Hold my beer and watch this

002012107-1So I think I found the dumbest possible way to end up in the ER, guys, for serious.

Friday afternoon I found myself craving both corn chips and queso and potato chips and French onion dip at the same time.  I texted my wife and requested that she obtain at least one of those two pairs of things on her way home from work.  My wife, being wonderful, came home with both sets.

“OM NOM NOM,” I replied, and I had me some corn chips and some queso.  And a piece of chip promptly got stuck in one of my wisdom smilebones.  While this was an unwelcome development, it wasn’t the end of the world or anything.  I dislodged it after probably less than a minute, had a few more chips, then decided it was a touch more hurty than such things usually are and discontinued my chip-eating.

The next morning my goddamn jaw still hurt.  Still hurt a lot, actually; quite a bit more than it had the night before, and with a touch of dizziness and lightheadedness (are those the same thing?) to boot.  I went to work anyway, of course, because driving when you’re dizzy is what you do when you’ve already made one stupid mistake in the last couple of days.  I did not last at work, however, as the pain intensified and I decided after about an hour that spending all day 1) on my feet and 2) talking to people was not what I wanted to do.  So I left work early and came home.

I spent the whole day fighting with myself about whether I was going to urgent care or not– it was Saturday, after all, so a regular doctor was out of the question– and finally decided I needed to go around dinnertime.  By that point I was assuming I had some sort of quick-onset jaw infection.  It wasn’t the first time that this had happened to me and the pain felt pretty familiar from the last time .  So, fine: off to urgent care, where they’ll give me a scrip for an antibiotic and probably some sort of painkiller and then I’m home free.

Hah.  First of all, there was only one urgent care center anywhere near me that was still open.  Second, they refused to treat me, since jaw pain is “dental-adjacent” and as the lady behind the desk very apologetically explained, they were administratively banned from dealing with anything “dental-adjacent.”

Here is a list of dental urgent care centers.  They are all closed on weekends.  Which violates my understanding of the meaning of the phrase “urgent care,” but whatfuckinever I don’t have the energy for this fight right now.

I contemplate the idea of being in this much pain until Monday and have to fight off tears in public, because shit’s getting worse.

“Do I have any options here?”

“The ER.”

No.  I’m not going to the goddamn ER for jaw pain that I created by eating corn chips.  The ER is where you go when you get shot, or when you’re so sick that you literally don’t know what else to do.  I need a simple goddamn antibiotic and a pain pill.  There’s seriously nobody who can do that for me?


I went home.   I told my wife what had happened.  And she pointed out that my options were basically 1) Go to the ER now, or 2) go to the ER at 3:00 in the fucking morning once I entirely lost the ability to handle my shit.

Which is the story of how I spent my Saturday night– part of it, at least– in the emergency room, apologizing to nurses for wasting their (very efficient, it must be said) time.  And I left (quickly!) with an antibiotic and instructions to see a dentist ASAP for a tooth that the doctor thought miiiiight be cracked and a scrip for a much stronger painkiller than I’d expected, and instructions that if at all possible I wasn’t to drive while on it and that it therefore would be best to not go to work the next day either.

Which is why it took until 8:30 tonight for me to write about any of this, because I’ve kinda been in a bit of a haze.

Because of corn chips.

The end.

IDIOTIC POSTSCRIPT:  Despite all this I am literally at this very second considering finishing off the queso.  I might have to use a spoon, though.

Blecch arglebargle yucch hoccch PTUI

This is all I have at the moment.


In which my day starts off strange

200_sI should have taken this and gotten a picture on the spot; I apologize for my failure as a blogger.

My day began with an irate parent in the office– before I was even able to get to my desk and put my stuff down.  She’s mad that a teacher has sent a note home without any “useful” information on it, including her signature, and is furthermore angry that her daughter was prevented from leaving the gym at the end of the day so that she could go to said staff member and acquire this all-important signature.  She’s demanding to speak to the teacher in question immediately.

Right away I smell a rat, for several reasons, not least among which is the fact that the teacher in question has gym duty at the end of the day and would, therefore, be in the gym.  I ask to see the note.  The parent hands me two pieces of paper: her daughter’s progress report, which has every single grade carefully scratched out with what appears to be both black pen and Sharpie, and the handwritten note from the teacher.

Note that the parent is mad at the teacher, which means that I don’t help her mood any when I immediately start laughing and tell her daughter that she has exactly one chance to tell the truth before we have a serious problem.  Because this is basically the note:



1) A
2) B-
3) A
4) B
5) B+
6) A-
7) A


I didn’t memorize the motherfucker; I remember there was definitely one word in there that had a superfluous “e” in it somewhere, but you get the idea.  Furthermore, every letter on the page has been gone over at least two times in a way absolutely no adult anywhere writes but is currently a popular affectation among teenage girls.

Note also that the students have eight classes, not seven.

What’s Mom mad about?  That the classes aren’t labeled.   She apparently hasn’t noticed the… uh… various other issues with the note.  She then proceeded to get mad at me for declining to punish her daughter at school; sorry, lady, this one is clearly your problem.  I’m not doing anything about it.

And, say it with me: if the daughter doesn’t pass ISTEP, it’s my fault.

On how NOT to talk to parents

wsbt-school-bus-new-carlisleSo it snowed today.

It snowed rather a lot, and rather unexpectedly as well.  I had no idea that it was snowing until I opened my garage door.  It’s a bit of a mystery how I managed to not look through any of the three windows in my bedroom, but I did it.  I am normally able to leave the house around 7:00 AM and arrive at work with a cup of McDonald’s coffee in my hand at around 7:25.  I wanted to be in by 7:15 today, so I left ten minutes early, at about 6:50.  It took 54 minutes to get to work.  Highways were shut down, cars were spinning off the road everywhere, and, as it turns out, there were a number of minor school bus accidents as well.

Keep in mind: everyone who lives here drives in snow for half the damn year.  Or at least what feels like half the damn year.  It was slick as hell outside; even taking the approach to my school very carefully I still managed to miss the damn parking lot, and even at lunchtime my anti-lock brakes kicked in on the very first turn out of the lot.  It was shitty outside today, people.

Anyway.  Back to those minor school bus accidents.  The district made the decision very early in the day to cancel all after-school activities and all field trips (I don’t know that there actually were any, mind you) and other things requiring transportation during the day as well except for that which was absolutely necessary to get kids to and from school.  So they decided to do an all-call to every parent in the corporation, because, well, that kind of decision is going to affect a lot of kids.

Important: I have not heard the all-call, but I’ve seen the carnagey aftermath, so it’s possible that I’m slightly misrepresenting this?  But apparently the all-call included, in addition to the cancellation information, the fact that there had been “several” minor bus accidents in the morning but– and this was apparently delivered with a cheery tone of voice, which given the person who I know sent it, doesn’t surprise me– there were “no serious injuries.”

Guess which words every fucking parent who got the call heard?  “Bus accident” and “injuries.”  The goddamned phones were ringing off the hook all day.  In addition to the usual complement of assholes who don’t answer the phone then don’t listen to their voicemail and just call the number back without knowing who it is they’re calling– those are always fun– we got a number of irate phone calls from parents who were mad because we hadn’t called them to let them know that their kids were in a bus accident.

Because, see, they weren’t.  

One parent was even angry that we hadn’t notified her that her child had been injured in a bus accident, and wanted to know what hospital she was at.  If her child doesn’t pass ISTEP, the school is blamed, people.

Not having an “I love my job” day right now, guys.

SNOWPIERCER: I hated, hated, hated, hated, HATED this movie.

large_snowpiercerI’m not sure how to write this post.

I’m prone to hyperbole, right?  I know this about myself.  I also tend to get infectious about my own strong opinions; if I love something, I love the hell out of it, and my dislike can tend to go to extremes quickly too.  So I have to be on guard against my own tendencies in these manners, particularly when I want to write about things I either liked or didn’t like. I have to be careful to avoid overstating reality, or people will stop taking me seriously.

I watched Snowpiercer with my wife last night.  I should be clear about something: this was my idea.  I felt like a Sunday night movie, and I’d heard nothing but good things about this movie– which, as I’ll probably point out repeatedly in this review, currently has a ninety-five percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  That doesn’t happen very often.

The problem, here, is that this is the dumbest goddamn movie I’ve ever seen.  The. Dumbest. Movie. I’ve. Ever. Seen.

Adam Sandler in the main role could not have made this movie dumber.  In fact, he might have improved it, because putting Adam Sandler in your title role indicates that you do not want your film taken seriously, and Snowpiercer so badly wants to be taken seriously.

I do not know what to do with people who liked this movie.  It’s as if, to steal a line from John Cole, I suggest having Italian for dinner and you suggest we go eat tire rims and anthrax instead.  I don’t know where to go from there.  We’re not even speaking the same language.

Wait, I know.  I can pick a review and mock the hell out of it. That’ll work.

Here is what you need to know about the premise of Snowpiercer.  I am not trying to make this sound dumber than it is.  The premise is exactly this dumb:

  • Global Warming!
  • Global warming is fought with… contrails.  (Sin #1, less than a minute into the movie.)
  • The contrails plunge the entire planet into a deep freeze that, and I’m quoting the movie as directly as my memory allows, kills all life on Earth.  I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.  I’m pretty sure that’s close to exactly what they said.
  • It does this without blocking the sun, which… uh… is manifestly impossible.  But every outside scene in the movie is in bright daylight.
  • ANYWAY!  Thank God for rich guys!  A rich guy figures out how to save some number X of human beings!
  • By… putting them on a train, which runs endlessly around the world, for seventeen years by the time the movie starts.

That’s it.

That’s really the premise.

That’s a fucking stupid premise.

It’s an insanely stupid premise.   It’s a massively incredibly unbelievably horrifyingly stupid premise and a seventh grader should be ashamed of it.  But somehow this got green lit, and it’s 95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, because the world no longer makes sense.  The movie is literally beyond stupid before it even starts.  And it never, ever, ever gets better.

I seriously can’t decide if I want to go moment-by-moment through my recollection of the movie and mock it scene by scene or tear a review to shreds.

Let’s start with this one.  It’s representative enough.

It’s so hard to describe how amazing “Snowpiercer” is without giving away everything that makes it amazing.

Well, yes.  Part of describing amazingness is… uh, describing amazingness.

At the tail end are the have-nots: the dirty, hungry and oppressed who are crammed together, doing whatever they must to live another day. For the most part, these are decent folks who’ve learned to co-exist peacefully, if miserably — but desperation does scary things to people, and the recounted examples of sacrifice are chilling.

Let’s talk about this.  The train is divided into the Front and the Back, and if you watch the trailer you can hear Tilda Swinton’s character tediously lecturing them about how this is supposed to work.  Now, this is important: in the trailer, this is delivered over booming dramatic music.  In the movie, it’s delivered against silence, and includes a horrifyingly stupid metaphor about how shoes are not hats and it goes on forever and it is terrible.

Don’t let me forget about that “precisely 74% of you shall die” line, btw.

Anyway.  Right.  Here’s the thing: those people in the back, who are oppressed and eating protein bars and wearing dirty clothes and who revolt against the rich 1%ers (Ooh!  Impressively subtle social commentary!) in the front?  They’re on the train for no fucking reason at all.  They do not do anything.  There is no goddamn reason for them to fucking be there at all other than they need them for a dystopia.  This isn’t the proletariat revolting against the bourgeoisie; the bourgeoisie depend on the proletariat.  The back-of-the-trainers produce nothing for anyone.  They have no jobs, no responsibilities, no nothing.  They just sit back there and eat.

They are not decent folks.  They are boring nothing-people, because the movie makes them that way.

But let’s move on.

Swinton is a hoot playing a truly awful human being, but being the thoughtful and versatile actress that she is, she finds a way into this cruel and condescending figure without devolving into caricature.

I need you to understand that if this character is not a “caricature” than “caricature” no longer has any meaning as a word.  She’s every mean schoolmarm you’ve ever heard in your life.  That’s all she is.  I have no idea why she ever interacts with the back-people, because, again, there’s no reason for them to be there.

So, yeah, there’s a rebellion:

They’re ultimately aiming for the front and for the man who not only invented the train but placed everyone inside of it: the wealthy and powerful Willard, who’s regarded with equal amounts of admiration and contempt, depending on whom you’re asking.

Now, this needs to be made clear:  they have to go through every single car of the train to get to the front.  By the time they get there, the “revolution” is down to Chris Evans and two other characters, one of whom is weirdly and inexplicably a little psychic and the other only speaks… Korean, maybe? except when it is convenient for him to speak and/or understand English.  Sometimes he has a little device that translates for him.  Sometimes he doesn’t.  The language barrier is another of the ways in which the film is stupid.

Now, not all of the Back People are gonna be warriors.  Okay. But… maybe more than five of them try to go to the front of the train?  What the fuck is Chris Evans gonna do by hisgoddamnself up there?  Maybe everybody goes to the front of the train!


Seeing who plays him is one of the film’s many exciting discoveries.

Ed Harris.  It’s Ed Harris.

The “exciting discovery” is Ed fucking Harris.

Never before in the history of the English language has Ed Harris been referred to as an “exciting discovery.”

Opening the doors to each new car provides a rush of possibility, with Marcos Beltrami’s propulsive score underneath. Each represents a beautifully realized, self-contained world. Each is impeccable in its production and costume design.

And none of which makes any fucking sense at all.  

You’re trying to save the human race.  The only living humans are going to be the ones on your train.

Do you include a sushi bar?

How about a sauna?

There is, by the way, one sleeping car for the entire front of the train.  I don’t know where these people poop either.

Oh, and one entire car features a rave.

Other than the machine that makes the protein bars– and I’ll get to that later– there is no manufacturing on the train at all, because why would there be manufacturing on a train, which makes the Front People’s perfectly new and perfectly clean clothing, after seventeen years, a little… odd?

The one common theme among people who enjoy this movie is that they get hypnotized by the visuals.  I couldn’t like this movie for the same reason I never thought Jessica Simpson was hot.  I cannot get past that much stupid no matter how pretty it is.

Sushi bar, people.

But the bit where the movie became truly unsupportable was the school car.  This is the part of the movie where it became perfectly clear that Chris Evans was made to star in this film at gunpoint.  Look at the man’s face in this scene:


That is not the face of a man who is acting.  That is the face of a man who has no idea how the fuck he got where he is and is considering simply saying fuck the paycheck and going home.

Now, note something:  There has just been a massive, violent and bloody revolution in the back of this train.  Dozens of people have been killed.  Absolutely nothing has changed in the front of the train.  No one appears to know what has happened– I guess those forty or fifty guards just lived in that one car, with no food or beds or furniture or, like, a place to sit; that’s just the Standing Menacingly In Case We Need to Do That car– and no one at the front cares when these people come forward despite all of Tilda Swinton’s hectoring nonsense about Knowing Your Place.

And none of the children react to the bloody, beaten-up people who come into their school.  The bloody, beaten-up people just wander around.

Oh, shit, I forgot.  My favorite bit?  Did you see the part in the trailer where Tilda Swinton tells them that 74% of them are about to die?  Sounds kinda badass, right?

No fucking reason at all to be in the movie.  She says that for no reason at all.  And, again, since there is no reason for the tail people to be there, it doesn’t matter how many of them die no matter what Ed Harris says later.  They aren’t doing anything. They don’t need to be there.

So, yeah.  That scene: They’ve made a big deal about how there are no bullets left on the train, a plot point that is summarily thrown out later, (because Reasons, and because it gives them a reason to forget that it’s supposed to be cold outside) and the rebellion runs into a bunch of security guards with axes.  Because, sure, why not, right?  They are also wearing masks that inexplicably cover their eyes:


You, uh, can’t see to fight.  Now, it’s okay, because in a scene that all the idiots keep praising, soon this train will go into a tunnel, and all of these guys will put on night-vision goggles so that they can keep fighting.  (The amazing cinematography during this scene that people keep talking about?  They shift into first-person mode for a bit during the fight.  This was stupid when the DOOM movie did it, and the DOOM movie was based on a first-person action video game.  It’s even more inexcusable here.)

Right, the goggles.  They put them on over their black fucking knit caps that are blocking their vision.

You might wonder how they get the time to stop the fight and put on the night-vision goggles when clearly in this shot the fight has not begun yet and they are also clearly not in the dark.

They stop the fight to sing Happy New Year.

I am not joking.

The entire fight, including the revolutionaries, stops so that the combatants can sing Happy New Year, and then the revolutionaries, who are fighting for their lives by the way, wait patiently while these men put on night-vision goggles– after one character explains to everyone that they’re about to enter a tunnel– because, hell, I don’t know, it would be… what, unfair to the… bad guys?  Or something?

The intentionally cryptic conclusion suggests that something better may be out there — for everyone — after all.

Here is how the movie ends: They blow up the train, and everyone dies.  Well, everyone except for Inexplicably Psychic Girl and Stolen Kid– God, don’t get me started on Stolen Kid— who wander off the train, into weather so cold that someone’s arm was frozen solid in seven minutes two hours beforehand– and they are fine, and then there is a polar bear, and OH HEY I GUESS ALL LIFE ON EARTH DIDN’T DIE, except that polar bear is going to eat your dumb asses and oh also you have no food and water.  Or shelter.

You’re gonna die, is what I’m saying.

This is only “cryptic” if you’re a fucking moron.

Christ I’m at almost 2000 words already.  I wanted to write fiction tonight, people.

You need to understand that I have barely scratched the surface here.  I have not yet begun to elucidate the many, many ways in which this was an insanely stupid movie.  It took me two thousand words to mention the part where Korean Door Hacker Guy pulls out a couple of cigarettes and we hear a voice over from a random character say “Cigarettes have been extinct for ten years!” rather than, oh, I don’t know, just having the characters react to seeing a cigarette.

Because that’s how stupid this movie is; it doesn’t trust itself– or you— to even comprehend simple shit.

Their protein bars (God, I haven’t even talked about the protein bars!  Half the fucking movie is about protein bars!) are made of bugs. Millions and millions of bugs to make protein bars.

Where do the bugs come from, on this we’re-repeatedly-told-this-is-a-closed-ecosystem of a train?  The millions and millions of bugs that we see in the one shot that get turned into protein bars each and every day to feed the people who have no earthly fucking reason to be on the train needing food?

Don’t ask!

I hated this fucking movie.

So, uh, this post is starting to go viral?  I just want to point out that a lot of you are new to my blog, and there are lots of other posts to read  if you found this review interesting or funny.  I also write books.  It is my hope that they are more entertaining, or at least make a lot more sense, than SNOWPIERCER.  Finally, if you like, feel free to follow me on Twitter.  Thanks for reading, even if you think I’m an idiot after doing it.  🙂

Second update:  Comments are closed, because babysitting the internet on a post from four months ago has officially gotten old.  If you liked the post and want me to know, just hit “Like.”  If you didn’t like the post and want me to know, well, you’ll just have to find a way to live with someone not liking something you like.  I’m very sorry that happened to you.  I’m sure whatever you were going to say would have changed my mind, too.