The Friday Hot Sheet

As we reach the end of another busy autumn week, there's a certain chill in the air that reminds us that no matter where we live, an almost inescapable environmental change is nearly upon us, one that affects almost everything we will do on a daily basis for the next few months.

Because now when you head into the department stores and the gas stations, you're starting to notice the first hints of Christmas decorations going up. Earlier and earlier every year, the creeping of flashing lights and tinsel being wrapped around streetlight poles starts to change the entire outlook of the area, bringing with it a certain sort of bitterness among everyone around you -- a bitterness that will surely melt into warmth when the holiday gets closer, but now only seems to spell the spending of more money and the annoyance that comes when that one co-worker of yours starts wearing in those awful sweaters with the Christmas characters bedazzled onto the front of them.

Let’s get something straight here -- I love Christmas. But the corporate Christmas marketing season and the sheep-like people who fall under its spell a full 3-4 weeks before Thanksgiving are a living hell that tends to add a level of cheap-stink to the whole thing that seems to get worse every season.

So before I get roped into being a Secret Santa -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
HalloweenI don’t know exactly why -- but I’m sorta not into it as much this year. Oh sure I’ve done some events with my son and made sure that he’s got all he needs to have a good time, but for whatever reason this year I can’t help but notice that I’ve been slack on getting a pumpkin to carve, and have all but dragged my feet when it comes to getting a costume. I mean, Halloween parties at Endo are always insane, and even if that weren’t the case – what’s more fun than getting a great costume together and having fun with your friends? And yet it’s just not gotten to me the same way it usually does this year. Part of it I think is financial, because money is really tight lately, leaving me unable to dig in with both heels the way I’d like to – but I also think there’s something at work here where despite the fact that "Halloween party" means two very different things to each of us -- it seems like at a certain point there’s an invisible pull to sorta hand things like this off to your kids. To make sure you’re fully prepared to put in the time on their behalf, even if the cost is your own direct enjoyment of the thing. I’ll still watch a couple of horror movies and stuff, but the thing I’ve put the most time into this year is making sure he has plenty of safe places to trick or treat. I don’t know -- maybe next year will be better.
Zack and Miri
Make a Porno
Despite the overwhelming blitz of advertising for this film (which in itself is usually a bad sign) I find it really odd that there seems to be a real effort on the hand of the studio behind this to make sure that Kevin Smith’s name isn’t associated with it. I know Seth Rogan’s the more marketable commodity right now, but it sorta feels like the advertisers are worried what people might do if they find out that Smith actually directed the thing (or worse yet, wouldn't mind if audiences simply assumed Judd Apatow did it). All that being said – judging from the commercials, the whole thing just looks kinda thrown together, which is always a bad sign. Because what that means is it’s more likely to be filled more of the things Kevin Smith and Seth Rogan tend to rely on when they get lazy – Gross-out humor and people sitting around smoking while they make esoteric Star Wars references. Then you start seeing commercials with Rogan in hockey gear, and it starts to feel like Chasing Amy all over again. Here’s the thing – the best thing about a Kevin Smith movie is the way the discussions between the characters tend to make you think about a given issue. But the worst part about any Kevin Smith movie is the fact that the characters talk too much and nothing ever really happens. Add to that the whole point of the plot seems to be Seth Rogan getting naked and sleeping with Elizabeth Banks, and you’ve got a climax (no pun intended) that doesn’t really sound all that appealing. I’m sure it will have a good opening weekend, but I’ll betcha anything it gets bad word of mouth afterwards and fades a lot quicker than the star or the director hopes it will (at which point Kevin Smith will go on a lot of talk shows and chide us all for not being smart or liberated enough to “get it”).
My weight
loss struggles
I haven’t been to the gym in a week, and the results are starting to show up on the scale. There was a period there where I was going 3-5 days a week, pushing hard and thinking I was getting into the swing of it, even though I wasn’t really noticing much progress at all. I got curious about this about a week ago, thinking maybe I was doing something wrong. That’s when I came across a few different sources that basically said the things that I was doing the most of were really not effective at all. I read experts telling me to pay more attention to BMI, but then when I did the math it became completely clear that according to that scale, the only way I’d ever stop being "obese" is if I grow 9 inches taller or lop off one of my legs. The end result of all this was me getting really frustrated and just blowing off the gym altogether. I know I have to get back in there, but my main thing now is to find a better way of working out, so I’m not just going in circles. Unfortunately, there’s just so much crap out there – that it’s hard to find even a comprehensive weight training plan that doesn’t sound like it’s a snake oil deal.
CrossbowsThe other day I was in a sporting good store with my son looking primarily for a new set of dumbbells for me to use at home. But of course, in a place like that there’s always tons of stuff to look at, so once I was done we went wandering around. They had a little fake putting green at the golf section, so we hit a ball around. There’s a little fake track by the shoe section, so we ran a few races (much to the disapproval of the guy behind the counter). But then when we got to the hunting section where all the guns and plastic deer targets with arrows sticking out of them were on display, my son’s mood changed a little. He asked me if I’d ever gone hunting and killed an animal. I told him I hadn’t (which is true), which seemed to lift his spirits a little. Despite growing up on a farm, My dad was never really into hunting as far as I can tell. To be totally honest, I’m not even really sure if faced with the opportunity that I could take a kill shot on a hunting trip. All that being said – I’ve never really had a problem with the idea. As long as you’re respectful of your quarry, honorable in your methods, and safe in your practices – it’s no crueler to animals now than it was in the days when it was a method for finding food. But that doesn’t mean my eyes didn’t light up when we turned the corner and ended up in the archery aisle and found myself face to face with an honest-to-goodness crossbow. Man -- those things are awesome. I’m not really a gun guy per se, but I would honestly love having one of these to target shoot with.
Gas PricesFurther proof that I have absolutely no idea how the international financial markets work, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find prices at the pump that have been under $2.50. I’m not one to complain, but I’m not really sure how this happened. Aren’t we in like the biggest financial crisis in history? Aren’t we still at war with two large middle eastern oil-producing nations? I know my bank account is essentially empty, and my 401k took a big dive – so it’s sort of confusing to me that this of all things has become a bit more affordable lately. Hopefully it will last.
Being an IdiotSpeaking of things that are affordable, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve opened up iTunes to download music at $.99 cents a song, racked up a few dollars in charges, and then started searching for something that ends up being too esoteric, old, or local for iTunes to have – which leads me to opening up my Torrent download application and searching for it, at which point I realize that once again I’ve forgotten that all the things I pay for online (regardless of how cheap) can easily be found for free. Sure it might take a little more time to find everything, but the possible savings I keep forgetting to take advantage of make this one the more frequent slap your forehead moments I’ve experienced lately.
Candy From
My Son’s Bucket                  
Yeah it’s a little bit of a cheap practice, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does it. I mean, there’s an entire bucket of candy sitting in my kitchen unguarded – what do you expect me to do? Besides, as much fun as it always was to go door to door back in the day, I’m pretty sure I’m too old to trick or treat anymore.

[Listening to:  Marcy Playground"Saint Joe On The School Bus" ]


whatigotsofar said…
Kevin Smith films are god awful and must be removed from existence. I would have seen that film and was planning to until I found out Kevin Smith was involved.
The Kaiser said…
The real question is: what sort of candy are you stealing? Are you going after the good stuff, leaving your poor kid with a bucket full of Neko wafers and gum, or are you mixing it up a little and leaving him some chocolate?
Werdna said…
Great variety on the Hot sheet this week. Since I don't see movies, I'm not worried about Apatow or Smith, I like Kevin Smith's dialog and he's a good guy from what I've seen of him at comic-con (he's there pretty much every year having fun). But I'm tired of his lack of growth as a film maker.

I have the same thing with the weight loss thing right now. I was moving in the right direction, no the holidays (and my lack of self control) are stealing it back.
Heff said…
I do the same thing...and I DO take the good candy.
Frank said…
If people say they have the right to start putting up Christmas decorations in the middle of October, then I'm going to argue that I have the right to start my celebratory New Year's drunkfest a week before Thanksgiving.
anitra said…
dude. come to jacksonville and we'll start the post-halloween pre-new years drinking club :)
Werdna said…

New Years celebration may now commence...
MsPuddin said…
yeah i never understood that whole bmi thing either.i wrked out for two weeks straight and mine dropped 1 trainer was all excited, i'm like is that even water weight? wtf? its all consistency and diet.come on Hex you can do it!
Hex said…
WIGSF -- I think when Clerks came out it was a breath of fresh air, but I think we all expected the guy to grow from there, and he just hasn't.

Kaiser -- First off, my child whom I adore has no idea how wonderful licroice and milk duds can be, so those get skimmed off the top. After that, I try to keep clear of his favorites -- although sometimes it's hard to just let a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup go untouched, you know?

Werdna -- You're an active guy with all the swimming and stuff you do. You'll get back on the right track.

Heff -- You can be my wingman anytime.

Frank -- hell, I'm drinking right now. Lets get this party started!

Anitra -- I totally concur. See Frank, you've started a grass roots movement!

Werdna -- Motion passed. Point of order.

Puddin -- It's a height/weight ratio that's supposed to describe your overall fat percentage in better terms than what you see on a scale, which can be affected by water retention or whatever. But it doesn't always account for different body types. I have really broad shoulders -- so I'm not exactly typical for my height, which throws my numbers off.

Sounds like you're on the right track though -- keep it up, girl!!
Satorical said…
In an economic slowdown (or recession, or clusterfuck, or whatever you want to call it), business slows down, so less goods are shipped. People also conserve by using less. All of this means the demand for fuel is down.

Supply and demand; ergo gas prices have fallen.

The long-term trend will still be upupup, regardless of demand, thanks to a finite supply of petroleum. This respite does not mean US consumers should start buying gas-powered SUVs again.