Saturday, August 18, 2007

If I Knew Then What I Know Now...

I have a confession to make. Many of my friends know me as a relatively level-headed person, slightly overweight, a bit sarcastic (a fact which is certain to shock most readers of this blog!), and phenomenally good-looking. But they don't all realize that my single greatest asset is luck! That's right, I'm the luckiest person ever to put on a pair of socks (even if I do insist on wearing them with sandals now and then!).

Okay, I can hear you all asking yourselves, "Self, what does he mean, '...luckiest person ever to put on a pair of socks'?"

Then many of you are answering yourselves "Self, if you would just shut up for two seconds, he'll tell us!"

Naturally, many of you are now answering back, "Me shut up? What about you, self! You're the one who talked all the way through The Importance of Being Ernest on Friday so we had to watch it AGAIN on Saturday when you KNEW I wanted to be online playing City of Heroes instead and now I've missed the Rikti Invasion AND the Double XP weekend and I missed out on my chance to make Level 25! LEVEL 25, YOU JERK!"

Now, as one might expect, you are dragging yourself outside by the hair, intending to beat the bejeezus out of yourself for being such a dill-weed. It's okay. I understand my audience and its needs. I'll wait...

dum dum dum dum dum dum dum
dum dum dum dum DUM
de-dum de-dum de
dum dum dum dum dum dum dum
DUM de-dum dum dum
dum (boom boom)

Okay, you're back. Are you allright? Not too beat up? Good. Let's continue.

So, as I was saying, I'm the luckiest person ever to put on a pair of socks. I say this because my wife and I recently celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary! Woo! Lucky thirteen!

Actually, for me, the real celebration began the next morning when I woke up and she was still here and not running down the road screaming "What have I done? What have I done? For the love of God, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!"


Mind you, I have this particular celebration every day.

But seriously, thirteen years! And we're happy! I don't mean just your average "most of our bills are paid and neither of us is currently under a federal indictment" kind of happy, but really, truly "warm cookies fresh from the oven, playing with a three week old kitten" kind of happy!

Every day we seem to find something new to love about each other, or we re-discover something old that we already loved about each other (perhaps senility is setting in early?)! It's really kind of cool!

However, as I stated earlier, I am lucky. I am lucky because even though we've seen a lot of relationships fall apart over the years (two words, people: DEODORANT!) ours has just gotten stronger. Now, I'm no expert; most days, to be completely honest with you, I'm just wingin' it! But I have paid a little attention over the years and have made note of some of the more important lessons my wonderful marriage has taught me.

Now, let me put a few disclaimers out here first.
  • I am a guy. If you are also a guy, you will probably understand what I'm talking about in the next few paragraphs. If you are a girl, you will undoubtedly think I'm a mooring (see THIS blog entry to understand what that means)! That's okay, because I have a hot wife who loves me, so I'm not out to impress you.
  • Absolutely everything I say is right. Not everyone will be able to accept that right away, but by the time I'm done, you will probably agree.
Okay, so here it is. A compendium of some of the most important lessons I've learned in thirteen years of marriage. It may not be everything you need to know, but it'll sure as heck help!

The Sage Words Marital Knowledge Base and Bait Shop

Lesson One: Nomenclature

Holy crap! I got married! I found a woman with all the qualities I always knew were essential for the woman I married to have (bad eyes and poor judgment) and I somehow managed to get her to marry me!

Now, the first thing I learned, I learned early on. You have to establish the pet name. This is vitally important, as you will be expected to use this name for her for the rest of your natural life! Feel free to go with "Snookums" or "Snuggle-Bunny" or "Love-Muffin" if you want but remember, you will be using this name when you talk to her on the phone from the office for the rest of your life! DO NOT get tied down to "Snuggle-Bunny"! Some acceptable ones are "Honey", "Sweat-Heart" and "Darling". In the interest of full disclosure, my wife has been "Chica" since 1994 and seems to respond to it most of the time.

Lesson Two: The Battle for Middle-Earth (Ground)

Not long after we got married, Chica and I had a lot of fights. Not knock-down, drag-out, "I should smother you in your sleep" type fights, but epic battles nonetheless! Now this is normal for every couple, but you have to learn to pick and choose your battles. You and your new Snooky-Wookie are completely different people and have been brought up in completely different ways (unless you married your sister, in which case I'll just say "Enjoy the banjo music!" and ask you to find another blog to read!).

Now, it stands to reason that she's going to be wrong about a lot of things! But be careful where you draw the line in the sand and whatever you do, don't keep score! And if you do keep score, keep it to yourself! Don't go blabbing it all over the Internet for just anyone to see! That would be STUPID! For example, don't do this:

Question: How do glasses get put away in the cupboard?
Answer: Upside-down, so dust doesn't get inside
Winner: Sage Words (Chica actually didn't care, but I'm taking the win anyway!)

Q: Where does dirty laundry go?
A: NOT on the floor!
W: Chica

Q: Who gets the good car and who gets the beater?
A: Her and you, in that order!
W: Chica

Q: If I bring in the mail, do I
have to open it?
A: You do, she does not

W: Chica

Q: Does the toilet paper roll go over or under?

A: Still under review as of this writing
W: Tie (But I will fight until the last star in the last galaxy fades to black on this one! Viva Encima del Rodillo!)

Score: Chica 3 - Sage Words 1 (For now!)

Now understand that you, as a guy, are destined to lose most of these arguments. It's as natural as birds flying south or monkeys flinging poo. It's simply going to happen and you can NOT stop it. The trick is to pick one, and ONLY one subject, and stick to your guns! You can readily cave on all the others, but do not give in on that one no matter what! Can you guess which one I haven't given up on?

Lesson Three: Bedroom Stuff (No, not THAT stuff, pervert!)

Figure out which side of the bed is is yours, and which is hers, but do not assume that you can simply get in on your side every night! Sometimes, she will just want to sleep on your side for a few nights and there's nothing you can do about it! Oh yeah, and she doesn't have a reason, she doesn't need a reason! And you are an insensitive ass for asking! STOP PERSECUTING HER!


Set up your night-stand exactly the way you like it. Place your wallet, watch, spare change, keys, and anything else you have in precisely the right spots. Now accept the fact that your wife will know better and just move your stuff around sometimes! And she doesn't need a reason! It will just NEED TO BE DONE! But don't worry, when you're running late for work and can't find your wallet or your keys, just look in your sock drawer. This is apparently a logical place for those things.


Be sure she has ample room for all her night things (she will have a LOT!) and don't EVER move her stuff! If you move so much as a hair pin or her eye drops, you will regret it! Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon; and for the rest of your life! Trust me on this, just leave it alone!


Closets. Oh boy. There are two things you need to know about closets:
  1. Half of the closet space is yours. It's a rule.
  2. Your half of the closet space is defined as: 6 shirts, 1 tie, 3 pairs of pants and a shoe.

Alarm clocks are YOUR responsibility! If you don't believe me, just go to bed without checking the alarm clock on a night where she has to get up early but you don't. In fact, let's make it interesting. Remind her to set the clock the night before! Now here's the good part: if she does set the clock, and makes it up on time, GREAT! But if not; if she forgets, or the power goes out, or the cat eats the clock, and she gets up late; IT IS YOUR FAULT!

Dude, just set the clock.

Lesson Four: Oh, the Twah-let!


If you have to sell a kidney (or several, depending on how liberal your neighborhood is) to get the money for a second bathroom, DO IT! If you have to go without a car, without a television, without a living room or even without pants, just make sure you have that second bathroom!

I can not stress this enough! You MUST have your own bathroom! If you share one, she'll DO THINGS in your bathroom that you DON'T want to know about! All those things the girls talked about in Fifth Grade Health Class when all us boys got an extra recess REALLY HAPPEN! You don't want to have to deal with it! And she'll keep know...woman stuff in there! A lot! All the time!

Plus, she'll move your stuff. That's right, just like the night-stand, she will, without provocation, MOVE YOUR STUFF!

Are you right-handed? She'll move your hair brush to the left! Are you sure that's your toothpaste you're grabbing, or is it your Q-tips? Where is your styptic pencil? WHERE IS YOUR STYPTIC PENCIL?????!!!!!

Okay. Deeeep breath...get ahold of yourself, Sage old buddy, old's alright.

Whew! That's better.

Anyhow, get your own bathroom. Trust me!

The Big Wrap-Up:

It's not easy being brilliant. I didn't ask for it, but it's a burden I'm willing to shoulder for the betterment of mankind (specifically, married-mankind). Please look these lessons over. Learn from them. Take them to heart. Gain nourishment from the fruits of my labor!

Oh yeah. I almost forgot the most important lesson. Be good to your Chica, whoever she is! That's the REAL secret! If you're good to her, she will be good to you, and the two of you will be happy, and all the rest of this stuff will be just so much meaningless eyewash!

Except the bathroom thing. I am SO not kidding on that one!

-Sage Words

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hurry up! We don't have all day!

You know, I distinctly remember when I first became impatient. I was a kid (about five or six years old) and living in El Paso Texas. I was in kindergarten, and (oddly enough) I was in trouble. I don't know if I had popped off to the teacher (very likely) or gotten in a fight with a girl (and most likely lost!) or what, but I was told to stand out in the hallway until my parents got there. Then we were all going to have "a little talk".

[Note: This is where I began to refer to my teacher as "Miss Blackston, The Ogre". Make no mistake; I was the ogre. Ms. Blackston was actually quite nice! But I digress...]

I began standing in the hallway with all the patience in the world! I could wait until the end of time for my parents to show up! In fact, it would have been just fine with me if the earth opened up and swallowed them whole and they never got to the school (mind you, the full ramifications of such an event were not particularly evident to my still-forming mind; I just didn't want to get spanked!).

Then, as I looked out the window in the door at the end of the hall, I saw my parents' brown (or was it blue?) station wagon with the realistic wood-like panels pull up outside.

Now back then (1977-ish) kindergarten was split into a morning class and an afternoon class and I was in the morning class. My parents would get to the school ten minutes or so before the morning clas let out, so as to be waiting for me when I came outside. (For all I know, my two older brothers had to walk home after school; I really was only paying attention to myself in those days!)

So as I was saying, I saw my folks pull up outside. At this point, with my very life at stake and no other choice that I could see, I made a break for it! After a quick glance at Miss Blackston (The Ogre)'s door, I ran as fast as I could down the hall, hit the door running, and srinted to the side of the afore-mentioned station wagon. I started yanking on the door and began my first truly impatient outburst:

Me: "Let's go! Time to go!"

Mom: "Honey, what's wrong?"

Me: "Nothing! School's out, let's go home!"

Mom (suspiciously): "Honey, school isn't out for another 15 minutes! What are you doing out here?"

Me (desperately): "They let school out early! We have to go now!"

Mom (totally not buying it): "Oh really? If school let out so early, where are all of the other kids?"

Me (grasping at straws): "Their parents already got them! Let's go!"

You see? Impatient.

Needless to say, Mom ended up disbelieving her darling little boy. I know, I know; that's hard to believe after such a convincing performance (C'mon! We have to go home NOW!) but somehow she saw through my little ruse and marched me right back in to the school. When she led me in to the classroom (still a good five minutes before the bell), Miss Blackstone (The Ogre) narrowed her eyes and a tiny bit of smoke seemed to curl out of her nose as she stared at me. All the other kids in class went "Oooooooooo!" at the prospect of a public execution and I tried to make myself as small as possible.

Now, I can't say I remember what happened next. I'm certain there was a stern talking-to involved, but as this WAS the late seventies and we WERE in Texas; there was almost certainly either a belt or a ruler involved in the conversation as well.

The entire situation was created by my impatience! To this day I am certain that if I had just been a little more patient; if I had just taken a few more seconds to more finely hone my arguments (C'mon! We really have to go home NOW!), I would have most certainly convinced my Mom that school was let out early and she needed to take me home right away!

A VALUABLE lesson learned as a result of a childhood trauma (or drama, as the case may be)!

We all get impatient some times. Sitting at a traffic light, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for the ant hill to catch fire as you try to hold the magnifying glass steady; all opportunities to get impatient. But where does all this impatience take us? Nowhere, that's where! So let me give you a few tips on how to be more patient when you least desire to. After all, you may need Mom to take you home "RIGHT NOW" yourself some day!

Ten simple methods for being patient, and the best times to use them:

1. Take a deep breath! ~~ This method is most useful when, after being chased for seven or eight miles by a swarm of angry African Killer bees, you finally come upon a lake or a pond you can jump in to keep them from stinging you.

2. Count to twenty-five. ~~ Works best when you have just made a critical parking error outside of a biker bar. If you get anywhere near this number while counting the number of motorcycles you have just knocked over, do NOT be in a rush to go into the bar. In fact, the opposite direction may well be the wisest.

3. Eat a cookie. ~~ Use this strategy before you cavalierly agree to go on a hunger strike to protest the unfair treatment of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie by the press. After all, they aren't going to eat it, are they?

4. Hum "Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall" quietly to yourself. ~~ I find this one useful whenever I'm waiting for a crowded elevator to hurry up and get to the thirtieth floor already because I have GOT TO GO! It doesn't get the elevator there any faster, but it encourages the other passengers to get out of the way as soon as it arrives.

5. Make a list of home improvements you wish you knew how to do. ~~ It is critical that you do this before blindly rushing into a drywall installation in your bosses $3 million house just because he idly mentioned at a staff meeting that he's looking for a good general contractor.

6. Jog in place for twelve seconds. ~~ Use this any time you hear the phrase "First one there gets to-(garbled, obscured, interrupted)-my colon! There are some races you do NOT want to win!

7. Think of all the times a slingshot would have come in really handy over the past week. ~~ If you an think of more than seventy-one, your next stop should be a therapist.

8. Make up your mind once and for all between Kirk and Picard. ~~ When the flame wars begin in earnest on your favorite bulletin board, you canNOT be seen to flip-flop! Otherwise you'll be labeled as nothing more than an opportunistic Ferengi who switches allegiances willy-nilly depending on who is winning and doesn't care at all about the fundamental differences between commanding a Constellation-Class starship versus a Galaxy-Class with families and civilians to be concerned about and besides, the rules of engagement were more flexible in Kirk's time so of course he would be able to...well, you get the point.

9. Let the deep breath out. ~~ Do this as soon as you feel it's safe to come up. After all, those bees can't wait up there forever!

10. Run! Run like the wind! ~~ Gaaaahhh!! The Bees! They're still here! For the love of God, get them off, GET THEM OFF!

As you can see, patience is a virtue. If we would all just step back for a few seconds and think before we act, there might be just a little less strife and heartache in this world.

I mean, wouldn't we all be just a little happier if the-powers-that-be had thought a little harder and longer before letting Jean Claude Van Damme make "The Quest"?

Wouldn't there be more harmony in the world if the guy that thought up "New Coke" had been a bit more picky in which ideas he floated to his boss?

And honestly, wouldn't it be great if I had been able to convince Mom that it really was time to go?

I know my butt would have appreciated it!

-Sage Words

I'll get to that right away! In a few minutes...

Procrastinate. Webster's Universal College Dictionary (1997 edition) defines it thusly:

"to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost"

I find it interesting that, since I've decided to FINALLY get off my butt (or, more precisely, back on my butt in front of the computer) and write another article; procrastination is the only topic to really leap into my head.

I find it even more interesting that, as I've decided to write about my own issues with procrastination, and as I've further decided to begin with the definition of the word, I find it immediately preceded in the dictionary by the word "proclivity" (natural or habitual inclination or tendency; propensity; predisposition).

For those of you that know me, you know that I have two fairly pronounced proclivities; one is to procrastinate, and the other is to notice completely meaningless things like the fact that "proclivity" comes right before "procrastinate" in the dictionary! (I also noticed that "procrastinate" is only two entries away from "proctology" but I don't want to explore that avenue right now! I'll save that for another time!)

So let's talk about procrastination for a bit. Why does one do it? Here's a great example:

Just as I wrote the words "Why does one do it?" above, I got a little *bing* to tell me that I've received an e-mail. I flipped over to my inbox and saw that the e-mail contained a .pdf file. I opened it up and, as I was reading it, I was notified that my Adobe Acrobat Reader software was out of date and would I like to update it? Naturally, I want the latest and greatest software to read .pdf's so I clicked on the "yes" button. This led me to a new browser window with instructions on downloading the files I need to upgrade the software I need to read the .pdf I need to tell me how to participate in the short-story contest I'm entering because I'm so tired of procrastinating on my writing! You see what I mean? Holy cow!

So anyway, I'm a procrastinator. Come to think of it, I come from a long line of procrastinators. My Mother spent years procrastinating over a book she wrote. The rest of the family hounded and cajoled her more or less constantly until she FINALLY finished the dang thing and got to work on having it published. Now, about a year later, she has a published novel and is hard at work procrastinating over another one!

My Dad is at least as bad. Somewhere out there is an old 1976 Chevy Malibu station wagon, lime green; the unfortunate victim of a car fire, with the charred remains of either a letter or a package that he swore to my Mom that he mailed the week before!

Note: This story about my Dad is a conglomeration of many memories and may not be strictly true. What IS strictly true is that the last two increases in the first-class postage rates are a DIRECT result of revenue shortfalls the US Postal Service suffered because of mail my Dad swore he sent the week before but really hasn't gotten around to yet!

As far as I know, all this procrastination started with my folks. After all, neither one of them has ever told me a story about THEIR parents being procrastinators. But then again, they may simply have not gotten around to telling me those stories yet.

Um. Where was I? Let me go back and look, hold on...

Oh yeah! Procrastination - why does one do it?

Well, has this to say about procrastination:

"Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." You can even look at the amusing picture that goes with this pearl of wisdom by clicking HERE.

I dunno. I think we procrastinate because we're scared. Scared to fail, scared to succeed, scared to find out if we'll fail or succeed, whatever. Just scared. In all honesty, I have no idea why I procrastinate, or why you may procrastinate or why anyone would procrastinate. It's not even an aversion to hard work. When I get going on something, I'll work my tail off. It's the "getting going" that has me stumped sometimes.

So how does this relate to this blog? Well, I've been putting off writing here for over a month! It's not that I have nothing to say, I'm just stuck for that little spark that gets me started.

But now, 700-odd words later, I'm finally started! So let me end this bit of drivel and get on to something else. After all, I just got an idea for what to write next and I don't have the patience to wait until this article is properly finished before I start on that one! Finally, the opposite of procrastination!

If this seems to be an abrupt and dissatisfying ending to this post, allow me to direct you to my very first post
HERE. File this one under "Random Thoughts".

-Sage Words

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do you need an Anonycat to catch an Anonymouse?

For those who frequent this blog (and admittedly, I have not been among you of late!) you are probably aware of my dear friend and long-time supporter, Anonymouse.

Anonymouse has been a stalwart commentator on my work from the beginning, even though an apparent drinking binge negated one of the more ambitious comments intended for our mutual enjoyment by said commentator.

However, in the interest of full disclosure I must now admit to you all that I do not actually know who Anonymouse is! If you've been reading the comments on my various posts, you've seen the back and forth banter between myself and my mysterious friend. And you know that I have successfully eliminated a few people from my list of suspects.

So now, I thought I'd bring this little contest to the front page, as it were. Here follows my latest response to a comment by Anonymouse, where I was asked why I have dubbed her/him/them/whatever "anonymouse".


I have dubbed thee "Anonymouse" for two reasons:
  1. To distinguish your posts from other (potential) anonymous users
  2. Just in case you turn out to be a cute, furry quadruped with an entirely rational fear of cats
You see, there is a fine line between Reality, and my world. If you choose to cross that line, you must live by my rules. One of those rules is a nickname requirement. But just like in a good restaurant, if you don't bring a coat and tie, we'll make you wear one of ours!

Now here's a test:

  • Who got married to the widow next door?
-Sage Words


So now the ball is in your court Anonymouse. Do you know the answer to the question above? I eagerly await your comment!

-Sage Words

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a SCI-FI, Horror, Slapstick, Action Flick today!

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a couple to dissolve the traditional method of choosing what movie to go see, a just and equitable new method must be established. It has to have rules. It has to have absolutes. And most of all, it has to protect the fragile ego of the male half of the couple and allow him to achieve some small (albeit meaningless) victories in the movie-choosing process. (Note: It is not actually necessary for the woman to ever win this contest, as they are far more secure than men; but if they do come out ahead once in a while, it makes the hollow victory achieved by the man that much sweeter {though still meaningless})

With all that said, I suppose it is now incumbent upon me to provide a solution. While I would normally prefer to simply whine and complain and leave the problem alone to fester and grow until it can never be solved, I have decided (been told by my wife) to tackle the problem head on. So in the spirit of harmony for all couples (doing as I’m told) I present to you my:

Movie Exchange Rate System

The concept of an exchange rate for movies is not terribly new (I overheard a guy I work with, we’ll call him “John”; say he and his wife already practice a rudimentary exchange system). But because there’s never been a thoroughly researched and tested system, men have had to bargain with their wives over movies for literally thousands of years! A typical exchange goes like this:

EVE: Let’s go see I Weep All Day at the One-Plex!

ADAM: But honey! I wanted to see Hit on the Head tonight!

EVE: The last three movies we saw were Crushed by Rocks; Dude, Where’s My Fig Leaf?; and Snakes on a Tree! We are going to see I Weep All Day!

ADAM: Hey, that’s not fair! You liked Snakes on a Tree! You said it was “oddly compelling”!

EVE: Oh, yeah…about that…um, Hey! Did you try that pie I made you yet?

And it goes on and on like that throughout history. Marie Antoinette just had to catch Head Over Heels, Joan of Arc couldn’t miss I Burn For You, and Amelia Earhart was first in line to see Fly Away With Me! But all of those tragedies might have been avoided if only there had been a simple method of exchanging movies so a fair balance between Chick Flicks and regular movies, indeed between all movies, could have been achieved.

Of course, to create such a system, you must first define the commodities you are working with. Then you need to assign them a value, and apply those values to an exchange rate. Finally, you’ve got to set up a system of rules so it’s used the same way every time. If there’s ever going to be any progress ("Dennis, there's some LOVELY filth down here!"), we need to begin at the beginning. So let’s look at some definitions.

Categories of Films

I put considerable time, effort, and research into studying every film ever made. I built a comprehensive database to track the various attributes of all films throughout history and assigned a point value to each one. I considered such important cinematic elements as: number of uses of the word ”love”, number of times someone is punched, car crashes, scenes lit primarily by candle or fireplace light, gratuitous nudity (or lack thereof), volume of Hugh Grant appearances in the film, and countless other criteria. Then I got distracted by a pop-up ad for a new flavor of “Scope” and deleted the whole thing without saving it. My bad.

Since I am obviously not going to put that much work into this a second time, I will “Wing It” from here on out. Let’s start with the seven categories of films:

1. Guy Flicks (GF): These are movies that not only appeal primarily to guys, but are intended almost exclusively for a male audience. When Chicks are forced to see them, they are not permitted to complain about things like a lack of plot, unrealistic outcomes, or excessive explosions. That is the reason we are here, ladies. Have a sip of your Diet Coke and move on. (NOTE: Sports pictures, even if they make you cry, are automatically Guy Flicks. It’s a rule). Here are some examples:

(NOTE 2: For the purposes of this list, figure skating is not a sport – you hear that, Cutting Edge fans? NOT a sport! Go Home!)

2. Chick Flicks (CF): These are movies obviously made for women. They tend to contain a lot of exposition about relationships, looking for “Mr. Right”, moral behavior, sensitivity, and a bunch of other weird junk that only the estrogen-enhanced can really understand. When men are forced to see them, they are not permitted to fidget, complain, whine, sigh loudly or otherwise express their discomfort in any way that could distract the women who are actually getting something out of this. Eat your popcorn and shut up. Remember, she didn’t bother you during The Fifth Element! (NOTE: Gentlemen, remember: So-called “tasteful” nudity is STILL nudity! If this Chick Flick has some, just try to concentrate on that while the rest of the movie sucks.) Here are some examples of Chick Flicks:

(NOTE 2: I do not know how Brokeback Mountain fits into this, nor do I care to find out. If it becomes an issue, I suggest you find someone French to settle the dispute.)

3. Standard Comedies (SC): Standard comedies are funny flicks that tend to skew just a bit to the male side. They have fart jokes, sight gags, inappropriate comments and the occasional gratuitous cleavage shot. Men generally enjoy them a lot, while women laugh all the way through and then complain about how “stupid” or “improbable” certain parts are. Here’s a heads-up, ladies; it’s like that on purpose. If you want to see a movie that requires you to think, just look farther down the list for the “Other Movies” category. (NOTE: Comedies with a “Message” or with “Heart” are probably better classified as “Other Movies”. Sorry Pleasantville, try not to be quite so pretentious next time.) Here are some Standard Comedies:

(NOTE 2: The film Kate and Leopold is quite funny and even has jokes about a “Great Erection”; but in the end Meg Ryan is in it, so it has to get kicked to the next category!)

4. Romantic Comedies (RC): This is the biggest gray area of them all. There are a lot of movies out there that are slap-a-monkey hilarious, but are still saddled with an overabundance of romance, relationships, and happily-ever-after-ness. These films are all skewed for women, but men (at least some of the more evolved ones) can still enjoy them, despite this shortfall. Guys, you will find parts of these uncomfortable or smarmy, but grit your teeth and think about football for a minute, it’ll pass. (NOTE: Romantic Comedies have the greatest chance of having a shot of a guy’s naked butt. DO NOT attempt to cover her eyes like she does to you when the naked chick runs by in Airplane! The ratio of boobs-to-butts in Cinema is still in our favor, so let her enjoy it while she can.) These are examples of Romantic Comedies:

(NOTE 2: Boys, just because Adam Sandler is in The Wedding Singer, its status is unchanged. It is STILL a Romantic Comedy. Get over it.)

5 & 6. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! [Male and Female] (YGBKMM or YGBKMF): Some flicks are simply a cinch to categorize. Is it the type of film with a running body count? Probably for dudes. Do the actresses wear petticoats and bodices? Call the chicks. So each side gets its own YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME category! ‘Nuff Said! (NOTE: ANY film with ANY connection to Jane Austin, no matter how tenuous, is automatically a YGBKMF. No exceptions!) Here are some examples of each. You can probably guess which is which:

(NOTE 2: Guys, if it has zombies in it, even if you think it’s funny, don’t try to pass it off as a Standard Comedy. Respect is a two way street and Shaun of the Dead is a YGBKMM! Now you know. "And knowing is half the battle!")

7. Other Movies (OM): Now we come to everything else. Some movies are funny, but not romantic, but still have a point and ultimately make you learn something. Some movies are action packed, but have a human element and can make you sniffle a bit. Still others are EVENT pictures that you have to see no matter what. These include important franchise films like Star Trek or X-Men, high class dramas like A Beautiful Mind or Crash, political thrillers like The Interpreter or All the President’s Men and real-event homage films like United 93 or Hotel Rwanda. You also have important sequels like Indiana Jones IV and Rocky Balboa, as well as fun caper flicks like Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, or Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead. (NOTE: Classic film revivals and re-releases are often found here too. Like the Star Wars Special Editions, a Lord of the Rings marathon, or the Director’s Cut of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo) Here are a few more from the Other Movie category:

(NOTE 2: Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo is a classic because it was the first on-screen appearance of The Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme! Betcha didn’t know THAT!)

(NOTE 3: The Internet Movie Database says Van Damme was in the first Breakin’ movie, but the Breakin’ 2 official website says different. So there!)

The Exchange Rate

Now that we have all agreed on how to classify the movies, it’s time to work out the exchange rate. For ease of use, I’ve created this handy-dandy chart. Feel free to print one out for at home!

Now, you may notice a slight discrepancy in the rates on the male side. I assure you, it is not a typo. Men are both more fragile AND bigger whiners, so it’s only fair (to us) that we get a better exchange rate. Just think of it as spending Canadian dollars in the USA; it’s a drag that you have to pay a higher rate, but we don’t care.

The Rules

Now the last thing I need to cover is the practical use of the system. We can’t be going all Lord of the Flies here and letting you make up your own rules! What happens if you go on a double date, but both couples don’t use the same exchange system? ANARCHY! That’s what happens! And since we can’t have that, we’ll have these four simple rules instead:

Rule 1: The exchange rate must be posted at all times. (That’s what the chart above is for. Please respect it!)

Rule 2: A running account balance will be kept at all times, in a place where both parties can access it. (Dudes, if you’re already in the hole for 9 CF’s and a YGBKMF, you’d best go get tickets to a double feature of The Queen and Bride & Prejudice STAT!)

Rule 3: All exchange transactions will occur BEFORE a movie is watched, and properly documented. (Listen sister, we saw Much Ado About Nothing last week! It counts!)

Rule 4 [This one is IMPORTANT!]: Enjoyment of a movie after-the-fact IS NOT a basis for exchange account adjustment! EVER! IT’S NOT! (I don’t care if HE ended up enjoying Return to Me or SHE got a kick out of Zoolander you will RESPECT THE SYSTEM!)

And Finally...

Wow. That’s a lot to take in. But I’m so dedicated to relationship harmony (my wife was SO tired of hearing me complain) that I felt it was important to get this all down while it was still fresh in my mind. If I may, I’d like to thank some of the folks who provided invaluable assistance in the development of this system:

To Adam Sandler; whose insistence on making RC’s that make me laugh until it hurts was one of the reasons I had to do this in the first place! Thanks, jerk.

To Bono, from U2; you had nothing to do with any part of this, but I respect a guy with the guts to call himself “Bono” when it could easily be turned into “Bone-O” by cruel people. Keep the faith, brother.

To my Dad; your love of movies, and of sharing them with me, got me to the point where I had to care about this in the first place!

To my Mom; without you sharing the films you love with me, I wouldn’t know the difference between Carey Grant and Carey Elwes! I wouldn't even know that was important! You rock!

And finally, to my wife; you let me see all the stupidest movies, and you force me to watch all the CF’s and RC’s that I end up crying like a baby at... Er, I’m not sure I should actually “thank” you for that last part, come to think of it. Oh well, you’re hot. That makes up for a lot!

Well folks, until next time!

-Sage Words

Friday, January 26, 2007

Scoring Maximum Brownie Points for Valentine’s Day -- or -- How to Succeed in Romance Without Really Trying

Since the dawn of time, men have been hunter/gatherers. Starting with woolly mammoths as a dietary supplement and progressing through the years to consumer electronics, men have sought the means for survival. However, one commodity has always been at the top of the list, more precious than all the others combined: The Brownie Point. The most sought-after item in the male survival kit.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time for a quick tutorial in amassing the greatest possible number of brownie points with minimal work. With this tried and true method, a man can rack up obscene amounts of brownie points without breaking a sweat. (Ladies, I don’t think this will work for you. If you just get him those consumer electronics and wear some uncomfortable but exciting underwear, you'll get all the brownie points you need!)

The concept here is simple, gents. Give your wife/girlfriend/significant other/mate (whatever) a valentine every day for the whole month leading up to the big day, then give her something super special in a truly thoughtful way on the big day. Whammo! You are now rolling in the brownie points!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s too expensive, I can’t afford that! Well, that’s where you’re wrong; I can bring the whole thing in for less than 30 bucks! Here’s how it works:

Start out by making a quick trip to the local grocery store. Here you will find over 90 percent of your supplies, and you can pick up a six-pack while you’re at it! (Good deal, huh?) Head for the holiday aisle (every store has one) and pick up a box of little kid valentines (you remember, Go-Bots or He-Man saying, “Be mine!” while fighting off the evil Skeletor; that kind of thing -- whatever you think your lady will find cute and endearing).

Next, move over to the candy section and grab a selection of cheap Valentine’s Day candy. The M&M Mini’s in the little Valentine boxes are an excellent choice. You can also get the little Necco Hearts that say “kiss” and “true love” but if you do, try to find some in small individual packages. You’ll see why in a minute.

At this point, we have the Valentines and we have some candies; two very excellent ingredients for Valentine’s Day bliss. Now we concentrate on something for the big day itself. A box of chocolates or a Valentine’s Day teddy bear make great final gifts, and can keep you under budget. If you have a bit more money to spend, find a nice set of earrings or a bracelet for the final gift, and set it aside until the end.

Once all of the supplies have been purchased, it’s time to prepare everything. It’s best to do this ahead of time so you can concentrate on the implementation phase coming up without having to back track. Take the valentines out of the box and set aside one for each day between now and Valentine’s Day (if you don't have a month left, that's okay - anything over six days works). Save the big card, the one that says “For the Greatest Teacher in the World!” for last, and don’t worry if your true love is not a teacher; I’ve got that covered, too!

Write a quick love note on each of the valentines and put it in the little envelope provided. Good phrases include, “I’ll love you forever!” and “My heart belongs to you!” A nice touch here would be to use silver or gold ink pens, but this is not vital to the success of the mission. Next, attach one of the little candies you bought to each envelope and address it: To (your pet name for her) From (her pet name for you).

Ok, now that you have all of your supplies ready, hide them at work or somewhere she’ll never find them, and prepare for the implementation phase (I told you it was coming up!).

Now we're in the home stretch! All that's left is to find an original way to give her one of your valentines every day leading up to the final show. Try to be original! While it is acceptable to simply present her with one every day, (and the short-term benefits of this CAN be considerable!) I like to find a different way for each day. It helps build anticipation and that is ALWAYS a good idea! Hide one in her car before she leaves for work one day. Get one of her coworkers to smuggle one into her desk another day. Perhaps place one under her pillow. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

All of this valentine-giving activity is the perfect build up to the big day. Valentine’s Day is the day you want to pull out all the stops. Take her out to a nice dinner and a play (NOT to a movie! Four hundred other guys are trying that gag tonight. Be ORIGINAL!). If you can’t swing all of that, just cook for her yourself. Not only is this considered romantic but if you absolutely can’t cook, and you try anyway, you get bonus points for the attempt!

And now, the moment of truth is upon you. Here comes the big payoff. Remember the big valentine that said “For the Greatest Teacher in the World?” Well, that’s what brings the whole thing together. Inside that card, you complete the back-to-school theme by writing “I did all this because you’ve taught me the true meaning of love!” Present this to her along with your special, final gift, and go get a sponge because she’s going to melt! The month of attention and affection will have her so squishy inside that she’ll be completely blown away by this final, most thoughtful gift of all!

Gentlemen, the quest for brownie points is never-ending. We all struggle from day to day, just to scrape by. But with a little thought and preparation, a nearly limitless smörgåsbord of brownie points can be yours for the taking!

Now go out there and get those points! And remember to use them quickly; they expire next week.

-Sage Words