Conrad’s cold pack

I just discovered that someone sold Conrad-branded cold packs with his cringe-inducing pun, そんなはずがアラスカ, printed on them. Here is a picture from an eBay listing for the item:

Photo of Conrad cold pack from eBay
This line, そんなはずがアラスカ, is a play on the phrase そんなはずがあるっすか?, which basically means “That couldn’t be the case.” Literally, it’s more like “Could you really have that expectation?” What Conrad is doing is changing the very last part, the part that asks the question. He leaves the introduction of the topic, “the case” or “that expectation”, and then changes the question part to–wait for it–ALASKA.

For those of you who don’t read Japanese, here’s a romanization that will make everything clearer.

The original phrase: sonna hazu ga arussuka?

Conrad’s version: sonna hazu ga arasuka.

Just a slight sound change, and the whole meaning is different! Yet similar enough to be punny.

Of course, this joke fails, because it doesn’t make any sense. Alaska? What? When Conrad makes this joke in Kyou Kara Maou, Yuuri is horrified that such a cool, handsome guy like Conrad would make such a terrible pun…

Conrad is pimp.
…but he reminds himself that everyone has to have a flaw somewhere.

Here’s the kicker, though. In Japan, when a joke falls flat, people basically respond by going, “Brr! It’s cold!” I don’t know why this is, but in my head I equate the cold, frosty scene after a bad joke in Japan to the crickets and tumbleweeds we evoke here in the US. And this, my friends, is why it’s so hilarious that Conrad’s terrible pun is printed on a cold pack.

Conrad’s jokes: guaranteed to cool you down.

Rotate that underwear

I watched Frasier religiously when it was on the air, and one particular comedic moment has stuck with me since. I haven’t seen the episode in years, but I can still see it in my head (though I may not have the exact wording correct).

Daphne is preparing to move out of Frasier’s apartment so she can be with Niles, and she’s fretting over who will take care of Marty. She rattles off a list of perfectly normal things she does for him, but when she gets to one particular item, she’s met with shock and confusion.

“Rotate your underwear drawer–”


“Oh, you know, go through and throw out your old underwear and replace it with new. Surely you didn’t think you’d been wearing the same ones all these years.”

“…I just thought I’d found a really good pack.”


Up until recently, I had never really watched the Star Trek series Enterprise, which tells the story of the first warp 5 vessel. When it originally aired, I was turned off by all the sexuality in the pilot, and after that I only saw two more episodes–one in season three and one in season four–because a guy I went to high school with had become one of the background ensigns and I wanted to check it out. But “Hatchery” wasn’t a good stand-alone episode, and the other episode I watched was the Orion slave girl episode…so you can see where I might not have been interested in checking out more of the series. Now, however, Enterprise is available on Netflix, so I figured I’d give it another chance, go back and watch it from the beginning. I started while Sean and I were in New York, and we just finished the four-season series last night.

I loved it. Once I got past the pilot, things started to click for me, and I devoured the first two seasons. I grew to love all the characters. Archer is awesome, of course. I really enjoyed Dr. Phlox, with his open mind and congenial personality and solid ethics. He might actually be my favorite character. And then there’s Hoshi Sato, with whom I had a love-hate relationship that I couldn’t help but try and dissect on Twitter. I wrote that I was glad to see a female character who didn’t fit the modern bad-ass chick stereotype–Hoshi was very smart, and her talents were extremely useful, but she had weaknesses too. She got scared and often started to panic and had to be talked down. Her weakness also frustrated me, of course; I wanted her to just get it done. But it was realistic. She was real. She was a person, and I appreciated that a great deal in this media universe of stock female supersoldiers (and characters of any gender who can somehow handle anything).

The first two seasons introduced the universe to the crew of the Enterprise, focusing on exploration and first contact situations. Those two seasons are my favorites; they embody the soul of the opening credits, which I’ve come to consider a love song to the space program. Faith, strength, curiosity, the need to reach the stars…that’s what Enterprise was about to me.

It was a little jarring when, all of a sudden, Enterprise turned into a show about saving the Earth from an alien Death Star.

It took me some time to adjust to season three. The probe attack on Earth and the following few episodes felt rushed; there were moments that were supposed to be evocative that simply fell flat due to the awkward pacing. I knew I should care about Trip’s sister, but I was still reeling from the abrupt change in format. If I’d been watching the episodes as they aired, I would have been very distressed–and if I’d missed even one episode from the beginning of the Xindi storyline, I would have wondered whether I was even watching the same show. The confusion and unhappiness might have caused me to stop watching. From what I hear from friends, that’s not far from what happened to the Enterprise audience.

But I wasn’t watching as it aired; I had the luxury of going straight to the next episode. I’ve found myself far more forgiving of a show’s foibles when I watch it in marathon sessions. So it wasn’t too long before I got used to season three and even started to enjoy it. I think the writers needed time to adjust as well; the story of each episode felt stronger as the season progressed. By the end, I was totally on board and thrilled to be there. It was intense and the final battle was totally epic and I loved every second of it.

And then there was a mini story arc that I wish had never been inserted, because it did nothing but deus ex the entire Temporal Cold War plotline in the silliest, sloppiest way imaginable. The episodes “Storm Front” and “Storm Front, Part II” are by far the worst episodes of Enterprise, and possibly the worst episodes in all of Star Trek. The cliffhanger that introduced these episodes was inserted into the last few seconds of the final, triumphant episode of season three; it felt like the writers were trying to ensure their survival to another season. I’ve come to abhor this tactic, as it throws real storytelling out the window in favor of audience blackmail. TV writers, I implore you: just write good stories. That’s what we want; that’s what will keep us watching. We don’t want to be coerced. We’re getting tired of it. Eventually there’s always one cliffhanger too many. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this farce lost Enterprise the viewers who had adjusted to the Xindi arc.

After the tale of the time-traveling alien Nazis is over (I told you it was terrible), season four goes right into a very strong, multi-episode arc involving Noonian Soong’s ancestor Arik and some leftover Augments (human supersoldiers). These episodes feature the wonderful Brent Spiner, and Sean and I watched them all at once. The story was wonderful and there was a cute nod at the end to cybernetics being perfected “in the next generation or two”. There are episodes like that in the first two seasons, where things that happen in other Star Trek series are foreshadowed, and it’s always fun. (There were probably many examples I didn’t recognize; I plan to continue watching the Trek series to see what I missed.)

Despite how much I enjoyed the Soong arc, though, I was starting to get a crawly premonition. Enterprise was starting to feel like a different show again. Rather than going back to the season one and two mission of exploration and discovery, or into another war like season three, season four seemed to be transitioning rather rapidly into a show about intergalactic politics and peacekeeping.

Fine, I thought. I could handle a few stories like that. It made sense. The series had to deal with everything that had happened, including new alliances and temporal agent Daniels’ promise that one day Archer would help to form the Federation. But I had a sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to be a few episodes here and there–that the series I’d come to love was lost forever. And I was right. While there were a few stand-alone episodes that evoked the first two seasons, for the most part season four was a series of long story arcs tying humanity into other species and Enterprise into other Trek series. It was good, at times great, and always interesting, but it wasn’t what I’d come to love and expect.

There was another problem with season four that really got on my nerves, and that was retconning Hoshi into a poker playing aikido black belt. There was no indication before season four that Hoshi knew martial arts (other than standard Starfleet hand-to-hand), and she didn’t seem the type to organize ethically dubious poker games and break her CO’s arm over them. I could understand Hoshi gaining confidence in herself after going through what she went through in the Xindi storyline (though honestly an emotional breakdown would have been more in-character), but making self-confidence changes and retconning badassery into her past was going a little too far. It’s possible the writers were responding to criticism of Hoshi; one reviewer apparently dubbed her the series’ “screamer”. But they should have stuck to their guns and continued delivering a believable character rather than succumbing to pressure and resorting to the military chick/Asian martial artist stereotype. (They did backpedal a little toward the end of the show by having Archer and Hoshi recall her former timidity; she admits that she’s just gotten better at hiding her fears. This felt consistent with seasons 1-3 Hoshi but not with season 4 Hoshi.)

While the Terra Prime story arc felt like something out of Babylon 5, I wasn’t unhappy with it. It had a tragic but realistic ending. At that point I just wished I could watch more episodes, see Trip and T’Pol work through what had happened together. I guess they actually didn’t do that, though; if the capstone episode is to be believed, their relationship pretty much ended with that tragedy.

I didn’t have a problem with Riker and Troi (and Data’s voice, and a mention of Reg) being brought into the final episode. The Next Generation was always the most accessible Star Trek to me, optimistic and curious, so it felt almost like coming home to have them round out the show. Thinking about it, I can see where it might be something of an affront to the Enterprise cast; they weren’t allowed to finish their show by themselves, in “real time”, but were instead relegated to a holodeck program for a completely different cast. In that light it might have almost been better to just end one episode sooner. But I liked getting that feeling of continuity, of feeling that what Archer and T’Pol and Trip and Malcolm and Travis and Hoshi and Phlox did existed in the “real” timeline. I don’t want to say it gave the show credibility; I think Enterprise was pretty credible (and in many ways incredible) on its own. But it cemented Enterprise‘s place in Star Trek history, and that was nice to see.

I did sort of wish the show’s conclusion had been more open-ended, though. I’m not the type to flip to the back of a book to see how it ends, so it was a little depressing to learn how Trip dies, and when Enterprise is decommissioned and the adventure is over. The six years between the final two episodes allow room for more stories, but now that I know what ultimately happens, there doesn’t seem to be a point in hearing them. They seem futile and pointless. (Obviously, the idea of “fate” turns my soul to lead.)

I think in season four the show lost its balance; where before it foreshadowed the events of other Trek series, in its final season Enterprise almost became the other Trek series. Too much changed at once. It was almost like skipping ahead a few decades in the timeline. They were good stories, but I’m not sure they matched the people at that point in time. At the beginning of the show, humanity had only just gained the ability to travel to distant systems at a decent speed, and by the end–before the seven-year jump ahead in time–they were brokering peace agreements between species they barely knew. It just seemed a little odd that a crew so reliant on the Vulcan database would suddenly have the knowledge and expertise for the kind of missions seen in The Next Generation, and that the original mission of exploring and increasing Earth’s understanding of the universe would be so quickly bumped down the priority list.

But maybe I’m being hard on season four because I liked the earlier stories better.

In the end, I’m left loving seasons one, two, and even three despite its faltering start…and liking season four a lot, though not on the same level. I wish the show could have continued from season two into more stories about exploration, but I’m happy to have gotten what I did. Thanks to everyone involved with Enterprise: you made a great show with wonderful characters. I look forward to continuing to the other Trek series.

Where I’m at with my anime

(In-joke: Korn rocks!)

Huge Haruhi fan. Can’t wait for the next episode.

Fate/stay night is getting [ableist slur removed on 10/26/2016].

Rewatching Touch has been so great. I’m almost to the end. I’d be done if I had it all downloaded.

Yakitate!! Japan is hilarious as always. I’ll be sorry to see it end.

I’ve given up on Gakuen Heaven. The second episode was too creepy for me. I think I’ll say “no thanks” to boys love anime in the future.

Nana is fantastic. Watch it.

I’m so far behind on Bleach and Naruto it’s not even funny. I’m not sure I would even know where to begin catching up.

Still waiting for more Prince of Tennis: National Championship. That first episode was so awesome. It totally made up for the original show’s sucky ending.

And that’s about it. I’ve been thinking a lot about Full Moon wo Sagashite lately. Maybe when I’m done with Touch, I’ll go back and watch that again.

Addendum 5/21: I watched the first episode of Shinigami no Ballad today. Not sure I have any interest in watching more. The main character is boring, and it looks like the premise is that she goes around killing people and feeling bad about it. I can do without the depression, you know?

My reaction to Revenge of the Sith. SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS.

I am three kinds of depressed right now.

The first kind is a result of the perfect tragedy of the story. Anakin turns against everything he believes in, everything the people who love him believe in, in order to save the woman he loves. But as he walks further and further down that path, he loses even that. Just enough. Just enough so that when Sidious causes Padme to die, Anakin finds it conceivable that his own Force-choke was the reason. That he had killed his wife; that his ties with his former life have been completely severed; that all he can do now is move on down the dark path, continue his quest for power–not for any noble purpose, but because it is all he has left.

I could have believed in that tragedy.

The movie didn’t let me.

It was so good. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I was happy. New things were happening that I didn’t expect, but that made sense. I watched Palpatine’s web of deception and I understood, to the depth of my being, how it was affecting Anakin. I was convinced that it would all culminate in one great event that would send Anakin plummeting into the Dark Side; I had every indication that the story was that strong.

The event turned out to be Palpatine pretending to be frail so that Anakin would save him from Windu–Anakin slicing off Windu’s hand–Palpatine “recovering”, screaming “unlimited power!” and blasting Windu to his death with Force lightning.

This happened, and Anakin said thickly, “What have I done?”

And you see how this could not possibly have been the scene that turned him. For he still had remorse.

But he staggered forward as Palpatine approached him. He dropped to his knees. He said, “I will do whatever you wish.” He said, “I pledge myself to you.” And when Palpatine immediately slay all the Jedi, he said, “Yes, my master.”

In his very next scene, Anakin ignites his lightsaber to kill a child.

I do not believe in Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side!

I do not believe that the man who, for the duration of the film’s exposition, was in anguish over his feelings of ambition and jealousy, who strove to do the right thing, who refused to leave Obi-Wan to die, could so quickly turn to slaying children.

The Windu scene could have been a factor. One that caused him to rethink everything. But it couldn’t be the factor.

Not unless Palpatine was doing something to Anakin’s mind. And while this is a possibility (especially given Palpatine’s apparent ability to kill people from afar), there is no indication that he is doing anything. The film does not provide evidence of this theory. I have only come up with it out of desperation.

That scene is the primary reason for my second depression, my depression at the fact that the movie could have been brilliant. There is another.

Anakin and Obi-Wan’s duel.

“Don’t try it,” Obi-Wan warns, but Anakin leaps anyway–and then Obi-Wan relieves Anakin of all his remaining limbs. Anakin’s body falls to the edge of the rocky hill and catches fire due to the molten lava not a foot away from him. He burns, and writhes, and screams.

And Obi-Wan watches, and then turns and walks away.

“You were my brother,” he said. “I loved you.”

But he was going to let this “brother” die in torment, rather than putting him immediately out of his misery. He didn’t expect Anakin to survive. But he didn’t ensure Anakin’s death.

I can understand the reasoning that Obi-Wan couldn’t stand to kill Anakin. He said as much when Yoda sent him on that very mission. But I find it hard to believe that Obi-Wan could stand to watch Anakin suffer through that much pain. I find it hard to believe that Obi-Wan wouldn’t show his padawan, his brother, mercy.

There is an answer for both of these scenes, and it is the worst answer possible.

“Well, it had to happen that way, to prepare for the other movies.”

These scenes were very good, but in the end they were both forced to fit a mold that was no longer suitable. Realism–I mean story realism, realism of character–was abandoned in favor of getting everything to work out correctly.

I think Lucas was on the road to telling a different story than he originally intended, and I think the new story changed how other things worked out. Padme wasn’t supposed to die in childbirth, after all. Leia remembered her mother. “Very beautiful…kind, but sad.” Lucas had to change this to make Anakin’s fall work out properly. I’m not happy with that edit, but I can understand the need for it. Anakin needed to lose Padme so that Palpatine could manipulate him fully. Leaving her alive would have fit the later movies, but it would have felt unbelievable. “Surely Anakin could sense Padme,” people would say. “Surely he’d look for her, surely he wouldn’t just believe Palpatine’s word.”

Lucas saw that this would be unrealistic, and he modified it. But he didn’t apply the same wisdom to the two most important scenes of the movie.

I do not believe in Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, and I do not believe in Obi-Wan’s decision to leave Anakin writhing in pain.

Those two scenes were the pillars for the entire film. And they completely collapsed, taking the rest of the movie–which was perfectly planned, well-executed, beautifully rendered, and even decently acted–down with them.

I think the overall story was sound. I think the acting was good. I think the special effects were wonderful, and they didn’t seem to overshadow the plot this time. This could have been a brilliant movie.

But in crunch time, at the moment when everything had to make sense, when I was supposed to be twisted up inside with the terrible necessity of it all, when I should have been thinking, “They don’t know what they’re doing, but it couldn’t have happened any other way”…it all fell flat. None of the artistry that went into making the rest of this film beautiful could save the two glaring plot inconsistencies that sucked all joy out of my final Star Wars experience.

And that, my friends, is my third depression. This is it; this is the end. This movie, that could have been great, that should have been great, has put the final nail in the coffin of the girl who once introduced herself to her dormmates with “The most important thing about me is that I love Star Wars.”

It’s all over. And I don’t even get to say “What a way to go.”

Media bias; plus, what I’m up to

I love it when Den Beste points these things out. What you see or read on the news really is just a matter of how the news organization wants to frame the information they’ve received.

I finished off Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with time to spare before seeing the movie last night. I must say, it’s my favorite book so far. That may have tempered my opinion of the movie, too, because I came away from it feeling like it was the best of the three, while Kelly was far less impressed.

Regardless of whether or not the movie is actually good, I stand by my opinion that the soundtrack is the best of the Harry Potter music, and is indeed the best from John Williams that I’ve heard in awhile. The man is my idol, musically, but of late he has taken to essentially plagiarizing himself. (For example, of all the music in The Phantom Menace, the only truly unique theme was “Duel of the Fates”. For a more relevant example, the main theme we hear when a Harry Potter movie opens or is advertised is almost exactly the same as a spooky, magical little melody from Hook.)

Having blown through three Harry Potter novels, I’m starting to feel like a real reader again. In fact, tonight I finally started reading The Time Traveler’s Wife…and it is really, really good. I’ve missed being a reader; I haven’t been voracious about it since sometime in high school. The only thing I don’t really like about reading is having to handle the books. There is no comfortable way to read. I have three typical positions, which I switch off as I get uncomfortable: on my back, holding the book over my face; on my stomach, with the book resting on my pillow; and sitting cross-legged, leaning down towards the book. Depending on the size and weight of the book, lying on my back, which is otherwise the most comfortable position, can be a true hassle.

I don’t particularly like reading things of novel length on my computer, because I have no real way of stopping. It’s not like I can put a bookmark in exactly where I want to (although I don’t know about ebook software, and whether or not this is possible with that). I have read in the La-Z-Boy we got from Sean’s parents, and it works out okay: I can prop my elbows on the armrests, which is something of a relief to my arms. Maybe with a pillow in my lap it would work out…

It might be fun to take a book over to the workout room at the apartment clubhouse and read while walking on a treadmill. I may try that at some point; more exercise would definitely be a good thing.

Work has been much better than it was on Monday and last week. I’m not sure what my problem was, but at least part of it can be attributed to hormones and lack of sleep. Yesterday I had something of a bad experience on a call, but I refused to let it bother me. I was pretty impressed with myself afterwards. If it had happened on Monday, I’m not sure what would have happened.

Mari and Brooke and I were supposed to bellydance today, but things didn’t work out. Hopefully we will be bike-riding tomorrow, and maybe we can squeeze in some bellydance too. I would like to get myself on a regimen of going through all the basic bellydance motions, several times each, every day. I got the idea from Mari; it would be a fantastic aerobic/muscular workout. Now I just need to figure out what time of day I want to do it. I would have time in the morning if I got up at 5 (like I usually try to), but I would also have time right after work, in the “dead” time between then and when I have to start making dinner. I suppose I could just dedicate myself to doing it during one of those two times.

I need to go grocery shopping and pick up some meat for the week, and vegetables. Perishable food is the bane of my existence…I have trouble actually using it up before it goes bad. At the same time, though, I really want to start eating fresh foods, and stop using packaged/processed products.

As a final note…I found a couple new blogs to read recently. One belongs to a 17 year old and the other belongs to a 73 year old. I found them through Blogger’s new profile feature…I have “emotion” listed as one of my interests, and out of curiosity I clicked it to see if anyone else had used that word too. Interestingly, only a handful of people came up. Of those, I found myself drawn to these two: goei and rare.

rare has a sort of rambling, stream-of-consciousness, yet somehow practiced and beautiful flow to his writing, and yesterday he wrote something that really touched me, so I would like to share it.

Journalism, and how to fund things without advertising

Interestingly enough, Den Beste recently wrote about the decay of journalism in the United States…I just read his piece.

I don’t know how I would solve the problem either, but I think turning all news organizations into nonprofits would be a good start. Of course, I’m not sure how this would be accomplished while allowing the organizations access to the technology and travel they need to get the story. I hesitate to say that they should be government subsidized, but I’m not sure that advertisers would approach them in the same way if they were nonprofit…and to be honest, I don’t think the news should have advertisements, and this change would certainly destroy their budgets.

It’s gotten to the point where I really just hate advertisements of all kinds. With the Internet, I can pretty much find whatever I need, via informative websites or word-of-mouth on forums or from friends. I can’t actually remember ever seeing an ad, thinking “Hey, I could use that!” and then buying something.

Most of the time I ignore ads completely. I throw away the coupon books and flyers we get in the mail, too. Coupons are a huge scam; they give you discounts on things you didn’t want in the first place. You’re not saving money, you’re wasting it on stuff that clutters up your house, or food that will sit and rot in the fridge because “it was such a great deal!” and yet no one wants to eat it.

I don’t need to even start on how annoying pop-up ads and spam are.

For some time now I’ve been thinking that advertising needs to be eliminated, or at the very least transformed. But I’m not entirely sure how, and that is why I can’t solidly recommend a way to take advertising out of the news.

I’ll probably post more about this later, but my lunch break is over now, so…ta-ta!


I’ve added a comments feature to this page, using BlogKomm. (Who knew?) And so, from now on, I won’t be updating my LiveJournal or Xanga sites. They will, like my unknown Blog-City account, fade into obscurity and nothingness.

I’m going to try to move the comments from both sites over to this site eventually. For now my main goal is to redesign this page to make it look a little nicer, and to make the comments fit better. I also need to add my new RSS (Atom) feed as a link on this site.

The main reason I’m posting now is because I’ve started using Bloglines to subscribe to pretty much everything I read…and through Bloglines I’ve been reading a lot more news. Because of that, I have six links I want to share…so here they are!

And that’s about it. I’m sure I’ll find more links soon though…Bloglines is going to suck my life away, I just know it.

My reaction to Pulp Fiction

All right. Dinner.

  • One medium Dr Pepper, no ice
  • 8-pc chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A
  • Medium waffle fries
  • Cole slaw

Is that how you spell it? “Cole slaw”? What a ridiculous term.

I suppose my readers–yes, all two of you–are wondering what happened to the sushi. Well, Sean was already late getting home because he stopped off at his parents’ house to pick up a few things he still hadn’t moved over here. I saw his saxophone case and a computer case in his car, and apparently there’s more stashed in there somewhere. He also ran around to Best Buy and to the Suncoast in the mall, looking for movies. I’m not sure what got him in the mood to watch a movie tonight, but he called me and said he was looking to buy one or more of the following: Pulp Fiction, The Transporter, and Aliens. It turned out that Aliens is currently out of print, due to its initial DVD release being of rather poor quality, and is due to be rereleased in an Alien box set this winter. He finally decided to get Pulp Fiction only, but the mall wanted $10 more than Best Buy, so he swung by the apartment, picked me up, and we ran over to Best Buy.

On the way he told me that he was supposed to meet someone on AC2 at 9pm. This meant that we would have to rush at dinner. I said that we should go to Chik-Fil-A instead, then, and save the sushi for when we had more time. Part of what I love about eating out is not being rushed and just enjoying the evening. So we grabbed Pulp Fiction–and the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack–at Best Buy and then crossed the street to grab some Chik-Fil-A. We came home and Sean was all ready to watch the movie.

I was a little hesitant. I know that Pulp Fiction is one of those movies everyone has seen and that it’s critically acclaimed and all, but I’d heard some rumors about what it was like, and quite frankly I was a little afraid of it. So I wasn’t too thrilled about watching it right away. It turned out that my DVD player couldn’t handle the DVD…it has problems with most modern discs, unfortunately. I thought I was saved, but Sean said we could just watch it on my computer. I relented because he really seemed to want to see it.

I have just retrieved

  • One glass of sugar-free raspberry juice

I wanted ice cream, but I didn’t want to write that I was eating ice cream like a wuss because I was afraid of a movie. :P

So we were watching Pulp Fiction. The initial scene was annoying, but it didn’t really bother me. Well, except maybe that kiss, because it was kind of gross. I like kisses and kissing scenes, but that one was sloppy, and it also felt stupid. I mean, these were robbers. Congratufuckinglations on loving each other, but could you stop being assholes?

Anyway, my reaction to the next scene pretty much set the tone for the rest of what I saw of the film. Travolta and Jackson’s commentary is amusing, but as things go on and the plot is unfurled I can sense that something is going to happen. Something I know I am not going to like. Something involving violence. I watched Desperado; I’ve seen flying gore and guts. But that’s the kind of movie where it doesn’t matter because it’s so sudden and surprising. It’s cartoony almost. With this, I had to deal with the waiting. Waiting while they chatted with one another, bringing up topics that were seemingly irrelevant–although of course I could tell that everything was included with a purpose. All their apparently inane chatter did was build up the tension. And when they arrived to do the job, instead of simply getting it done…they built up the tension even more.

When Jackson finally shot the guy on the couch, I jerked as if I had been the one shot. And then the guy in the chair began sniveling and I knew he was going to die. I knew it would happen; why wouldn’t they go ahead and kill him? But no, they had to torture him, had to taunt him, had to teach him a lesson. I felt like I was the one being tortured and lectured to, and it just wouldn’t stop, until finally they were filling the guy with bullets. But seeing him executed was not a relief. It did not relax me, because I knew that the movie was just beginning, and that things far worse than this were coming.

I knew I wasn’t safe. I knew that I was going to see things I didn’t want to see. I tried to build up my courage, but I was already hugging my elbows, frozen in my chair. I couldn’t eat my dinner. (Until later ;P)

The drug dealer scene was surreal and pathetic, but it allowed me to relax a little. I began to cringe again when Travolta shot up. And then he was on his way to see Uma Thurman–a beautiful woman who I found horribly unattractive in this film–and she kept being druggy-sexy, and you knew she was off-limits, and you were just waiting for the shit to hit the fan, and it did, with a fucking vengeance. And the tension just kept building.

The direction…it’s brilliant, perfect. It makes you scared about what’s coming next because you know something‘s coming. This is the kind of movie where the plot flows naturally and beautifully but instead of riding along with it, you’re being yanked behind on a choker chain that keeps getting tighter and tighter. You never choke, and sometimes it loosens, but there’s never enough slack to breathe completely, and then you’re being dragged along again and the noose around your neck just gets tighter and tighter.

It was uncomfortable. It was scary. It was a crawly panicky feeling in my gut that made me want to scream.

By the time we got to Bruce Willis’ escape from the boxing ring and his meeting with his strange lover, I couldn’t take it anymore. They kept talking and talking and I kept cringing and waiting for the door to burst open and for someone to riddle their bodies with bullets. The tension was too much, it was just too much. I got up and left the room and sat on the toilet and cried.

I am a total fucking wuss.

I sat there curled up and let myself cry until I was done. When I finally managed to calm down, I washed my face and came back into the office and told Sean that I didn’t think I could watch the rest of the movie.

“Why not?” he asked.

I hugged him around the shoulders from behind; he was still seated at his computer. “Because I don’t like it,” was the answer I came up with.

“Fair enough.”

My husband is a very understanding man. I don’t think AJ would have accepted that reason.

I wanted to explain it to him, but I’m not sure I’ve even adequately described my feelings here. The movie was a pressure cooker, I guess, and I was the first steam to flee. It’s not something that makes me jump for joy and be proud of being me, that’s for sure.

So I asked Sean to tell me what happens in the rest of the movie, and he did. Now that I know exactly what is going to occur, I might be able to watch it…but not today, not right now. Right now I’d just like to calm back down, drink my raspberry juice, and chat on IRC. Then I’ll go to bed and snuggle under the covers and try to forget the horror.