THE OLD MAN AND THE SEE
I'm very, very particular about where I sit in a theater. I basically believe there is only one "right" seat in any theater, and if I don't get it I'll be annoyed for the entire movie. So imagine my horror upon discovering that the theater I hadn't gone to in years had converted to recliner seats (which cut seating down by two thirds) AND required you to reserve assigned seats in advance (for an additional fee), unless you're willing to take your chances at the box office in hopes that some lazy bastard with a smart phone hadn't already reserved The Only Good Seat.
I decided to reserve my seats online...but the seating chart made no sense with the resized seats and aisles. So I finally picked some likely looking seats, then tried to reserve them. But no - first I'd have to create an account with the theater chain and give them my name, address, phone number, email, and credit card information. Choosing not to, I then tried to do a "guest check out" using a virtual credit card number (to prevent identity theft)...but the theater website claimed that my credit card provider rejected the transaction.
Fine. Mrs. J and I went to the theater early (for the first showing of the day), and requested our chosen seats at the box office. And they were open! Huzzah! So we hurried into the entirely empty theater and tried to find our seats. We were in row "E" but couldn't find any markings to tell us which row was which. We eventually discovered that the designating letters were subtly woven into the design of the rug and tastefully unlit. After this squinting discovery, we hurried to our seats in the exact center of the row.
Aaaand, the seats were horrible. WAY too far from the screen. We might as well have been at home watching TV. So we found the seats we really, really wanted and I had to trot my happy ass all the way through the mega-multiplex and outside to the box office again to beg for an exchange. This was granted, and I huffed and puffed my way back to our seats. At which point Mrs. J perfectly reasonably wanted some popcorn and a soda. So off I went to the concession stand, where exactly one person was behind the counter filling the orders - slowly - for a multiplex with 17 freaking auditoriums. I eventually got a medium popcorn ($9) and large coke ($6) and headed back to my seat to reflect on the fact that I was already out $30 for a matinee performance of a movie.
We played with the recliner seats a bit, which required a button control to electronically raise and lower your legs, and tilt your seat backwards so that your eyes would focus naturally on a spot about 10 feet above the top of the movie screen. Mrs. J liked the leg support of the recliner because she has short legs and her feet don't touch the floor when using regular movie seats. I, on the other hand, quickly decided that recliner seats in a movie theater are an offense against God and the natural order of things. So I sat bolt upright the entire time.
To kill time, the theater showed us a variety of commercials in which kids and adults communicated via Rap, followed by "entertainment" tidbits - one of which was "movie trivia." They then showed clips of a recent-ish movie in which Sandra Bullock plays a wealthy white woman who adopts an absolutely giant black teenager and makes his dream of playing football come true. No, really. "You're making his life better," smarmed a woman on screen. "No, he's making my life better," Sandra Bullock replied with the predictability of every sunrise ever. The movie was "The Blind Side" although my guess of "Liberal Wet Dream" didn't seem far off.
Then the trailers began. The first depicted a charming young black couple in a car, going on a date, cute as a couple of buttons. A classic romcom, right? Well, no - they're soon pulled over for a turn signal violation by a racist white cop who pulls his gun on the clean cut young man. A scuffle ensues, the cop gets shot by accident, and the rest of the movie is about two sweet black kids running for their lives from despicable, murderous white policemen. "Wow," thought I, "we really must come back and drop another 30 bucks to see that!" Not.
Next up was a trailer for a movie in which four attractive young women of color (not "The Squad" - we said "attractive," remember?) are bumping, grinding, and doing pole dances in a strip joint as dollar bills are thrown at them. The women then team up to use their sexual skills to skim thousands of dollars from evil white bastard Wall Street types who, after all, are the "real" thieves in this world. The movie is called "Hustlers," and we'll be rushing out to see it right after Hell freezes over.
At long last, the feature film started: Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." The film was "meh" at best, had no discernible story, lacked Tarantino's usually witty dialogue, and had only one good twist which Tarantino stole from one of his own movies. It's not a horrible film, and its technical aspects are good, but its main virtue is being instantly forgettable. I'll give it a "C" because if I rate it lower, I'll feel like even more of a dope for laying out so much money.
So, that was my curmudgeonly reintroduction to moviegoing and popular SJW culture. Whee.
And have I mentioned that the reason I even went is that a psychiatric professional had encouraged me to start attending movies as a means of reducing my constant state of anxiety? Spoiler alert: I'm going to stick with therapeutic doses of Clan MacGregor - $30 worth of which would kill a man outright.
I AM JOE'S BRAIN
After writing all of the above, I decided "who the heck wants to read that much crap about me being a sourpuss and cheapskate with an obsessive-compulsive fixation on theater seats?" After which I tried desperately to find some news item suitable for a cartoon and commentary.
Eventually I found a story in which Joe Biden's brain surgeon (from decades ago) was coming forward to attest that Joe doesn't have brain damage, despite all the appearances to the contrary...
Yeah... that's lame. Not really up to the high professional standards people expect from Stilton's Place. So I decided to redouble my efforts and really, really, really find a good idea to write about and...BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK!
Penny (the official dog of Hope n' Change) was yapping like an absolute maniac. Oh, she frequently loses her mind over pedestrians, bicyclists, Amazon deliveries, UPS trucks, and suspicious looking clouds...but this was different and more urgent. Curious, I looked out my office window to check what sort of apocalypse was coming and saw...
BUSTED (NOT BUSTY)
But no - it was almost certainly none of my business. I should just ignore the distraction. It was probably just something to do with one of the neighbors. But...what if one of them was a violent maniac with a weapon?!
Try though I might, I couldn't really refocus on writing because it's so damn distracting to have a police cruiser sitting mysteriously at the end of your walkway. Which it did for most of an hour.
Eventually the policeman left, and I learned it was a friendly visit to assist one of my neighbors (who is not a violent maniac). But by then my brain was absolutely shot, which is why you've just had to suffer through my endless bitching about going to a movie, a lame Joe Biden cartoon, and a rambling dialogue about my nascent paranoia.
If only there was some way I could make it up to you. Maybe I can ask a friend for a favor...
Better luck to all of us on Friday!