Watching Terminator Salvation over the weekend confirmed one thing for me: technology is out to destroy us all. Technology has been on my shit list ever since my iPhone broke, even though that wasn’t really technology’s fault – it was more like concrete’s fault – but I just don’t think that concrete is out to destroy us all so I’m putting the blame on technology.
And then my RSS feeds got all messed up, which again, probably wasn’t technology’s fault as much as it was user error, but if technology were smarter and more helpful, it would have made it way more difficult for me to break my own website.
Anyway, my friends Natasha and Farnsworth had been eager to see Terminator Salvation, so in preparation, they rented Terminators 1 through 3 as a refresher course. They made it through 1 and 2 before we saw the new one on Saturday.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I’ll just tell you that Christian Bale shout-whispers through the whole thing, and a bunch of stuff blows up. And in the future, even when robots don’t have skin, for some reason they still wear pirate bandanas on their heads.
Afterwards, my friends and I spent at least an hour discussing all the film’s gaping plot holes over beers and deep fried macaroni and cheese, until we got bored and started searching for YouTube clips of fruit bats giving birth.
[Fun Fact: bats give birth hanging upside down.]
Then on Sunday, we all went to Natasha’s parents’ house for a Memorial Day tequila party. The weather was nice, so we gorged ourselves on delicious food and sipped expensive mescal on the back patio while Nat’s parents tried in vain to get some music piped into the back yard. Somehow, it was all tied to their TV in the basement, which no one but Nat’s little sister, Baby G, knew how to control and she hadn’t arrived yet.
Once the temperature started to drop, the party moved its way into the kitchen. Natasha and I were in charge of the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville brand frozen margarita machine, but somehow got away with only having to make one pitcher of them before we retreated to the sweet solitude of the basement with surround sound, leather sofas and a 4,000 inch flat screen TV.
Not wanting to try to figure out their new-fangled cable TV, we opted to just watch Terminator 3, since the DVD player seemed to be working. Of the three complex remote controls on the coffee table, we had narrowed the choices down to two of them – one seemed to control the channels, and the other seemed to control NASA. Neither of them, however, controlled the volume, so I had to do what our forefathers before us did and get up off the leather recliner to adjust the volume. It was abominable and I hope to god I never have to suffer through that hardship again.
Everything was working fine until we would get to an explosion scene – which was every five to seven minutes – because then the volume would spike up about three times louder than the dialogue had just been. So we were forced to either strain to listen to the dialogue and hear the explosions at a normal level, or hear the dialogue at a decent level and be blasted out of our seats when another robot would show up. After the third time of getting up out of the comfort of my recliner to adjust the volume, I yelled at Nat, “Can’t you figure out one of those stupid remotes? One of them has to control the volume!”
“I’m trying! Look – I’m turning up the volume on this one as loud as it will get, and it’s not doing a thing.”
And that’s when we heard a barely intelligible, yet blood-curdling scream coming from upstairs, then some stomping, and then Baby G’s voice, screeching at the top of her lungs, “NAAAAAAAT!!! TURN IT DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWNNNNNNN!!!!!”
Baby G came storming down the stairs, snatched the remote out of Natasha’s hand and frantically pressed a bunch of buttons before throwing the remote back on the couch.
“Sheesh. What’s your problem?”
“Jesus Christ! You guys just turned the music up outside to like 10,000 decibels! Everyone in the whole neighborhood could hear it!”
Apparently, through our random combinations of button-pushing, we had inadvertently discovered how to pipe the music to the back patio, and had been blasting the entire subdivision with an ear-splitting rendition of Oye Como Va. A few car alarms were triggered in the process.
Baby G stomped back upstairs while we all burst into laughter.
The good thing about watching Terminator 3 is that it makes Terminator Salvation seem like Citizen Kane. The plot holes that seemed cavernous just the night before became entirely plausible compared to the painful dialogue and retched acting of its predecessor. I cannot ever recall shouting at the TV screen as much as I did that night.
“Oooh… look at me! I’m a T-X! Look at how I tilt my head when I’m about to kill you!”
“I’M SO F*CKING SURE! Yeah – now is REALLY a good time to stop and thank the robot, when another robot is about to grab your leg and that wall is about to come crashing down on you. Good call, moron.”
“How is this dumbass the leader of the resistance?!?”
“RIGHT! Like Claire Danes the veterinarian can be thrown headfirst across an airplane hangar into a giant tool box and then just get up and fly the plane. AAAARRRRGGGH! I CAN’T TAKE IT! THIS MOVIE IS A STEAMING PILE OF SHIT!”
So yeah, that’s the good thing about watching Terminator 3. But the best thing about watching Terminator 3 is when you get to play Santana, really, really loudly. Because if that doesn’t prove that the machines are out to destroy us all, then I don’t know what does.
It may not be apparent to you, particularly if you’re not all that familiar with animal behavior, but this armadillo is incredibly happy. You can tell by the subtle smile lines near his eye. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t notice it, it took me years to learn how to read armadillo body language.
Anyway, just trust me when I tell you that he’s really happy. He’s happy because he and I are both pretty sure that my nagging RSS feed problems are fixed, at least most of them. And this is thanks in large part to the tireless efforts and endless patience of my friends Vahid and Dave, who endured weeks of emails from me trying to figure out the cause of the mysterious feed breakage. I have a bad habit of trying to figure things out on my own, with limited technical knowledge, and occasionally need to call in the big guns to clean up my mess.
So if some of you assumed I had given up blogging and finally moved onto that goat farm, welcome back! I’ve missed you more than you’ll ever know. But please… nobody make any loud noises or sudden movements. My RSS feeds are held together with duct tape, Popsicle sticks and chewing gum, so let’s not tempt fate, okay?
[slowly backs out of the room]
The first rule of Shattered iPhone Club is that you don’t talk about Shattered iPhone Club. Or at least you don’t ever talk about how much it cost you to become part of the Formerly Shattered iPhone Club. You just don’t.
Because if you do talk about it, you feel a little sick inside. You remember how you did all sorts of research on where and how to get your phone fixed, and you scoffed when you found out how much Apple would charge you. You worried about the fact that a third party repair would nullify your warranty, but figured you’d take the risk anyway. No way was Apple getting any more of your money. And then you walked into the Apple store on a whim that one day, just to see if maybe you had read it wrong. Maybe they didn’t really charge as much as you thought. You laid it on thick with the guy in the orange shirt, talking about how you almost cried when it broke after only six weeks, and he patted your shoulder in sympathy, but then confirmed that everything you had read was true. And then, just as you were about to walk out, indignant-like, you turned on your heels and asked, “Just out of curiosity, if I were to get it fixed here, how long would I have to leave it with you?” And then he raised his eyebrows and said, “Leave it with us? Oh, we can fix it right now in about 30 minutes.”
And that’s why you don’t ever talk about Shattered iPhone Club.
It’s weird. I think I know what it feels like to get back together with a cheating lover. I know I still love my iPhone, but honestly, things just don’t feel like they used to. I was excited when they handed it back to me, all shiny and new, but I guess that’s just it. It’s not new, and we both know it. It’s like that sheen of blissful ignorance has been rubbed away, and I now see that underneath the slick apps and fancy touch screen, my iPhone is just a piece of machinery. Glass and metal and wires, fragile and fleeting, with a one-year limited warranty.
I used to think my iPhone was invincible, and could protect me, but now I realize that it’s the one that needed protecting all along. And as much as I don’t want to believe it, I feel like my iPhone will cheat again. I’m not trying to tempt fate by saying that, but part of my trust was shattered on that day as well.
I hope I’m wrong. God, do I hope I’m wrong, but let’s just say that the blinders are off now. Fool me once, as they say.