The perverse incentives of phones (and ninjas)

Here’s a shining example of a perverse incentive if ever there was one.

When my phone’s battery is dying, my phone decides to alert me by leaping into life and bleeping loudly whilst lighting up the big LED screen with a warning that my battery is low.

battery low

Yeah, that helps.

This warning then keeps the screen brightly lit until I acknowledge it by pressing the ‘OK’ button.  Even then, it doesn’t switch to standby until I do it myself.

It’s like shouting “You’re being very quiet and stealthy!” to a ninja, mid-creep.

He knows.  And now he isn’t.

Oh look, my battery has drained drastically in the last 2 minutes for some reason.

Oh look, the ninja has been stabbed through the face by the palace guards.

2 ninjas

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Spoiler Alert! The butler did it!

Warning – This post contains spoilers for:

 

The Shawshank Redemption

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Titanic

I just want to make sure you know before you go on, although shame on you if you haven’t seen these films or read the books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, are you ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a massive lover of films/movies.  I love the variety of escapism they provide and relish any opportunity to sit down and watch one.

I love most genres of film, some more than others.  There are some movies in particular that require having a box of Kleenex to hand but I prefer to watch those alone if I’m honest.

I’m not going to go into detail about these types of films because it can be a little bit embarrassing to admit to, and it can also be considered a bit taboo especially if (as a man) you admit it to your friends.

My wife occasionally watches them with me and will sometimes hand me a Kleenex at the appropriate moment, but I still find it embarrassing as these movies don’t really have the same effect on her as they do on me.

But enough about films that make me cry.

I want to talk about something else entirely.

One of the things I love to do is re-watch a film/movie with someone who hasn’t seen it before. More often than not this happens after its run at the cinema and has since moved to DVD or BluRay.  I enjoy seeing someone go through the same range of emotions that I did when I first saw it.  It’s like watching it again for the first time.  However, there is a small nagging problem with this that really gets on my tits.

I shall elaborate.

This weekend my wife and I sat down to watch ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ as she had never seen it.  I was excited at the prospect of watching it again through her eyes and eagerly pulled the DVD from my extensive (and slightly nerdy) collection.  I inserted the disc into the machine and loaded it up.

The first thing that came up was the frustratingly unskippable copyright notice.  I did what everyone else does and started prodding at the remote control to skip it.  This of course never works; it just displays the words ‘This function cannot be performed here’.

I didn’t care.

I shouted “Come on you bastard!” whilst continuing to prod furiously at the button like someone stood waiting for a lift/elevator desperately holding in a massive poo.

Admit it; we’ve all been there.

So we waited.

And we waited.

Eventually, after about a week and a half, the words disappeared from the screen and the DVD menu finally appeared.

On this particular DVD menu  it wasn’t a static image with the usual choices of ‘play movie’, ‘scenes’, ‘extras’, etc., no, this was a slow loading animated menu with scenes from this awesome film playing in the background.  In fact, the first of these scenes was of the protagonist Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) crawling out of a sewage tunnel into a river during a stormy night with Shawshank prison in the background.

Yes, that’s right; the DVD menu had basically revealed the ending of the film.

What the fuck?

How is that allowed?

You don’t see the menu for ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ with Darth Vader saying “No, I am your father” to Luke Skywalker.   It would be an outrage to all of the remaining four people on the planet who still didn’t know.

In the same vein, you don’t see a picture of Severus Snape zapping Albus Dumbledore with his wand on the dust cover of ‘Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince’ with the words “Guess what happens on page 556?”!

So why have it on a DVD menu?

This really pisses me off.

My immediate reaction to seeing this was to jump up in front of the TV shouting “Look away LALALALALA Don’t look at the screen LALALALALA!!!” whilst fumbling for the button to ‘Play Movie’, but it was too late.

My wife had seen it.

Now she was aware that some guy escapes from Shawshank prison but she didn’t know who it was so I suppose there was still some mystery.  The mystery lasted right up until she saw Tim Robbins; a full 12 seconds into the film.

So, for 12 seconds it was a gripping thriller full of mystery and suspense.

And ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ isn’t the only DVD that does this.  There are so many DVD/BluRay releases out there that show key scenes at the menu, revealing plot points and endings.

In fact, the one film that couldn’t possibly have been spoiled by this idiocy was ‘Titanic’, which has a fucking static DVD menu!

Spoiler alert!  The ship hits an iceberg and sinks.

So this is a plea to the DVD/BluRay studios and distributors:

Stop being dicks.

Thank you.

StarWarsAnimated

Green fingered, like The Hulk.

On Sunday I decided to bite the bullet and buy a strimmer to tackle the garden again.  It had been over a year since I’d last done it, and last week I swear I saw a man in a loincloth swing past on a vine.

For those who don’t know what a strimmer looks like, it’s one of these.

strimmer

In fact, this is the exact model I bought.

I got it home, assembled it and ventured into the garden to kick Mother Nature in the vagina.

‘This is going to be fun’ I thought to myself as I pulled the trigger and the 350 watt engine roared into life.  I felt manly and primal as I revved the engine in a threatening manner.  The greenery in front of me was about to feel nylon death.

After 30 seconds of sheer and utter joyful destruction, the strimmer stopped cutting.  I switched it off, checked underneath and saw that the spool of nylon cord had snapped.

Actually, if it had simply snapped I could’ve pressed the ‘manual feed’ button and pulled more thread through the holes, but this had snapped completely and gone inside the spool.  The feeling was similar to noticing the cord on your joggers (sweat pants) had retracted inside the holes.

No problem; I’ll just open up the spool and manually feed it through.  I soon discovered that threading the small red nylon cord through tiny aluminium holes in the ‘feeder’ was like trying to perform keyhole surgery with your elbows.

replace spool

(not actual photo, but close enough)

After 3 or 4 minutes of silent rage and suppressed expletives I was back in business.

Tearing through the flora again made me feel alive; alive I tell you!  I shredded through the overgrowth like an 80’s action hero with an Uzi.

It was short lived, however.  Another 20 seconds and the same thing happened again.

I could see where this was going.

This time the nylon cord had not only snapped and retracted into the spool, but it had melted slightly and fused itself to both the spool and the coiled up nylon cord inside.

A further 5 or 6 minutes of keyhole surgery, and some less silent rage and expletives, and I was up and running again.

Feel nylon death you bastard garden!

Another 15 seconds and it happened again.  This time I had to prise the melted cord away from the spool with a screwdriver.

This went on for a while.  In fact, on the 8th time of doing this the nylon cord decided to unspool itself fully right before my eyes.

The strimmer now looks like this.

strimmer rage

(actual photo)

In its 20 minute working life it had one function.

One!

Time to call a gardener.

Don’t stop me when i’m on a roll!

This is wrong.

Toilet Paper Wrong

This is right.

Toilet Paper Right

This…

Toilet Paper Wrong

…causes the paper to hug the wall and becomes this…

Find the tape

…instead of being easy to grab and pull like this.

deli ticket

So don’t make us deal with this…

Removing sticker

…when we want it as easy as this.

candy from baby

However…

…there is NOTHING more unforgivable than this!

replaced rolls