The other side of the coin

This is a companion piece to my post from a last month, “Fanboys ruin everything.” In that entry, I had maligned fanboy hype as it tends to spoil and otherwise ruin far too many aspects of popular media (aside from being incredibly annoying in general).

Well, it cuts both ways. When a hotly-anticipated film or television show or whatever is on the way, fanboys overhype it to death. There’s also a sizeable (if not equal) contigent that only wants to bitch, moan, and complain about it…even if it’s a franchise they usually enjoy!

Perfect examples of this are the upcoming Terminator: Genisys and just about every comic book movie in existence. With the latter, I’ve noticed something disturbing ever since the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s Iron Man. Regardless of their actual quality, a special breed of fanboy ire is reserved for any DC Comics movie that’s not Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, or any non-Marvel Studios films that feature Marvel Comics properties, like the X-Men and Spider-Man flicks (though we’ll see what happens now that Disney and Sony have struck a deal on the latter).

It seems that unless a movie’s part of the MCU, it automatically gets shit on heavily often before it gets a chance. To a lesser degree, I’ve seen this hate thrown towards DC television shows, as well…which is strange, because they’ve absolutely ruled the roost in that department in both animated and live-action form since the 1990s. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

The point is, instead of all this screaming and shouting…if you don’t like some upcoming movie or show, then just don’t watch it. And if it ends up being terrible…who cares? Unless you’re a shareholder, it shouldn’t mean jack.

Blizzards, apathy, and laziness

All right, this has happened far too often, and it’s time for me to blow my stack over it. (In blog form, anyway. My girlfriend and I have already grumbled plenty about it amongst ourselves and others.)

Our apartment building isn’t perfect, but when it snows…living here gets really annoying. The snowplow contractors do an abysmal job clearing away the parking lot, and rarely come around more than once. This is a serious problem when it snows off an on over a day or two. The plows usually only make a single pass through the center of the lot, leaving at least eight to ten feet of snow behind the cars. This is mitigated somewhat by parking in the narrower sections of the lot, but even then, you’ve got about six feet of snow left behind your vehicle. I understand that the plows can’t get too close lest they risk damaging the cars, but this is ridiculous. After the last few storms, the plows haven’t even bothered to put down salt or sand on the lot, so the pavement quickly freezes over with a thick layer of ice.

The atrocious snow removal is unfortunately nothing new. When we had that colossal blizzard in early 2013, our lot didn’t get plowed for nearly four days. I understand that three feet of snow overnight took everyone by surprise and fucked things up statewide, but our building didn’t even clear the walkways or entrances. Myself and a few of my neighbors took it upon ourselves to do it, because we sure as hell didn’t want to get stuck inside if there was an emergency. The recent blizzard at the end of January had the plows out in a timely manner, but it still took a while to get everything cleared, and there were the aforementioned large gaps behind our cars which were a pain the ass to shovel away. With last Monday’s storm, the plows didn’t return until that Friday. Four goddamned days later! They moved most of the larger piles, but the lot is still covered with a few inches of snow, slush, and ice, and there’s no salt or sand to be seen.

As if the poor plowing wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse. You see, a majority of our fellow residents are lazy pieces of shit who refuse to clean snow off their cars and shovel out their spaces. It’s made quite clear in our leases that doing this is your own responsibility, but there’s few of us who actually follow through with it. Even if you’re not going anywhere right away, it’s just a good idea to remove the snow from your car and your parking space; it makes it a hell of a lot easier when you do need to leave for work or whatever, and it helps get the entire lot cleared faster. Everyone wins that way.

But nope, these fuckers leave their cars sitting under piles of snow for days and days on end. To make things worse, if they do decide to move their cars, they often barrel out of the spots without clearing them (even after heavy snowfall)…and then park in spaces other people have cleared when they return, leaving the snowdrifts and piles in their old spots for someone else to clean up. When I get home from work, I’m lucky to get the same space I had in the morning! There have been times where I’ve come home after a long day at the office and had to shovel out a space again while my car sits in the lot with the hazard lights on. That’s really fucking irritating.

After last week’s storm, I cleaned off my car and shoveled around it later in the morning when there was a break in the snowfall, then did it again in the evening after another eight inches or so had fallen. That was annoying enough, but I can’t blame anyone for the weather. Who I can blame for what came next is the crappy snowplow job and the lazy residents. The snowplows did an awful job clearing snow, and since so many residents left their cars buried, it was difficult to even turn out of a spot. I nearly got stuck, and my girlfriend did get stuck. Some shithead even honked his horn at her because her car was blocking the way. How much do you want to bet that douchebag didn’t even clear out his own space?

There were even cars parked across the lines this time; that is, one car taking up two spaces. If someone was slightly on or over the line because they couldn’t see it, that’s one thing, but this was clearly deliberate: I saw at least two or three cars that were parked squarely on the center of the line so they’d have plenty of space on either side. That screws other people out of getting a space! Case and point: my girlfriend came home late from work a few days later…and there were no open spaces. Between people parking across lines and the terrible plowing job (entire spaces were still filled with piles of snow!), she had to drive around the lot five times! Eventually, she squeezed into a tiny space by the road (which may or may not have been safe), but this is the bullshit we have to deal with.

Management constantly posts notices reminding tenants that we are responsible for clearing our own spaces, but most residents just ignore them. I suspect this is because there’s no apparent penalty; if there is, I’ve never seen it enforced. Aside from that, how do these lazy bastards get to work? Do they work from home? Do they even work at all? Who knows. The point is that they should still get off their asses and help out.

It’s a lose-lose situation. These dipshits don’t clean off their cars because there’s no consequences; and they also know that eventually, another plow may come by, or a contractor might clear a spot with a snowblower or Bobcat many days later, or they can just nab another resident’s cleared space. Thus, why bother cleaning off their cars or giving a shit about other people?

The powers-that-be are apparently reluctant to do anything about any of this. We’ve complained more than once, but all we’re told is that they’re doing the best they can. I understand that bringing in contractors for extra snow removal costs money, but that’s what we pay rent for. Once in a blue moon, we’ve been able to park in a large business parking lot next door while our own lot is cleared, but that’s always dependent on a deal struck with management. I’ve got a feeling that the business charges a lot for this kind of favor, hence the oppportunity being rare.

I’ve had to miss work on too many occasions because I couldn’t get out of the lot due to the lack of proper snow removal. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have to call out of the office just because your parking lot isn’t plowed, or because your neighbors suck?

If it were just one of these two issues — either poor plowing or lazy residents — then maybe this would be tolerable. But the combination of both is infuriating. These problems would be solved completely if we all had assigned parking spaces. This is something else that we and other residents have suggested to management, but to no avail. I doubt they care.

I wrote this post over the weekend, but by the time it goes live, it’ll be snowing heavily once more. Who knows how long it’ll take the lot to get cleared this time, but given the crappy plowing and those goddamned lazy tenants, my expectations are not high.

We’ve made complaints, but since that’s had no effect, there’s really nothing we can do save for moving out. This snow removal bullshit coupled with a few other notable problems (which could fill another blog post) means we’re going to start apartment hunting once more. We’re hoping to find a new place to live within the next year or so, but non-crappy housing within our price range is very hard to find.

I suppose things could be a lot worse; we found out after moving in that the building was a drug-infested dump up until the mid- to late 2000s, when new owners purchased the property, cleaned it up, and evicted the riffraff. I wasn’t living a life of luxury at my previous apartment, but we never had to deal with nonsense like this. (That complex rightfully threatened to tow people who left their cars snowbound!) Am I asking too much?

In the meantime, at least we have a place to live. I can be sucky, but it’s home.

Fanboys ruin everything

I’m getting sick and tired of fanboys ruining television shows, movies, et cetera with an overabundance of hype, live-tweeting, hashtags, and other such spamming.

A classic example of this took place during the premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter last week. I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch TV live. But when I signed on to my computer that Tuesday evening, my Twitter feed and other outlets were absolutely spammed with people talking nonstop about the show, complete with play-by-play commentary and fucking spoilers. (I can only imagine how much more awful it would’ve been if I used Facebook.) And these are adults, mind you, not teenaged social media junkies!

In the case of Twitter, I fortunately use a client that can mute hashtags, so I was able to clear out a considerable amount of the crud. (If the client didn’t have that hashtag-muting functionality, I likely would’ve sworn off of Twitter many years ago.) Unfortunately, there were still plenty of people who didn’t use hashtags to spam about the show, so I was forced to scroll through seemingly endless nonsense just to find tweets that I was interested in. The only solution would be to unfollow the offenders themselves, and these are friends of mine!

As a result, this fanboy behavior has completely destroyed any interest I had in watching Agent Carter. They’ve ruined it for me before I had even seen a single episode! You can be damned sure it’ll happen again this week, and every time it airs in succession. The same thing happens with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; I wasn’t interested in that show to begin with, but the spamming got so bad during airtime that I’ve since dumped people off my Twitter feed. There was a similar case last year with Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a fine film, sure, but vastly overhyped and not the best Marvel Studios flick by a long shot. (Especially since it was for all intents and purposes a carbon copy of The Avengers, but in space.) And again, the same thing happened with Frozen. I don’t like musicals, but I still respect and generally enjoy Disney films, and I’d heard great things about the quality of animation and such with that one. But so many adults — not kids, adults — wouldn’t shut the fuck up about the damned movie that it’s irritating just to see Frozen products anywhere now, let alone the film itself.

Fanboy enthusiasm for movies and television shows are the worst offenders, especially among the Marvel crowd. Which is odd, to be honest; I know just as many people who are hardcore fans of Gotham, Arrow, and The Flash, but they don’t spam my feed with live-tweets and such. Neither do friends who watch The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, arguably two of the most popular shows on television. Why is the spamming a Marvel thing?

But I digress. The whole mess has been bleeding into more mainstream pop culture as well. Latching on to popular memes while retweeting and spamming them ad nauseam with more and more hashtags added is making me despise them just as you’d despise any product if you were bombarded by ads.

I know there’s a lot to be said for ignoring what others think and just enjoying what you want to enjoy. (That applies to 90% of my interests, as it is.) The problem is that it’s gotten to the point where this fanboy behavior is so annoying that it’s the only thing that comes to mind first whenever I hear about Agent Carter or whatever else they’re spamming that day. It’s like how Star Wars got so goddamned irritating during the prequel era that I swore off the franchise entirely for years. And before you defend this deplorable behavior, imagine if I did this kind of bullshit with my interests: how would you like it if I live-tweeted the latest Napalm Death record, fuckers? Or posted fifty pictures in rapid succession of a Gundam model? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I’m not trying to “show” anyone by passing on watching Agent Carter and the like, nor do I think I’m “better” than these fanboys, nor am I hating something just because it’s cool and popular. (Do I look like a hipster or punk rocker to you?!) I just don’t want fanboy spam polluting my enjoyment of life, and it’s time to once again put my foot down.

Those cocksuckers had better not ruin the Daredevil Netflix series for me…

1960 or 1970

Sometimes I wonder if I grew up in the wrong era to get into metal.

I’m definitely glad that I wasn’t born later than I was, as I almost certainly would’ve missed out on the fun of tape trading. Not to mention that mainstream coverage of heavy metal tanked when the alternative explosion hit in the early 1990s. Thankfully I had already gotten into metal before then, but if I was younger, I might’ve latched on to shitty alt-rock bands instead. The horror!

Anyway, after reading Sound of the Beast and other books which helped fill in the gaps within much of the heavy metal history that I’ve missed, I can’t help but imagine about what it would’ve been like to be a teenaged or young adult metal fan in the 1970s or 1980s.

Let’s just say I was born in 1960. That means I would’ve been a lad of ten when Black Sabbath’s amazing self-titled debut record was released, arguably the start of heavy metal. By my teen years, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal would be kicking off. Talk about getting in on the ground floor! The early stuff by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and the like, not to mention continued great albums from Black Sabbath? That must’ve been a hell of a time to be a fan of hard rock and metal. (In fact, I joked with friends during my senior year of high school about what it would’ve been like if we were graduating twenty years earlier, and I pictured myself as a proto-metalhead decked out in bell bottoms, cross pendants, and a lot of weed.) And later on when Mötorhead and Venom hit the scene…holy shit, that must’ve been like getting hit with a hammer.

Now what if I was born in 1970 instead? This isn’t too far removed from my actual birth year, but it’s far enough back to make an interesting difference. If I plopped out in 1970, my high school years would’ve been the mid-1980s. That’s when metal really took off, and not just that glam shit, mind you. (Full disclosure: Mötley Crüe and their ilk are what got me into metal in the first place in the late 1980s, so I still give them some measure of respect. Everyone has to start somewhere.) The icing on the cake was the massive tours by NWOBHM bands who had really made it big, like the aforementioned Maiden and Priest. The ’80s was the decade for metal, any way you slice it, and there was a subgenre to suit every taste. Extreme metal reared its ugly head for the first time during this era, too, with many of the best black, death, and thrash albums ever recorded making their appearances. I hear tales of folks sneaking into bars to see Slayer and Possessed shows, and I wish I could’ve been that guy. (Though I probably wouldn’t, even if I had the chance; I was a fucking wuss as a kid.) Cripes, can you imagine seeing Anthrax in ’85 or ’86 at some dive in NYC?

Back to the real world. I turned thirteen right as mainstream metal had peaked, only to crash and burn almost immediately thereafter with the advent of alternative rock and the self-destruction of many of the biggest hard rock and metal bands. As the years wore on, I got into more artists from the past because modern metal bands had been driven back underground, and I had very few opportunities to discover them until much later. Still, I couldn’t complain about discovering Black Sabbath, classic thrash metal, and so on. It held up then, and it holds up now. Plus, even back before the Internet made online shopping a trading a cinch, we had local music stores that specialized in used tapes and CDs, so I got stuff for a few bucks a pop.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t really change anything about the era in which I discovered heavy metal. But it’s still entertaining to theorize about what might’ve been.

Lazy traditions

Sometimes the best holiday greetings are the ones you put no effort into. Enjoy!