#95 - January 22, 2021!

What a week.

I don’t know why, but this week was a low point for me. Sometimes I truly believe in the collective unconscious of human beings and that we all experience the same types of psychoses because of the events in the world. This week, for me, was like the passing of a kidney stone (something painful and horrifying that you have little choice but to go through) in that the former President of the United States left town and a new one came. I remember when the last guy got elected (notice, I refuse to say his name) in 2016 (on my birthday, no less). It was like a weird, bad dream…something that didn’t seem real. Are people really THAT stupid? was something that kept going through my head.

Apparently, they were.

The next four years were like some kind of alternate reality where stupidity reigned. It’s almost as if the collective unconsciousness of society reared its ugliest side and made real our worst nightmares, going so far as to bring Covid into the world, just as a kicker, at the end.

On Saturday of last weekend, the Abu Dhabi education council announced (a mere 24 hours before it was to happen) that we were remote learning for three more weeks. So, I had to shift all of my lesson plans. I got a vaccine on Sunday as well (the Sinopharm, Chinese vaccine…it’s fine…don’t believe the hype). Then, on Monday, the effects of the vaccine showed their ugly face and I felt like complete crap for two days. Coupled with all of this was the fact that my BACK has been having issues (I get lower back spasms about once a year which renders me immobile for several days). My students were listless; I was listless; the world was listless.

On Wednesday, I was thumbing through my usual tabs on my computer and I came across an article from a British paper (I didn’t save it…sorry) that said, “Hey, idiots! You’re depressed! Just admit it! AND THAT’S OKAY!” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s kind of what it is, isn’t it?”

I’m not depressed, but I’m certainly not happy. The best term to describe it is the French word, ennui. Listlessness. Dissatisfaction. The world is not what it was. That’s kind of a bummer.


(and there’s always a “but”)

…Biden got sworn in on Wednesday. The bad guys didn’t win. I watched the inauguration and I think it was the first one I’ve ever watched. And you know what?

It was so, gloriously boring.

There was no drama. There was simply people getting to work. They weren’t seeking attention. They weren’t lying. In their first day in office, they were trying to do the right thing and correct course from the previous four years of absolute idiocy powered by idiots. And there was nothing exciting about it, other than the realization of the simple fact that when something goes horribly wrong, it’s still possible to fix things.

I guess that’s a metaphor for everything at the moment. IT’S STILL POSSIBLE TO FIX THINGS. No matter how awful it gets, there’s still something to look forward to. The previous president is gone. Good riddance. And there’s no reason to bring him back in any way, shape, or form. Things are currently broken, but they will get fixed. And life will get better as a whole.

So, on Wednesday afternoon, I was dreading teaching my classes. The kids, who were still at home (some of which have been there for a YEAR now) were not happy about the filmmaking assignment that I gave them and they were doing poor work. I really didn’t want to do it. They didn’t want to do it.

And about ten minutes before class, I said, “I’m not doing this.” And instead of making a boring, academic film, I told them, “You know that assignment that we had earlier this week? You’re not doing it. You’re making a vampire film.”

Why a vampire film? Why not? None of my students had ever made a vampire film in the whole of my teaching career.

So, we started talking about what goes into a vampire film. And we talked about the scariest vampire films that we’d seen. And I talked about how I saw a woman in a black burka walking down the street just after dark and the wind was blowing the cloth all around in a spooky way and I thought, “She’s a vampire, just out for a feast.” And in that instance, we had fun and the kids started to imagine making their own vampire movies and how to make fake blood and how they could simulate a coffin and how they could turn it into a comedy.

Then, I realized that things weren’t so bad and I started to have fun again. So, my new goal was to stop taking things so seriously and have a bit of fun.

You should, too.


Watched WandaVision last weekend and enjoyed it. I particularly like the slow burn of the TV show. No clue what it’s about. No clue who the villain is (though I suspect it’s her neighbor, whose real name is Agatha Harkness, a former Fantastic Four villain). I just like how gloriously weird it is. I will watch more.

Yesterday, we woke up in Abu Dhabi and it was dark because there was fog. Later that day, I saw a picture of the fog from one of the Etihad Towers, high above the clouds covering the ground. It was posted by the filmmaker, Christopher McQuarrie. Then, I realized that he is the director of the last two Mission: Impossible films. Then, I realized they were still filming Mission: Impossible. Then, I realized that Christopher McQuarrie is in Abu Dhabi, filming Mission: Impossible. So, my daughters and I walked down to his hotel (about a ten minute walk from our house) to see if anyone was there (they weren’t). But Tom Cruise and/or Christopher McQuarrie, if you’re out there, you should come speak to my film class this week. They would enjoy it.


Last week, this article from 2019 resurfaced from the Guardian that talked about patterns and cycles in societies. It’s a remarkably prescient piece of writing, considering the current state of the world at the moment. And it fits nicely with my theory on the collective unconscious.


Interesting article on the economics of all-you-can-eat buffets. How can they do this and make money? Find out!


I might take up surfing at 48 years of age. But then again, I might not.

Previous editions of Ridiculous Opinions can be found here!

*All awards refer to Randall P. Girdner’s winning of the Hubert J. Puntzweiger Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature published in the Kangqiao District of Shanghai.**By “world-renowned”, we are referring to the fact that Randall P. Girdner currently teaches overseas.