Archive for November, 2011
First off: my blog = my opinion. I have a snazzy little disclaimer down on the bottom right of the screen (scroll down… you’ll see it) that states that my opinions are mine only and not blah blah blah. You get the picture.
So here goes.
I have heard and read a lot lately about the whole Occupy movement. I keep hearing percentages: 99%. 1%, 53%, Etc. It all makes for great press and a convoluted message. As with all things I give opinions on, I do my best to do a little due diligence. I even stopped by and checked out Occupy LA a couple weeks ago:
Ah… the smell of patchouli.
I think I have it figured out and I’m posting my opinion for the same reason I usually do: so folks can tell me what (if anything) I’m missing. Here’s what I’ve learned about the Occupy movement and how I feel about it:
The government is to blame due to its actions which were caused by Americans. The protesters have the right to protest, but they are protesting for entirely the wrong reason.
Let me break it down:
STEP 1: Stupidity begets stupidity.
When the housing market collapsed and the economy came to a screeching halt, consumers tried to blame Wall Street and Wall Street blamed consumers. This debate will go on forever and will someday be turned into a clever sound byte in a future textbook, but here’s how I see it. Wall Street knew they were making poor decisions. Consumers, on the other hand, can’t just cry “I didn’t know better” when they max out their credit cards and buy homes they can’t afford.
STEP 2: The government intervenes.
At the risk of the U.S. imploding, the government votes to give out a ton of money in loans to avert financial collapse on Wall Street. It’s voted to be the “right thing to do” by those in power. Thus: Uncle Sam gave a bailout to Wall Street.
STEP 3: The government sets a precedent.
Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up -Alfred Pennyworth (Batman Begins)
That’s right. I quoted a comic book movie… because it is CORRECT. Parents constantly struggle with the pain of having to watch their children fall down (figuratively and literally) for the greater good of knowing that said child will learn to overcome on his/her own. The moment the government bailed out the corporations they (unfortunately) set a precident.
STEP 4: Things suck for unemployed Americans, so they assume they are due a bailout.
And why shouldn’t they? The government has acknowledged that this is an acceptable form of behavior! They bailed out Wall Street and so now Americans have developed a sense of entitlement. We as a country have created the culture that our asses should be covered because we’re Americans. The government established this culture as acceptable the moment they bailed out the corporations.
Let me be clear here, though: I don’t even pretend to understand the inner workings to the decision behind the bailout and I’m not questioning the validity of the action when the moment was upon us. I’m merely showing the cause and effect relationship. (More on this in a bit.)
STEP 5: Protest! The rich people got their corporations bailed out and now we want it too!
Thus Occupy Wall Street was created and it spread across the United States. Now there are protesters living in tents across America.
Do they have a solid reason to be protesting? Sure! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The government showed that it can bailout corporations, so it should bailout everyone else, too. Right?
This is where the protesters need to refer to STEP 1.
“Stupidity begets stupidity.”
The bailout was a solution (the best solution? who knows… but is was “a” solution) to a problem that ALL Americans contributed to. You can’t blame the captain of a boat that sets to sail when the contractors who built the damn thing left holes in it to begin with. The ship will sink… and they are ALL responsible.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Sure, I agree that (based on their previous actions) that the government seemingly should bail out American citizens in strife. ”Corporations aren’t people!” or so says one of the more popular signs I’ve read…
but that’s the point.
Corporations AREN’T people. People are individuals. As individuals, we should know the difference between repeating mistakes and “doing it because it’s been done before.” Two wrongs don’t make a right.
So drop the sense of entitlement people. Quit your bitching and get to work. So you have a college degree? Great! That doesn’t preclude you from cleaning floors at a 7-11. Get to work. You want to change the system, change it from the inside. Work for “the man.” See what makes “his” corporation tick. Start and the ground floor and move up.
THEN WALK AWAY AND DO IT BETTER. Build the better mousetrap, people. That is what America is about.
- Americans and Wall Street both contributed to the financial decline of America… like it or not.
- The government chose to bail out Wall Street.
- Americans now feel entitled to a bailout, too.
- Americans shouldn’t WANT a bailout. They should change their culture, get to work, and change the way business operates from the inside.
The Occupy movement is a shambles. I know – I walked among one of the largest hot spots in Los Angeles. There were signs for a dozen or more causes: “help the homeless,” “go vegan and save the animals,” “stop racism.” The alleged cause is splintered. Seriously. Check out these photos:
While I have made light and humor of some of the other photos, this one contains the single smartest/thought provoking sign I saw on my visit. I constantly joke about the fact that I played dangerously as a child: rode a bike without a helmet, watched Wile E. Coyote blow shit up without a disclaimer, drank hot liquids without a warning printed on the cup. Are recent generations being coddled TOO much and (thus) growing up with a sense of entitlement? Who knows.
All I know is my grandfather came to America from Poland a poor immigrant. With no education, he busted his ass to raise five daughters and to save money. He passed away two years ago with money in the bank and two houses he owned free and clear. He didn’t worry about having a new iPad or hi-def TV. He worried about being stable and planning for the future.
I’m willing to bet that having that frame of mind still works today if people try.
So BotCon’s Twitter replied to me today to inform me about how they are working on the “amazing Botcon 2012″ event.
Check it out: http://twitter.com/#!/BotCon/status/141892993228611584
Instead of a long series of tweets, I’ll remind the folks at BotCon what I pointed out back in 2010 with this short blog post:
1. BotCon in 2010 was abysmal. The event was a good “trade show,” but an extremely weak convention.
2. BotCon 2011 was set to be a success regardless of the quality of the show. It took place in southern California (with ten million people living in Los Angeles County alone) AND it was the same year of a Transformers movie release. You’d have to actually purposely try to fail at getting folks not to attend a convention with that “perfect storm” in place.
3. BotCon 2012 will be the true test of seeing if they can put on a real show again (that’s assuming that any of the BotCons before 2010 were any better) as long as it’s outside of Los Angeles.
Depending on the location, maybe I will do a follow up story from our bit back in 2010.
For those of you that have met me in person, you know that I am a shy person and generally considered an introvert. </sarcasm>
Cruise ships are a great place to have random conversations, meet people and partake in one of my favorite past times: people watching. Here are my observations regarding the types of people you can expect to run into on a cruise.
1. The Other Couple
If you’re a couple without kids then you invariably gravitate to other couples in similar circumstances. This rule doesn’t only apply to cruises, but to vacations in general. Our “other couple” we met were Shannon and Nicole. Starting from the left on the photo above they are (respectively) the first two people seated playing bingo with us. Shannon is a guy (since the name works for both genders) and it was the similarity in names that prompted the conversation when we met them during our sub adventure in the Bahamas.
The sub adventure will be detailed in tomorrow’s post.
Proving that “Other Couples” tend to follow the same entertainment pattern, we would run into each other on the cruise: walking around the island, going to bingo, during meals, etc. Eventually, it is best to just give up and keep contact with one another in order to plan meals and whatnot as a group (which we did.) I’ve since heard from Shannon via email and Nicole via Facebook proving that making friends from around the world (they are from Utah) can be fun. YAY INTERNET!
2. The Jersey Shore
Sorry, but I didn’t manage to get photos of these guys. There were four men on the cruise that appeared to be regular followers of the Church of GTL. We first came upon them during dinner on Friday night when they had the table next to us. They were loud, but not rude which (to me) means they were just really damn entertaining. The irony? While they fit the bill of the Jersey Shore stereotype (build, tan, accents,etc.) they were actually from Miami, Florida.
The next night when I was wandering the ship watching people (Shannon was passed out on Dramamine) I passed them near the buffet at the aft end of the boat. Well – almost all of them. Three of the group were at a table with three ladies they met on the cruise. I can only assume that were trying to see if these fair damsels were DTF, and I think it is safe to assume that they had a fourth friend who was DTF since one of the crew was missing.
I watched and eavesdropped for a bit that night. The highlight was one of the girls deciding to go back to her room which resulted in one of the guys offer to walk her back. She insisted that she was fine going on her own. He kept insisting that she shouldn’t walk alone. It was comical and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t stay long enough to report what happened in the end.
3. The Almost Naked Lost Woman
(Sorry. No photos of this one.)
The night I went people watching, while Shannon snoozed doped up on Dramamine, I ran into a colorful cast of characters on the cruise ship. This character’s color was blue.
I was walking up the stairs on my way to the on board casino when I came upon a woman walking half a flight ahead of me in a short blue dress. From my angle below her, it was evident that she was wearing nothing else. This woman proceeded to stop on the same floor and, interestingly enough, began walking toward the casino where I was heading. It was fascinated to see her wander looking aimlessly everywhere giving the impression that (shocker!) drugs may have been involved.
Upon arrival at the casino, I stopped at a slot machine and she kept going. You would think this is the end of the story, but then she wouldn’t make much of a character in the post now would she? The woman passed my me again in the casino about five minutes later walking in the opposite direction.
Then again five minutes later.
After the fifth half naked walk by, I finally decided to amuse myself and ask her if she was lost. She seemed normal enough and I couldn’t smell alcohol on her breath. She replied, politely and seemingly soberly, “Nope. Thank you.”
I went back to the slot machine. She went back to walking back and forth… eight more times in forty minutes.
She could have very well been a ghost since no one else seemed to notice her. In reality, though, she was probably just a stoned thirty something with an aversion to bras and panties.
4. The Drunk Forty-Something-Year-Old Woman
This particular character led me to an interesting observation about the social groups on my boat – but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s tell the tale of the very friendly lady I met on the boat.
After leaving the casino, I walked over to the elevator to find my way to my room. As the doors to the lift closed, an intoxicated woman with a VERY large drink stumbled dashed into the elevator with me. Seeing me seemed to make her eyes widen with excitement.
I was scared.
“Hello,” I replied.
“Do you know where Dazzles is? The night club? I want to go. I want to go dancing there.”
I could see that this might be entertaining in the worst possible way, so I replied, “No. I don’t. Let’s look at the map.” We stepped outside the elevator and I pointed out that dance club was on the sixth deck. Pointing it out, though, was most likely useless since the amount of booze in her system probably just made it look like a colorful blob on the wall.
She was downright giddy at the prospect of going to what was, according to her, going to be an awesome time. We stepped into the elevator and we got off on deck six.
“This way!” she muttered trying to lead me towards the loud thumping music.
“I’m going to get some air. You go on ahead.”
I walked back inside and headed down to Dazzles night club (which was a bar in the boat with a ten by ten dance floor.) There I made an interesting social observation. Here it is:
- The “hot girl” to “hot guy” ratio on a cruise ship is significantly skewed. Plenty of eye candy for the ladies to look at; very little for the men to look at. In short: lots of built good looking males were on the ship.
- As the night goes on, the pool of people for potential hookups gets smaller and smaller. It’s a cruise ship, which means that the population is a fixed number for the duration of the trip barring anyone jumping overboard.
- The later the night got, the drunker the hot guys would get, and (by default) the hornier. With a limited number of partners to choose from, though, their standards would get lower and lower.
Thus I saw the drunk woman (and others like her) dancing on a dance floor with model calibur men. They would dance for a few minutes, consider their options and move on to another dance partner. As the night pressed on and availability of the opposite sex waned, the partners would start sticking together.
The moral of the story (and my social observation) is this: if you’re a woman who doesn’t normally score the “hot guy” and you’ve always wanted that chance, cruise ships are for you.
5. The Bachelorette Party
Shannon and I ran into this group while sitting in the hot tub Sunday during the cruise. They we nice enough women with a LOT of cleavage and a proclivity to talk without needing to stop for breaths. The ship’s captain walked by while we were all in the hot tub and (of course!) the girls from the party knew him by name since he was a “hot guy.” They waved to get his attention and he stopped for a few moments to ask if they were having a good time.
I can only guess that bachelorette parties (we’re sure there were a few on board) made sense on a cruise ship based on my observations in “The Drunk Forty-Something-Year-Old Woman” story. Ladies: take note.
6. The Real (Angry) Housewife of New Jersey
This was another fun five minutes spent people watching at night. A couple were sitting outside near the buffet at the aft of the ship and… yes. I spent a lot of time at the buffet at the aft of the ship. Go ahead an judge.
Back to the story: the woman and her husband were sitting there late at night and I couldn’t help but overhear what she was saying. In fact, anyone within fifty feat of them would be hard pressed NOT to hear what she was saying. She spoke to a man who appeared all but broken to me. He was hunched over the table. In one hand he had a credit card and the other held a drink. He held his focus on the table, not staring at anything in particular; just obviously NOT staring at her.
In a thick New Jersey accent, she proceeded to tell him how embarrassing it was that when she went out when the other couples/their friends on the boat that hers was the only spouse that didn’t come along. The one sided conversation contained a lot of “obvious you don’t love me” statements peppered with the “it’s so fuckin’ annoying” comments.
He said nothing.
She kept talking: Even if he didn’t want to go to the events/parties he still should; did he not want to spend time with her and why not; her friends were always asking where he was; etc.
He still said nothing.
The kicker is this: from the words and questions asked that I’ve described you might assume that this was a woman in tears pleading with her husband. Nope. She was yelling. Not crying/yelling – yelling. As in lecturing a little kid yelling. She was, in short, angry. The lecture’s source didn’t seem to be frustration from the lack of love, but (in fact) the amount of embarrassment she was being forced to endure.
Oh, New Jersey.
Baltimore is the nickname I gave to three black women we met during the sub adventure. They don’t really fit into any particular story or stereotype on the boat… I just wanted to make mention of them because they were a lot of fun. On the last night of the cruise (Sunday) two of them ditched the third during bingo so I found her in the room and insisted she sit with Shannon, myself and the Other Couple. She’s the one on the far right of the photo in this post.
I’m sure I’m leaving out some other great stories, but one thing is for sure: if you like people watching, you’ll love going on a cruise.
The InvaderCON website… five seconds after Dinner of DOOM! and I’m Makin’ Waffles Breakfast tickets went on sale tonight:
EDIT: Best quote on the InvaderCON Facebook about this…
It’s like Wal-Mart on Black Friday… except with less pepper-spray. -Emily Rose Satterfield
We got on a boat. Remember that this was going to be our first cruise. I had been on “booze cruises” in the past – the ones that take you far out enough to gamble legally and then back the same night. Shannon’s experience with boats extended (more or less) to being a dreamy eyed teenage girl when Titanic was in theaters. Combined our experience gave us a very limited view of what to expect. Then we saw the boat… and it was BIG:
For our first adventure, I opted to get us a room with a porthole so we could see outside when we felt like it. We discussed getting a balcony, but Shannon vetoed this for our initial outing since she was unsure how she’d react. Our room was small (which we expected.) Check it out:
We took time to walk around the boat and see what they had to offer in the way of distractions while we were at sea. There was a lot to do and a lot to EAT. We’re talking non-stop buffets and restaurants and pizza delivery to your room and PRETZEL ROLLS FROM THE GODS. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that Shannon downed over a dozen of those tasty morsels in three nights. If you ever take a Norwegian Cruise – seek out the pretzel rolls. You’ll thank me.
Once the cruise was underway, we got treated to a beautiful view of Miami at dusk. I took a ton of photos (you can see here) and this is one of my favorites:
Then we were out to sea. Each night of travel was a different experience. Here’s a breakdown.
- NIGHT #1: Choppy seas. Shannon opts to take some Dramamine (photo) after attempting to tough it out for a couple of hours.
- NIGHT #2: Average seas. Shannon decides not to risk it and takes two Dramamine as soon as we set sail. She remains passed out all night.
- NIGHT #3: Calm seas. Shannon is relieved and walks around in heels the whole night. No nausea. No Dramamine. Smooth sailing.
I was fine all three nights, but I attribute that to years making believe I was walking on unstable footing as a child (thanks to Star Trek turbulence scenes and the asteroid field scene in The Empire Strikes Back.)
After the first night at sea we found ourselves in The Bahamas. I even found Wi-fi from the island and checked in on Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/v/port-of-bahamas/4b828127f964a520b2d530e3
When I was in Miami a couple of weeks ago I walked into a Hot Topic at some local mall. (We were there, believe it or not, looking for Alice in Wonderland Vinylmation figures. My wife collects them.)
Today marks seven months until InvaderCON II: DOOMCON kicks off. This photo stands proof that over ten years later, folks still love the cartoon.
Yes… I know it’s all Gir, but it’s still better than nothing! Now if we can only convince Hot Topic that we need more merchandise with ZIM on it. :)