What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avatar II: Pandora Returns to Strike Back

That's right, folks. Using the help of Uncle Wally and our own seared consciences, we were able to hack into James Cameron's personal laptop and boost an early draft of the already much-anticipated Avatar 2 movie. A quick summary of the plot follows.

The evil imperialist human corporation has been defeated, but the Na'vi now face a new threat: another evil imperialist human corporation. This one is ten times bigger and badder, and capable of producing even larger explosions than before.

Jake Sully has been having strange nightmares: flashbacks of things in his past that he can't quite remember. Neytiri puts her hands on his face and looks at him with concern but this doesn't seem to help. When the-all new, shinier corporation appears in the sky, Jake knows it's all up to him for some reason. He leads the resistance in a raid against the newly established human base, but sadly he and the rest of the Na'vi are captured and imprisoned. During the attack, Neytiri is machine-gunned in slow motion by the new arch-nemesis, who is notable for having a southern accent, gung-ho attitude, and tattoos all over.

In a stirring scene, the fifty captured Na'vi warriors are led, whistling in unison, into a prison camp. They agree to get out as soon as possible, or at least keep trying in order to divert resources from the front. They start tunneling under the fence with the help of a sympathetic and very cute human girl who is attracted to Jake's devil-may-care attitude, rugged good looks, and haunted past. While in prison, the Na'vi form close bonds with each other and learn to hope no matter how bleak things get. After they tunnel out, Jake begins hunting down the four men who gunned down Neytiri. His path will end with the assassination of the arch-nemesis.

The first target is a muscular, manly latina woman who wears sleeveless shirts and dog tags and likes to beat up men to show how tough she is. Jack and his men slaughter her entire platoon but in the end Jake is inexplicably separated from his men and must face her alone. They have a quick fight, pausing often to exchange snappy one-liners. When she realizes she is too weak, she escapes.

Jake moves on to target number 2: a robotic droid-man with various cyborg powers. Jake attacks his penthouse suite with a mounted gun on a helicopter but the droid jumps onto the helicopter with a motorcycle. Jake and the droid jump out of the chopper as it explodes. They free-fall to the ground, grappling as they go. Jake lands in a haystack and is completely unharmed. The droid lands in a propane tank, causing an explosion that really puts Dolby Surround to the test. Jake stands and brushes himself off, recovering from the battle. Then, hark! The droid rises from the ashes. The flesh has been seared off, leaving a freaky humanoid metal frame that for some reason moves much slower and more robotically than it did when covered in human. The robot tosses Jake around for awhile until more Na'vi show up and use all kinds of attacks on it, including rocket launchers, poisoned arrows, and custom-made katanas that glow and buzz and cut through anything (except the robot, who blocks the swings somehow). They are chased into a massive factory that mass-produces globs of molten metal for export all over the galaxy. There, the Na'vi work together to destroy the robot, culimnating in a victorious one-liner from Jake that implies that the destruction of the machine somehow makes Neytiri's pointless death allright now.

The cute girl from the prison shows up and urges caution, but Jake is hellbent on destruction. They are even more attracted to each other now. She flies him to the next dropoff point. As they part ways their faces get really close because they want to kiss, but then they both talk at once and head separate directions awkwardly.

The third target is a creepy alien from another subjugated planet the humans have subjugated. It's big and black and has lots of teeth, but it can speak fluent English with a wierd Transylvanian accent. The alien fights viciously until Jake is on his back and disarmed. Then, instead of finished the job, the creature starts talking victoriously about what a genius he is and what he'll do when Jake is dead. This gives the butch latina time to smash through a huge window in a fighter jet, use the b-word, and blow the alien to kingdom come. She extends a hand to Jake. Jake takes it and says thanks. There's a moment of cameraderie, and then a tentacle from the alien appears out of nowhere and stabs the latina, killing her slowly and painfully.

The cute girl shows up again and flies him to the final battle. They kiss briefly, which proves that they are soul mates, though they have exchanged no more than thirty lines of dialogue with each other. Jake attacks the main base riding his Banshee, only to discover that the main villain has an improved mechanized Banshee. An intense aerial dogfight ensues, during which Jake is forced to face his guilt over Neytiri's death. He comes to terms with it and destroys the mech banshee. He lands and dismounts to finish the job. The bloodied and defeated arch nemesis explains Jake's flashbacks to him - that he was a special black ops agent for the corporation and lost his legs and his memory on his first mission when he got cold feet and refused to kill the target. Jake is taunted for being too weak to make a kill even now. It's true that the only people Jake has killed in the movie are the droid and nameless henchmen with no souls. He realizes that killing the villain only makes Jake become everything he has fought against. He throws away his weapon and the villain throws him into a snake pit, along with the cute girl who has been captured by more soulless henchmen. Jake and the cute girl manage to climb out somehow and sneakily follow the villain back into the base.

The evil corporation has now collected enough unobtanium to activate a weapon that will wipe out the Na'vi and turn the whole moon into a desolate industrial wasteland. Jake and the girl are captured again and are made to watch. The weapon is activated but it malfunctions and kills all the bad guys in dramatic and horrible ways for which they can only blame themselves. Jake and the cute girl are about to be killed, when out of nowhere the mountain banshees arrive and carry them to safety.

Back at the tribe, all the surviving main characters drink organic happy juice and reminisce about how much has changed. We close with a slow zoom on Jake's face as he thoughtfully says something, and then repeats it.

The end.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rainy Day Finger

It's been raining pretty hard this last week around my house. I mean hard. It rained so hard, the pond scum came up to the porch to visit. It rained so hard, Scott Brown and Martha Coakley shared an umbrella. It rained so hard, Lindsay Lohan put on some clothes. That's how hard it was raining.

Water was falling so quickly, the roads filled up with thick layers of cold water. The main traffic artery in my town became a thin, rectangular pool that housed vehicles like awkward sea craft. I, a regular victim of road-way temptations, was seduced into speeding through puddles and sluicing water up on the side walk as I roared through town at speeds I would never have achieved had the roads been in good condition in perfect weather. More then one passer by got his second daily shower as I motored around aimlessly, enjoying the inclement conditions and my own poor judgment.

I decided to meet N for lunch at a local bistro. We picked the one furthest from his house so we could sluice our way through downtown. We approached one intersection that was particularly flooded and I saw a man about my age getting ready to cross the road. The car in front of me had about as much respect for pedestrian traffic as NBC has for Conan O'Brien. It put-putted past the white lines without so much as a brake light.

The man was clearly flustered by the lack of respect. He'd evidently read his driving manual and knew pedestrians had right of way. As a trained observer, I saw the anger rise in his being and flow through his tensed shoulders and squared jaw. The untrained observer would not have noticed this, but might have seen the obscene gesture he utilized to express his feelings, in clear violation of at least one local ordinance.

This man's outrage and subsequent willingness to express it in sign language made me feel good for some reason. I flashed him a thumbs up sign (the only one-finger gesture allowed by city regulations), and drove on.

I thought the FCN-worthy content had been wrung from my day. But work that afternoon held new surprises.

I work as a glorified paper pusher at General Mills. Actually I'm just a paper pusher, there is nothing glorious about it. I move paperwork from one end of my desk to another and, sometimes, when my boss is really interested in giving me responsibility, I get to mail things. Not nail things, you inflicter of structural damage. I get to mail letters and such.

The other day I sent out over twenty letters. I dutifully put the documents in their envelopes and dropped them off at the post office where an overworked government employee accepted my payment and affixed the "appropriate postage" on each letter. Nothing was unusual about my exchange with the postal worker and I returned to work with my suspicion unaroused.

That rainy afternoon, the postal fiasco struck. One of the letters I had mailed was returned for insufficient postage. The postage amount had been determined by USPS and the letter mailed at the office at the hand of the able government employee. I hadn't touched the letter after giving it to her. But somehow the postage had been insufficient. I wondered how this could have happened and if all twenty envelopes would be forthcoming with their delinquent "returned" stamp.

I felt like one of the people I had splashed that morning while cruising in the rain: unsuspecting, innocent and now soaked. I hadn't done anything wrong. The post office had made an epic mistake just as I had been an epic jerk on the road. Now I had to face my superior in the hierarchy of office politics and explain how our office had managed to underpay for this letter.

For a brief moment, I felt like the man at the intersection. Tension rose to my shoulders, anger expressed itself in my visage. Then I smiled and nodded. I would take care of it.

To assure my superiors, I extended a thumbs up: the only one-finger gesture appropriate in office environments.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lower Education

Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you’re smart. I don’t care if you got a 36 on the ACT. I don’t care if you took college classes starting in junior high. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the honor roll. In fact, even having a doctorate doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be smart. Because sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries, they can sound like a high school dropout. Perhaps you already know this.

On any given day, I go to the cafeteria, or a well-trafficked area and sit. Sit and listen. Ok, I’ll be honest. I shamelessly eavesdrop. I figure if people didn’t want other people listening, they wouldn’t be talking in public. It is my social responsibility to pay attention when other people are talking.

And if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have come across these dialogical gems.

“Are bananas a fruit?”

“If a Mexican person learned French, what would his accent sound like?”

“I hate crunching on salt when I walk on snowy sidewalks. I feel like I’m stepping on my ancestors.”

“Did you know that if you stick earbuds up your nose playing music you can hear it through your mouth?”

Guy: “Dude! We all need to get some girl jeans.”

“Do you think it would be a bad idea to drink this hand sanitizer?”

“I should not have saran-wrapped my legs together”


“I have no idea where it came from, but there’s this loaf of bread under my bed. And I’m pretty sure something’s growing on it.”

“What makes a cookie tough? Or smart? Why don’t people just say ‘You’re one tough person’ and leave the baked goods out of it.”

Guy 1: I want to be a midwife.
Guy 2: Uh… dude… you have to be a girl to be a midwife.
Guy 1: Ohhh… yeah. I’d be a midhusband.

Girl: “I’m all about cute little old men.”

Girl 1: “While watching the music video for “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha) She looks really familiar.
Girl 2: Yeah.
Girl 1: You know, she looks like Taylor Swift on drugs.
Girl 2: Hmmm… no, she kinda looks like Ashley Tisdale. If Taylor Swift and Ashley Tisdale could have a baby…

So, even though we're in an establishment of higher education, we don't necessarily belong there. Common sense is something you have to learn on your own. The school of hard knocks doesn't have a graduation date.

Live long and prosper. And for goodness sake, think before you speak. You never know who's listening.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

FCN Personality Profile

Personality Profiles are great. They let you divide yourself and your friends into a small number of basic boxes, letting you know who in your social circle is interchangeable. They're also useful for employers when deciding who to fire first.

This just out of the FCN Labs: an all new, scientifically formulated Personality Profile to precisely pinpoint your basic behavior patterns. Try it!