Firm but civil

As young men and women, we are taught that when one shakes hands with another, the handshake should be strong and firm. The purpose is to present yourself as strong and confident. In fact, studies show that a person with a firm handshake is more likely to land a job than a person using the “limp fish” handshake (the “limp fish” handshake is also known as apathetically placing your dead hand in the general path of someone else’s handshake.) So, yes, we must all have firm handshakes and promote ourselves as best we can.

However, let’s not go overboard. Having a firm handshake is one thing, but attempting to crush another person in a kung-fu death-grip is quite another. I have been in some handshake duels in my time – duels that end with white-knuckling and blue fingertips. To some, and it happens mostly with man/man handshakes, the custom itself  becomes a test of manhood. Handshakes become a way to show dominance or win mating rights or something. Let’s take it easy people, firm doesn’t mean pain. Let’s keep this thing civil.

If I shake your hand, I want to know you’re into it, but you don’t need to defeat me.

I was present for a chick flick last night…

I have a noted hesitancy towards “chick flicks” or “date movies”. I don’t know why. That’s a lie, I really do. In general, they are mind-numbingly formulaic and, as a result, spine-grindingly predictable. The humor usually attempts to be cute and clever, but comes across cheesy and decidedly un-clever. Additionally, there is all too often little depth to any of the characters. Also, there are rarely robots, space ships, or giant monsters.

Now, I completely understand that there are exceptions to my reservations, and I completely understand that even though some movies adhere to the above criticisms they can turn out to be entertaining. I get those things. Suffice it to say, I simply have a noted hesitancy towards films of this ilk.

In any case, with relatives from distant lands staying with my wife and family over the weekend, the opportunity arose to watch a film, and as I was the only adult male in the house, I had absolutely nothing to do with the choice. And that was fine, I truly didn’t mind. So it was that we embarked upon the journey which was The Holiday.

I won’t go into any kind of summary at this point; in fact, I have provided a handy link to IMDB for those of you with no clue what movie I’m talking about. The movie is, afterall, already more than 18 months old. Instead, I will merely detail my observations and thoughts of the film. There may be some spoiler action here, so be warned.

These items will be in order of things I think of first to things I think of afterwards. Absent from this list will be things I failed to think of or forgot to mention.

  1. I’m not a fan of Cameron Diaz. I haven’t seen her in a ton of films; however, the times I’ve seen her and thought, “Hrmm…,” greatly outnumber the times I’ve said, “she didn’t look malnourished in The Mask.” Having said that, I have not been wronged by Diaz, so this is nothing personal. I have simply yet to be impressed with her in a role that I’ve seen.
  2. Jack Black‘s character in this movie should have been split in half, and one half should have been thrown away. Simply put, Black should never be the love interest in a movie. It’s just not the correct decision. Remove that part and leave the rest of his character, and you have a well-played, funny strength to the film.
  3. Eli Wallach was the best thing about this movie.
  4. Kate Winslet is a fine actress, and when she was given material to truly act out in this film, she was quite good. However, the horrible comic relief she was forced to portray in the guise of a never-ending scene of surprise and joy made me want to inhabit a tauntaun.
  5. Winslet and Black demonstrated chemistry reminiscent of the chemistry between fire and hamsters. See point #2 for solution.
  6. Jude Law did a fine job of acting in this film, and there were things about his character that were genuinely unpredictable and refreshing.
  7. The tent scene was the best scene in this movie.
  8. The whole crying thing with the character of Amanda was painfully see-through. I found myself thinking, “Is there any possible way they can stop themselves from ending with that?”
  9. Rufus Sewell played the part of insanely-obvious, spontaneously-generating chick flick bad guy. Poorly.
  10. This is a bit of a side note, but I just read on IMDB trivia that “This film was written specifically with actors Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in mind.” If this is true, then I am even more infuriated with some of the scenes written for these actors/actresses.
  11. The final dancing scene simply must be removed and injested by those responsible.

Having said all that, I was marginally entertained by parts of this film, particularly those that truly surprised me. Much, however, was as expected.

I remain hesitant towards “chick flicks” or “date movies”.

The Spider and the Toothbrush

I have a sincere and overwhelming fearish hate of spiders. Pure evil, by my estimation, although I am well aware of their beneficial presence in our world. Evil, nonetheless, I say.

One evening before bed a few days ago I went into the bathroom intending to brush my teeth. I was horrified to find a spider , one of the extra-long leg and skinny, segmented body variety, had spun a web between the bathroom wall and my toothbrush. There it sat, in its mockery of my hygiene, it what appeared to be a quite smug stance in its evil little web.

Obviously mortified, repulsed, and violated, I struck down on the woeful thing with great wrath and fury reducing it to a smug stain with one partial leg. The damage, however, had already been done to me. I swore not to use the horrible, spider-fondled toothbrush again.

A couple of days passed, and as I had not yet been fortunate enough to make it to the store for another toothbrush, my teeth were suffering the consequences of my oath against the arachnid’s doing. It was bed time again, and I recounted the story to my wife for the third time while holding my repeatedly-washed toothbrush in my hand. After many refusals to use the toothbrush again, the following verbal transaction ensued:

Wife: “Just use it. It was just a spider.”

Me: “But it nested on my toothbrush. It’s got evil on it!”

Wife: “Spiders are probably fairly clean.”

Me: “They are absolute evil.”

Wife: “Did you kill it?”

Me: “Of course, I killed it.”

Wife: “Well, then you won.”

The logic was profound. With a new sense of pride and victory, I brushed my teeth and felt okay about it. Needless to say, I’m still getting a new toothbrush.

Tattoo Muse

I think I’d like to have a tattoo, except only for a short period of time – perhaps a year or so. Maybe then I’d get a different one, or update the one I had. The fact of the matter is that tattoos are fairly permanent. Those things aren’t coming off.

As groovy as I think it may be to have a tattoo of a ninja squirrel or something, the fact that it will still be on me as an old man is a bit distressing. I mean, who’s going to take a 80 year old guy too seriously if he’s sporting a ninja squirrel. Besides, by that time, it may appear to be more of a gray splotch with a sword, and I reckon that may lead to an even more drastic decline in one’s credibility.

Out of the frying pan into the fire…

For all of you enthralled by my last post, this passed weekend saw the sequel in all it’s glory. The full colonoscopy went well, and I suppose that’s about as far as I should go.

The worst part? A bit of a virus (stuffy nose, fever, aches) hit me while trying to recover from the procedure and anesthesia Friday night. The sickness turned out to be worse than the prior, as it had me in bed for the weekend. Add to that our baby moving from the virus he had given me into an ear infection, and my wife being bashed by a migraine, and you’ve got a Happy Jones-Family Weekend. My mom and dad were great helps, so it all turned out okay.

For now at least, as I’m still not completely over the malady, the baby is about to start some anti-biotics, and Jenny’s migraine, althoughly mostly gone, is still a twinge.

Fun times. Fun times, one and all.