Archive for May, 2008

Warm Beer and Plus-Sized Models

Random observances from a recent trip to London and various points in Ireland with The Megger:

…When we checked in at the airport, the nice woman at the airline counter moved our seats to the first row after first class, so that we might be “more comfortable” and have “more legroom.” Those concepts sounded great for a 6-hour flight, so we agreed readily, not realizing that sitting in the first row would come with certain “details” that might make our flight “worse.”

First of all, there is no seat in front of us, which means that instead of resting our legs under the seat in front, we have to jam them up against a wall. Very comfortable. Next, because there is no seat in front of us, all of our items must go in the overhead bins for maximum access convenience during the flight.

Finally, I know that the woman put us in that row because of my side job as a plus-sized model, but the seats in that row are not made for people like me. First of all, there was a little control panel on the inside left of the seat that spent the entire flight jammed into my left thigh (I checked, and this control panel was not in the same place on seats in other rows). Ordinarily, I would simply lift the separator between the seats and encroach on The Megger’s territory a little (she’s not using all of her seat, anyway), but as we were in the first row the arm rests couldn’t be raised.

This is because the little tables that usually swing down from the seat in front are located in the arms of the chair. They are designed to swing upward and telescope over the belly/legs area of thin people. Fat people must learn to eat at a 45-degree angle and play an interesting game of real life Tetris as their food continues to slide toward the floor.

I know that the woman at the counter was just trying to be nice; or she has a cruel sense of humor. Either way, the airline is trying to tell me, in its own subtle way, that it’s time to lose some weight…

…I wasn’t the only one experiencing issues during the flight. The following is a conversation from a row over and behind me that my noise-cancelling headphones couldn’t seem to cancel:

Woman 1 (in a voice that caused my brain to vibrate): I can’t see the movie screen from my seat.

Woman 2: Me, neither. You’d think they would have put the screens where everyone can see them.

Woman 1: How tall do you have to see the screen from here? Can they move the screen or lower the seats in front of me?

Woman 2: It’s just ridiculous. We should write a letter to the airline. This is terrible. I wanted to see The Bucket List, too.

Woman 1: I know, with how much we paid for these tickets, you’d think that they would make sure we could see the screen.

Woman 2: Maybe if I sit on my pillow…no, I still can’t see it.

Woman 1: That’s just not right. We should be able to watch the movie.

This conversation lasted along these lines off and on for an hour and a half. I, meanwhile, could see the screen without a problem, but didn’t bother to watch the movie…and it just occurred to me NOW that I should have offered to switch seats with them. Ugh…

…“Hey, you’re going to England? The beer is warm over there, huh? That sounds gross. How are you going to deal with warm beer?”

The above is the most common thing people said to me when they heard that I was going to the UK. These people treated it as if it were a minor calamity; that I would have no recourse at all but to pour the coarse, warm liquid down my unwilling throat. My gosh, you’d think there was no such thing as mixed drinks.

But, lucky for me, I didn’t have to consider alternative forms of entertainment, because the beer, especially the Guinness, is nice and frosty over there. It is colder, in fact, than the beer in most of the US establishments I have visited.

Unlike the US establishments, the pubs seemed to close awfully early in the UK. One Sunday night we went out for dinner, and on the way home, stopped at the local pub for a pint or two. We ordered our drinks at 10:28pm, and last call was at 10:30pm.

We asked the bartender if they always closed at 10:30, and he said no, that they were only closing that early because it was a Sunday night. Usually, he told us, they stayed open until 11.

Oh. So much for our dreams of wild nights in the pubs of London…but at least the beer was cold.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 29 May 2008 No Comments

Something to pass the time

So, I’ve been in London and Ireland the past 8 nights and since I didn’t post a column last week I thought I would give you the following video, sent in by loyal reader Brad:

The Day to Day Grind Tim 27 May 2008 No Comments

A Night at the Movies

My wife and I went to go see Forgetting Sarah Marshall this past Friday night. We don’t go to as many first-run movies as we used to, mostly because the times aren’t convenient – they are either too early or too late – but also because there just aren’t many movies that we want to see these days. However, because we had heard good things about this particular movie, we went to the local Big Time Movie Theater.

I remember going to the movies in Worcester as a kid. I would be so happy just to be there, looking at the big screen and listening to the surround sound, that even bad movies were ok with me. I would sit in that seat, munching on popcorn, thrilled by the opportunity to see Jaws 3-D. I didn’t care that the movie was a completely unrealistic bucket of misery, I only cared that the huge shark was coming OUT OF THE SCREEN! LOOK OUT!

Ahem, sorry…got a little carried away there. The point was, I enjoyed going to the movies so much that I enjoyed everything. Every movie was great, or funny, or interesting…except for Time Bandits. I hated that one. But everything else was wonderful.

The most wonderful of all was my first R-rated movie. I didn’t have the guts to sneak into movies like my friends, so I felt extremely lucky when my brother and his girlfriend (now his wife) took me to see 48 Hours, starring Eddie Murphy. I was 11 years old, and thought that it was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen – there was nudity, constant swearing, dirty jokes, violence, and Nick Nolte. Compared to the movies today it is no big deal, but at the time it was enough to blow my 11-year old mind.

I was so enraptured with the images on the screen that I failed to notice my future sister-in-law trying to find a way to hide under her seat. She and my brother had probably expected a dirty joke or two, not a life-altering experience, and she was mortified. In fact, she still blushes when I tell the story.

In college, movies were still fun – a nice change of pace from classes and fraternity parties – but cost was far, far more important. The Lowell Flick once lowered their ticket price to $1 and in the following weeks, smuggling in my own beer and sandwiches, I saw A Few Good Men 10 times. I knew value when I saw it.

So, speaking of value, The Megger and I walk into the movie theater this past Friday night, running a couple of minutes late as usual, and rush up to the counter to pay. The Megger hands the girl in the booth a twenty and the girl says, “Sorry, twenty-fifty.”

We both do a bit of a double-take and The Megger says, “Excuse me?”

“It’s twenty-fifty,” the girl explains, “usually tickets are ten dollars, but on Friday and Saturday nights it’s ten-twenty-five.”

A weekend tax, if you will. They really bleed you.

So, The Megger fished around for two quarters and handed them over in exchange for our tickets. Then, when we walked over to the pimply ticket taker, he looked around conspiratorially, leaned close to us and said in half-whisper, “If you see any kids sneaking into the theater, do me a favor and let me know. We’ve had a lot of problems with that lately.”

I just looked at the guy and said, “Uh, yeah…right.” There was no chance that I’m going to get up from my seat to rat out some kids; well, unless they start throwing stuff at me. If the movie people care that deeply about it, they can post a guard at the door for their extra 25 cents a ticket.

Sure enough, just ahead of us walking into the screen room were about 7 kids trying to look casual while scanning the area for authority figures. Their gaze stopped for a moment upon me and my suddenly stupid grin, but they immediately sized me up as no threat and walked in.

The movie itself was good and quite funny, but not necessarily for all audiences. In particular, the scenes that featured the personal male adulthood of an actor named Jason Segel. The Megger and I enjoyed the movie, though, and the presence of underage people with the guts to sneak in didn’t bother us in the least. I’m sure that my 11-year old self would have enjoyed it immensely, even without Nick Nolte.

I couldn’t help myself, though. On the way out of the theater, as we were walking past the pimply ticket taker, I said to The Megger in a loud voice, “You know, I was really enjoying that movie until those kids snuck in and ruined it.”


The Day to Day Grind Tim 15 May 2008 No Comments

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