You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Do You Watch Every Netflix Movie?

Posted in Entertainment, Sociology by Stacy McMahon on September 7, 2008

Ann Althouse, coining a nice new term, “regretflix“:

Netflix rentals that sit there for months. What were you thinking when you ordered them? That you’re the kind of person who watches movies like that? But you’re not so why did you get yourself into the situation where a little piece of plastic has invaded your house and taunts you for not being the person you think you should be? Or do you like to be reminded of your lofty aspirations… by objects in your house? There are many worse things you might have around than an unwatched copy of “Hotel Rwanda.”

I have often let a DVD sit on my TV table unwatched for weeks, because it arrived and I wasn’t in the mood to watch it, or because I watched ten minutes and couldn’t stand it. Either situation can make me feel pretty dumb, because often these are critically acclaimed and/or cult films that I kind of hate to admit I didn’t like. Then again, isn’t that just another form of conformism? Pop culture says that people like me should like Dark Star, so what does it say about me if I turn it off without even getting to the crazy conversation between the pilot and the smart bomb? It’s like I’m dumb if I don’t like it, and lame if I do!


Road Rage

Posted in DCinites, Four Wheels, Guns, Sociology, Two Wheels, Ungeheuer by Stacy McMahon on August 7, 2008

So in all my years living in the hustle-and-bustle city, I never had anyone get nutty on the roads — at least not in my presence. Though I was present for the guy that shut down the DC area with his “I’m going to jump, I’m not kidding!” act on the Wilson Bridge. The police eventually shot him off the bridge, because you can only take so much bad traffic before someone snaps!

Well since moving to the tranquil ‘burbs last winter, I’ve had not one but two incidents of traffic-related craziness personally involving me:

1.) About three weeks ago, I’m at the head of the line in a left turn lane. The moment the light turns, the lady behind me leans on her horn (yep, one of those). It had been a crappy day and I was in a bad mood so I flipped her off as I drove away. You guessed it — the little old lady from Pasadena (well, more like the middle-aged DINK from Burke) chased me to the carside-to-go window, blocked me in and got out of her car to come over and yell at me. Apparently not in too much of a hurry to take time out for all that — and with the carside waitress as a witness, no less.

2.) This afternoon I was practicing one of the perks of motorcycling — using the shoulder to “extend” the turning lane so I don’t have to wait two extra cycles of the light to get into my neighborhood. I hear someone tapping their horn at me as I go by, think nothing of it. As I pause at the foot of my driveway to trigger the garage door, I hear …the same horn again. It’s a gold Chevy Cavalier with a blond guy behind the wheel. He slows down as he passes by, then makes a U-turn and comes by again, still honking.

Two observations. First, where the f–k did I move to?? Second, what kind of idiot chases down a random vehicle that, for all they know, is piloted by a heavily-armed psycho? Or a perfectly normal human who will react accordingly to such a threatening gesture… just something to keep in mind.

Where Have All the Nice Guys Go-o-one?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Sociology by Stacy McMahon on December 14, 2007

I claim that the title of this post is only tangentially ripping off the title of Dr. Helen’s post linking this smartly-worded blast from the LA Craiglist. The subject is the endless debate on whether flaky women or nice guys themselves are to blame for male-friend blues.

I see this question posted with some regularity in the personals section, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain things to the ladies out there that haven’t figured it out.

What happened to all the nice guys?

The answer is simple: you did.

From there flow a predictable and rather intractable set of arguments and counter-arguments. Having given a bit of thought to it myself over the years, I’ll start off saying that if we’re going to have a serious discussion, then right from the outset everyone needs to buy into the following:

[the platonic male friend] came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.

Fact is, now, he’s probably getting laid, and in a way, your ultimate rejection of him is to thank for that.

To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s break that down. The poster is talking about the proverbial “nice guy” who is his female friend-and-secret-crush’s shoulder to cry on, ready helper, best friend and fill-in non-date-on-a-moment’s-notice. He’s probably on the schlubby side physically, hopelessly shy (around women anyway) and has a heart of gold. He genuinely loves his female friend, but at the same time spending time with her is slowly working out that shyness. To put it another way, the clock is ticking every day that our heroine doesn’t notice her “puppy dog” (as the Craigslist writer put it)

Someday he’s going to “clean up his look” and be able to skillfully pursue the women he’s interested in, thanks in large part to the girl our Craigslist flamer is gleefully throwing under the bus. Once he does this, he’ll find that he is in fact getting laid, and that this seems quite paradoxically to be happening because he shows less, not more, devotion to the object of his affection. From that paradox comes much great art and music, but that’s beyond our scope here.

Think of The Children!

Posted in Politics, Sociology by Stacy McMahon on June 15, 2007

Glenn Reynolds links a couple of new articles in the steadily-growing dialogue about the appropriate role of safety concerns in children’s play. As mentioned previously, I come down on the side of new experiences even if it risks some scraped knees or a twisted ankle. With typical British forthrightness, they say it better than I could:

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said parents were too risk-averse, particularly after the abduction of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, and youngsters should be allowed to bruise and cut themselves.

Peter Cornall, the head of leisure safety at the society, said children would learn “valuable life-long lessons” by scraping knees, grazing elbows and bumping heads – not least how they would avoid hurting themselves in future – whereas they would learn little from getting RSI from playing games day in, day out on a PC.

Now, I’m not against video games — some of them can be educational, and it’s pretty well established that video games are excellent for developing hand-eye coordination. But playing outside has critical benefits too, like learning to see and identify objects at a distance, developing coordination in your arms and legs (not just your hands,) developing a sense of speed and timing, and just plain physical exercise. And kids who play outside in groups without direct adult supervision develop their imagination, as well as important social skills. I obviously don’t want my daughter to be injured, but if all the above means a trip or three to the ER between age 3 and 18 then I say it’s worth it.