Sunday, June 28, 2009

I've fallen and I can't emotionally get up

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I fell in front of a large group of people. I was in a dark theatre attending the 6th Anniversary screening of my favourite bad movie, The Room as I scurried to the front of the theatre to participate in a sight gag at the front of the screen. A large part of the screenings involves audience participation including hurling plastic spoons whenever a framed photograph of a spoon appears on the screen. Consequently, with the floor being littered with thousands of spoons, as I hurriedly made my way down, I slipped on a spoon, my leg went flying from under me and I went down.

"OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" roared the crowd. I had a captive audience for my fall. I landed on my hands and knees, grazing my right knee, but not drawing any blood. Still, with only a mild injury and a quick recovery, given that I made it all the way to the floor in front of over 100 people, I momentarily wanted to die.

What is it about falling that is agonising? What is it about a brief loss of balance or a misplaced piece of lettuce, simple occurrences which can lead to a fall, that feel so demeaning to the character of the fallee? The fallee is left with a resounding emptiness that can rarely be equaled. One is overcome with a feeling of humiliation, even without a witness responding in such a way to cause such feelings. The humiliation is self imposed, unless the fallee catches someone laughing, and I daresay it’s more likely you’d be helped than laughed at, depending on the severity. Sadly, there is no time for logic in the moment as the humiliation overwhelms and one assumes everyone is laughing on the inside over their gross display of weakness.

Might it be a glimpse into how fragile the fa├žade of how we carry ourselves really is? Here I am confidently walking, nay, STRUTTING so that if anyone bothers to pay attention to me they will think it likely I can crush them both mentally AND physically. Then here I've gone and fallen. Now they can see deep into my soul and know that I am so pathetic I can't even walk effectively, let alone kick their ass at Trivial Pursuit. They are my superior. I should not have tried to imply otherwise. Walk on, good sirs, and remind me of my impoverished transportation skills as you suppress your titters.

It's okay to laugh here as I think it's Pete Wentz.

That is the one side of the fall, falling yourself, but what about when you SEE someone fall? I sit here searching my heart for my honest feelings on this and I simply can’t be sure. Do I think it’s funny? Do I feel bad for them? I suppose it’s a good sign and perhaps a lesson to us all that whatever reaction witnessing a fall may arouse in the moment, it is unlikely to be very memorable and nothing worth retaining or retelling beyond the day that it happened. I suppose the seriousness of the fall may make a difference. If someone completely eats it and hits the ground, I would gasp and hope they were okay, offering help if plausible to do so, and crying in on the inside in empathy, witnessing their beet-red face. If it’s a near miss or a trip, then I suppose I would find this amusing though they would never know it. The finale may dictate the reaction.

How much are the likes of shows like Funniest Home Videos to do with our psyche when it comes to falling? Do those segments simply feed viewer demands for falls, for those not fortunate enough to see many in their day to day lives? Or was the desire to see falls a market created by the studio and foisted upon the public much like designer water and the Humunga Tongue? Regardless of how it began, it is now well established that people enjoy watching people fall, at least with the comfortable buffer of the TV between them and the victim. What this tells us about the state of humanity, I cannot even begin to speculate. Oh, I do not judge though. I have laughed enough myself.

Dog with Humunga Tongue

Perhaps in better understanding the fall, we can feel less humiliated when falling ourselves and be less likely to mentally humiliate someone we see fall. After all, let he who has not fallen cast the first snicker.

Cream of the crop from a home video show

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jeopardy! is really, really stupid

Unlike Americans who have more or less grown up with Jeopardy!, Australians weren't too familiar with it until it made an appearance there in the mid to late 90s. Of course, given the Jeopardy! was such a staple in the American game show diet, we were certainly aware of the show seeing it referenced in various sitcoms and such.

Finally, as is usually the case with game show emerging in another country, the locals need to feel as though they have a chance to compete, so an Australian version was born with beloved game show host, Tony Barber at the helm, a legend after his work on Sale of the Century. I recall being keen to see what Jeopardy! was all about, given my longstanding awareness of show coupled with my love of trivia. It wasn't long before this game show, while certainly containing interesting questions, came to irritate me beyond belief. The gimmick of "answer in the form of a question" is hands down one of the weakest and most idiotic game show devices known to man. I daresay many Australians felt the same way as even with that dynamo Tony Barber, the show was short lived there.

Tony Barber and Alyse Platt in the glory days of Australian game shows.

Do many of you think very deeply about important issues such as these? Have you ever really evaluated the "answer in the form of a question" format? Or did you allow this flawed, yet revered show to slip past your other wise keen sense of reasoning?

If only Alex Trebek would only chill out on his stupid show as much as he does in this picture.

Allow me explain. By simply turning it the other way around, putting the "question" first and following it with the supposed answer, you'll see the inadequacies are glaring. Let me assume the character of an alien who has some sincere questions about our planet and its culture and let's see how well we can educate him with the Jeopardy! answers.

Hi, Mr Trebek! I'm from former planet Pluto, and while I have a great command of the structure of your language and am equipped with an extensive dictionary, parts of the definition module has been corrupted. Please allow me to ask a few questions to rebuild my database.

Q. What is mustard?
A. Brands of this condiment include Colman's, Gulden's and Plochman's.

A condiment, I see. What is the success rate for avoiding pregnancy with this prophylactic?

Q. What is 'Frasier'?
A. David Hyde Pierce on this sitcom: "Her lips were saying 'no', but her eyes were saying 'read my lips'

I see, it's a situation comedy about....I'm sorry, never mind.

Q. What is 'Seinfeld'?
A. Kramer, on this show, "I'm taping Canadian Parliament, you know, on C-SPAN."

I heard this was one of the most popular shows of all time. I am impressed your people embraced politics so warmly.

Q. What is the cabinet?
A. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is about Lincoln's bringing political foes into this advisory body.

Thanks for that thorough explanation on an element of your government, though I was asking about furniture.

Q. Who is Alice In Wonderland?
A. When the Mad Hatter says, "No room!", you retort "There's plenty of room!" as you're playing this little girl.

Why, I might be interested in taking this role, though before I just start rattling off lines, I'd really like to know something about the character. Who is she and why is she mixed up with this hatter?

Q. Who is Joan Crawford?
A. She was not portrayed for being the dearest of moms in the 1978 memoir Mommie Dearest.

So....she's a famous mother?

Q. What is a pea?
A. Gregor Mendel famously found a mathematical basis for inheritance by studying this legume, without the princess.

Royal legumes are the only kind I'll eat. Thanks for the tip.

Q. What is salmon?
A. If you're having 'gravlax', the last three letters should tell you that you're eating this 6-letter fish.

Sorry manners function is malfunctioning...What the FUCK kind of answer is that?

Those Jeopardy! "answers" do NOT answer the questions. Those "answers" are so stupid, I can't even stand it. I have no problem with the trivia itself, but the insistence of the crutch of the "What is?" and "Who is?" etc. Just let them say "mustard" and be done for chrissake! Oddly enough, even after attempting a private protest, when I do catch the show, I seem unable to shake the format and say my "What is?" anyway. Hmmmm.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Surprises and Spoilers

I love surprises and I've never understood those who don't. What isn't to love about a good surprise? You are going about your boring business and then something completely thrilling and exciting pops up and gives you a real shake up! What the hell is so bad about that? If there is anyone reading this who doesn't like surprises, please detail your feelings about it because it's something I simply can't relate to.

What's inside?!?!?!?!?!

Stemming from this obsession with surprises, and possibly morphing into a compulsion to preserve them, I'm extremely cautious about having plots of movies, books or TV series spoiled. Clearly when a plot is devised and then written, it is created with the intent to reveal the surprise at a certain time for the strongest impact. Why then would I want someone to reveal it to me before the magical moment? If I'm going to invest the time to watch something, I want to enjoy it to its fullest. I don't even like to know that there will be a surprise or shock because then I am on the look out for it. "Is this it? Is THIS it?" I keep wondering and subsequently disrupting my enjoyment of the piece as it was supposed to be enjoyed. I have gotten into fights with people who gleefully reveal surprises because it is just so damned mean.

I got into a big fight with my friend Sam when, after BEGGING her not to tell me, she manically laughed and told me what was going to happen with George's engagement to Susan.

It is completely self centered and plain nasty to be a spoiler. I yelled at my friend a few weeks ago for posting a spoiler on his Twitter and it was a/something I already knew about and b/something I didn't even care about. I yelled at him on principle for spoiling to his 600+ followers. What an asshole. I take spoiler prevention so seriously that I take great measures to protect others as if they were myself and also even if they may not care very much.

When the last Harry Potter book came out I went into complete media shut down. No internet, no TV, no phone calls. I didn't leave the house until I finished it. I had invested too much time and emotion in the series for some asshole to just blurt out Harry's fate in 2 seconds flat. My friend in Russia was adamant to know the outcome and as the book wasn't to be released for a few more months, she demanded I tell her. I refused to do so as such an act goes against every fiber of my being, however after she demonstrated the anxiety she was going through over concern for the welfare of certain characters, I agreed to answer her questions and only if she promised never to blurt anything out to anyone who was waiting. She agreed, so with a knot in my stomach, I told her what she wanted to know.

So perhaps you are reading this and think it's awfully funny. Thinking that if you know me, you'll taunt me (much like the wet bread harassment I received since that blog revelation) and spoil something you know I care about and have a good laugh. Go ahead. Do it. You will be sorry. We will see such incredible venom from me that you will soon regret what you have done. You might be quick to dismiss my reaction as being over the top and may suggest that I need help and to get a life. Well is it me who needs help, or you? You who obtains great glee from intentionally trampling on something that means something to someone? You, who goes out of your way to hurt someone's feelings? You who is so cocky as decide what is and isn't important based on your own set of standards? You who is simply too caught up in your own desire to discuss something here and now to trouble yourself with whether or anyone else is ready to talk? I smell narcissism. All those issues of your own need to be overcome before you can judge me as being pathetic. Those are the emotional issues of a spoiler. If you are one of these people, please seek the advice of a health care professional before inflicting any more harm on friends and loved ones.


Once the surprise ending was revealed on this one, there really wasn't much to it.

Okay, back to the more joyful side of surprises, here I will detail some surprises I'd love to have!

Being thrown a surprise party

I have always wanted to have a surprise party thrown for me. I think that was something I figured out early in childhood from seeing them on TV. I would love to throw one myself, but my significant other is not interested in any such thing and I would probably resent that it were for him who didn't even want it when all the while I was still wishing to have one thrown for me one day. I have only been an attendee at a surprise party once and upon learning the nature of the party, I couldn't be stopped from attending. As we prepared for the arrival of the birthday boy, while we aren't close friends, I was anxious and giddy for the big moment. As we received word that he was on his way, I made sure I had a good view of the door. The moment of the surprise was a bit of a blur, and knowing that Brooks isn't the type to have an "oh my GOD!!!!" glee fit, I don't know what I was expecting. He appeared mildly surprised though and that was enough for me. I later found out some dipshit had emailed him about seeing him at the party so the surprise was ruined. I swear to God, you will be sorry if you ruin my surprise party for me. You will not be invited to any more parties, surprise or other. You are a damned fool.

I think I just like this because the cat's asshole is pictured

Surprise visit from a family member or friend

Well I've already had this one happen and have done it back, but I could always go for it again! One day, just before Gregg and I were leaving on a trip, he said he had to take something to the post office but I should be up to leave by 9am. Why he was going out to the post office at 7am, I didn't know, but as long as I didn't have to be up at that time, I really didn't care. I went back to sleep, missed my call time and heard him come back in. He made some joke about my not being awake as he expected and then mentioned he got something for me while he was out, but it was on the living room coffee table. I might have asked if it could wait, but since I was supposed to be awake anyway, I got up. I don't know what I was expecting, but something small and on the table. Instead, for a complete and utter mind fuck, it was considerably larger than I expected as it was my sister, Rebecca, sitting on the couch. "Hi." she said calmly. I stared back with a look of horror on my face, saying nothing. A good 20 seconds must have elapsed and I still said nothing. This was impossible to process. I had spoken to her on the phone while she was in Australia about 16 hours before. This didn't make any goddamn sense. By all science and reason, this person just can't be here in LA when I just talked to her in Melbourne. Finally, just as she was starting to panic that she'd made a big mistake since I didn't appear happy to see her, I snapped out of it and said "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE????" and gave her a hug. I was hands down the best surprise I've ever had.

About a year or two later, we did it back to her, the mind fuck being even greater as I was back home with mum and dad, laughing about our scheme and the icing on the cake to confuse her was that I was emailing with her as though I were in LA, only I was sitting in her old bedroom in Melbourne! That created the apparent distance even more! When Gregg and I appeared in front of her, her legs turned to jelly and she kinda fell back on Dad. She made the same horrified face I did so she could finally understand that feelings. It's horror that you have officially lost your mind, not horror at seeing the person.

That trip bore no less than three surprises. The second was the surprise of my friend Penny who I talked to on the phone for a solid 20 minutes as though I were in LA, only to arrive at her door while we were still on the phone! When she saw me, she started flapping her hands and did a little dance because it freaked her out so much. Penny being the good sport that she is, decided that she wanted in on the next one and so we developed a fabulous plan of Gregg's. Here's how it went down...

Penny called Adrian and suggested they catch up for drinks. Once they picked a spot, I was notified and went there. I dressed quite drab in jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, wore no make up and did something unusual with my hair. I sat in the bar and waited. Eventually Penny and Adrian arrived and sat at a table while I sat at a nearby couch. Penny and Adrian chatted for a while, Penny ensuring they were facing me. Eventually, Penny said in a hushed tone "Don't look right at her...but doesn't that girl over there look like Simone?" Adrian looked and I struggled to keep a straight face. "Aw yeah! She really does!" they talked a bit more about my striking resemblance to myself and the Penny couldn't stand it anymore and told Adrian that she was going to ask if she could take my photo.

"Excuse me. Sorry to interrupt but my friend and I saw you and you look just exactly like a friend of ours."

I had altered my posture, slunk down and looking shy. I whipped out my Indian accent to answer.

"" followed by some nervous laughter.
"Would it be okay if I took a picture of you? I mean, it's just uncanny." Penny continued.
"Oh...okay." I said, noticing Adrian approaching to speak.
"Yeah, we're sorry but it's just UNBELIEVABLE! You look exactly like her! Look, give me your email, and I'll send you a picture of her. It's UNBELIEVABLE! What's your name?"

I couldn't believe it. My head was spinning as Adrian talked directly to my face telling me that I looked like me. I felt dizzy as I suddenly became convinced that he knew, was keeping his cool and having ME on. But no, he wasn't. He was completely sincere. As I had lost a considerable amount of weight since he had last seen me, it was enough of a difference to make me seem like a different person.

I handed him my email address, my real one, seeing if that would tip him off but he didn't really look at it.

"Thanks for that. I WILL email you! You have to see her!"

Penny continued after the picture was taken, "Yeah, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. Would you mind if I kissed you?"

"Oh...okay..." Penny then climbed on top of me and I welcomed it. Penny being famous for her antics, Adrian thought she was out of her mind as usual and hastily headed back to their table to distance himself from what he saw as Penny shaming herself. He remained embarrassed until I leapt off the couch and screamed "IT'S MEEEEE!!!!!!!!!"

"YOU BASTARDS!" said Adrian through gritted teeth. Once he recovered, he revelled in the perfection of our scheme.

I highly recommend this sort of stunt, though I advise against it is the person you want to surprise is elderly or suffers a heart condition.

My biggest hero in surprising people - Spaghett!

Being hit in the face with a cream pie.

As messy as this sounds, I think this is one of the heights of surprise. Since I am good sport, I would be delighted to one day have a cream pie thrown in my face. I would be really disappointed if I saw it with enough time to dodge or prevent it making contact or to just stand there waiting for it to happen. I want to not know what hit me.... and then find out it was a cream pie. I rarely wear glasses which is too bad because it makes the chance slim for the pie to hit while I am wearing glasses, glasses of course resulting in a riotous finger that wipes a lens, then heads for the mouth to determine what type of pie has committed this offense. I laughed myself to sleep thinking about this happening. I just hope the pie doesn't ruin a good dress, is all.