The Man and Woman Shopping Dilemma: A Classic Chicken-and-Egg Situation

My body automatically goes into this position when I’m forced to go shopping

With Julie and I still being recent relocators to LA, I expected to have to deal with multiple shopping trips for buying household items during the first month.  Even though we filled up an entire 16-foot Uhaul truck with existing possessions, you’d be amazed at how many trips to Target we’ve already taken.  And actually, I’m not complaining about Target at all in this post.  I love that place.  I’m fine with shopping at stores where I can see the actual benefit to me being there.  At Target we’ve bought things like a toaster oven, a mirror, a filing cabinet and some additional storage space for our kitchen.  I understand these purchases; I’ll use these items regularly.

The type of shopping that automatically turns me into an asshole is when I’m forced into a store that I would never go to on my own.  For instance, we walked into Michael’s arts & crafts store yesterday, and Julie tells me we need to get a glue gun, cork board, marbles, a clock kit and sandpaper (fucking Pinterest is suddenly the bane of my existence). Since I’m totally confused by these items and can’t understand how they’re possibly going to affect me in a positive way, I go into one of two modes: Either I turn into the little kid in the picture above and find a place to lay down, or I go into dickheaded sarcasm mode.  My brain used an embedded “women be shopping” formula and concluded I was in for a 90 minute nightmare.  I decided to take the dickheaded sarcasm route this time.

“Really?  We need to make our own coasters and clocks now?”

“We have bottles of glue, gluesticks and superglue at home.  Why do we need a glue gun again?”

“Let’s just ask that store employee for the five things you need so we can get the hell out of here.”

And my favorite, “No…you shouldn’t be looking at paint and glitter because you specifically told me you only needed five items, and Martha Stewart’s Paint & Glitter wasn’t one of them.”

When we left Michael’s after only 20 minutes, Julie said I should wait to complain until after I see if it’s really going to take as long as I think.

This leads to my chicken and egg dilemma: Was Julie’s trip to Michael’s always going to be a brisk 20 minutes no matter what?  Or was it my constant bitching & moaning and policing of her every move that caused her to speed up?  I’m of the school of thought that says the bigger the scene I make in one of these stores, the more embarrassed and annoyed she’s going to get, and the quicker she ends the pain for both of us.  You can argue that I’m wrong, but just know that I have 29 years of data from constantly pulling this same move on my mom that says my attitude while shopping directly relates to how quickly the girl I’m with gets pissed off and ends the trip.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet on LA’s Toughest Physical Challenge

Do these stairs look intimidating?  I can’t tell if this photo does them justice, but they are fucking ridiculous.  I’ve tried walking up them twice now, and the next time I go, I’m taking camping gear and setting up shop at the halfway point on night one.  It’s about a three-day journey to the top at my pace.

I haven’t even begun exploring LA’s most difficult hikes or running trails, but I’m calling it already: this staircase at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City is the toughest workout you can get in the city.

Beyond the fact that it’s like a third of a mile straight uphill, the stairs are completely uneven and awkwardly spaced so you’re sometimes taking two or three steps in between each stair.

I’m throwing out the challenge to all comers now: visit me in LA and run all the way up the stairs (and live to tell the tale), and I’ll buy you In-n-Out Burger or Five Guys as a reward.

If you think you’re in shape, I promise you’ll rethink that after the staircase-of-death challenge.  Just look at the people in this picture who are either stopping mid-stairclimb to rest or actually having to sit down on the stairs.

The allure of the stairs is the promise of amazing views of the entire LA area at the top.  I tried to take a picture of the view, but threw up all over my phone instead.

Taking The Decision-Making Process Out of Your Weekend Movie Theater Visit (5 Reviews)

It’s officially the first weekend of Summer, and you might be so inclined to go see a movie this weekend.  This may be especially true if you live in a place where the temperature might hit 95 and you’ve got no AC at your house.  The movie theater is a great place to get out of the heat and stuff yourself to capacity with 3lbs of popcorn & 76 ounces of soda.  But which movie will you see?

If you’re like me, a lot of movie trailers and commercials have looked extremely appealing lately so it might be tough to choose.  Luckily I have lots of time on my hand so I’ve checked out five different movies in the theater over the past two weeks.  If you only have time to see one movie and don’t want to be disappointed, keep reading for my ranking and feedback of these five big budget films.

Here they are in order of worst to least-worst:

5). Snow White & the Huntsman – PG-13

Don’t laugh.  It’s supposed to be a darker take on the classic fairy tale, and that’s what appealed to me.  I was promised lots of killing, crazy army battles and the evilest queen ever created.  I wanted Charlize Theron’s queen to be truly devious, to constantly be chasing Kristen Stewart’s Snow White in clever ways throughout the film.  I wanted SW and her allies to go through hell and be faced with certain death over and over again.  Unfortunately I got only about 10 minutes of this in the beginning of the movie and 10 minutes at the end, with about 100 minutes in between of I don’t know what… The middle was Snow White wandering through the “Dark Forest” mostly unharmed, hooking up with groups of people who never told us their motivation for wanting revenge on the Queen.  The movie didn’t even clearly lay out who some of the major characters were and how they fit into the story.  It seems like the makers of this movie were so fixated on the “dark” imagery—Snow White’s hair, the Queen’s wardrobe, the Dark Forest—that they forgot about creating excitement throughout the entire movie and developing the characters enough that they naturally fit in with the overall plot.  The only redeeming part of this movie was the Dwarves, and they don’t even come into play until two-thirds of the way through.

Final Verdict: Not even worth putting on the Netflix queue.

4). Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (3-D) – R

This one totally tricked me because I had heard so many positive reviews about the book this movie is based on.  And the guy who wrote the book was in charge of writing the script so I went in with high hopes.  Big mistake.  Recently I was reading a book on Screenwriting and the author said that movie audiences are willing to accept “one piece of magic per movie.”  His example is that audiences will accept aliens landing on earth in a movie, but they will not accept aliens landing on earth who then get bit by vampires.  You can have one piece of fantasy in a movie, but no more than one.  Well Vampire Hunter had at least three.  I could believe that Vampires inhabited the southern states of the Union during the time of the Civil War, but I couldn’t also believe that Lincoln’s ax had magical powers AND that he turned into a superhero.  And then, by the end of the movie, his friends basically had superpowers too.  This was just too much, and it turned the movie into a cartoon.  There’s a scene in the movie where Lincoln and one of his vampire enemies are caught in a horse stampede and they literally start throwing full grown horses at each other!  I’m not making this up.  The movie becomes one big joke, and obviously they weren’t trying to make a comedy.  They were trying to make a very serious movie.  The only reason it’s not #5 on my list is because Snow White was just so boring.

Final Verdict: You’re going to try to talk yourself into this movie, either at the theater or on DVD.  Don’t do it.

3). Men in Black 3 (3-D) – PG-13

In my defense, I got back to LA from San Francisco this past Monday around 2pm, and walked into a “fire alarm testing” situation at my apartment complex.  Knowing the ear-splitting sound was going to continue for three more hours, I decided a movie was the best option.  Because I had already seen three of the other four movies on this list, I had little choice at the local theater.  I never saw MIB 2, but figured that wouldn’t be a problem.  OK, so Men in Black isn’t much of a “thinker’s movie.”  It’s not going to win any awards.  But unlike #5 and #4 on this list, at least it was fun to watch.  It had all the characteristics of your typical cheesy summer action film—including Will Smith overacting and Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin (playing a younger version of Tommy Lee when Will Smith travels back to 1969) calling someone “Slick” or “Ace” a few too many times.  But it’s a movie you’ll feel familiar and comfortable with, and it’ll fly by at 106 minutes.  The 3-D didn’t really add much for me on this particular film.  But again, it did it’s job of entertaining me while the alarms were blaring at my apartment.

Final Verdict: Worth the Netflix queue add, but don’t prioritize it.

2). Prometheus (3-D) – R

The lazy in me wants to simply say, “I feel the exact same way about Prometheus as I did about Avatar,” and make you try to figure out what that means.  But fine, let me explain.  This movie, to me, is absolutely worth seeing in 3-D on a movie theater screen.  It is visually pleasing, as I suspect all well-done space travel movies made in 3-D will be from now on.  It’s the perfect type of movie for 3-D.  Having said that, I didn’t love the plot, and I didn’t care much about the movie trying to answer important questions like, “Who created humans?” and “What happens to us after we die?”  If sci-fi is your genre of choice, and you like movies that reach for answers to those types of questions, you’re going to love this film.  I was never able to invest in the characters or plot of Avatar, but I enjoyed the film at least when seeing it in 3-D on the big screen, and that’s exactly how Prometheus played out for me.

Final Verdict: See it in the theater, in 3-D.  It’s one of those movies worth shelling out the crazy 3-D ticket prices.

1). The Avengers (3-D) – PG-13

I’m holding out high hopes for the new Batman in July, but Avengers may very well end up being the best movie of the Summer.  And that’s coming from someone who’s not a comic book person and typically doesn’t love superhero movies.  This movie had so much more than just great action scenes.  The plot wasn’t overly cheesy, and it was simple enough to not get in the way.  The characters, for the most part, were well-developed and had depth.  If I wanted to nitpick, I’d mention that the Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner characters were pretty much unnecessary to the movie.  They were the only two characters that didn’t have any layers beyond their special powers and being involved in the action scenes.  The rest of the characters—especially Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk—were incredible, both as superheroes doing superhero things, and as regular people.  One of the most entertaining decisions the creators of The Avengers made was having a lot of conflict and fighting between the superheroes.  The movie isn’t just about six superheroes trying to stop a villain.  It’s about six superheroes trying to stop a villain while figuring out if they can trust each other and be team players.  And yes, the action in 3-D is incredible.

Final Verdict: See it in 3-D at the theater for sure, but if you can’t, get it to the top of your Netflix queue as soon as it’s released on Blu-Ray.

Did the Justin Bieber Special Turn You into a Belieber? If You Didn’t Watch, Here’s Everything You Need To Know

The Justin Bieber: All Around the World special was on TV the last couple nights, and I had to watch because I already talked about how there’s no good TV on during the summer, and because I know nothing about the Biebs and wanted to see what all the fuss is about.  Before watching the special, I had never even heard one of his songs, and I definitely didn’t know he was Canadian.

Here are my quick thoughts on what I saw:

-What’s more awkward…me watching two hours of a Justin Bieber special or these three dudes at the Bieber concert being shown on TV right as Bieber is asking the crowd, “Do you want to be my boyfriend?”

Looks like at least one of these dudes wants to be The Biebs’ boyfriend

-He played a concert in Mexico City that had 250,000 people at it.  That seems like a lot.  I really don’t know enough about music history to put his fame/popularity in perspective.  I’d love it if an older person who knows about this stuff could put Bieber’s career in context compared to people like Elvis, The Beatles, NKOTB and Justin Timberlake.  Does he only seem like the most popular musician ever because of Twitter and the internet?  Or is he legit the most popular person ever?

-The TV special follows him around to European cities like Rome and Paris.  One thing I’m not envious about with him is that he’ll never get to go sightseeing in one of these cities like a normal person.  He’ll never be able to just decide spontaneously to go see the Coliseum, because 20,000 teenage girls would start scaling the Coliseum walls.

-But if there is one thing I’m jealous of with him (and there should be like 3 million things), it’s that he can approach a balcony or window anytime, anywhere, and a crowd of 10,000 people erupts in the streets.  I’d love for that to happen to me every time I go to my balcony at my apartment.

-Before every performance Bieber & his team stand in a circle, put their hands in the middle and chant “ducks ducks ducks, quack quack quack.”  It’s like he’s using amazing Mighty Ducks references just to force me to like him.

-Final thought: Which of these girls is going to most regret the way they reacted to an 18-year-old singer 10 years from now?  I know how this works (I was around many teenage girls when Timeberlake was at the peak of his powers, and I bet every one of them now regrets the freaking out they did whenever his name was mentioned).  These girls get a glimpse of Bieber and they either cry or faint…I really feel like they’re gonna regret this, especially the ones that were recorded on this TV special.  Their overreactions to Justin Bieber will be on Youtube forever:

These girls broke into a spontaneous “I love him, I love him, I love him” after seeing Biebs
This is your traditional “let’s hug so neither one of us falls down from over stimulation”

She’s really putting her heart out there for Justin

But this girl will not let another “hand heart” overshadow her’s

And finally, the total loss of control. Emotions bursting out of her, full meltdown mode