The Plane Ride from Hell… thanks kids.

The Plane Ride from Hell… thanks kids.

My sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I have a system for packing for trips. This system is fairly common practice for people that have attended, are attending, or may attend the ‘Last Minute School of Preparation’. Although for the record, we did not pack last minute for our Hawaii trip… we packed three minutes prior to last minute. I always look at last minute as, well, just that. The fact that Angela and I got to take a two hour nap before driving to the airport I feel shows you our proficiency at packing just before the last minute.

There are a few things that acting, or in our case packing, last minute enables you to experience. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • The a fore mentioned two hour nap. I’m a fan of naps, and even though I will most likely be sleeping on the plane to whatever destination a waits, starting a flight with a nap that is just long enough to leave me sleepy is a nice preparatory event before I begin my on plane nap.

  • No double-checking your luggage before leaving. It means that I will always have the Goonies adventure quality about my trip. Because I don’t have time to double-check my bags there is no telling if I remembered everything and it isn’t until I’m in the middle of a hotel room in a new city, country, planet, etc. were I discover if I am going to need to get creative about doing my hair because I forgot a brush, or that I need to get out into my new environment to experience my new surroundings and find a store that sells what I forgot. (I only used a plastic fork to comb my hair for the first day. When Angela caught me using it, she made us go to a store to buy a small cheap brush for the trip.)
  • The giggles. In my experience it is inevitable that, at some point in the late night hours when I am tired and wanting to go to sleep but am still packing, I hit that loopy stage where everything is so much funnier than it would have been had I actually gotten some sleep. I’ve never felt bad about an uncontrollable giggle fit and packing three minutes to ‘last minute’ is always good for at least one of those… sometimes more.

The flight to Hawaii was in two parts. The first flight went to Phoenix Arizona. I slept through the whole thing. I attempted the nodding off routine of falling asleep in an upright sitting position, but when my head dropped down for the first nod it didn’t come back up until an hour later when the captain announced that we had begun our decent to Phoenix. It was grand. The flight from Phoenix to Maui on the other hand was a flyway to hell (feel free to sing that in your best AC/DC voice).

You know that feeling when you get an ice cream cone filled with two scoops of your favorite flavors and just as you step out of the store, even before you have taken a single lick, your hands fumble and you watch in Hollywood slow motion as your treat of creamy goodness falls to the ground to become completely inedible crushing your dreams that there is anything good in this world? Yeah, well I had that exact same feeling when I walked onto the airplane and saw two of the three seats in front of me being occupied by little kids. The mother sitting in the middle seat separating the two children is what gave me a false sense of hope that maybe it wasn’t going to be ‘that bad’. Damn you ‘false sense of hope’ and your deceitful ways.

The sperm donor, I mean father, was in the chair across the aisle. Actually scratch that, he was a donor because during the six plus hours on the flight I saw him do zero in regards to being a father. In fact I would give him negative points because at only one point during the flight did he remove his headphones and stopped watching movies on his iPad. It was during this iPad break that his wife actually told him, “I need some help. I am asking you to help me.” His response to this was to put his head phones back on and ignore her and the kids with even more vigor than he had done before.

The little boy was by far the more horrid of the two evils, er kids, mainly because he would not shut the hell up. Seriously, for the entire flight he did not stop talking once. And the extent of the mother’s parental ability was to remain sitting in her seat and say “shhhhh” repeatedly and then ignore the kids. At one point the little monster had to go to the toilet. He did this by announcing to the entire plane that he had to poop. Then, because there was a line to get to the toilet, he spent five minutes waiting for his turn standing in the aisle announcing that he needed to poop. He even informed the mother at one point that he was just going to poop in the aisle. The mother had the insight to hold on to his hand while they waited in line after his started to undo his belt after the pooping in the aisle comment.

You know, I miss the days when parents would beat their children. Not with the excitable vigor of Rocky Balboa taking on the USSR, but a nice heartfelt smack on the rump when the kids were being little shi… fecal matters. I mean I know it’s the parents fault, but perhaps if the parents had been beaten as children then they would have not grown up to be such worthless parents themselves. Besides, let’s say a kid throws a fit on a plane and is making the plane ride a horrific experience for everyone on the plane, I think that spanking the child in front of all of those people would be a nice way to publically apologize to everyone on that plane for your failure as a parent and your child’s lack of behavior. I know I’d appreciate seeing the little bastard getting a quick smack on the butt. I’d probably even say thank you.

Now even though I’m a reverend I’m not the type of person to bless people. However, if I thought it would do any good I would bless this family with infertility, sterility, barrenness, and unfruitfulness … and a lifetime of failures in the adoption department. I mean sure let them have a long full life and die of natural causes, but family lines go extinct all the time; I just happen to be of the opinion that this family is one that deserves be part of the family line extinction.

However, there was one positive thing that happened from all of this, the sheer nirvana I felt getting off of that plane and away from that family. Sometimes it’s the little things you have to take with you and that one lasted the entire time I was in Maui. Hell, it even got me through the two and a half hour delay and entire plane ride home.

What are your thoughts on the topic of bad kids and worse parents?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: last minute, unpacking suitcase, bad kids on plane, depressed, bad parents, and happy day.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

With Utah’s birthday coming up, July 24th to be exact, I thought I‘d get a little jump on the topic of Utah. I have a great deal of appreciation for my state, and by state I mean Utah, the state I live and not my mental state… although the same could be said for that as well. Utah is quite diverse, geographically speaking. When you begin talking about the people, a lot of the diversity is a result of visitors, and people experiencing layovers at the air port.

Still, when you look at the land, Utah does have some beautiful national parks, forests and mountain ranges. Some are teeming with evergreens, rushing rivers and speckled with red and orange stone, arch carved and always thirsty for water. In the northern part of the state you can always expect a nice ensemble of seasons.

Apart from the raw breathtaking beauty of the state, there are also little nuggets that seem to help others appreciate the state as well. Things like snow, for those of the winter sport inclined. The Sundance Film Festival brings with it a spotlight and red carpet for Utah once a year. We even have a professional soccer team, oh yeah, and a basketball team that was relocated from New Orleans decades ago… which explains their name, because let’s face it one of the things Utah is not known for is their Jazz, well they are, just not in the Louis Armstrong sense of the word.

Then there are the things about Utah that you are a little unprepared for. Things like the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. As a standalone name for a garden it’s rather opinion free. When you find out there is a sculpture of a Sphinx there that has the head of Joseph Smith, you begin shacking your head in much the same way you might shake up an Etch-a-Sketch when you need to start over again on your picture. Joseph Smith was the chap that created the LSD religion, the dominant religion for the state. To make a comparison, I guess you could say it would be a little like going into Vatican City and finding a garden with a sculpture of a giant Sphinx with the head of Saint Peter on it… ok so maybe there is one. I have no idea. I’ve never been to Vatican City. Still, either way it’s one of those things that strike you as a bit odd.

Or there is the unhealthy obsession and addiction that mainstream Utahans seem to have with Jell-O. I have no idea where this intense connection to a wiggly green gelatinous food-like substance comes from, but there is also an unrelenting impulse to put shredded carrots in it.

Then there are things that are just odd enough that you are compelled to say, “Yeah, started here in Utah, sorry about that!” A friend sent me an article this morning of one such event. The article made me want to take the time to let you know that we in Utah are sorry about this. I give you… the Candwich! A man by the name of Mark Kirkland, from Salt Lake City, Utah is going to be unleashing a product that is a sandwich in a can.

I was touch disturbed when I first saw this because the first place my mind went was that it was a thick puréed liquid that was supposed to taste like the picture on the can. You can all relax a bit, I read the article to make sure. It’s a meal stored in a can. It has all the makings for a sandwich they show on the front of the can, in the can. Take the strawberry PBJ one for example. The can contains a packet of peanut butter, a packet of strawberry jam, a bun in an air tight sealed bag, and a taffy treat. The peanut butter and jam ones seem harmless enough, as long as you avoid looking at all the preservatives placed in it to ensure it had a shelf life of over one year. Thus giving Twinkies a run for their money as the longest lasting food source after the apocalypse, which will probably be a result of releasing this product into the world?

Let’s just hope they don’t put the word fresh anywhere on the product. There is no way a one year old sandwich is going, that is of course unless it grows a hand while in the can and get a little flirty when you set it free for your own personal consumption.

The one that disturbs me and almost triggers a gag reflex in me if I think about it too much is the BBQ chicken one. Keeping BBQ chicken in a sealed bag that is stored in a can, which is not required to be chilled or refrigerated in any way and has a shelf life of one plus years… well you can call that a number of things, but I’m pretty sure chicken isn’t one of them. Even more disturbing is the thought that if it catches on you know they’ll be adding more and more flavors. I mean if it does catch on, what’s next? Maybe they really will start creating liquid meals for mass consumption, which only pushes us one step closer to the portrayal of humans in Pixar’s WALL-E.

When I think of the great things about this nearly rectangular state, I am proud of Utah. Still, when it comes to being the state that is remembered for giving the world the sandwich in a can, well, it does deflate some of that pride. I guess we’ll have to see where this ride ends. Until then we can always thank this state. For those of you that live here I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being our home.” And to those of you not living here might I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being you. So we don’t have too.”

What are your thought about the whole Candwich product?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Utah, Joseph Smith Sphinx, Candwich, and Wall-E humans.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Smoke if you got em!

I was going share one of my new Vegas trip inspired Smirks today, but something happened last night after getting home that I feel a touch compelled to expand on. Some might call it a coincidence, but personally it seemed all too diabolical to be a mere coincidence. Once home we unloaded the car, and went through the mail, and turned on the AC, finally, because it was warmer inside the house than it was outside. Now considering we didn’t turn on the AC until June, I that as a rather impressive accomplishment. Angela and I even congratulated each other on that very fact.

As we waited for the air to begin flowing throughout the house I spent some time at the computer doing a little rereading and finally checking my e-mail for the first time that week. Eventually I went down stairs to see what Angela was up to, and to my complete lack of surprise she was sitting in front of the television working on her laptop, waiting for one of her Shirley Temple DVDs to start.

I did my best keep her company, but with the movie not half over and the clock ticking at me that it was already thirty minutes past midnight, I kissed goodnight and headed to bed, or so I thought. The long drive had worn me out so falling asleep was really not that difficult of a task. As for staying asleep, well that’s where the diabolical nature of the evening began.

I remember Angela climbing into bed. I had no idea what time it was, but for some reason having your significant other climb into bed while you’ve been sleeping is usually one of those things people remember. It’s like when the dishes start to rattle in the cupboard and you eventually think to yourself, “Oh hey! An earthquake!” except it’s not quite as subtle as that. It was shortly after I got repositioned that I heard a faint noise what sounded like a single and very direct bird chirp. It was too dark to be the demon wake-up call bird, so I let it go with a small sigh and tried to get myself to reboot back into an REM state of slumber. All of a sudden I heard it again. Another chirp made its way into my brain and destroyed any residual sleepy time thoughts I might have been having. My mind was now full of with a slew of dirty words that were probably incomprehensible to anyone listening due my knack for sleepily mumbling profanity.

As I got out of bed, Angela informed me that the smoke detector in the television room needed to have its battery replaced. Yes, the chirping was the smoke detector doing its best to annoy its master to the brink of either bludgeoning the device into silence or, through repetition, encouraging its owner to replace the batteries. Problem was, there were no 9-volt batteries in the house and 2:15 AM going out to get batteries was nowhere on my to-do list. Kindly, Angela had removed the detector from the ceiling and placed it in my office and covered with a few blankets to muffle the sound. This helped some, but the battery was still inside so the repetitious chirping had no intention on stopping any time soon.

I went into my office, and found the blanketed violator of dream time euphoria and with just a hint of vindictiveness I opened that round plastic disk of intended life saving functionality and gutted that little bastard, removing its life giving battery. Then I kept pressing the test button until there was no juice left. I had squeezed the life out of it, and I felt rather justified by that.

As I walked out of my office in a triumphant stagger of someone who really needed their nap after a long hard battle I heard a little chirp. “What the…, piece of sh…, rat bas…, sonofabi…, damn it!” was about all I could muster as I turned around and walked back into my office. Had there been any implements of light to medium destruction close by I would have swung first and asked questions later. So as I stood there, holding the detector in one hand and the batter in the other I heard the chirp again… there was another one out there that had decided that it too needed changing. Either that or it was smoke detector mating season in my house and two of these devices decided that they were in season and it was time to begin their mating calls.

I began begrudgingly exploring the house. Three chirps later I discovered the culprit was right next the bedroom in Angela’s office. Fortunately I was tall enough that was able to just stand on the floor and twist, pull, unplug and depower that little monster. Had I been required to use a chair to climb up to remove that thing, I’m pretty sure one if not both of us would have died. Once I got the battery out, there was one short moment of satisfaction where, as I pushed the tester button, the final chirp started strong, but as the power drained the chirp muttered and sputtered in to dead silence.

Yes, TWO smoke detectors decided to remind me that it was time to change their batteries at 2AM on a Monday night after getting back from Vegas. Yeah, so if I ever meet Loki I’m going to have him castrated, you know, for fun. The thing is this is the third time that’s happened. I wouldn’t care if they started chirping away once I got home. I’d gladly go to the store and gotten them some 9-volt feed to shut them up for another 6 months, but seriously 2 AM on three different occasions? Screw you smoke detectors… screw you.

I did have a thought as a stumbled back into bed. Smoke detectors need a snooze button. You can push it in instance that the battery starts to run low and beep to remind you of this, but it just so happens to be 2 or 3 in the morning. All you do is push the snooze button and the detector will shut up for about 10 hours. That way you can go back to sleep get a full night’s sleep and then when you get home from work the snooze will have worn off and the detector will be chirping away reminding you to replace the batteries right then instead of two hours after to go to bed.

It was baffling to me that there were actually two culprits taking part in the last night’s smoke detector incident. I mean maybe the house was upset that we had left for the week without telling it where we were going. I really have no idea. It just seems to me that there was some sort of meddling meddler that would have set up that type of dual reaction at roughly the same time of night. I know! I’ll bet it was that bird that kept attacking the bedroom window for all those weeks. It must have finally gotten into the house and set up the whole thing. Now I really hate that bird.

Well I suppose if the bird comes back in the next day or two to gloat then I’ll know who was responsible, otherwise it’s off the hook. On a side note, it hasn’t been around in almost a month so I’m pretty sure it’s finally moved on.

The incident was over fairly quick, but by all means, trust me on this and have some backup 9-volts in your home, just in case. Even if you are of a pleasant disposition, chirping smoke detectors in the middle of the night does cause one to lose that disposition in a hurry. I guess the only thing left to add is… note to self: pick up a two packs of 9-volt batteries on the way home tonight.

Any of you have your own smoke detector stories? Do share.

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: smoke detector, bed head, printer smash, snooze button, and pack of 9-volt.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Pumpkin Pie – This Year Let Us Not Give Thanks

With Thanksgiving a day away, I figure what better time than now to bring up one of the staple dishes this holiday season that I consider to be culinary vulgarity. Much like melted marshmallows on baked yams, or carrots coffined in green lime Jell-o, the pumpkin pie falls onto my list of epic culinary failures.

It’s odd too, because I really don’t mind pumpkin as a flavor. For example, I find pumpkin chocolate chip cookies quite lovely. I even enjoy the occasional sit down with a small bag of pumpkin seeds, and not once have they caused me to shudder, gag, or spit up. I’m also a big fan of pie crusts, light and flaky, and with the perfect hint of toasted doughy goodness, they help accentuate the endless combinations that ultimately make-up what is the baking equivalent of Prozac pie.

Say what you will, but next time life overloads you with a series of random events that you’re not sure how to handle, instead of reaching for your pills grab a warm slice of your favorite pie and take a few bites. The worry free euphoria kicks in a lot sooner than the Prozac ever will. I mean, I’m no doctor, but at a basic and logical level it does make a lot of sense. But do be warned, if you have a tendency to do this a lot, the probability factor that your nether region will start expanding at an alarming rate does go way up.

For me, and I’m really not sure why, pumpkin pie is one of those rare experiences where a collection of tasty single ingredients are combined to create a flavor-foul dish. Also, when I bring up my lack of pumpkin pie appreciation, especially around this time of year, people usually stare and point, and call me… a lot of things really. Here is a sample of just a few of them: crazy, deprived, anti-American, broken, insane, damaged, sick, and the spawn of Satan (but that only happened once). Some people take it very personally when you publicly put down their favorite pie.

I’ve tried for years to try to visually explain my distaste for this dessert in the most precise way I could, but I was never able to perfect the imagery… that is until now. Last week a friend sent me an image that I feel encompasses my feelings toward pumpkin pie and how I think those vile buggers taste. Case and point…

Yes, that is truly how I feel about it. But, regardless of my pumpkin pie issues, I do hope you all have a brilliant Thanksgiving… even if you decide to eat pumpkin alapooh.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Manos: The Hands of Fate – So bad it's horrifying.

manosWith the delight that many consider to be Halloween, I’ve decided to use today’s post to share with you one of the most frightening movies I’ve ever seen. There are so many things that cause this film to be the horror that it is. It’s not a slasher film, a gore fest, or a thriller, nor is it a zombie film, alien picture, fightmare, musical, or any film starring Mike Myers. This I am referring to is none other than… Manos, Hands of Fate.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is a… I think it was supposed to be a horror film. It was filmed in 1966, and was written, directed, and produced by one Harold P. Warren. The film would have fallen into obscurity… well into unwatched obscurity that is until Mystery Science Theater 3000 got their hands on it. Then it moved into the realm of viewed obscurity. Nothing moves a film out of normal obscurity and into cult status obscurity quite like MST.

The plot of the film consists of a vacationing family who get lost while driving and end up in a desert. The family finds a house in the desert, which turns out to be the home of a polygamous pagan cult, as if there is any other kind.

manos_paintingTorgoIt’s a little confusing trying to figure out who the main character is. For the first 20 minutes of the film I’d have to say that the main character was the scenery. There is a family that the story seems to center around, but there is also Torgo, the assistance of the Master (aka Manos). Who has just as much screen time as, if not more, the family. There is also a picture of the Master, who gets plenty of screen time as well.

I was actually talking about this very film a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. We were discussing what exactly makes this one of the most horrific films ever made. We came to the conclusion that what makes this an ultimate horror film is:

  1. Negative Watchability: The personal uneasiness that comes from watching the film. It’s really difficult to get through the film in one sitting because it is so frighteningly bad.
  2. Poor Direction. The director had so many options to make a choice in how the film was to go, about what needed to happen next, and he did absolutely nothing.
  3. Profane Angst. At the end of the film, if you make it that far, you will shutter, and probably use a verbal exclamation equivalent of wtf.
  4. manoshandsLongevity. The film will stay with you forever. It’s probably been around 15 years now since I first saw Manos, which means that it’s been around 15 years that I been telling people Manos: Hands of Fate, any time people ask me what the one of the worst/most horrific films I have ever seen was.

If you think you have the constitution and determination to make it though the film, feel free to check it out:

If the video does not work for you click here to watch the film.

Let me know what you think of Manos: The Hands of Fate.