Friday, September 25, 2009

Does not happen.

Let's be clear on one thing: There was no Men in Black 2. It didn't happen.

I guess, if you want to get technical, there was a movie released in 2002 that was called Men in Black 2, but it has no connection to the far superior "Men in Black" released in '97. Though there's a passing similarity between the two, some of the character names are similar and I think a few actors have credits for both movies, but there's nothing to suggest that one film is the sequel to the other.

You'll notice, for instance, that the character of "Agent K" in MIB2 has suffered a failed marriage and works an unfulfilled life as a postmaster. Trying to connect this person to the "Agent K" of Men In Black is laughable, as that wouldn't make any sense with what we know of that character.

And it wouldn't work at all with the ending of MIB, since it implies a happy ending for K.

If you must connect the two movies, simply because they're named similarly, think of MIB2 as fan fiction. Robert Gordon was not, in fact, writing a sequel to MIB when he wrote MIB2. Rather, he was creating a crazy "what if" scenario set in the MIB universe, which was never intended to be taken as canonical.*

It's the only reasonable explanation.

*Matter of fact, I think he wrote some decent Star Wars books. (scroll down to "The Story")

Friday, September 18, 2009

MP3 Playa

On my old mp3 player, it would say "powering down" when I turned it off. It seemed like an appropriate thing for an electronic device to display.

I don't know if, in the past few years, the designers of these products have tried to make them more user-friendly, more comfortable, or what, but my new mp3 player is far more colloquial.

When I turn it off it says "See you later."

Somehow, I find this very unsettling. I mean, I know that messagewas written by someone at the company, and that the device itself is not trying to communicate with me in a friendly, everyday way. But just the idea that my mp3 player and I are Instant Message buddies is really weird.

Now I have to second guess the message I get when I lock the buttons, which says "Hold ON." I want to believe that it means "the hold feature is now switch is now set to ON," but what if it's actually a sassy comeback? "Hold ON, man, you're not done navigating these menus!"

Every time I turn it on, I half expect it to say something like "Yo, dude, where you been at?"*

*"When you gonna get some playlists up in here?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

My knee hurts.

Hiking is a pretty dumb thing to do, I suppose.

It takes up the whole day. You've got to buy a decent pair of boots and a pack at the very least. Then you carry a bunch of weight up steep terrain for basically no reason. And no matter what, you always get a least a little sunburned.

So then what's the appeal? You're not proving anything to anybody by hauling some water bottles to a place that's been visited by so many people they decided to mark it as a trail. And there are better ways to get exercize that don't take up so much time and resources.

Of course, I should pause here to note that middle aged-old people have a set facination with the natural world. It starts around 40-50, when they begin watching the weather chanel as though it's a hit sitcom, and before you know it they're dragging all the children/grandchildren in sight to drive up into the mountains to "see the trees changing color." They're like Pokemon for the elderly.

For me, the important part of the hiking experience* is the sudden realization that this place, and in fact most of the natural world, really doesn't give a crap about me. It is full of things older and deeper than I will ever be, and whatever my problems, plans, or concerns, they are all laughably small.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

You and your snoody Brittish spelling

Normally, Under Armour shirts are something I'd ignore completely.

Like energy drinks, titanium necklaces, and green M&M's*, Under Armor seems like just another athletic fad, bought into people who say they just like it, even though, deep down, you know they think it makes them run faster.

But when I joined up with a certain group of hard working volunteers, and found that members of "The Black" were singing the praises of Under Armour from all sides, I decided it was worth a try.

So I bought one of their shirts to use at PAX this year. Does it work?

No idea, haven't even put it on yet. That's not the important part.

As I clipped the tags off of my purchase, I realized that it doesn't matter if it really does keep me cool and dry while working the expo. The price of admission is covered completely by the little tag of ridiculous features the Under Armour people have attached to the product.

Let's take a look-

Anti-Microbial: Prevents growth of odor-causing microbes
Moisture Management: Moisture wicking keeps you dry, light and comfortable.

Ok, not so bad, that's what I'd understood about the shirt to begin with. I don't know if the product lives up to these claims, but they both seem reasonable enough.

Stretch & Recovery: Provides greater mobility and fabric recovery via lightweight materials with exceptional stretch.

WHAT DOES THIS STATEMENT MEAN?! I've read it like ten times now, I still have no idea! What are they trying to say, that their shirt is lighter, so it won't weigh me down as much as a regular shirt? Cause I'm pretty sure that my 100% cottons aren't exactly the limiting factor when I work out. Fabric recovery? What is that? Is the shirt really easy to find? I don't know! Explain yourself, Under Armour!

UPF 30+: Blocks 97% or more of the sun's harmful rays.

Yeah, ok, Under Armour man, we're not even to the bottom of the list, and you're already stretching to come up with new features. It's ok that you're stretching, though, since the shirt you've got on has excellent FABRIC RECOVERY.

But yeah, I guess the shirt does block out those rays from the sun, physical objects that I place over my body usually do. In fact, honestly, 97% seems a bit low.

Noise Reduction: Makes the garment exceptionally quiet so you can focus on your game.

Yeah, that's always happening. I can't tell you how many times I've missed a final shot in a basketball game because my shirt wouldn't shut the hell up. Typically, I can't even hear the sound of the ball bouncing on the floor over the terrible roar of cotton against my skin.

*I hope seeing this again gave you that dizzy form of nostalgia where you see something that's long been mentally filed away with stuff you dreamed once. I think about it nearly every time I eat M&M's, so ingrained was their marketing message.