Cheri and I hunkered down tonight to watch the bizarre indie comedy Hamlet 2.
This comedic farce is about a washed up actor who teaches drama at a high school in Tuscon, Arizona. His drama program loses its funding, and he has to go underground to produce his extremely obscene and deeply strange stage musical “Hamlet 2.”
The film stars Steve Coogan (you know, the director from Tropic Thunder) as the weirdo drama teacher. His sad attempts at inspiring his drama students (ala Dead Poets Society and Dangerous Minds) is painful to watch at times and only borderline funny. It felt that Coogan just kept trying too hard to make mediocre writing better than it really was.
The only truly funny part of the movie was during the performance of the rock musical number “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus.” Only in its absurdity and its self-aware campiness was I able to enjoy it. Too bad the rest of the movie wasn’t as funny.
Ray Bradbury had an amazing way at predicting the future (or was he merely observing the present) in Farenheit 451 (of which I’m currently reading):
Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of the state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information.
This statement describes the exact way our culture is today. We’re more concerned with Seinfeld trivia rather than the political issues surrounding our everyday lives. Its because we can feign intellectualism by quoting The Simpsons or spouting on and on about the life and times of Kevin Bacon. Today’s intellect is not about education or social justice — its about trivial knowledge that makes us believe we’re cultured.
Bradbury wrote these words almost 56 years ago and it has sadly come to fruition. I admit that I am susceptible to the trivial; I find it easy to learn and I have a knack for remembering it fluidly. But Bradbury’s words make me want to lessen how much time I focus on the these ‘facts’ and try to focus on more important things.
I had a couple of good customer service experiences yesterday.
The first one occurred at Bed Bath and Beyond. Cheri and I had bought a Christmas gift for my Mom. Luckily, before Christmas, we found out she already had this item (a cupcake holder). So we found an alternative gift and held onto the cupcake holder. I didn’t have the receipt anymore, so I was worried that it would be a hassle trying to return it.
Despite my anxiety, I shuffled into BB&B yesterday to try to return it. The clerk at the return counter asked why I was returning the item. I told her the above tale and then explained that I no longer had the receipt — but I did have the credit card I used to purchase the item. She quickly scanned the UPC code on the item, then swiped my credit card and like magic, gave me an instant refund. No hassles, no arguing, no accusations that I was trying to fraud them, nothing of the sort. I was relieved how easy the whole exchange was and that the computer even recognized that we used one of their 20% off coupons when we bought the cupcake holder; thus giving us a refund for what we paid, not what the item was selling for. Perhaps this is one of the advantages to using a credit card (or, in my case, a check card) over cash.
My second customer service adventure occurred at the Spencers Gifts in the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. I had received a hat from a co-worker that was a bit too small (the hat was sized S/M when I easily needed a L/XL). On a previous trip to the mall I noticed that Spencers sold the hat, so I made a mental note to take it there for an exchange. When I walked in I went straight to the counter and explained my prediciment and asked for an exchange. Without a blink, the lanky sales associate grabbed a bigger sized hat for me (since they were out of my reach), removed the security tag, and gave it to me. No receipts involved, no paperwork, no nothing. This made me very happy and I walked out the store clicking my heels.
Ever since I’ve become a huge fan of the consumer advocacy blog The Consumerist, I’ve become anxious when dealing with customer service issues. All the bad things they report over there have made me fear dealing with customer service. In reality, I should be more confident since I’m more knowledgeable because of The Consumerist. I just need to realize that not every customer service experience is going to want me to pull my hair out.
In keeping up with our New Years Holiday spectacular, Cheri and I plopped down on the couch to cheer on our Virginia Tech Hokies in a 20-7 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2009 Orange Bowl. The night started strong with me running to 7-11 to pick up some gametime snacks. The combination of Twix dipped into a cherry Slurpee sprinkled with Utz potato chips immediately sent me into a first half food coma. But by halftime I was wide awake and ready to continue my cheering. Surprisingly, we both stayed awake for the rest of the game and went to bed feeling great for VT’s underdog win.
To all the VT alumni and fans that bet against the Hokies winning in their office pools I gobble in your general direction!
Cheri and I ushered in the new year by doing what we do best — relaxing at home together.
We were both feeling fairly anti-social last night and didn’t want to go out and dodge the drunk drivers last night, so we made plans to crash on our couch, stuff our faces with good (and bad) food, and watch some TV. Our programming for the night consisted of the entire first season of Life — the show about the cop who was re-instated on the force after being exonerated for murder after spending 10 years in prison. Neither of us had seen the first season, but we’ve been watching the second season and just trying to fill our gaps of plot details ourselves. My boss gave me the first season on DVD for Christmas. We didn’t finish the entire season though — I fell asleep during the 9th episode (good thing there were only 11 total) and we decided to turn it off and finish it later today.
Damian Lewis’ portrayal of ex-con Det. Charlie Crews is oddly creepy yet very charming. His love of fresh fruit made me eat all of our bananas last night.
Cheri and I managed to move this weekend without killing ourselves (or each other). We moved from our 780 square foot apartment to a 2200 square foot townhouse. Our friends from church helped us pack up the moving truck and moved us in this weekend. We were able to lure them to lift furniture with bagels and pizza. The only problem with the place is that we have very poor cell phone coverage here for some strange reason. This might be a good time to switch to Verizon (since we’re with T-Mobile). Pictures are up on my flickr, but here’s a few pics of the new place.