Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ryan Quinn: Parent

I won’t ever assume to know what it’s like to be a parent until I actually am one, but when that time comes, one thing I will make sure I never do that I’ve seen many parents do before me is forget what things were like when I was young - in other words, what things were like in reality. Strict-parents act like they have no memory of their former years, no memory at all, like they all used to pop Rohypnol recreationally or received an acute knock to the back of the head on their thirtieth birthdays. It either has something to do with the changing times or the simple fact that emotion cannot coexist with objectivity and perspective. If it’s neither then I don’t know what’s wrong with them, perhaps the drugs that were passed around during the seventies nullified their brain’s ability to see logic. So, before all of that paternal-haziness sets in for me and I get rug-rats of my own, I’ve put together a list of all the things that I have both learnt from my journey through youth and from the stupid mistakes that I’ve seen parents make during said-youth, this way I won’t be subscribing to the same nonsense.

Sex happens between midnight and 11.59pm
That’s it; job done. Thank god! Haven’t you heard? Two in the morning is sex o’clock. So, have your kids in the house by then and the battle for their innocence has been won. Phew! Isn’t parenting easy? Nahhhht! I love this, because parents have this dusting of the hands moment when they have their children home at night, like that’s their job well done. Because, that’s right, sex is a werewolf, but fuck the full moon, it comes out every night looking for your daughter’s v-word! Yeah, okay. And here comes the dumbest part - come daylight, they’re all like ‘do whatever you like; the world is your playground!’, you know, because nobody has ever had sex during the day. Reality-check, aisle four!

Sex happens everywhere
So, if not letting your children out at night is somehow an act of sex-prevention, then by that rationale, I wouldn’t get them a car that has any back seats in it or one that has the letter ‘P’ on the gear stick. You see, quite a while back, the French created this thing and it’s called ‘having sex outside of the house’, heard of it? Since then, kids have been doing it everywhere; take it from me.

Other teenagers are not the sex-police
Apparently, sex doesn’t happen when other people are around either. Despite the fact that I wish this wasn’t the truth, you can’t sit around in your lounge room kidding yourself that who’s around makes much difference, in fact, sometimes they make it worse. These kids just have to pull down the volume when they pull down the pants, that’s all. I personally cannot tell you how many times I’ve been to a house party where a couple has just disappeared for a while or one of the doors mysteriously won’t open. Moreover, something that shocked me is the super-secret, but not so secret, under the shirt shit that I sometimes spot in nightclubs. With all of those people around, not to mention the security guards, this truly debunks any delusions parents have about the whole group-mentality. In fact, this up-market club I went to a few years ago had these very suspect unisex cubicle-type things. I, uh…don’t really know what they were and regretfully (or maybe not) I didn’t investigate further – let’s just say that I was afraid of what I might see.

I also often like to indulge in the parental-misconception that their daughter’s best friend is always the best chaperone in situations that they observe as potentially-amorous. Another thing that the French created was this thing they call a ‘Ménage à trois’, you know, a threesome. Typically the idea of a good ‘ol Ménage is the guy’s and, take it from me, his fantasy does not involve crossing swords over his girlfriend’s naughty bits. So, if and when she agrees to a scenario which involves four or more breasts, who’s the first person the girl will suggest? I’ll give you a hint: it’s probably going to be the person she feels most comfortable with. So, perhaps the whole best friend approach isn’t as full-proof as some parents have fooled themselves into believing.

‘Formal’ and ‘Friday’ may start with the same letter, but they aren’t the same
Alright, so your child, whom is actually pretty much an adult, wants to see this dunce Friday night, but you won’t let them because the person is a dunce. No harm done because luckily there’s a new Friday night every seven days. Year ten and twelve formals, however, don’t tend to come around quite as regularly, so why ruin it? I can’t help but get this image in my head of me forty years old, showing my children photos from my formal and then having to think back on why my girlfriend wasn’t there, somebody whom could quite possibly be their mother, and why? Because my parents felt uncomfortable with the idea? Fuck that! Great, thanks for ruining my life, Dad! If I do nothing else as a father, one thing I will do is write them a blank cheque for their formal, because who the fuck am I to ruin that for them. Contrary to popular belief, some things are actually sacred to a teenager.

Overseas is not safer than here
I left this one ‘til last because, get this, there is actually a loophole to strict-parenting and it is – I love this! – lots of water. It’s so funny! Parents treat their own dumb rules like they’re the Wicked Witch of the West or something. Apparently, parents who dry-reach at the notion of their kids sleeping outside of the house on Australian soil have no qualms about them doing it for months on another country’s soil. It’s not just baby-prevention that water melts either, all of the rules that applied here seem to get confiscated by customs before you fly internationally, and understandably so. But the part that gets me the most is when the kids get back and the Australian rules get reinstated. So, as opposed to the whole getting approval to go on a vacation thing being a sign of growth, it’s actually just what a lawyer would call a ‘loophole’. I don’t know about you but I always struggle with the logic here, because being able to sleep overseas but not in the next suburb is a lot like if murder was no longer a crime but manslaughter remained reprehensible. I can tell you one thing, my rug-rats won’t be going on a trip anywhere with any more freedoms than they have here in their home-country. I just don’t see any point in playing mind-games with them.

Yeah, because I'm nuts...Speaking as somebody who dates their daughters, I’ve copped quite a lot of shit from parents in my time, usually to the point where I start to feel like Mark Wahlberg in ‘Fear’, the only difference being that I don’t beat people up or decapitate dogs. Evidently, birth sends people insane. The insane part being that I’m a really nice guy, but that’s never stopped a healthy bulk of the parents who have laid eyes on me from reducing me down to a dangerous sexual-predator within a matter of minutes. Some of them could’ve burned me into a pile of cartoon-ashes with those eyes! It would seem that with great paranoia, comes a not-so-great, nor useful, superpower. Slow exhale. I don’t know anymore, it looks like ‘reality’ is a dirty-word in some households, which is ironic because I’m having it inscribed on my family crest.

Oh yeah, and while we’re on that, if you hurt my future-daughter…Bang! Bang! Bang!

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Gun

Here are some percentages:

That’s just me going down the list of Adam Sandler films from the last three years on Rotten Tomatoes. Comparatively, this isn’t a big drop from his earlier works as he is very seldom critically-successful, but zero percent is a record-low for him, and it’s all indicative of the downslide that has become his career. What I haven’t been able to work out for some time now is why it seems like he is deliberately taunting us with shit movies?

I cannot watch Happy Gilmore anymore without ruining it with my own inner-conflict that tries making sense of anything that came out after Zohan. There are directors and actors who genuinely struggle with topping their own debut hits by coming out with admirable-attempts that just aren’t as good, and then there is Sandler - a man who seems to be endeavouring to star in, produce and/or write films just so that they can be critically-annihilated.

In 2006, I spent two hours stifling-vomit during a showing of Click, and every film (bar Funny People, arguably) in which his name is attached since then has pretty much been, only slightly, up to par with his very first movie, Going Overboard. The only discernible-difference I can see is that these new ones have bigger stars, a better crew, huge budgets and, by some miracle, are making tens of millions. For anybody who hasn’t seen Going Overboardand why would you – it has the laugh-factor of a urinal-cake.

My Photoshop job is better than Jack and Jill ten-fold

To me, it’s almost like Sandler wants to spend his latter-years churning out self-parodies of his former-years. It’s all very reminiscent of Eddie Murphy and his rash of nothing but horrible movies – I’m sorry, can’t use the word ‘movie’ anymore – …horrible things where he would just star as half the cast. It’s the same behaviour as Sandler, shitting all over his former-days of Raw and the Beverly Hills Cop films. I don’t get it.

This year’s latest hour and a half Happy Madison thing, which was basically Little Nicky with a beer in his hand, made US$47 million worldwide. Popcorn, frozen-cokes, choc-tops, M&Ms…stop me when I mention the reason why you’d go spend money on a post-Click Happy Madison thing, because it can’t be for the actual movie, can it? How could it be? When Happy Gilmore grosses US$41.2 million, how does...that thing make more money, let alone any money at all?

Somewhere between 2005 and 2007, I think that Adam Sandler was trying to see how dumb we all are by testing the waters, and now that he’s more than confident that we’re fucking retarded, he’s taunting us with it! That’s not a joke, it’s a serious theory; you don’t make Jack and Jill and expect it not to bomb. From the Sandler shit-list, I have seen three at the cinema and each of those sessions just felt like an elaborate practical-joke to me. I was convinced that Sandler and Rob Schneider were inside the fire-exit waiting for the perfect moment to burst into the cinema, pointing and laughing at all of us because they just stole millions of our dollars for what is essentially a steaming pile of shit.

I mean, we’d pay for a rotten banana-peel if it had his name on it.

From here on in, I’m pleading ignorance to even the existence of Adam Sandler. He’s dead to me, and so is his production company. Start putting Allen Covert as the lead and I may reconsider, but until then, these ‘movie’ things don’t even deserve my time, the same way that Happy Gilmore 2 won’t even deserve my acknowledgement.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dumb Shit Restrooms

Please,come in and touch everything...

Judging from the majority of public restrooms I visit, I often wonder if they even knew that germs existed in the fifties. I only say that because each time nature forces me to visit one, it feels to me like I’ve just taken a step into the past. Some restrooms are honestly just a room and a door with the bare-essentials thoughtlessly thrown in, which would be all fine if it were the fifties, but not now. I consider myself to be a vigorous pusher of technology and, I guess to some degree, an aspiring innovator, and from the majority of what I have seen, there is minimal innovation and a lacklustre amount of the available inexpensive technologies when it comes to our public restrooms. My general rule for judging the best is one with the least amount of post-soap hand-contact as possible, but because of a borderline-retarded design, it seems that people are trying to maximise that number. So, since I sometimes like to chest-thump with little resolve, this time I’m going to give some realistic, inexpensive answers that can basically make any hand to germ contact a thing you’ll need to tell your grandchildren about as they gaze at you, astonished.

Firstly, do something about that damn door! I have a saying, and it is “dumber than doorhandles in a restroom”. It is seriously the restroom-realm’s ‘Wicked Witch of the West’. Door-handles are just such an old-fashioned idea. The thing that makes the door so bad is that it cancels out every effort you have made in the tedious pursuit of hygiene; even those trying to be hygienic can’t be when there’s a doorhandle in the equation. Think about it: when you’re in there, you touch the cubicle-lock, you touch the seat, you touch your bits, the flush, then the cubicle-lock again, the tap and the soap dispenser – majority of which you and everybody else before you have touched. So then you wash all of that off and your hands are immaculate, only to have to touch a tap and a fucking doorhandle, both of which are teaming with either your fresh-germs or every douchebag-Neanderthal’s germs who didn’t bother cleaning the shit (yes, I said ‘shit’!) off of their hands before you; nonsense! And I didn’t even mention the fact that even things that never get touched by our hands are still disease-ridden due to airborne faecal and urine particles. Basically, by building doors for our amenities by a design that is only viable in a home of two, they are sending out the message that they want you to have e.coli.

My answer? What the new shopping centres are beginning to do, which is evidence of a scintilla of forethought, is replacing the door with an open-alcove. The way it goes is that the bathrooms are tucked away down a small corridor, obscuring there doorways from plain-sight so that nobody can see your penis, but still eliminating the need for doors or the petri-dish doorhandles that accompany them.

However, there are a number of factors that could be the stopping-force behind the use of such an alcove - off the top of my head: lack of space, building codes that require restrooms to have an air-lock or just the fact that nobody wants to eat at a restaurant where there’s no nothing between the toilet and their dish. To that I suggest automatic-doors. Bear with me here, because I know this is some craaaazy, Star Trek shit I’m trying to suggest here! I mean, it’s not like they’ve been around since the nineties or anything, and it’s not like every commercial building and disabled toilet have them either. Oh wait! They do. It’s not a new idea at all, hardly a technologically-challenging concept and they’re fucking everywhere I look! The double-however here is that most small businesses may not be able to afford this unfortunately, and to them I give the Schwarzenegger of all bathroom door-handle excuses anybody can throw at me: foot-handles. We have these two perfectly good extremities which are being completely ignored in this department, so why not use them? It’s genius, not that it’s my idea. It’s called the Toepener, it was created as the first and only product by a little start-up by the name of ‘Forge’. If you read their brief company story and consider the ingenuity behind a product like the ‘Toepener’, these guys know what I’m talking about here. It’s just a piece of metal placed at the bottom corner of the door, designed to be pulled by your foot. Considering that some have leg problems, this doesn’t necessarily need to replace handles altogether, it can just be an option for the majority. At this point, I could see price being a bit of an issue, but with wider adoption, it will only get cheaper, so it is seriously my excuse-seeking missile in any argument regarding the design of restroom egress.

So, in review:
- Alcoves instead of doors so that I no longer have to stretch out my shirts or jar my pinkies trying to open them.
- Automatic doors where alcoves aren’t an option.
- And, the best of all, foot-handles for those seeking simplicity.

My second biggest gripe with most bathrooms is the fact that they automate the dryers, but automate nothing else. What retarded birth of thought thinks that this solves any problems at all? Really? I mean, when it comes to a bathroom, you can’t have your e. coli and eat it too. It’s either fully automated or it’s not at all. How the fuck does being able to avoid touching the dryer somehow change the fact that you still need to touch taps, locks, soap dispensers and, most importantly, the inevitable door-handle. So, why is automating one thing in the mix at all practical? Was touching the dryer button such a big problem in history that all of them had to be automated? Can someone please help me out here? It just screams squandered-cash to me.

The resolution: Once again, I return back to my praise of feet. Within the last decade, some places have resorted to the aforementioned door-less restrooms and then others have, on top of that, Tony Stark-ed the shit out of them with automated taps, dryers and soap-dispensers, but These buttons could last through a shit-stormlike I said, automation is costly and when you’re on the cheap, the flimsy sensors that you’re provided probably won’t be the easiest things to use, so why not foot-buttons? A button below every sink, every cubicle door, every toilet, so on and so forth. If not feet, they can be operated by your elbow even. It’s not that buttons are very expensive, in fact, we already have them in our bathrooms now, they’re just in the wrong places, that’s all. You see, it all just requires a little bit of extra wiring...and a brain. At the first restaurant I worked, one of their hand-washing stations was operated with your knee, and that wasn’t even an electrical function, just some simple mechanism, akin to the same mechanism in any conventional tap you could find in your own home. In the words of Forge: “Use your head, use your foot.”

'Airblade' DemoAnd while I’m on dryers, just as a quick side-note: I admire Dyson for being innovative and trying to save energy, I really do, but their new automatic Airblade dryers are just ridiculous. I get it, they dry fast, but unless you were born with a surgeon’s hands, what’s the draw? Whenever I use them, I feel like I’m playing Operation!, except instead of getting a buzzing sound and a red nose when I hit the sides, I get gastro from the germs of whatever dickhead didn’t use soap before me. Seriously, I’d much rather spend the extra thirty seconds a day the Airblade saves me by using a conventional dryer than feeling like I have to wash my hands again. They’re a joke, and at sixteen hundred dollars each, an expensive one too. So, my question is why not spend the money on something else, like, I don’t know, designing your bathroom properly! When you’re saving over a grand on each dryer, conventional elbow-operated hand-dryers will do just fine, seriously. Frankly, I’d be happy with paper-towels, they cost virtually nothing and, funnily enough, they don’t use any in-house energy.

Let’s just face it, in the olden times, they thought differently to the way we think now design-wise, what’s worse is that some fuck heads are evidently still studying their design-notes. They were basically toddlers with building blocks, just stacking things on top of each other or throwing them wherever they fit, treating every item as if they have to be mutually-exclusive. Really, the market just lacked innovators, much like the ones that have made places like IKEA so successful. Some may argue that it just depends on how many dollars are in the bank or where the technology and the style are at the time, but I think that those things are irrelevant here. At its core, it’s simply a matter of utilising any given space by being clever, getting it right and then others will follow. Take the kitchen in my mid-fifties built home for instance – it is shit. No, seriously, whenever I look at it, I feel like somebody took a good hard look at a turd and that was there inspiration behind where everything should go. “Just throw the oven anywhere!” is something I can imagine being said when they built my house. Things are just thrown where they fit and the cabinets basically force us to just stack things on top of each other, meaning that ten things need to be moved in order to get to another thing. Like apes, we are living! Nowadays, conventional and microwave ovens are built into countertops, fridges have a dedicated space, pots and pans are hung by simple hooks, bins are built into drawers, dishes and other crockery are stacked vertically and the list goes on and on and on and... Essentially, everything is just an easy slide away, unlike the creativity of whatever bunch of morons put together some of these restrooms; perhaps they lost it behind a cereal bowl.

If there is anything you’re going to change about a bathroom, you’re first and most important order of business should be the door, because trying to make a clean-break out of a bathroom with an automatic hand-dryer is a lot like if you tried to scrape gum off the bottom of your shoe with the wrong end of a used-syringe – what the fuck is the point?