Oh Good, Unsolicited Opinions and Advice

It seems to me that there are a few things that everybody in the world agrees are annoying. For example: every single person in the world thinks rubbernecking is a pain in the ass. We all complain about traffic caused by idiots who gawk at every fender bender. I've yet to hear a single person say, "you know what I like? Car accidents. Everybody slows down, and I get to take a good look." Likewise, everybody seems to hate it when people talk during a movie. These things are universal.

You know what else we all seem to hate? People who push their opinions and beliefs on us. So why do we always tell each other what to think and do?
The other day I was driving home from work, and I had to merge into a lane on a highway. As I was trying to squeeze in, a guy assertively sped up to get ahead of me, rather than let me glide in front of him. It was no big deal. It was definitely because they didn't want to be behind me, and they had to drift into another lane to get around me, but it really wasn't a completely shitty maneuver. It was blah. I didn't give it another thought, until I squared up behind them. Thanks to their swoop-around, I got to check out their bumper sticker, which I managed to find an image of online.
It may be the teeniest tiniest picture in the world. Start squinting........now:
If you can't quite tell, that's a bumper sticker which says, "Abortion: One Dead / One Wounded," and it has a picture of a distraught woman on it.
I'm not about to debate the issue of whether or not abortion is moral or should be legal, so relax, I'm going to talk about how this person is a fucking asshole for not being able to shut their goddamn mouth.
I don't care what you think. About anything. You have your opinions, I have mine. The only time the two of them should be expressed is in some sort of public forum where we are each able to make a case for our beliefs. Even then, I probably don't want to talk to you.
Most people are insufferable, and if one thing is certain, it's that while I'm in my car, I should be free from your bullshit ideas.
Are we so self righteous and self centered that we think we need to be stating a "fact" or crafting an argument even when we're busy driving?
This person has this bumper sticker stuck to their stupid car! It's not even a matter of caring about the issue of abortion, it's a matter of thinking that their opinions need to be presented and respected at all times.
What exactly do they think is going to happen? What are they accomplishing? Are they under the impression that I am pro-choice, but once I see this cheap two-tone bumper sticker I'm going to rethink my beliefs? They must think that I'm about to have an epiphany sitting here in traffic, and change my whole life. Should I thank them? Do they want to spark fury in me? Do they want a debate?
Do they want to know if I'm anti-abortion and if they can be friends with me?
No.
Nope.
Nah.
They're just a dog barking. They just want to bluntly barf out what they think. They haven't really thought it through. They found something which expresses what they believe, and tossed it on their car because they're simple.
They must understand that this is an issue on which people strongly disagree. People fight tooth and nail over abortion, and they've casually placed their stance on the bumper of their car to challenge all the people on the other side of the coin. Really, just fuck off. We all have enough shit to think about without some simple, small minded moron throwing their opinions in our face. Now I'm barfing.
Why do people seem to want to have an impact on our lives? Are they bored, or just self obsessed?
It's not all about hot button issues, either. For example, here's something which I see on my way to work every damn day:
A few months ago, someone spray painted the impossible phrase "Smiles everyone! Smile" on a walkway in New Brunswick. I get annoyed every time I drive under it.
Part of the reason is that the phrasing is all screwed up. First we're ordered with "Smiles everyone," which is clearly addressed at the population at large, hence "smiles" being plural. But then it's followed up with the reinforcement of "Smile," which is singular and therefor seemingly directed directly at the reader (Though my personal theory is just that this was scrawled out by some drunk idiot Rutgers freshman who thinks they stumbled across a brilliant and simple way of solving all the world's frowns, but whose brain screwed up the phrasing).
The other part of the reason I hate this is the same reason why I hate the abortion bumper sticker: Don't tell me what to do or think. Leave me alone, shut up, and keep your opinions to yourself.
I know that this is all a bit rich coming from me, considering that I have a blog where all I do is write what I want without input, but the difference is that you have the option of ignoring all my shit. I have to drive under this bridge every morning, and there's nothing more annoying than someone telling you to smile when you're tired and grumpy. Just let me grump in peace.
I'm just going to start spray painting "Frowns everyone! Frown!" on every bridge I see, because I think my views deserve to be seen and appreciated.
I could have just posted this video to illustrate my point:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_1FbjuJp4E]

Scary Story Time #5 and #6

Well, I haven't posted anything here for a really long time, so I'm going to get back into the swing of it by posting a couple of quick scary stories. I'll post some of my own crap soon.

Quick disclaimer: I'm a really big fan of horror movies and scary stories. Recently I've been finding a lot of interesting little scary stories written anonymously by people on the internet, so I decided to start sharing some of the ones I like. You should know, before you read on, that I did not write any of these stories, unless otherwise noted. You should also know that I won't always be posting that I enjoy 100%. There could be a ten page story that I post because I like one sentence of it. In that case, I assume I'll explain why I posted horse-shit and what merit I see in it. Sometimes, I'll post "scary" stories that I hate, think are stupid, or maybe even funny. But more than that, you should really know that some of these stories may be somewhat graphic, so just steel yourself for anything, especially poor spelling and grammar (I don't edit these stories). No matter what, though, I hope you enjoy them too, and if you know any stories or sources, please share them with me. Also, if you have any requests, just ask, I have a huge archive of this stuff!

New Cell Phone

A couple of months ago, my friend's cousin (a single mother) bought a new cell phone. After a long day of work, she came home, placed her phone on the counter, and went watch to TV; her son came to her and asked if he could play with her new phone. She told him not to call anyone or mess with text messages, and he agreed. At around 11:20, she was drowsy, so she decided to tuck her son in and go to bed. She walked to his room and saw that he wasn't there. She then ran over to her room to find him sleeping on her bed with the phone in his hand. Relieved, she picked her phone back up from his hand to inspect it. Browsing through it, she noticed only minor changes such as a new background, banner, etc., but then she opened up her saved pictures. She began deleting the pictures he had taken, unril only one new picture remained. When she first saw it, she was in disbelief. It was her son sleeping on her bed, but the picture was taken by someone else above him... and it showed the left half of an elderly woman's face.

This one constantly gets me, even though Allie pointed out that this woman looks like Liza Minelli. Final story for now:

Across the Border

There was a couple from Texas who were planning a weekend trip across the Mexican border for a shopping spree. At the last minute, their baby-sitter canceled, so they had to bring along their two year old son with them. They had been across the border for an hour when the baby got free and ran around the corner. The mother tried to find him, but he disappeared. The mother found a police officer who told her to go to the gate and wait. Not really understanding the instructions, she did as she was told. About 45 minutes later, a man approached the border, carrying the boy. The mother ran to him, grateful that he had been found. When the man realized it was the boy's mother, he dropped him and ran. The police were waiting for him. The boy was dead, and in less than the 45 minutes he was missing, he was cut open, all of his organs removed, and was stuffed with cocaine. The man was going to carry him across the border as if he were asleep.
Aaand here's a picture of a monkey to reverse the effects of the horror:
(Image from http://monkeyislandpanama.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/CapuchinMonkey011.jpg)
Take it easy guys.

Self Entitlement: A rant against self obsession written by a dude with a blog

Right now, I'm really angry. I know I shouldn't be. I know each and every logical counterpoint to what has got me so pissed off, but right now, I don't fucking care for that logic. What I'm angry at is irrational, so the way I see it, I'm allowed to be irrational too. Out of respect, I won't discuss the particulars of what has got me so riled up. I mean that I just don't think it would be at all nice to say exactly what happened tonight, I'm sure I'll talk about it candidly sometime in the future, but a good way to summarize the issue is to say that I'm becoming increasingly fed up with the sense of entitlement I see in most people in public.

When people are in pain, the night belongs to them. Unless you count among their numbers, the night isn't yours. You are not allowed to criticize the people grieving. You are not allowed to try and garner sympathy for your separate issues, and you are most definitely not allowed to compound the evening by letting your personal squabbles take over.

You are not the center of attention just because you feel your issue is worth our time. It doesn't work that way.

Self entitlement. What's wrong with you? Tonight I went to a funeral, where people acting selfishly, but it's not my night to discuss, so I won't. However, I see the same disproportionate behavior almost everywhere I go.

Maybe a year or two ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks, reading or writing or staring. The place was packed, absolutely packed. Do you know why it was packed? It was because it was a Saturday afternoon, and Starbucks is a pretty popular, busy place. We all know that. Except for this fucking dickhead:

Some gangly clown walks into Starbucks, takes a look around, and frowns. I noticed him do it, and I imagined that maybe he was meeting up with somebody, and upon looking around, saw that the person hadn't arrived yet. I was wrong. He walked up to the counter, impatiently ordered his drink as if the cashier should have anticipated it fully, and barely finished his request before he asked/ordered, "And where am I going to sit?"

"Excuse me?" The kid seemed legitimately confused.

"Where am I going to sit? All the seats are taken."

If I were this poor employee, I wouldn't have had any idea what to say, and I worked 4 years in a fucking TGI Fridays, where my job description may as well have read, "appease assholes."

"Uh...Well, I mean, we're pretty busy."

The asshole met this with total silence.

"We have some tables available out front."

The man's lip curled in revulsion, "I don't want to sit outside." (Note: This was said as if only sub-humans ever have to venture outdoors."

"Well, I guess you could wait for someone to get up? Some of these customers have been here for a while, so maybe they'll be leaving soon."

Well spoken, well explained. Poorly received. The guy looked downright insulted. Livid. He scoffed. Without saying a word, he handed over his card, paid, and walked out of the store.

That was weird. Really weird. It looked like the guy was walking out on his order...but he had paid. So whatever, I went back to whatever the hell it is I was doing. I was interrupted from it again a moment later.

The door flew open, not as if violently thrown, but rather as though someone massive was trying to get through. It was that piece of shit, and he was dragging with him one of the wrought iron tables from outside. It was a distracting, huge sound. He wasn't fully carrying the table, he was literally dragging it.

The iron was screeching against the tile, and, as I said, the place was packed. There wasn't room for an additional table. If there was, there would probably be another table in there. He had to place it awkwardly in a foot-traffic area. Anyway, the guy went back outside to get a chair. When his drink was ready, he said at the table and read a book. He did so pointedly, not casually. It was clear that he was trying to make some sort of bullshit statement.

What an asshole. What an utter dick. When you venture out in the world, you should know that things aren't guaranteed to go your way. They just aren't. If you want to have total control over your surroundings, stay inside your own place and interact with no one. At all. When you're out in the world, you're subject to the same laws of likelihood as the rest of us. Sometimes you're going to want to drink a cup of coffee and read a book. That's great, I love that. I do that. But when I feel this way, and I decide to go to a Starbucks to do it, I know that I'm entering a building where other people are trying to have a similar experience. Sometimes all the tables will be taken, because a whole lot of people had the same popular idea as me. In that case, all I can do is shrug, and move on. Do I still want the coffee? Well I'm there already, so I'll buy one. Do I still want to read a book in here, sitting at a table? Well maybe I'll get lucky, and I'll see someone pack up their stuff and leave. Barring that, oops, oh well, things didn't go the way I hoped. No big deal, do ANYTHING ELSE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.

If it's the employees fault that the place is full, then you're equally at fault for showing up when everybody else decided to be there. It's the luck of the draw. It's random. How fucking dare you try to change the circumstances around you to accommodate your whimsy, your personal preferences. You aren't required here, and you aren't in charge. In short: go fuck yourself.

Without getting too specific, tonight somebody was, through pain, trying to express themself. It was clearly difficult and upsetting, it was hard to do, but they were doing it. That's all that mattered. Someone in the back of the room shouted, "speak up."

You son of a bitch. You piece of shit. Who the fuck are you to criticize someone for trying to speak about something so personal. It was supposed to be a shared moment. No. It was supposed to be a personal moment in confidence, shared with a group assembled for a shared cause. No one grieving needs a heckler. Shut your fucking mouth. If you can't hear him, that's a shame, he isn't speaking for your benefit, he's speaking for his. Maybe you should be sitting closer. Maybe you should have gotten there earlier. This same person had already complained about how long it took him to get there.

Some people just want to be heard. Scratch that. Some people need to be heard. And that's okay in and of itself. Just like most things in life, it's the way that you cope with that need that's important.

I'm a big fan of a podcast (internet radio show) called Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! It's a podcast hosted by three guys from a comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. On Labor Day, Allie was being really awesome by going to that shop with me to watch the guys record a new episode. They had posted on Twitter that they would be doing a few small competitions, and wanted people to come to the shop to watch. Currently, Bobby and I are gearing up a podcast of our own, and so on top of wanting to see these guys I'm a fan of, I wanted to get an idea of what it looks like when professionals do it.

I'd heard them say before that they didn't have a ton of fans, and even though there were only 20 or so other people who went to the shop, it was kind of cool. It felt like a legitimate cultural event. The guys were sitting around the microphones, talking to each other. They didn't engage the "audience" at all. They didn't have to. We were there to watch what we presumably all knew was a private show. We're there for fun, not to participate. Except for one guy. This idiot was sitting in a chair, arms laying casually across the back of it, feet stretched out in front of him, looking cool and casual. With every joke that the hosts made, he would burst out in an obvious artificial laugh. If one of the hosts asked a hypothetical question, he answered it loudly. It became clear that he was desperately trying to be involved in the proceedings, hidden under the guise of enthusiasm. He just wanted his voice on the mic. He would probably listen to the podcast and get a thrill out of hearing his voice echoing quietly in the background. He'd tell his friends. They'd show a vague interest. I hated him for it. It was desperate. And even though it was a pathetic move, I don't excuse him from the underlying narcissism. Who is he to interrupt (or try to interrupt) the show that the rest of us enjoy just because he has some childish need for attention, or an unfounded expectation that anyone gives a shit about what he has to say?

And I hope I hear him on the podcast. He's a warning. He is an example of how not to be.

I could easily blame this behavior on the social-networking-generation, but I think that would be a myopic view of the problem. Realistically, I think it's just another kind of social behavior. It's a social affect. It's not new. Some people are just over-valuing their voice; their opinion. Some people think that it's necessary to make clear their satisfaction or dissatisfaction despite the lack of involvement. Tonight I was sorry to see a heavily significant event be somewhat tarnished by people over-extending their opinion. We don't need to hear your criticism, we don't need you to smile awkwardly because you're uncomfortable here, and we don't need your bullshit personal issues to get in the way of our collected emotion.

We are not so enthralled with you.

We are all in the same boat, even you, and when you make clear your dissatisfaction, your discomfort, you are embarrassing not only yourself, but the rest of us.

I fear I'm getting vague again. And I don't mean to do it to attract attention, I'm just so incredibly anxious about these things. Tonight was just another example of a widespread problem. Like I said, to blame Twitter and Facebook for making us all feel like our opinions are essential is absurd. Twitter and Facebook are invitations to express ourselves, not archives of uncontested genius. They are places for debate and conversation.

I'm sorry if this feels like the equivalent of posting "Some people really piss me off" on Facebook, and I hope that I've given enough real-life examples to satisfactorily express myself. I'm just feeling bleak. Like people won't give each other an inch. That no one's really listening, just planning how best to respond. On any other day, I could have written about these jerks comedically, but I'm viewing them through a filter of blind anger right now.

In case you haven't had enough of them, here's one quick final prime example of this self obsession:

I took a class on public speaking a few years ago, and predictably, pretty much everybody in my class was an egomaniac (either positively or negatively), myself included. Everybody had something brilliant to say, and everybody else was just surely waiting for their turn.

Well anyway, this one particular day, our professor was talking about his weekend, which involved some mis-communication between himself and his daughter. It involved his cell phone glitching out and behaving oddly. To help explain his story, the professor interrupted himself, and asked the room at large,

"Do any of you know how a cell phone works?"

A woman sitting next to me raised her hand and answered,

"Idon't."

Impressive Technology

I don't know whether or not you read my last post, where I talk about Ryan Dunn's death and think about death itself, but at the end of it, I joked that the next time I posted, I'd just write about Nintendo. Well guess what: evidently I wasn't joking. I'm going to talk about Nintendo.

I bought a 3DS recently, and it really makes me question the universe and what happens when we die.

It also makes me ignore my girlfriend and play Zelda.

Now, I could easily write a long entry here about how awesome Zelda is, and how awesome I am for playing Zelda (which is awesome), but instead, I want to talk about the 3DS system itself.

I'll actually start by explaining the 3DS' predecessor, the Nintendo DSi. It had two cameras, and because of that, it had a lot of fun filters and programs to take crazy pictures. You could take a picture of yourself and a friend, and the system would then determine how alike you look, and then guess at your relationship. For example, here is a picture from the DSi of my sister Kristen and me (from YEARS ago):

Pretty stupid. Pretty fun. You could also use different wacky frames for a picture. Here's Bobby showing off that feature:

You could also add in little pictures of cat ears and big eyes and stuff. Or even distort the image your taking. To illustrate those points, Allie and Daisy:

My favorite feature of the camera, though, was it's ability to combine the faces of you and your friends. First you would take a picture of yourself, and then your friend would try and take a picture of themselves from the same distance, with the same expression, and you'd wind up with some cool/funny combination of your features:

So you can see that the resulting pictures are pretty blurry, but they're also pretty generally well done. I mean, the merged picture of Kristen and me is horrible, but that's because we were being horrible. We look like an old woman. But that merged picture of Bobby and me looks like a combination of the two of us. Pretty weird and cool.

So now we're back at the 3DS, which is, again, the successor to the DSi. It has 3 cameras this time. One on the inside, two on the outside (so that you can take 3D pictures). I've been playing games on it since I got it, but when Bobby came over the other night and was checking it out, we remembered how much fun it was to screw around with the camera on the DSi. We wondered whether or not you can still combine faces on the 3DS. And we found out...You can:

....And:

...Jesus.