Saturday, February 18, 2012

Must-See TV Run Amok

In the not-to-distant past, most people had only three or four television channels to choose from. They also had to actually get up off the sofa and turn knobs on the TV to change channels. I'm starting to think maybe we should go back to those days. You may be wondering why I think that. Even if you're not wondering, I'll tell you.

Friends, we had a TV overdose in our house recently. I'm beginning to think Mr. RM and I may have a problem. We have three television sets in our house. That's not many by today's standards, and I'm not overly concerned about the number of televisions. However, one night a few weeks ago, I found myself laughing at a completely ridiculous situation we put ourselves in with those TVs.

I should probably explain the set up we have at the LoveShack (a.k.a. our house): We have a big HD flat screen in the den with a high-def master cable box/DVR. We also have two smaller old-school tube TVs in the master and guest bedrooms with regular (non-DVR) cable boxes that link to the high-def master cable box/DVR in the den. You can watch recorded programs from the master DVR on the old TVs if they were recorded on the regular low-def channel, but not if they were recorded on the high-def channel. This is generally not a problem. We just record the shows we both watch on the HD channel, and I'll sometimes record shows that only I watch on the regular channel, so I can watch them from one of the bedrooms when Mr. RM is watching something in the Den that I don't care for.

Now, the DVR will record two channels at one time, as long as you're tuned to one of the two channels you're recording. This is also generally sufficient for our couch surfing needs. Except for that one night last month. I was in the guest bedroom watching one show, Mr. RM was in the master bedroom watching hockey, and the big high-def TV in the den was all alone, but on and recording two other shows. Totally ridiculous, right? I had to laugh when I realized how pathetic and TV-indulgent we were that night!

It hasn't happened again since then, which is probably a good thing... you never know when your brain will instantaneously turn to complete mush from TV overload. But it made me wonder, do we need an intervention?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Who Thinks This Stuff Up?

I was at my local big box department store, picking up a few household items and toiletries, and I came across this:

Wow! A limited edition GIFT BOX for pantiliners! Is it just me, or is this a ridiculous idea? I mean, seriously... who exactly is the "gift" for? The consumer who purchases these absurdly packaged pantiliners? Because in all honesty, I think most women would consider that particular product a necessity and not a gift. I suppose perhaps the company intended the "gift box" to be a pretty, inconspicuous place in which to store the pantiliners. Now, that's a nice thought in theory. The reality, however, is that a bright pink box is kind of a dead giveaway. That particular shade of pink seems to be the color of choice for a large percentage of feminine care products. The box is also a loser in the practicality department, as it's a pain in the ass to pull the lid off a somewhat bulky box in order to fish out a pantiliner from inside. It's MUCH quicker and easier to just grab one out of the original packaging with the handy flap on top. Any woman with PMS will tell you that easier is better! Don't put unnecessary obstacles between us and the feminine protection items we seek from underneath the bathroom counter! 

Maybe the clever marketing department over at the Always company thought this would be a great box for the consumer to use to GIVE gifts in. After all, I first saw it in late fall, just as the holiday shopping season was kicking in. Yeah... give someone a gift in an atrociously pink box that absolutely SCREAMS "feminine products". That's a great idea... as long as you're giving it to someone you don't like very much, or a very good friend with a warped sense of humor. (Hmmm... perhaps I missed a golden opportunity there....)

Then again, maybe the Always marketing department was clever after all. I now have two of these delightfully ridiculous, atrociously pink "gift" boxes, though I don't keep my pantiliners in them. I don't know what to do with them... I hate them, but they make me laugh every time I look at them! And aside from the unfortunate color, they're a fairly sturdy and potentially useful box for a purpose other than pantiliner storage. Maybe I'll let them reside in the back of the closet for a while. Maybe one of my friends or relatives will get a gift in one. Think of the hours of fun they could have pondering whether that means I don't like them much or if I think they have a warped sense of humor and would appreciate the joke. I'll never tell!  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Monkey at the Movies: The Descendants

We finally saw "The Descendants" last week. Totally worth the wait, and well-deserving of the award nominations and wins it has garnered. It's not a flashy film, and it's another somewhat deep, thought-provoking movie. (Mr. Remarkable Monkey says we have to see something lighter on our next outing to the cinema.) It's not overly dark... there's plenty of humor in it, but the characters are dealing with some pretty heavy situations. The beauty of the film is that it also manages to show the humorous aspect of those difficult situations. That's not to say it's a funny film in the comedic sense either... it's more a case of recognizing the absurdity that life can throw at you. Sometimes you've just gotta laugh.

The gist of the story is this: Matt King (played by George Clooney... rawr!), who has been a somewhat disconnected husband and father, suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of sole caretaker of his two daughters when his wife is left in a coma after a boating accident. He's a bit clueless about how to handle his 10-year-old daughter, Scottie (played by Amara Miller), who is having trouble dealing with her mother's hospitalization. Upon learning that his wife won't recover, he brings his rebellious 17-year-old daughter, Alex (played brilliantly by Shailene Woodley), home from boarding school. When she reveals to him that she caught her mother having an affair, Matt is stunned, and must now deal with a whole new layer of emotional turmoil.

Because his wife's living will requires that she be taken off life support, Matt has to inform her friends and family of her impending death, allowing them a few days to visit the hospital to say goodbye. He decides to seek out the other man, a real estate agent named Brian Speers (played my Matthew Lillard), partly to satisfy his curiosity about him, and partly to allow the man a chance to say goodbye. Alex becomes his sharp-tongued ally in the search to locate Speers. She drags along her friend Sid (Nick Krause), who initially seems like an empty-headed, shallow surfer dude. There's more to that kid than meets the eye, though!

Now, while all this is going on, Matt is also dealing with the decision of whether or not to sell the 25,000 acres of pristine land in Kuai that he and his many cousins own in a trust, handed down from generations ago. The trust will dissolve in seven years, and most of his cousins want to sell it. As the sole trustee, the final decision lies with Matt.

This is a man bearing many burdens, and Clooney's performance is a masterpiece of subtlety. For instance, you can read the inner conflict on his face when his father-in-law is ranting at him... you can see Matt swallow the urge to tell him about his "perfect" daughter's infidelity. Throughout the film, he is a man floundering and struggling with so many difficult issues, and yet he manages to keep his class and sense of humor. I wonder how many of us would be able to maintain the high road as well as Matt does if we found ourselves in his shoes.

I won't divulge any more of the story... it's one you really should see for yourself. If nothing else, the Hawaiian scenery is lush and gorgeous. The wonderful soundtrack is going on my Amazon wish list as well. And for the ladies, it's CLOONEY... what more do you need? Catch it quick though... while it's been given more screens since its Academy Award nominations, it won't be in theaters much longer.