers as they lubed up my finger to prep for the round saw forceps gizmo. Thank heavens for extensive healthcare coverage. Fun, fun, fun.

The various doctors and jewellers in this comic soap opera think it is an allergic reaction to something, likely the white gold, which due to its nickel content causes a reaction for one in eight people (thank you, Wikipedia). Who knew?

Ring #4:
So it has now been about three months without a ring and I was eager for a new one. We went out last weekend to a local jeweller who makes everything himself on site. I decided not to have a nickel-free version made of the same ring, but to start fresh and go in a totally different direction, with a simple hammered gold wedding band. That's it in the picture above.

So yes, eight months in and wedding ring number four. And I love it... take that, cursed white gold allergy evil devil omen!

January 21, 2011

Gayzilla & More New Words

There is so much to be learned on the wide world of the interweb!

And after you push through Sarah Palin's wisdom, Britney Spears wannabe fan sites, amateur porn, and British lottery scams, there's a whole lot of learning out there, including words and jargon that were new to me:

A disparaging term for an extraordinarily large homosexual man who is considered aesthetically unpleasing. Yep, it's rude, and as we bridezilla everything, it makes sense in an insulting kind of way.

This was one from Whoopi Goldberg on The View, describing her collection of art and mementos from black American history relating to steroetypes of black people, such as signs saying "No coloreds allowed" and "Aunt Jemima Cookie Jars". I don't get the 'why' on this one, maybe to celebrate how far they have come?

Ninja Generation
No income, No Job, No Assets: the young working generation of today, from Wall Street 2. And yes this was my only takeaway from that totally crappy movie.

The term used to describe China's extended reach into the rest of the world. The word comes from a combination of the country China and "Empire". Sounds vaguely racist to me.

A roast dish consisting of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. Um... ewww?

Scientific name for hoarders.

Some one who farts into their cupped hand then offers it to the nose of some one else. That is so far beyond gross...

January 19, 2011

Inception & Mike & Molly & Other Overrated Stuff...

I love pop culture. Love love love. And while my expectations in this Lohan-esque world tend to be pretty damn low, sometimes I do still naively hope for more and better. Sometimes I get more and better. And sometimes stuff just blows.

And then there are those TV shows, movies, and books, which are pretty good, or even really good, and yet still not up to expectations. Whether it's the all-star cast, or huge acclaim, or buzz, they have potential and they fall short.

Here's stuff I expected more from:

Yes we finally saw the year's most buzzed about flick. And yes it had terrific visuals and many amazing moments. But beyond that, what the hell was so special? I don't care if the spinning totem fell or not, and what was so earth-shattering?

Mike and Molly
From the guys behind Two and a Half Men and my beloved Big Bang Theory, this was supposed to be a smart and sweet comedy, and rise above the expected fat jokes. And after watching it twice, all I have seen is that talented actress from Gilmore Girls and some annoying stand-up guy being subjected to endless fat jokes. Not cool.

The Finkler Question
The well regarded bestseller, winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2010, went nowhere. To me it was endless wordy tales of whiny widowers talking about anti-semitism, wandering around England. I rarely walk away from a book before I finish it, and I did from this one.

Yep, he got screwed by NBC, and no I don't feel sorry for him as he got like $40 million and whole new levels of fame. And now the new show seems skittish and antic. When you are up against Jon Stewart, you need to do better than this. Sorry Coco...

January 17, 2011

hey faggot... want Money for Nothing?

We had an interesting news story and topic of conversation this weekend here in politically correct Canada --- the banning of Dire Strait's 1985 rock hit, Money for Nothing.

Yes, it is 2011 and we are banning a 1985 song.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that Money for Nothing is too offensive for Canadian airwaves. The song is being singled out for the repeated use of the anti-gay slur "that little faggot".

This hasn't stopped some rock radio stations from playing the song. In the days since the ruling, stations in several cities including here in Edmonton have protested the decision by playing an unedited version of the song over and over and over again for a full hour.

Although Money for Nothing has been around for decades, the move to ban the song came as a result of a complaint by a listener in St. John's, Newfoundland. The ruling does not ban the song outright — versions with the offending words edited out are safe for airplay.

Yes the word 'faggot' is offensive. Does banning the word resolve the issue? Will banning the word make it cool to some people? Should we contain it or let it out? Will people use the word responsibly? Is there such a thing as using the word 'faggot' responsibly?

While I have always been uncomfortable with that part of the song, and find it jarring to hear 'faggot' on the radio, I think discomfort is the point here. Context matters --- this song is the story of a bigoted person resenting the big money of the music industry.

Censorship serves to protect the minority when they are attacked in a public forum. Money for Nothing is not an attack on anyone. I think the CSBC is overreacting.

I understand the urge to ban the word. It is an ugly, offensive word. Banning a 26-year-old song will not make the word or the sentiment disappear.

There are so many songs and movies which are far more offensive than Money for Nothing. Turn on 50 Cent, any rap station, or the casual explicit sexism in rock lyrics. We don't ban those, nor should we. Wait, I'll give you Nickelback. Let's ban them.

January 15, 2011

Leave a Comment, Save a Puppy!

Holy crap, I missed Delurking Day! What the hell have I been doing with my time? Not so sure...

A 'lurker' is someone who reads a blog, and reads regularly, without signing up to follow, or subscribe, or leave comments. Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled you are here. That being said, love your comments, and want them especially today!

Yesterday was bloggers' annual delurking day, where bloggers encourage (ask, beg) their readers for comments. Last year I had some fun with this and made it Alfie's little charity fundraiser, and this year we are gonna make it a tradition. Which yep I am late for.

For every comment you leave on this post until my next post on Monday, I will donate $1 to The Edmonton Humane Society, for every new follower $2. The Edmonton Humane Society is a registered charity which is committed to helping homeless and abused companion animals. Learn more about them at www.edmontonhumanesociety.com.

This is a fantastic cause, so spend my money big time and show Alfie some love!

January 13, 2011

Why gay men love Jim Carrey...

"Boy, we haven't grown at all, have we? We're still children in a schoolyard. Honestly, no offense Dave, but for God sakes, have you ever seen a gay man? Are there gay people in Indiana?"

Jim Carrey to David Letterman when asked whether he worries about playing a gay role in I Love You Phillip Morris, November 18, 2010.
I haven't seen this movie yet, which is the true story of a gay con man, as its distribution is somewhat scattered and it hasn't gotten here yet. Looks like a must-see!

January 10, 2011

Barbara Walters, Wonder Woman, & things that annoy the crap out of me...

I haven't posted one of these lists in months. Has nothing been annoying me? Hardly. There are fools and morons doing stupid things everywhere everyday. Here's what's bugging me now...

1- Out TV showing The New Addams Family. That show is not gay tv, folks, it's crappy tv, there is a difference.

2- Bad drivers especially slow bad drivers. Like you, fool in the blue Yaris who pulled out of the Canadian Tire parking lot onto a major road going all of four miles an hour. And then cruised gently forward at that speed. You annoy me.

3- In the wake of this weekend's tragedy in Arizona, Barbara Walters saying on The View she feels sorry for Sarah Palin. Really? THAT'S who you feel sorry for?

4- Piers Morgan's childish antics on twitter.

5- Nicole Kidman's never-changing face.

6- Amazon.com telling me the book I want for my Kindle, Room, is not available in Canada. Really? You download it wirelessly people.

7- The publisher who wants to censor The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They are dropping the word 'nigger' because it is socially unacceptable. Hey fools, that is the whole purpose of the book. They are gonna replace it with with the word 'slave'. Because slavery is more acceptable?

8- The fools at CNN who just renewed Nancy Grace's multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. You should have let Fox have her.

9- That Snooki and The Situation of Jersey Shore both got book deals. Hey, Snooks, you gonna read one before you write one?

10- The death of a new Wonder Woman: I was looking forward to the planned reboot from LA Law and Boston Legal producer David E. Kelley, which NBC just pulled the plug on. Kelley is good, and this had potential to be smart and entertaining. It certainly would have been better than that Bionic Woman remake that flopped a couple of years ago .

Okay that's all the for now. Back to calm and tranquility... maybe...

January 9, 2011

Hillary Clinton on Gay Rights...

All hail Hillary...

"Let me say today that human rights are gay rights
and gay rights are human rights,
once and for all."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech
to State Department employees, June 23, 2010

January 8, 2011

Pop Culture Fashion: Star Wars Gets Sexy

You can find anything and everything online, from fashion to music to cars to houses to love to shorter-term stuff than love...

You can find sexy stuff and nerdy stuff, cool stuff and geeky stuff. And now I stumbled across sexy nerdy cool geeky stuff: Star Wars fashion swimwear. Who'd a thunk that?

These are from Black Milk, and nope I never heard of them either, and are featured on the fashion blog http://www.iwantigot.com. They also have wacky geeky art stuff like Escher leggings and a Klimt swimsuit.

Whoever thought of this was totally brilliant. And by "brilliant" I mean over-using their prescription medication, in a good way...

January 7, 2011

All hail Gilda Radner!

I loved Gilda Radner. While I was too young to enjoy her live on SNL, by the time she hit the movies, and then did her brilliant comedy album -- the first comedy album I ever owned, and yes it was an actual album, or maybe even an 8-track tape --- I was a huge fan.

Gilda was smart, funny, geeky, happy, Jewish, and talked dirty. Then she had a cancer fight, outlined in her amazing book It's Always Something, and she became a role model of grace and fighting back.

And now it turns out Gilda was a dog lover also... I love her even more now!

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
- Gilda Radner

January 5, 2011

An Open Letter to Dr Laura...

We don't have to look past current headlines, and sometimes not even past our own families and schools and neighbours, to see the haters out there. An example of that is radio talk show host Dr Laura, a homophobe and racist who recently moved to satellite radio so yes you can now hear her absolutely fucking everywhere.

I first saw this letter probably ten years ago when Dr Laura was on her first high profile hate trip against gays, and then stumbled across it again last week, and it hit me with a wallop both times. I couldn't say it better, so here it is:

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

January 3, 2011

Gay Photo Bombs...

On TV the other night they were talking about Gay Photo Bombing, a term I was not familiar with.

Photo Bombing is the fine art of ruining other people's photos, usually by running into the background or making a silly face, and is usually done to strangers.

Gay Photo Bombing refers to gay rights activists interfering with the signs and protests of people protesting exactly the opposite causes. And it is awesome.

These are some of my faves, and more can be found at http://tinyurl.com/38hqdko.

January 1, 2011

I'm sorry Ricky Martin...

I've always liked Ricky Martin; he makes really fun pop music, he's sexy, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. And sure we all assumed he was gay gay gay. So I was excited when Martin came out of the closet last year. Not shocked, excited. He was the biggest male star to come out, maybe ever, and how cool he didn't wait until he was a senior citizen to do so.

Now Mr. Livin la Vida Loca has come out with his autobiography, Me, and I really wanted to love it. Sorry Ricky, the book didn't shine for me.

The early part of the book, about Martin's years in Menudo, are vague and fleeting. The years of his young adulthood, his wild single days, are skimmed over. He doesn't want to dish or reveal secrets, and that makes it seem superficial and almost glib compared to other biographies. Me acknowledges affairs with men and women, both meaningful and not, and then skirts right past them. It makes for clunky reading when he says that he is gay, and that he was in love with a woman, and does not go any deeper.

Ricky Martin is a spiritual person, and this book tells of his journey along that path. We can relate to the tales of self reflection and the general "there's got to be more to life than this" moments. But it's hard to relate to the personal anguish or midlife crisis of a guy who is wallowing on his private island in the Caribbean.

And that midlife crisis is all he wants to talk about. Martin looks back at his past experiences through his new spiritual perspective, writing of how views them now as opposed to what he felt at the time. He constantly writes my destiny or it was time or it was meant to be. Okay, but what happened? How did you feel? How did you react? He relies on this sort of generic "aligning of the cosmos" rhetoric way too much and in the end I feel very little of his own personality came through.

Martin pretty much breezes over major points in his life I'm sure his fans would like to know more about. The song writing process could have been really interesting to read about. Or some fun anecdotes from his time with Menudo. A closer look at his relationship with his family, perhaps? I'm not necessarily asking for juicy sex life gossip, well ok I am asking for some of that, but nothing here is especially revelatory or fascinating. I did appreciate and admire his thoughts on fatherhood, philanthropy, child trafficking, and all the hard work he puts into his foundations around the world, and that shone through just fine. Ricky Martin the guy is impressive. Ricky Martin the book not so much.

Me is Ricky Martin's story, and he can tell it any way he wants to. It just doesn't seem like he wants to. For an autobiography, it struck me as awfully guarded, which defeats the purpose of writing one in the first place. Me is recommended for only the most die hard fans.