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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Oh, it's on. It. Is. So. ON! (UPDATED!)

Posted on May 1, 2010 at 2:24 PM

(Scroll to end for updated...Original Post April 23, 2010)

Do you ever have those times when you *know* that you should just keep your stupid mouth shut, but yet, you can’t? Like, brain is thinking, “Nothing to be won from this. Ought to just keep the ole pie hole shut.” But mouth is like, “Screw you, brain! We’re pushing our chips ALL IN!” Had one of those moments while shopping at Piggly Wiggly tonight.


To fully appreciate the situation, it needs a wee-bit of back story. So, we normally NEVER shop at Piggly Wiggly. Quite contrary to their slogan of “Save Big at the Pig” their prices are generally wickedly higher. Like, if Wal-Mart’s prices were a girl, they would be size -1, Courtney after 20 days on Survivor. Conversely, Piggly would be that 700 pound lady that they have to get out of the house buckled to her bed on a specially equipped bulldozer after cutting down a wall. But, we did stumble on a great pizza deal a few weeks back, where they will make you a 14-inch pizza with tons of toppings for $5.99. And they have a truly *sick* beer selection. So, we’ve made a weekly event of pizza and new micro beer.


So, when you go to the same store, the same day, the same time week after week, you get to know the staff. Last week, I see this guy chucking out tons of food at the end of the day. There are some truly delectable looking grilled summer sausages – I am a *sucker* for sausages -- with peppers and onions that it is just KILLING me to see him toss in the trash. So I ask him what we can do to save those sausages. "Come on, man! Make me a deal! You don't really want to throw those beauties away now..." We joke about it for a bit, but end of story, he chucks ‘em. (He probably stabbed Mother Earth in the neck to celebrate Earth Day.)


Tonight, I see the same guy and I ask if he has any sausages left over for me, which gets a chuckle. (I've found that generally it's best to get people making/serving your food in a good "hey, we're on the same team!" kind of vibe.) We’re shooting the breeze as he's ruthlessly throwing away tub after tub of food (all fried stuff that probably should be in the trash)and the guy making our pizza starts talking about movies. This, of course, engages me. Turns out Pizza guy also works at the local (best-in-town) Cineplex. So I ask him what he’s seen lately, how was Clash of the Titans in 3D, etc.


So Pizza asks me if I’ve heard that they are remaking Tron. Naturally, I correct him (look, I am who I am) that they are making a sequel to Tron, not remaking it, and that yes, I’ve heard about it and that I actually saw the original Tron in the theater. (Then I’m immediately saddened as it's suddenly obvious that neither of these guys, Pizza or Trashy, were alive then and that I might as well have called myself Father Time and told them to call me Pops.)


So, pizza is being made, movies are being chatted, food is being trashed, and I say, “You know, Tron was the first movie to use computer animation.”


This is where Trash says, “Nah, man. You’re wrong. It was ET.”


Pow! The second the word “wrong” left your lips, you might as well have whipped out a glove and slapped me and declared, “Duel!” It was on. Like Donkey Kong AND Azerbaijan and definitely going till the break of dawn.


“No. YOU’RE wrong,” I counter. “It was totally Tron. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Tron came out before ET. And, anyhow, what kind of computer effects were even in ET?”


“I don’t know, man. But it was ET.”


“That, whole light cycle scene? It was done using computers. It took them like days for the computers to render a single frame.”


“Well, Troll or Voltron, or whatever you call it, if that was first you can have ALL my sausages.”


OK, several things. First, clearly this guy never even frickin’ saw Tron. He didn’t have any idea what I was even talking about, so why is he going to be so adamant that it wasn’t it? I mean, 30 seconds before we were just shooting the breeze, now we’ve all done and got sausages involved. Second, sausages are now on the table. Third, he has no idea who I am or what I may or may not know. Seriously, for all he knows I could be Dick Q. Wickipedia or some Jeopardy super champ, or just some crazy Rain Man with movie trivia. Fourth, I am not going to lose a movie technology trivia debate to a guy that works behind the deli counter at Piggly frickin' Wiggly! I don't care if I am wrong, I AM NOT GOING TO BE WRONG TO HIM!


Fifth, I pull out my quasi-smart phone and say, “OK, man. Let’s just Google this out.” Check and mate.


Here is where I would have offered a kidney in exchange for an iPhone. Forget the free sausages – OK, that’s asking too much, no one could forget that. But, it's not about being right, rather proving someone else WRONG, that is one of the moments that makes my world spin around. I can’t help it. It's my heroin. So, I pull out my lady phone and try Googling. I type in “1st computer animated film” and of course it returns some Pixar info about Toy Story. Internetting on my phone is just slightly quicker than driving home and getting on my computer, so the moment is kind of lost for a classic, "Suck it, Trebek!"


So, I somehow sack up and muster a you-know-it-really-doesn’t-matter smile (a piece of me goes rotten and dies every time this happens) and say, “Well, just check it when you get home. I’ll be back next week and we can talk about it then. By the way, I write for one of the largest tech magazines out there.”


As soon as I said it even I’m thinking “Douche!” and I feel this monumental wave of “Oh ba-rother!” karma coming off Dana like a fever rash. But, once flipped, the Ass Switch is not easily put back.


So, to save you the trouble, here is the “real” answer. Turns out we were both wrong, though he was so much wronger, that I’m still claiming victory. (Though, probably without being able to march into the store next week and say “Sausage up, bitch!”;) First bit of 2D computer animation dates back to 1973 and Westworld, then there was the 3D wire-frame graphics from Star Wars in 77. Tron was the first to extensively use (15 minutes fully computer generated) 3D CGI. Here is some more info on the subject if you find yourself being challenged this weekend. Also, ET actually DID come out before Tron; June 11, 1982 vs July 9, 1982 according to IMDB.  


Remember to always keep your Pimp hand strong. And keep the other one loose for totin' a 40...or some free sausages!

(UPDATED: May 1, 2010)

OK, so yesterday was Friday, which meant nightly pizza, which meant returning to Piggly Wiggly, which meant another encounter with Trash.

But first, I had to suffer through a looooong day at work. First, there was some AOL glitch (AGAIN!) where I could NOT check any e-mail. Not on my computer and not on my phone. This totally stymied me from being able to do the 5 things I was totally needing to do. I resorted to downloading AOL's nightmare software, something that makes me feel dirty even admitting. Still no help. So I click into their live chat for help. And see that I am #122 in the queue! This sets my anger on the back burner over a low heat to just let it simmer as I wait the 90 minutes for my turn to s-l-o-w-l-y come up. Finally it does, and I explain my dilemma, essentially that I can't do any of the work I need to do (check with a client, order several TVs, follow-up with my out of town trip, download a message I'd sent to myself, help out a Nigerian prince who has incredibly chosen ME to help move millions of dollars out of the country, etc.) because I can't check my e-mail. He explains that he is "sorry for this minor inconvenience." I explain that I don't see it as minor. He says that they are "updating the system and that some of their more popular features like checking e-mail are temporarily unavailable." I explain that I don't see "checking e-mail" as a "popular service" but more of a vital link to being able to do my job. He offers his apologies. I tell him that I think it is incredibly irresponsible to take down the e-mail servers without a note of warning. He remains silent. I ask when my problem will be fixed. He says he can't fix it, but that he can pass along my complaint. I tell him my urge to kill is rising. He disconnects from the chat.

So I make it home and ask Dana if she thinks that I should print out the Wikipedia info to hand to Trash. I pretty much already know the answer to this, but some of the growth that I've had in my 15 years with Dana is knowing that her reasoning compass points to true north whereas mine tends to wander off into that grey area between "Jerk!" and "Wad!" She suggests that maybe this time I can choose to NOT be that guy. Reluctantly, I agree.

We arrive at the Pig and there's Trash. He smiles when he sees me so I know that HE knows that we both remember. I play it cool and just nod my head and say nothing. He plays it UNcool by saying, "Since you ain't saying nothing about no sausages, I guess that means I was right! Ha! I knew it!"

I'm smiling, but it is strained. More like somewhere between a grimace and a rrictus. "Actually, you weren't. While it turns out that Tron wasn't the first..."

"I knew it! I was right! I knew it wasn't no Tron!"

"While it wasn't the *first* movie to use computer animation (I explain about Westworld, an awesome film by the way. Yul Brynner is totally the first Terminator! Not too surprisingly, Mr. Movie had never heard of it...) Tron was the first to extensively use 3D CGI."

"Well, you was wrong, and I was right!"

"What are you talking about? You said it was ET! It definitely wasn't ET."

"I was just joking with ET, man. I just knew it wasn't no Tron!"

We'd reached an impasse, where further bullying on my part was going to just end up making any future visits awkward. But, here's my important letting it go and laughing it off and engaging him, I've made somewhat of an ally at the Pig. Trash was nicer than he's ever been. He gave Lauryn a cookie with sprinkles. He told New Pizza how to make our pizza  (and this dude CAME THROUGH with a mountain of toppings that even I was slightly embarassed by). So, score this one a win, just not for any of the reasons I'd initially figured.

Categories: Movies, Rants, May 2010

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Reply [email protected]
5:13 PM on April 24, 2010 
Oh well, We liked the pizza and I don't care who makes it. I saw ET but not Tron so i am not sure who i would vote for as to who was right but You are the EXPERT so I will go with you.
Reply Dana
9:29 PM on April 25, 2010 
Recently, after an incident similar to the one above, I said, "After all these years, I was hoping that I would have had some sort of positive effect on you." And John told me that, in fact, because of me, he filters out quite a few comments that he would otherwise have made. So to the world at large, I say -- You're Welcome. (Imagine the alternative...)
Reply John Sciacca
5:08 PM on April 26, 2010 
Dana says...
Recently, after an incident similar to the one above, I said, "After all these years, I was hoping that I would have had some sort of positive effect on you." And John told me that, in fact, because of me, he filters out quite a few comments that he would otherwise have made. So to the world at large, I say -- You're Welcome. (Imagine the alternative...)
Dana could shame me with "the rest of the story" the things that I choose to shield from the world at large. It's not easy being me. Even harder being her WITH me...
Reply HTI Guy
6:28 PM on April 26, 2010 
this is when you whisper to yourself, "sphincter says what" and watch Pizza say, "what"....then you say, "tool says huh, and Trash says, "huh, what'd you say?" My point exactly.
Reply Malia76
10:46 PM on April 26, 2010 
well worth me staying up way too late to read this one.
Reply Dan
6:16 PM on April 27, 2010 
Perhaps the Loser should have had to eat the trash sausages and send a graphic text describing his irritable bowel to the winner the next day.

What is it with the name, 'Piggly Wiggly'? (Makes me giggle) How did it come about? Imagine three different boardrooms. In boardroom #1. "So it's decided- Home Depot". Boardroom #2 " OK then, Walmart it is". And boardroom #3. "Goofy likes Piggly Wiggly!".
Reply Malia76
9:14 PM on May 7, 2010 
I loved the update. But I am so scared to ever eat with you....knowing that you have pretty much asked them to spit in our food.