Insomniac Theater: The Rock-afire Explosion

Unless I'm working on a show that requires me to get up at a normal hour to get to the set, I usually sleep for about eight hours, starting at one in the morning. When we do the stupid goddamn Daylight Saving Time*, it's really hard for me to get to sleep before two in the morning, which annoys me, because I don't like sleeping until ten am. I'm not sure why, but if I get disturbed even the tiniest little bit in the first hour of sleep, I'm fucked and awake for at least two more hours. It's really frustrating when it happens, which is (thankfully) not very often.

This is why I seriously contemplated setting my cat on fire last night: as I was nearly in sleep's restful embrace, she decided that it was really important for her to jump up onto my bed, right next to my head, then spring up to the window over my bed, where she pushed herself behind the blinds and repeatedly hit them. So that's why I was awake until four-fucking-thirty this morning, watching movies on my iPad, which is really what this post is about (after two hundred words of bitching about stupid things).

I rewatched the final episode of Sherlock's first season (OMG IT IS SO AMAZING), because I'm sure they'll eventually get around to releasing season two in America… and then I watched a documentary called The Rock-afire Explosion, all about the animatronic band from Showbiz Pizza Place. It was a fascinating, bittersweet film that focused on the guy who invented the band, and a few of the people who loved his creation. Much of the film's focus is on this guy who bought a complete band and built his own Showbiz Pizza Place at his house. He's a little odd, I suppose, but comes across as gentle and kind, and sincere in his desire to recreate some of the happiest days of his youth.

I was impressed that the filmmakers did not choose to make a documentary that was a freakshow, or that made fun of its subjects, but instead told a sweet and sort of sad story of how one guy invented something in the 70s that touched the lives of a generation — and continues to affect some of them to this day. It's only 71 minutes long, so if you have the time to watch it, I highly recommend it.

*I really hate Daylight Saving Time. If I were boss of the universe, we'd have one time and just fucking stick to it? Among the many reasons I hate it? Even though it's only one hour, it fucking jetlags me for a week or more. I know, stupid, right? But that's what happens to me. Every year. Twice a year. It makes me want to buy a hammer for the express purpose of hitting the guy who invented Daylight Saving Time.


45 thoughts on “Insomniac Theater: The Rock-afire Explosion”

  1. Queue some card-carrying PETA folks harassing you about the cat comment…
    Sounds like an interesting film, just added to my ever-growing Netflix queue, thanks!

  2. I don’t think Ben Franklin would appreciate being hit by a hammer. I’m pretty sure that a few people (not just Tea Party-ers) would get a bit upset if you attacked his tomb.

  3. Daylight Saving Time is one of these things some countries and cultures apparently use just because “oh well, we always did it, so why stop now”, and noone even stops to wonder why are they doing it.
    I may need to think about this for some minutes, but right now, I’d say any of the issues DST attempts to “fix” could be fixed if whoever sheduled something early in the morning or late in the afternoon had not done it that way in the first place.
    And I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a schedule which DST actually helped to improve…

  4. Ohmagosh…I have been searching my brain for the name Showbiz Pizza Place – ever since taking my daughter to Chuck E Cheese and thinking “I liked the one from my childhood better, and it wasn’t just the dumb mouse, but a whole band!”. Should have known you would come through, Mr Wheaton. I shall vote for you when the time comes for Boss of the Universe. In addition, this year’s DST change has screwed everyone over extra special – I just stopped being jetlagged and nauseous today.

  5. Wil, the best thing to remember is the real name is “Demonic Sadistic Time.” I think if we get enough people calling it that, maybe the PTB will eventually get a clue and undo the madness.

  6. DST was very helpful in the farming community, back before combines & such had headlights. Now they farm well past dark and have for a long time, no real need for DST.

  7. I’m curious how that actually works? DST doesn’t change how many hours of daylight there actually are in a day (that’d be a neat trick!), it just offsets when it happens by 1-hour. How does that really help?

  8. Here’s what I said, “Do something practical government…like abolish this razzen-frazzen@$%! time change! I don’t think the accidents, heart problems, & lack of work efficiency (& sleepy kids who can’t learn anything when their bodies want to be resting, still) are worth it!
    I vote for you!

  9. (no spoilers here). Wait till you see the first episode of Sherlock, Season 2. I think that was the best (or possible the third episode is the best). Regardless, you’re going to love Season 2. Our biggest complaint is that we have to wait for a full year to see Season 3.

  10. Sherlock Season 2 will air on PBS starting on May 6th.
    My biggest gripe with DST is that we (in the US) had to change the start and stop dates, so that not only do we have to put up with the stupid change in the first place, but now we have to do it at a different time from everyone else in the world. As someone with regular international contact, that’s just annoying.
    I really wish I could find a report where someone had researched whether the recent change to the start/stop dates had actually had any energy saving benefits (which is what they were touted as). If not, we could just undo it (and perhaps get rid of DST entirely). Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to be too interested in verifying whether new laws actually have their intended consequences.

  11. Troynewton, it really helps if you work or go to school on a fixed schedule. You then have an extra hour of daylight to play with after school, which otherwise would be wasted while you are still in bed. Yes, not everyone is going to benefit from the change.

  12. I have this problem also. What you are doing wrong is watching Sherlock. This keeps you interested and awake. I do this: I have several seasons of the Simpsons. I put the DVD in and have it play all the episodes. They don’t require much thinking and they don’t make revoke much emotions in me (mostly). The calm me down, and if I start falling asleep I don’t feel I have to stay up and watch them since I already know how they end.
    Find something like the Simpsons are for me. Familiar, something you have seen before and know how they end, yet something you enjoying watching again, but if you had to get up and leave it would not bother you because you already know how it ends. Something that doesn’t require you to think too much on either. Try it one or twice, I think you will be amazed at how well it works.

  13. No need to buy. I’ll loan you a 4-lb sledge. Finding a target might be challenging though. It is not Ben Franklin, but G.V. Hudson, and was permanently adopted by Lyndon Johnson in 1966. I’ll sign your petition though. Just set one up on and let me know…

  14. I hate DST also. I’ve always thought that if DST was necessary, why don’t we just move our clocks 30 minutes and leave it be? 30 minutes either way won’t make a difference.

  15. I actually did a paper on daylight saving time when I was getting my MLIS, aka Library School. Turns out that the current time changes were imposed by President Bush II. Benjamin came up with the idea because he was a night owl and they didn’t have alarm clocks back then; also something about candles being expensive. And Troynewton is correct, farmers do not care because the rooster crows when the sun comes up. I just find the history of DST fascinating, since it is a completely antiquated idea and really has no point (although the Department of Energy seems to think so . . . )
    A Primer on DST:
    Franklin’s paper:
    Oh, and I made this and put it on my other blog, because Wheaton For President 2012, etc.:

  16. Oh my gosh! In West Seattle where I live (a little burb of Seattle, obvs) there is a local business owner who recently purchased a space that used to be Petco and is currently housing a number of old Rock-afire Explosion band members in varying states of disrepair. From a local article, it sounds like he and some friends are repairing them to get them up and running again. You can see them from the street and they are like something straight out of my nightmares! I must now watch this film.
    Also, Daylight Savings Time can bite me. I’ve decided that it is the number one reason everyone’s New Year’s resolutions fail so early in the year. I have been getting up almost every weekday at 5:40-6 am like clockwork for nearly 2 1/2 months to go to yoga. It has been difficult, but I was getting into a routine. This week? Once. I’ve made it ONCE. And it wasn’t all zen like yoga should be. I had trouble wiping the bitchface from my face at getting up BEFORE the crack of dawn.

  17. You are going to love Sherlock season 2. The solution to the cliffhanger is pure genius and I think I died a little at the end of episode 3 when I realized that I had to wait yet again to see how this will work out. But I just know it will be so worth it.

  18. Use expat shield to give yourself a UK IP address, then you can stream from the BBC website (it’s free, just Google it). Too late now, though. They already pulled Sherlock series 2 from the BBC site.
    And if you think the cliffhanger at the end of series 1 is good wait til you see the one at the end of series 2. Over all I would say that episode 1 and 3 of series 2 are even better than series 1. Episode 2, though was really poor.

  19. Here’s an economist’s take on how DST costs the U.S. over $1.7B each year.
    Also, the increased use of air conditioners effects individual finances.
    “One study showed that the time shift did not reduce energy consumption, so much as displace where and when it was being used. For example, fewer people may need to turn their lights on in the morning when they wake up due to an earlier sunrise, but more people are using air conditioners later in the day as it gets warmer, according to research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2008.”
    Huff Post has a good overview, including info on traffic accidents and the like..

  20. So happy to see you loving Sherlock! I recently fell hard for that show and I’ve rewatched it quite a few times myself. Both seasons one and two. I’m in the US, but…well…you can buy the DVD on Ebay. It’s Region Two, but it works in many devices. I couldn’t wait. The Beeb made it very difficult for me to watch season two legally (which is a whole ‘nother point about how clueless the entertainment industry is that I could go on and on about, but I already know you get it from other posts and tweets, so I’ll let it go), but I managed, and yes, it’s fantastic.
    Thanks for the other rec. I’ll have to check it out.
    Oh, and worst for last, I guess. I love DST. I work weekend overnights, so it’s a godsend. I got screwed working the fall back night, but I got a reprieve last weekend. Mostly, though, I just love having a little bit of daylight in my day. On work nights, I turn in when the sun has been up for a few hours (about 10 AM), but I wake in the late afternoon/early evening (sometime between 4-6 PM), so having time to walk the dogs or just get a bit of vitamin D before heading off to work at ten sure is nice. On non-work days, I shift my schedule some (can’t stay completely nocturnal and get anything done – even a simple doctor’s apmt), but I still stay shifted to nights compared to most, so…yeah. I like DST. Can’t help it. To be honest, though, despite the jet lag of the few days after the change, I always have. I’ve always enjoyed light evenings, even before I worked nights. I won’t get up early, so for me more daylight is a good thing for me to get things done. But I get hating it, too. Pros and cons and all that.

  21. Please don’t hit Benjamin Franklin with a hammer, even if he did come up with the inane idea of daylight savings time. Three reasons: 1. He’s dead. 2. You probably don’t know where’s he buried. 3. I really like Ben Franklin.

  22. I didn’t hate DST until I had babies. Those precious post-bedtime hours in the evening are the only alone-time I have with my husband, and DST screws it up every time. That said, sunlight in the evening makes me very, very happy.

  23. I’m thankful that we don’t use DST. I had it for four years when I moved to another province and it seemed utterly pointless. And I echo those who say the third episode of season two of Sherlock is amazing. Fortunately, BBC Canada showed it last month. I think PBS is airing Sherlock in May.

  24. I totally agree with you about daylight savings time. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I liked the “fall back” in college because you got an extra hour at the bar but now I just hate it. With a passion!

  25. Ah, Showbiz Pizza. I had my 10th birthday there, and I had to go on stage and talk to the animatronic bear leading the band. Even then I was certain there was some high schooler or college student in some backroom voicing the bear and snickering under his breath at me.
    I’m going to have to watch that documentary, though. Despite my humilation at having to talk to that bear, I loved going there.

  26. We have WAY too much in common, Wil. I grew up with Showbiz, and had a Fatz keychain for many, many years. I was a skee ball specialist.
    I was thrilled when I was at this kid’s fun place called Odyssey Fun World and got a peek into their big function room and saw the whole band on stage! I am somehow absolutely sure this is MY band, from my Showbiz (it is actually logical, considering locations), somehow ending up at this other venue, and it makes me happy that they are not moldering away somewhere.
    And, yes, DST is a giant PITA. Especially when you have small children. Argh.

  27. I must argue in favor of DST, mainly because the fun starts come October when we all get to travel back in time and do 1 hour over again! Now that’s a Saturday night!

  28. Ha, you think you have it bad,
    I have to deal with it from the US screwing up all of my appointments and meetings for two weeks and then Ireland will follow with DST in two weeks time.
    Seriously I want to break the the Master of the Universe’s face with a blunt hammer, repeatedly!!.

  29. Was your skee ball move to bank it off the side rail, about 12 inches from the top, into the 50? Or did you go straight up the middle?
    I ask, because I have used both, to varying degrees of success.
    Also? The 100 point targets are complete BS.

  30. I share your falling-asleep issue. I’m usually ok for 1 or maybe 2 interruptions, but if I get pulled back from the brink of sleep 3 times I’m done for. I’ll be awake for hours, thinking about how crappy I’ll feel the next day. The mind is a mysterious & sometimes very annoying thing.

  31. I have the SAME problem – not just w/Daylight Savings, but with the whole, “Mess with me the first hour and I’m screwed” thing. That happened to me 2 nights ago. I was watching TNG, which is my late-night go-to show, and I had the TV on sleep timer. Now my husband is the “cat” in this scenario. He comes in – practically ripping the door off the hinges for some unknown reason. I mentally added WD-40 to my shopping list at that moment. Then I tried to not bitch him out about it, so I can still be in “cool wife” territory. But then… he assumed I was asleep and turned off my perfectly timed sleepy TV plan. Aaaand I was up and pissed. Poor hubby… I wasn’t “cool wife” at that moment.

  32. I believed that stance was at least half of it; your swinging arm (NOT you!) should be centered just so, and then I would bank it off the side, but not that high up; I’d go for about 2/3 of the way between halfway and 3/4 of the way up, off the right side (I’m right handed). It was pretty reliable; I rarely got less than forty, and often fifty.
    I’ve seen some people do really well straight up the middle, though. It probably depends on your eye. I do most things slightly askew. 😉
    The 100 point targets are a lottery, pure and simple, and never worth it; you’ll get way more tickets with steady 40s and 50s. Although, these days, the machines don’t spit out the tickets like they used to. Humph.

  33. Wil – re Sherlock season 2. Buy a Region-free DVD player. I had no trouble finding one via rudimentary Internet searches. I originally bought it for a couple of UK DVDs not available in North America (I’m in Canada). Once I had it, it was a no-brainer buying Sherlock season 2 off I watched it all back in early February. I still only have 4 DVDs (out of hundreds) that require the region-free player, but it’s totally worth it for situations just like this.

  34. Dear Wil,
    Never set the cat on fire, you only will annoy it
    The flames will make the beast perspire; it surely won’t enjoy it
    Likewise do not ignite the dog, the snake, the gerbil, or the frog
    No, never set the cat on fire
    And mind your manners, as circumstances may require
    And never set the cat on fire
    Don’t open up the cabin hatch; the air is sure to leave it
    And air is very hard to catch; you never will retrieve it
    And even though your life’s a bore, don’t open the reactor door
    Don’t open up the cabin hatch
    And mind your manners, as circumstances may require
    And never set the cat on fire
    Don’t change the navigator’s data, someone’s sure to see ya
    You know the captain’s view of that, a very bad idea
    He doesn’t want his ship to race forever lost in endless space
    Don’t change the navigator’s data
    And mind your manners, as circumstances may require
    And never set the cat on fire
    Don’t start an interstellar war; it has no helpful uses
    When someone asks you ‘what’s it for?’, you’ll only make excuses
    If thirty trillion folks get hurt, you’ll go to bed with no dessert!
    Don’t start an interstellar war
    And mind your manners, as circumstances may require
    And never set the cat on fire
    And mind your manners, as circumstances may require
    And never set the cat on fire
    (Lyrics from Frank Hayes’ “Never Set the Cat on Fire”: )

  35. Oatmeal has melatonin and… what’s that stuff turkeys have that makes you sleepy? Tryptophan? Yeah I think that’s it. If you eat warm oatmeal before you go to bed it will help you sleep.
    I saw it on Dr. Oz so it must be true… right?

  36. Thank you for sharing that! Never heard of it before (and unfortunately it set me off on the trail of a couple Joe Bethancourt videos when I should have been sleeping!) but am now glad to have made its acquaintance, and yours.
    P.S. I hate DST, coming & going. No matter if I lose or gain the hour, I’m messed up for at least a week. It’s worse in the fall, I think, because I suddenly lose an hour of daylight, which does nothing good for my “winter blahs” tendency.

  37. Sorry. Didn’t read the entire post. I got stuck where you said that you sleep 8 hours. 8 hours!?! You get to sleep for 8 hours? We go to bed at 9, wake up at 7 (or somewhere around there) and though the other two people (four if you count the fuzzy people with tails) get plenty of sleep, I haven’t gotten a full nights sleep since I was four months pregnant. Thanks to the mysterious illness that has me randomly feeling sick to my stomach at all hours of the day and night, constant worrying that I’ve got cancer or some other horrid illness that’s slowly killing me and general inability to sleep, during that 10 hour span, I might get three hours of good sleep and seven hours of WISHING I were getting good sleep.

  38. Psst…you can get Season 2 of SHERLOCK on as a region-free blu-ray. Plays on any blu-ray player. That way you don’t have to wait until May. Just sayin’.

Comments are closed.