Sign My Petition To Stop Rainbows From Making A Big Deal About Being In The Sky

I’m calling for a permanent moratorium on people being wowed by rainbows. I assumed we hit our rainbow saturation point years ago with the “double rainbow” phenomenon, but apparently not.

I was walking home from the dog park last Friday afternoon and all of the sudden it felt like I was in the opening scenes of Independence Day. You remember early on in that movie when the alien ship is first hovering over Los Angeles and Will Smith is reading his newspaper on the sidewalk? Then all of the sudden he looks up and sees all of his neighbors either standing in their yards pointing to the sky or frantically packing their cars to evacuate? That’s the exact scene that was playing out around me while I walked home. When I finally turned around to see what all the excitement was about, I half-expected to see a legit alien ship or a hologram of Jesus Christ.

Nope, just your run-of-the-mill rainbow. Not even double.

I might be slightly exaggerating with my Independence Day analogy, but only slightly. People were running out of their houses with cameras. Others were pulling over to the side of the road and hopping out of their cars for a photo op. I tried to do a google search on the frequency of rainbows in Southern California. I wanted to give my fellow Angelenos the benefit of the doubt. Maybe these things never happen around here. The search yielded nothing helpful because all the results that came up were for rainbow trout or some local LA band with the word “rainbow” in their name. I’m just going to assume rainbows happen in this area about as frequently as any other area of the world.

My biggest problem with the unnecessary gawking over a rainbow is where do you go from there? You have to have separately increasing reactions to all the natural phenomena that you might see. So if seeing a rainbow is on the low end of craziness in the sky, and an alien ship hovering overhead is the high end, you need to have appropriate reactions for everything in the middle. If you’re freaking out over a silly little rainbow, what are you going to do when things like a tornado, a meteor shower, ball lightning or St. Elmo’s Fire appear in your sky? Start packing your belongings and evacuate?

This is all a longwinded way of saying “let’s just cut the crap with rainbow adoration.” If you can see the pot of gold or the leprechaun from where you’re standing, that’s another story. Go nuts.

What’s the end game with taking a bunch of pictures of a rainbow anyway? I can find 10,000 pictures of rainbows on google that are significantly better looking than your shitty iPhone picture. I’m not impressed and neither are any of your Facebook friends. Knock it off.

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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.

Opening the Kimono on Work Jargon

When I wrote the corporate-slacking masterpiece back in April titled “How to avoid working while giving off the impression that you’re working,” I made reference to “generic work speak” and even referenced one of my favorite corporate expressions.  Here’s what I said: “…bonus points for using ‘it is what it is.’  People will get off to you saying this.  Business people like this phrase more than they like sex.  The same goes for ‘at the end of the day.'”

What I should have done was write a separate blog post dedicated to all of these ridiculous work expressions.  Lord knows there are hundreds of them, not just the two I mentioned in my post.

Well it looks like someone did my work for me as Forbes published this article on their website way back in January: Jargon Madness.  Of course they went with the ultra-annoying angle of putting all of these funny phrases into a “March Madness-like bracket” for people to vote on.  That’s one of my least favorite trends going right now…March Madness bracket of the 64 hottest women on the planet!  March Madness bracket of the 64 best Will Smith movies of all time!  March Madness bracket of your favorite March Madnesses of all time!  Make sure you vote!

Anyway, I think Forbes did a decent job with the 32 expressions they selected, though I’ve never heard someone use “Tiger Team or “Swim Lane.”  I think Forbes made those up.

And how do they leave “At the end of the day” off this list?  Am I just crazy and people don’t say this all the time?  If you haven’t heard it, “at the end of the day” is the long-winded, douchey way of saying “ultimately.”  As in, “At the end of the day, I think this is a deal that works out for both parties.”  It’s supposed to make you sound slick I guess?  My hope is that any business person who reads this starts laughing at himself the next time he’s on the phone with a client and catches himself using it.

Some of my other favorites from the Forbes list:

-Hard Stop: As in, “I have a hard stop at 4PM so we gotta be done by then.”  Does anyone ever have a soft stop?  Just say, “I have to be done by [insert time].”

-Price Point: As in, “Our price point for that service is $500 per hour.”  Just say “price.”

-Lots of Moving Parts = It’s complicated.

-Bleeding Edge: Apparently it’s not good enough anymore to be on the “leading edge” of what you’re selling.  Someone invented a phrase to describe how you can be leading that leading edge…bleeding edge.

-Open the Kimono: As in, “On this call we’re gonna open the kimono so you can see what’s really going on.”  It sounds so dirty, and you could just tell the person you’re going to reveal all of the information they need to make their decision.  Opening the kimono makes me think I’m about to see a Japanese person’s genitals.

Final thought: How did “It is what it is” not advance to the finals and win the championship?  “Leverage” was a better choice?  Why does the general public screw up every important vote?  Oh well.  Like they say…it is what it is.