Monday, October 29, 2007

Commercial Failures

Hey all,

Ok, first up. The freakin' Red Sox did it again!! World Series champs for the second time in four years! Curse? What Curse? Perhaps that Yankees will be dealing with their own curse now that their golden boy A-Rod has decided to seek employment elsewhere. I'm stoked to see what the 2008 season has in store. In the meantime, I'm perfectly happy to watch the Patriots destory everything and everyone in their path.

Halloween is almost here and I've yet to watch any horror movies lately. I will be fixing that by checking out Saw IV tomorrow night after work. Otherwise, it'll be a low key Halloween for Trine and I. Since we live in a gated apartment complex, I'm not expecting many trick or treaters. I have no clue how many kids live in the building. I don't think I've actually seen any. I was tempted to repost my blog from Halloween last year; the one that's actually about Halloween. This one, as you'll notice, is not. Please check it out and comment if you like. Or keep reading. Or both. Yes, do both. Thanks!!

Please, No Moshing
Being a musician, as well as fan of music, occasionally I go to concerts. I used to go a lot more when I was younger, but now it's tapered off quite a bit. Concerts really haven't changed since I was a lad, but I've grown less tolerant of the whole atmosphere. I've noticed that the younger the audience, the more ridiculous they are. For example, over the past two weeks I've seen New Found Glory, a pop-punk band who sing primarily about girls, and Nonpoint, a pretty awesome metal band, headlining the Great American Rampage Tour. Now, judging from those two shows, which one would you expect to be more violent? I think you see where I'm going with this.

The New Found Glory show had the most fights and disrespectful people in the audience than I've ever seen. While the Nonpoint show spawned a couple of altercations, the average age of the audience was a few years older, more adept at handling their liquor, and generally more mature. Now, this theory has its limits. I've yet to hear of any brutal fist fights occurring at a Wiggles show. Though, I could be wrong.

Another thing about concerts is that crowd surfing is nowhere near as cool as depicted on television. On TV or in the movies, when someone decides to crowd surf, it's team effort. The person is lifted up over the audience and the crowd actually carries them to front of the stage. The person is smiling and the crowd loves it. All in all, it looks awesome. In reality though, the crowd couldn't give a fuck about the person crowd surfing and wants nothing more than to drop their nasty ass on the floor. Basically, the main goal is to get the surfer's sweaty crotch away from your face. Most people get dropped in the middle of the crowd before they even reach the stage. If you do make it to the front of the stage, you'll most likely be manhandled by one of the bouncers hopped up on steroids and anti-depressants stemming from the realization that their job consists primarily of putting high school kids in headlocks.

But before you even get to the concert, you have to buy the ticket, and with the ticket purchase come convenience fees. How else do you pay $64 for two $20 tickets? The ticket outlets charge outrageous fees. I don't like the term 'convenient.' Yes, if I sit on my butt and order the tickets via the internet, that is convenient and, though I don't like it, I understand why I'm paying the fee. But how do they justify calling it a convenience fee when I have to get in my car and drive to a local ticket outlet, stand in line and wait for some high school drop out to finish his Orange Julius and get me my tickets? Really, folks, it's a psychological thing. Do I mind paying $30 for a concert ticket? No. What bugs me is when the ticket is $20 with an additional 50% tacked on in bullshit fees. I wish they'd just plug the fees in to the cost of the ticket.

Commercial Failure
Is it just me or do there seem to be an extraordinary amount of stupid commercials on TV. Maybe I'm just more observant, or more pissed off, but I'm noticing more and more ads that just annoy the hell out of me.

Here's a few:

I'm downright sick of Taco Bell. The Cheesy Beefy Melt? Seriously, could Taco Bell any less creative? And then there's the commercial where the older brother schools his younger brother on some of life's little rules, i.e. never buy a lapdog, never date a girl with a dragon tattoo and always put chili on your Nachos BellGrande. Then his girlfriend with the dragon tattoo comes by and puts this small fluffy dog in his lap. What the hell is this commercial saying? Obviously, the older brother is a hypocrite and cannot live by his own advice. So should one NOT put chili on their Nachos BellGrande? I'm honestly not sure what the message is. I think the wise thing to do would feed the nachos to dog before his awful Taco Bell farts scare his tattooed girlfriend away.

And here's an AT&T commercial I'd like to see:

"Hi. I'm Ted Bundy. I'm a serial rapist & murderer. I began killing women in Tacoma during the early 70's. I went to law school in Salt Lake City. I escaped from a court house in Aspen and then slaughtered and brutalized college co-eds in Tallahassee. So I need a network that will work where I live, rape and murder: A place called TacoSaltAspAssee."

AND this commercial for the Chevy Malibu where the woman is running along and just WHAM! smacks into the car. Then they have a second commercial where the stupid tart gets right up and runs SMACK right into the car again, revealing some sort of mental defect or abuse at the hands of a lover. Anyhow, the point of the ad is that she ignored the "brand x" car, whereas the Chevy Malibu is a car that cannot be ignored. Not unlike the idiocy of this ad campaign.

And speaking of stupid car commercials: how about that pompous Mercedes commercial where they brag how they spent seven years and 14,000 test crashes just so the doors could handle the weight of a couple fat middle-aged men. Hey, if you kick back by sitting on your car doors, chances are you don't drive a Mercedes. Probably more like something with Yosemite Sam mud flaps. Not to mention that this Mercedes C-class can slow from 80 mph to a complete stop in mere seconds. Yeah, that's fucking safe, especially for the cars behind you.

Mercedes' new slogan should be: You're Not the Only Driver on the Road, but You Can Act Like it.

Happy Halloween!! - Ryan

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Guys with Dolls

Hey everyone,

it's been about a month since I last posted a blog. A lot has happened in that time. The major life change is that I relocated from my home state of Connecticut to sunny Miami, Florida to be with my girlfriend and our awesome dog. Secondly, en route to Florida, I got the job offer that I was hoping for so I'm pretty excited about having work down here. Settling in has been a huge (albeit fun!) adjustment and not having to worry about job searching is an enormous relief.

As of Thursday, I am officially a Florida resident. Time to let the sun go to my head! I can't wait to vote! Where's the Armani Exchange?! I have a hankering to pay $90 for a form fitting t-shirt that says "punk rock" on it and looks like it was designed by a Ritalin-laced 8 year old with a Bedazzler.

Unfortunately, I'm still dealing with health issues stemming from my hospitalization in the summer. The past few months have been pretty hard on me. I've had to deal with a lot of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), itching and other side effects.

Aside from my initial surgeries as a baby, I have had no complications up until this past July. Liver disease is finally rearing its ugly head. I've lost weight, had to adjust my eating habits big time and haven't been working out the past month or so. It's been tough to put my passion of weightlifting on hold until I can get healthy again. The upside is that I am in great hands. Besides having a very supportive base down here (my family, Trine and her family) I am also surrounded by some of the best doctors in the field. I am confident that they will be able to figure out what is wrong with me. The doctors in Connecticut were less than proactive and seemed a little too comfortable to just wait it out. I'm done waiting it out.

Kids are Stupid
In Leesburg, Florida, 12 year old David Cody Hudson was found on the floor of his bedroom with a belt around his neck. He died a day later The police originally thought his death a suicide due to the karate belt wrapped around his neck. However, it turns out David and other students had been playing something called the "choking game." This "game" involves reducing oxygen to the brain to create a euphoric feeling. Wow. So is this what kids do in between the latest Playstation and Xbox releases? Is childhood really that boring?

Ok, sooooo…. if it's a choking game, my question is: did David win or lose?

Does He have a kung-fu grip?
In Knoxville, Tennessee, an 11.5-inch tall Jesus doll has created a controversy since some WalMart stores have decided to test market the doll in various locations. The doll is one of several faith-based toys created by One2believe that are being sold along side other action figure toys. Others include 'Tickle Me' Judas and Rock Em' Sock Em' Cain and Abel.
First Baptist Church's senior pastor, Bill Shiell said, "To reduce Him to a doll purports to say that we somehow know what Jesus looked like and that we can play with Him as a figure much like we could play with any other object like Bob the Builder."

Oh come on, we have pretending to know what Jesus looked like for ages: white guy with shoulder length brown hair and a beard. Let's not pretend this doll has anything to do with that. Truth is that Jesus probably looked more Middle Eastern than a member of the Allman Brothers band.

Susan Tatum, First Baptist's minister to preschool and Children, agrees that Jesus isn't an appropriate for a toy. Says Tatum, "Jesus is not an action figure, a fantasy or make-believe doll," she said. "I think it is important for children to know to draw that line between fantasy and reality."

Yes, people, I repeat: fantasy and reality. So which one does the Jesus doll fall under? People need to realize that reality is not the same for everyone. When you look at it, there are really a select few around the world who actually believe in Jesus Christ and Bible. There are numerous religions with varied beliefs and different Gods, and it is arrogance that leads people to believe their faith is the one true way. Sorry folks, you can't all be right.

I have no use for organized religion. I believe that faith and religion should be a personal thing. If you find some likeminded folks to share your beliefs with, great. But keep it quiet and stop pushing your beliefs on everyone else. Simply having faith is the important thing. By the time you find out if there really is a God (whichever kind you choose to believe in) you're long gone from this earth. It's having faith and believing in something (anything) that provides solace and peace to you while you're alive.

But people take it too far and try to run each other's lives based on their personal beliefs and that's where things get messy. You've heard of Separation of Church and State (despite Bush's attempt to abolish it)? Well, maybe we should just broaden the definition of the State. Maybe there'd be a bit less hatred and intolerance in the world if people kept their religion to themselves. Don't preach to me, don't try to change me and don't sell me any dolls.

The best part of the article is where Sheill advises parents thinking of buying the doll to spend the money feeding the hungry or helping out the poor. I couldn't agree more.