July 31, 2005
Watching Rauchy Movies
I taped a movie on SciFi last night, which turned out to blow chunks. I expected that. After all this is The SciFi Channel we're talking about. However, right after that movie was "Dagon", based on an H. P. Lovecraft story. I've seen this before. It's passable. It's about four friends aboard a boat who decide to moor at a small village off the Spanish coast since a storm is coming. Of course, the village is populated by fish. Typical Lovecraft. My favorite movie based on a Lovecraft story is "Reanimator". Nothing can beat that one.
Is Cool Dead?
Roxanne has a fun post asking "is cool dead?" I've never really been one to be cool, at least not intentionally. I was always more of an outsider. Even my Friday Random Ten is too remote to be cool. I listen to music most people don't listen to. Maybe liking BT, Delerium, Lustmord, and Sasha makes me cool, but I don't think most people have heard of them. Plus, I don't know how up-to-date they are. They could easily be too passe to be cool, but I still like them.
Rox quoted an article from the L. A. Times:
Just what is hip has become nebulous in a digital age of microtrends, when a cultural blip goes from underground to overexposed in one season. Likewise, the original concept of hip as something outside the purview of the mainstream has been replaced by the hipstream: mainstream cool packaged by corporate marketing departments.
The inevitable backlash — not against the bohemian veritas but the sycophantic consumer of cool — is well underway.
You can be far outside the purview of the mainstream yet not be cool. I'm living proof. I did catch the Asian Extreme horror movement shortly before it became mainstream, so I at least have a smattering of cool. I'm not totally hopeless. Now, you can find those movies at Blockbuster, which means Asian horror is no longer cool. When I first bought my Asian horror DVDs, I could find them only on eBay, and they were shipped to me from overseas. I have a bootleg copy of "The Ring - The Television Series". That was cool when I first found it (about a year ago), but it's probably not cool now.
My idea of cool would be to own some original Strand Magazines with Sherlock Holmes stories in them. Maybe that's more geek than cool. I don't know. I have seen these magazines for sale, but they're costly. I can't afford them. Yet. I will get some someday.
Rox thinks the L. A. Times article is trying to be cool and failing miserably. She wrote "The rest of the article is filled with the usual LA-Times-Calendar-Section-Trying-Oh-So-Hard-To-Be-Culturally-Relevant-That-They-Don't-Recognize-They're-The-Epicenter-Of-The-Faux-Hipsterism-Of-Which-They-Speak-And-Don't-Know-That-The-Rest-Of-Us-Figured-All-This-Out-In-'99 Bullshit." I have no clue what is culturally relevant and what is faux hipsterism, so I'll just take her word for it.
The one thing I did that I know was cool is that I was a member of the original AOL "X Files" online fan club. This was during the first season when no one was watching the show, and it was about to be cancelled. The Internet fan clubs saved the show. That was good, but by the third season it was too mainstream to be cool. I remember when the only place I could find "X Files" t-shirts and gack like license plate frames and fake FBI i. d. badges was at science fiction conventions. I bought a "Mulder/Scully in '98. Trust No One Else" bumper sticker and put it on my car. That was cool. No one else had it. By the third season, you could find the shirts in stores. Mattel made Barbie versions of Scully and Mulder. No longer cool.
The coolest thing about the club was that one of the show's writers, Glen Morgan, used to drop in and hang out with us. This was when there were only about 20 people in the chat room, and the show was still at cult status. Morgan used to give us spoilers about upcoming episodes he was working on with his partner, Jim Wong. He also named some of his characters after club members, using either their real names or their screen names. The character "The Thinker" from the show and Jerry, who appeared in "Die Hand De Verletzt", were names taken from other chat fan club members. Morgan also told us about his up-coming new show, "Space: Above and Beyond" before it aired. I couldn't get much into that one. I was doing film, stage, and TV work at the time. Morgan even gave me the name of someone in Vancouver, B. C. to write to to see about working on the show, but that panned out. I found out I'd have to move to Canada to work on it. I couldn't live in Washington State and commute. I'm glad I tried to contact someone to work on the show, though. At least I tried.
It was fun when there were only about 20 members. The chat had a nice, cozy intimate feel to it. When it became mainstream, there were so many people in the chat that I got eye whiplash trying to keep up with the text. I stopped going to the chat sometime between the fourth and fifth seasons. It just wasn't the same. I liked it better when it was a small group of internet fans, and the show hadn't gone mainstream.
I don't think you'll see online fan clubs like this for television shows anymore because the companies that make the shows use the Internet now to advertise them. They create gack and chat rooms in the hope that people will show up and buy shit. Our X Files fan club was strictly fan-based, not a corporate entity. I think those days are gone.
If You Tailgate, You Could Be Behind Her
A woman opened her car door while driving in order to spit. (!!!) She fell out, and chased her car down the highway as it ran down an embankment towards a construction site. Be glad you weren't behind her.
Image Of Christ On A Tree or Matrixing?
Matrixing is that ability to see familiar objects in shapeless blobs. Seeing faces and animals in clouds is an example of matrixing. I learned this on "Ghost Hunters" on Wednesday.
The latest religious sighting is that of a figure of Christ supposedly on a tree in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Christians who are visiting the tree claim to see the image in the area of a branch that was cut two days ago. The looting has already started. Visitors are taking bits of bark home with them. They're also saying prayers, lighting candles, and leaving money.
Soon to come - Buddy Christ car dashboard icons, "I Witnessed The Holy Tree of Bosnia" bumper stickers, and slices of blessed bark to be sold near the site.
This should keep you entertained. How To Make A Kick-Ass Paper Airplane.
Yet Another Reason To Avoid Hotels
I prefer bed and breakfasts. Get a load of this:
"A vulnerability in many hotel television infrared systems can allow a hacker to obtain guests' names and their room numbers from the billing system.
It can also let someone read the e-mail of guests who use web mail through the TV, putting business travelers at risk of corporate espionage. And it can allow an intruder to add or delete charges on a hotel guest's bill or watch pornographic films and other premium content on their hotel TV without paying for it."
The Winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Awards
The Bulwer-Lytton Awards for bad fiction are in! Here is the winner, written by Dan McKay of Fargo, ND. He compared a woman's breasts to carburetors.
"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual."
Go to the link to see the runners-up. All of them are hilarious.
My Sense Of Humor
I found this at Feministe. I scored the same as Lauren. I'm not surprised at the results. My humor can be rather dark and unsettling. It's also very off-the-cuff.
| the Cutting Edge|
CLEAN | SPONTANEOUS | DARK
Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't in and of themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top. Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.
PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi
|My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid|
Bird Flu, The Next Pandemic?
Here is yet another alarmist article about avian flu possibly becoming the next pandemic. These kinds of articles have been written for a very long time, and this is not the first one with that theme that I've read. Yes, people in Asia have contracted bird flu when they are in close proximity to infected birds, such as people who work in the poultry industry. The flu has transmitted from animal-to-human. The key thing that must happen to send up red alarms about a pandemic is that the virus must evolve to person-to-person contact. It hasn't done that yet. It probably will eventually happen, and the question is will the medical community be prepared to handle it? I think it's worth keeping an eye on the avian flu stories, and at the same time not panicking over them.
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't
Amanda at Pandagon links to a post by Lauren at Feministe about the ageless double-bind working moms and stay-at-home moms are in. I've been both a stay-at-home and working mom while married and divorced, in varying degrees. Having a supportive partner goes a long way to making either working or staying at home with the kids a pleasant proposition. I did not have the support of my ex-husband no matter what I did. I have the support of my current husband, and it makes all the difference in the world. I've noticed that the political and media pundits act as if stay-at-home and working moms live in some kind of vacuum - that she alone is responsible for whether or not her kids turn out fine. Those pundits forget that raising children is supposed to be a group effort. While it can be done alone, it's great to have help. I am very grateful to my husband for doing his part in raising his stepson. My son knows who his dad is, and he knows that my husband is not replacing dad in any way. That's one criticism mothers in my situation often hear from fathers' rights activists - we supposedly want our new husbands to replace dad. That is most definitely not true. Any fathers' rights activist saying that either has some doubts about his own ability to properly raise his kids, or he's hiding some ugly secrets he conveniently leaves out when discussing what a great guy he is to his fellow fathers' rights activists on the Internet.
I'm tired of reading about how I am selfish if I work outside the home, and that I'm a leech if I stay at home to raise my son. I'm tired of reading about mothers who supposedly "let" day care raise their children, yet if they forego paid employment to raise their children, they are treated as if they have nothing of interest to add to a conversation. They're damned no matter what they do.
Those who criticize working mothers act as if all of these mothers are pursuing highly-paid careers, and would rather have meetings, business travel to exotic locations, huge McMansions, enough money to buy a new SUV, cell phones, cable TV, and other luxuries. The fact is that most people, male or female, don't have dream jobs. Most people don't have highly paid exciting careers you see in the movies. That's a fantasy. Most jobs are much more down-to-earth and mundane than that. I remember reading somewhere that feminism will achieve its goal when women have the same right as men to be paid the same amount of money to work at a dull job.
I've noticed that these articles point fingers at mothers who work to obtain "luxuries", all the while dumping the kids in day care. The moms, defensive, say they don't buy "luxuries" but "necessities". I don't think moms need to be defensive about this. I'm certainly not. I say, what business is it of some pundit or nosy neighbor to judge me for eating out, buying a new car, investing in collectibles, or buying a new DVD player? It's none of your fucking business. If you don't approve of buying "luxuries", than don't buy them. Just keep your snotty opinions to yourself.
On the other hand, mothers are urged to stay home to raise the kids - as long as they are not poor. Poor mothers who stay at home are called welfare queens. That term might not be said aloud in "polite company" today, but the attitude is still there. One reason welfare reform is successful because it plays on the ugly stereotype of the welfare queen. Taxpayers complain that welfare mothers should work because they - the taxpayer - doesn't want to pay for their children. Guess what - you already are. You're paying for children whose mothers are not on welfare, too. You're paying for their educations, science equipment, school books, teachers, adminstrators, transportation, and sometimes their meals. When those children begin working, they will begin paying towards Social Security that you will use. Maybe when it's time for you to go to Happy Acres Nursing Home, those children you refused to "pay for" should have the option of not putting any of their hard-earned cash towards Social Security. Then you'll see how it feels.
I admit that I prefer working motherhood to being a stay-at-home mom. When I was a SAHM, I was so bored I climbed the walls. I became involved in local theatre groups both before and after my pregnancy, and learned about lighting, scenic art, and makeup. It was due to this volunteer work while I was a young mother that I eventually earned money working on movies, concerts, television, and business conferences. I joined two unions. I commend SAHMs, but it just was not for me.
I have had mixed experiences related to working motherhood when I was a recent childless, unmarried college graduate. Back in the 1980s, I had worked for a company that wanted me to interview prospective employees for a clerical position, but my boss wanted me to find out if they had children. He didn't want to hire a woman with young children. This man's wife just gave birth to a baby girl, and he couldn't see the irony. I reminded him that what he wanted me to do was illegal, but he was adamant. I felt stuck. I was recently hired by the company myself, and I was very unsure of myself. I had interviewed one woman that I liked very much, but she had a young child. My boss didn't want to hire her. He chose a woman I really couldn't get along with, but she was childless. I was very young, naive, and too scared to do anything about this. I left the company soon after this incident. The company folded a few years after I left. I wasn't surprised. It turned out that the company played fast and loose with its accounting. This was years before Enron.
At my first job out of college, I worked with a woman who became pregnant, and she took full advantage over our boss's fear of a lawsuit to run roughshod over her co-workers, most notably me because when she wouldn't show up at work, I was stuck with all her work on top of mine. I had talked to my boss about this - we got along very well - but he was scared he'd face a discrimination lawsuit if he fired her. She did eventually clean up her act after a couple of chats, but I was still angry that she found a way to dump her work on me. She became pregnant again almost immediately after giving birth to her first child, and she quit her job a few months into that pregnancy. My work load immediately dropped to a more comfortable level, since my boss hired another secretary.
I've had my own experiences with motherhood while I was single and childless that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Since having my son, my attitude has changed. I think with age, experience, confidence, and wisdom I would have handled those two situations much differently.
It seems that quite a bit of the motherhood discussion is due to boneheaded comments by Rick Santorum. He said that birth control is harmful to women and society and it's "not a healthy thing for our country." He recently wrote "It Takes A Family" and is presumably on a book tour. Sure, take away a woman's ability to decide when and if to bear a child, and once she bears the child, don't give her any social support. Don't give her adequate child care or maternity leave. The United States is one of the only countries (the other is Australia) that does not provide adequate maternity leave for mothers. According to media reports (see previous link for one), "The United States and Australia are the only industrialized countries that don't provide paid leave for new mothers nationally, although there are exceptions in some U.S. states. Australian mothers have it better, however, with one year of job-protected leave. The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave, but it covers only those who work for larger companies. To put it another way, out of 168 nations in a Harvard University study last year, 163 had some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland."