Monday, November 30, 2009

Movin' on Down

OK, while my new place may not be up to the standard of George and Weezie. Again, I seem to be lodging in a computer room which might lead to some problems but I don't see that happening.

A king size bed is nice as well as my own bathroom though it's not on the same floor. Still, I long for the day where I have my own kitchen where I can create some of Gordon Ramsay's masterpieces as well as not having to worry about being too loud for other people living in the house. That and if I had my own place I could enforce my "Clothing Optional" policy when alone.

Which leads to my roommates. I live with a nice young couple and their two kids. Twins, a boy and girl, 14 months old. For little kids they sure weren't the most talkative. I remember how my neighbour's grandkids would jabber on for hours and hours when they were that age. These ones just stared at me, wondering who I was and why I was there to begin with. Later on before going to bed, the little boy watched me in amazement as I bounced a ball back and forth between my hands. I'm told that they have a tendency to bite things so I'll have to be careful.

The longer walk to the train station in the mornings is probably going to be best described as a bitch but there's not much else I can do about that except request that I start a little bit later than 6:30AM but at the moment, considering the staffing problems we have already at work and how things seem to go to shit whenever my shift is always done, early mornings work just fine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Flying Assholes

About a week before Flying J took me on as their newest employee (a title that keeps changing as more and more employees are fired/resigning and more people are hired) they switched over to a 24/7 prepay system. Simply put, you have to pay before we turn on the pumps. No exceptions, no nothing.

However this has gotten some customers to declare, “I’m never coming to this place again!” or “I’m not going to be surprised in three months when this place goes down!”

Since I am in front of a till and have the ability to control all the pumps, this has brought most of the criticism in my direction as well as that of my co-workers. While Flying J policy insists that we turn the other cheek (I would prefer to show them the cheeks of my ass), I have decided that I am not going to take verbal abuse any longer, especially if the customer reacts to the policy like they've just been told that in order for me to turn on the pumps they must first service me orally.

I almost implemented this policy last weekend when a customer (late 50’s at least) came in while my supervisor (Let’s call her C) was out for a smoke. The customer (Let’s call him A-Hole) came in and when informing him of the policy and explaining that there was nothing I could do about it, instructed me to get C.

For some reason, customers like A-Hole seem to assume that when we say, “There’s nothing I can do about it” or “It’s out of our control” that we are lying, naturally. And in all fairness they’re half right. I could turn on the pumps, let them pump their gas and then have them come in and pay it. But then I’d be out of a job because management is really strict about stuff like that. So alas, no rebellion on our part for customer satisfaction can be tolerated and unless a customer is able to get me a new job straight away with better pay, less hours and less work altogether, then their pleas are no good to me.

C was brought in (She later told me, “As soon as I saw him, I knew there was going to be trouble.”) and A-Hole explained himself.

A-Hole: You know me, I’ve been coming here ever since this place opened!

C: I know but that’s the policy.

A-Hole: Well that’s bullshit! (Looks at me) Just turn on the pump, I’ll leave my debit card here, and you can charge me when I’m done.

SchweitzerMan: I can’t.

A-Hole: Well, what the fuck!? (To C) I want you to turn those pumps on! You’re lying about not being able to turn them on!

SchweitzerMan: No I’m not! (I would have gotten into it verbally with this prick but C held up a hand to keep me cool and I’m glad she did)

Eventually C was able to convince A-Hole that there was no going around it and that he had to pay first. He slammed his debit card down on the counter in front of me.

SchweitzerMan: How much do you want to put in?

A-Hole: I want to fill it up!

SchweitzerMan: Well, I need a dollar amount since you’re paying with a debit card.

A-Hole: WHAT!?

I should probably mention that for prepay, if you’re doing it with credit card, you get charged for whatever you pump, but with a debit card, you have to set a dollar amount and should you pump less than that, you come back in the store and we give you the difference. However, A-Hole was acting like his namesake.

SchweitzerMan: Ain’t I a stinker? (OK, that last line didn’t really happen, but I was thinking it).

A-Hole: I don’t know how much I’m going to put in! What the hell am I supposed to do about that!?

SchweitzerMan: Sir, it’s better to give a high amount, that way if you don’t put the full amount in, we give you the difference back in cash.

A-Hole: Oh no! This is a company card, that’s going to fuck up my accounting! How am I going to explain that to my company?

SchweitzerMan: (Starting to get annoyed with him) Sir, I can print you out a receipt showing that this is money we give back to you.

C: This is how we do it every time here.

A-Hole: Well this will be the last time it ever happens here!

Eventually A-Hole decided he would put in $700 into his truck and left.

SchweitzerMan: (To C) Well, problem solved. He said this is the last time we’d have to deal with this problem.

I knew that he would be back because his truck probably wouldn’t take that much gas. All of the other cashiers were watching with baited breath, hoping to see what would happen and if any slurs would be flung.

A-Hole slammed his receipt on the counter in some attempt to intimidate me but he was about as intimidating as Siegfried and Roy so I actually spent the rest of my time biting the inside of my mouth in an attempt not to laugh.

A-Hole: Now what if I wanted to put a thousand dollars into my truck and I only pumped one hundred dollars worth?

SchweitzerMan: I suppose I would have to give you back nine hundred dollars.

A-Hole: Well then I think I know what I’m going to do next time. We’ll see how clever you think you are.

SchweitzerMan: OK.

I knew he was trying to get some reaction out of me but I kept biting my cheek and decided to
just have a blasé attitude about him from here on out. I suppose I could have informed him that his plan would not work, as the limit for debit here is about $700, but I decided to let him get excited enough to spray his shorts about getting one up on Flying J staff and wished him a good day.

Sorry, but there’s no need to be an asshole. I don’t determine company policy otherwise I think I would be making a lot more money than I do at the moment and like I said, I would get paid for sleeping on the job.

I've also decided to make it a policy to instruct customers not to refer to me as Jesus Christ. Every so often I'll have a customer like A-Hole and upon explaining the policy they seem to deem me their lord and saviour and cry, "Jesus Christ!"

While it is flattering, I am afraid that it might offend any non-Christians in the workplace. That and I can't walk on water.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Star Trek

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek since I was about four years old. Granted, I had no idea what the hell was going on, can barely remember which episodes I watched and for some reason was afraid that Worf was going to come through the screen and kill me (again, I was four years old and had no idea that underneath all that makeup was just Michael Dorn).

I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation while my father’s generation and those before him grew up loving The Original Series. And after TNG ended, I followed all the other shows in the franchise very closely...except for Star Trek: Enterprise. I knew Enterprise would suck from the moment it was announced. Prequels suck with the exception to the Star Wars prequels though 10 years after being released I see that they are not quite the masterpieces I saw them to be when I was 12.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. The premise of Enterprise was certainly interesting, exploring a time before Captain Kirk where Starfleet has only one ship and at the moment, there is no Federation. What hurt Enterprise was bad writing, bad dialogue, scenes that were meant to draw in the Baywatch audience and the fact that a pair of breasts got more character development than both the tactical and communications officers.

It was lucky to last four seasons before the people at Paramount got the message and decomissioned Enterprise and the Star Trek franchise in whole.

And as a fan, I thought that was a good idea. Since 1976 (When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released) up until the time Enterprise was cancelled there had been 10 movies, four new series, thousands of action figures, comics and paperbacks all bearing the Star Trek name. It was time for the franchise to go into hibernation and come back in maybe another decade or more and capture the imagination of pop culture.

So you can imagine my disapointment when it was announced that there was going to be another Star Trek movie and it was going to be a prequel that examined the early days of Captain Kirk, Spock and how they became the crew we’ve known for so long.

You can also imagine my fury when it was announced that Matt Damon was being considered for the part of James Tiberius Kirk. Now, clearly William Shatner is by no means a great actor. However, one thing to his credit is that he never made Captain Kirk look like a pussy. Matt Damon (I don’t care how many Boune movies he does) is a pussy.

Which goes back to the thing that really pissed me off about this. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, all the rest of them are icons. When someone can’t think of Leonard Nimoy’s name they say, “That guy who played Spock.” Like it or not, when people see these actors in real life, that’s who they identify them with. You wouldn’t have Han Solo played by that kid from Two and a Half Men if they remade Star Wars (By simply typing that I fear George Lucas might be reading this and considering the possibility) and you wouldn’t have Dakota Fanning play Ripley in a remake of Aliens. Sorry, but that’s the way my mind works.

The trailers didn’t do much to help keep me from being nervous. Hearing people say, “I’ve never watched Star Trek before but this looks cool!” made me cringe. Idiot, if you’ve never watched Star Trek, watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Granted you might have to watch the Original Series episode Space Seed to fully understand who Khan is and while the 60’s episode might seem laughable at times (Listen to how 1960’s writers viewed the future of 1996) it is a great prologue to an even better movie. Also, aside from letting me know that it was a prequel (No shit, Scotty!), I had no idea what the plot was about. All I got were half a second flashes of random scenes that go by so quick it almost put me in a seizure.

I didn’t go see it in theatres because I was afraid of what might appear on that screen. However after months of putting it off I decided that I would sit down alone at watch it from beginning to end (Another one of Aaron’s illegally downloaded films).

I literally stopped the movie 12 minutes in because of how pissed I was.

Now granted, before seemed interesting in an OK sort of way. Romulan ship comes through temporal hole, fights Federation starship, starship goes boom, James Kirk is born yadda yadda.

However, what got me to stop this film was the scene when a young Kirk is driving a stolen car and all of a sudden we see that Kirk is on a 23rd century equivilant of a Nokia phone...complete with Nokia logo.

What . The. Fuck?

Now, maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing but the one thing you never saw on any Trek episode or movie (Even the one where they went back to Earth in the year 1986) was product placement. It just seems so out of place especially since Star Trek sometimes has the habbit of lecturing us on the evils of greed and how humans of today are very much like how the Ferengi of the 24th century are.
I got the same sort of reaction when Uhura ordered a Budweiser in the bar scene.

Going back to the car scene: What did any of that have to do with anything!? Kirk steals a car, drives towards the edge of a canyon like a retard and then jumps out only to be confronted by Robocop. Was this to show us that Kirk is rebellious? Who cares!

I’m not going to get into continuity problems too much cause someone could argue that it was already addressed by Spock in the film. What I will do is go over the characters and give you my thoughts on them.

JAMES T KIRK played by Chris Pine-Did his best. Hard to look like a young William Shatner but he pulled it off well. At least he wasn’t Matt Damon

SPOCK played by Zachary Quinto-Really liked how he did Spock. There were times where he looked and sounded exactly like Leonard Nimoy. Great bit of casting. However what the hell was with him and Uhura? Seriously, you have this Vulcan who is supposed to be in control of his emotions and yet we see him making out with Uhura on the transporter pad. Didn’t care for that.

LEONARD McCOY played by Karl Urban-I think this was even better casting than Quinto as Spock. Really gave the air like he was De Kelly from TOS.

UHURA played by Zoe Saldana-What’s up with the Spock humping? You can be upset that he’s lost his homeworld and his mom but face it, he’s emotionless (Unless you call his mom a whore) and won’t set that phaser in his pants to “screw” if you want to offer some pity sex.

MONTGOMERY “SCOTTY” SCOTT played by Simon Pegg-I have a feeling that the writers of the script were just about to finish this screenplay when someone screamed, “Fuck, we forgot about Scotty!” By the way, isn’t it great how Spock was able to remember that formula for trans-warp transporting or whatever it was. Why the hell hadn’t we seen this any sooner in any other episode when it was convenient...though my guess is that Scotty from the future probably made the formula just a few days before future Spock went into the past.

HIKARU SULU played by John Cho-Did a good job. Kept expecting Neil Patrick Harris to relieve him at the helm but it never happened.

PAVEL CHEKOV played by Sacha Baron Cohen-Apparently after great success in comedy mockumentary genre, the Brittish comedian decided to lend his voice to...wait I’m sorry. Chekov is played by Anton Yelchin who I think might have watched more Borat than Star Trek to prepare for the accent of Chekov. High five!

A few questions about the film:

-What is up with Red matter? It either creats a black hole or it sends you back in time? Bullshit.

-Also, why drill into the centre of the planet to release it? Why not just put it a few meters outside the planet’s atmosphere. That should still give you the same result, right?

-If Spock was on Delta Vega, how could he see the destruction of Vulcan so clearly?

-If Spock wanted to save his mother, why not just have them beam her up from where she was? Spock clearly knew where to find her

-Kirk goes from cadet to Captain just like that? Considering Spock was already a commander, shouldn’t he be given a promotion instead of the cadet who clearly cheated on the Kobayashi Maru?

-Nero’s ship is a mining vessel so why in the hell is it armed to the teeth? I mean, yeah, don’t fuck with the Romulans, clearly but come on!

-Also, what was Nero doing for all those twenty years? Why not just send his highly advanced mining ship of death and obliterate Vulcan since the Federation can do jack shit?

Back in 1990, Paramount considered making the sixth Star Trek movie to be about the adventures of young Kirk, Spock and McCoy at Starfleet. This was scrapped for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. If it makes sense in 1990, it should make sense in 2009.

As you can tell, I did not like this movie. It is not Star Trek, I do not consider it cannon and there are probably fanfics on the internet that could come up with a better storyline than this. Now obviously sequels are planned and to the writers of those films I say this: DON’T GO NEAR KHAN!

I don’t care if you can get Justin Bieber to play him, nobody sounds better reciting Moby Dick while trying to kill his rival in a starship than the late Ricardo Montalbán. Besides, the timeline shouldn’t be altered so much that it creates a different outcome should Kirk find him.

So, if you liked this and would like to see other good Star Trek movies with the original crew, I recommend you see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. See The Motion Picture and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier at your own risk.

That’s all I have to say on the matter. Sorry if it was long winded. Live long and prosper.
Did I just say that? Shit, I am a nerd!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Silent Hill? More like Shitty Heap

A couple of Saturdays ago during dinner, my friend Aaron, his girlfriend Katelyn and I decided to sit down and watch one of the many illegally downloaded movies on his big screen TV. Not exactly sure how but we ended up watching Silent Hill.

Never have I been so bored watching what is supposed to be a "horror" movie. The characters were bland, stupid and most of their actions made no sense. I'm still confused as to how it all came back to the little girl, I don't know why I should care. I don't know why the mother initially ran from that cop.

Biggest thing was the ending. What the hell am I supposed to take from this? Are they dead? Is it a ghost world they live in? Why are they in that world? Is it an alternate reality? How did they get in, can they get out? And I don't care if I'm spoiling this for anyone. Fuck spoilers, I'm saving you money and time by warning you away from this heinous piece of shit.

Speaking of alternate realities, I have quite a bit to say about the new Star Trek movie

Back in to speak

Finally got myself a new laptop after weeks of delays and procrastination. Expect more updates, hopefully, as the weeks go on. Really liking the webcam that comes installed on this, might even start making video entries. Only downside is that means I would have to bathe more often to keep up a presentable appearance.

Been a bit behind on all the news websites I normally look at and am doing my best to catch up.