Second Attempt at posting some Friday fun. If my browser crashes out again, I am afraid you're all out of luck:
- Panda Run: A soothing game (that may still challenge you).
Found on Fun Junkie
- Buy Against Humans: Creepy/funny German website. Link leads to Google translation.
By Way of Die Puny Humans
- Patriotic Posters from Whitehouse.org
From Milk and Cookies
I am thinking about taking online writing classes from the Gotham Writer's Workshop. And not just because of the implied Batman connection.
However, I've not had much luck in finding testimonials or reviews of the classes that didn't come from the school's website itself. If anyone out there has any info about Gotham they can offer, or if they can recommend another program, please let me know.
It's time for me to go from lacksadasical hobbyist to...well, at least determined hobbyist.
The State of the Union Address Drinking Game, 2003.
Heaven knows we all might need a drink once its over.
Found on Meme Pool.
They say writers should record their dreams, and examine their nightmares. I've never kept a dream journal (although I own one), but I had a particularly disturbing dream this weekend, so to exorcise the beast in hopes of conquering it. Unless you are the type of person who likes reading about other people's dreams, you'll probably find this boring, and unless you live inside my head, you probably won't find it at all frightening. (Although I often think the people who know me might fear me if they could see inside my head).
Either way, you are just as welcome to read on as to skip over it (it is a long entry). If you have any remedies for these particular types of dreams handy, I'd love to hear them. If you're the type who likes to analyze dreams, be my guest. I'm always curious to hear what others think of my dreamscape.
If you think this finally proves your secret theory that I'm psychotic, you just may be right. Enjoy.
I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.
- Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
I've always had a strange relationship with my dreams. They turn up in my fiction, they haunt my conscious mind. They all seem to visit the deep dark shadows that reside in the heart of me. Pop Culture Boy can tell you; my everyday dreams scare him more than most peoples' nightmares.
And my nightmares…well…their a bit odd, too.
I have always dreamed in color. Growing up, my nightmares were almost always black and white (both the sepia toned "black and white" or classic Hollywood, and the stark black and white of early German expressionist films. Certainly cinema has had a hand in shaping my subconscious.) My nightmares generally consisted of monster in the closet, or of the people I knew changing personalities. One I remembered particularly I had when I was about 5 years old, in stark black and white. It was when my family moved to a new house, in a new neighborhood. In the dream, aliens were turning my family to stone, and replacing them with alien look a-likes. It sticks with me to this day.
Frequently, I would dream about a city I had never been to in my waking life; it was both strange and familiar to me. I could easily navigate the streets and alleys; I knew people there, and I was known. These dreams were generally vivid and full of activity. I sometimes woke up more exhausted than I fell asleep.
As a kid, I was able to choose the theme of my dreams during that nebulous time between falling asleep and sleeping. I'd picture a cube in my mind, with different images on each side. It would rotate, and I would choose which image I wanted to dream about. Mind you, the dreams didn't always stay there, but they would start there. I've tried replicating the effect as an adult, but to no avail. As a child, this was effortless, as an adult--it's too contrived. Too forced. My brain simply refuses to cooperate.
Which is not to say it never happens; about a year ago I had a horrible dream that I was in a huge old farmhouse with a group of female friend, which included my youngest sister. In the dream, I was hand-mixing something in a huge mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, when the house was best upon by…for lack of a better description, redneck bandits (you know the type--dirty and burly; all shotguns and mullets). We ran upstairs (you'd think I've seen enough horror movies to know that you don't run upstairs) and hid under the furniture. The men came up (I could only see their dirty boots and the muzzle of their guns) and found my sister. She was hiding directly across from me. As they grabbed her roughly and pulled her out from under the seat, she looked at me with pleading eyes, full of fear. All I had was my wooden spoon. I felt helpless. I woke up, upset and shaking. I didn't like how that turned out at all. I went immediately back to sleep and dreamed the dream over again, only this time I made everyone lock and barricade the doors (much to their confusion) so that the bandits didn't get in.
I felt much better when I woke up; but still had to call my sister to make sure she was ok. You know. Just in case.
You should go to sleep again and dream better.
- Freidrich Nietzsche
This brings me to lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming, loosely defined, is when the dreamer is aware they are in a dream environment, and are therefore able to manipulate the dream to their advantage. Most of what I've read about lucid dreaming seems to link it to Out of Body experiences, astral projection, etc, and claim that lucid dreaming allows the dreamer to fulfill their whole dreaming potential. I have to be honest, I don't really buy it. I mean, I buy lucid dreaming; I've experienced it. I just don't accept that it's somehow exceptional or paranormal. After all, dreams don't come from outside the dreamer--the dreamer generates the dreams themselves. I don't think it's an X-Files worthy event when two parts of the same brain decide to cooperate. (I only wish I had better access to my sub-conscious mind while I was awake!) Besides, I am much more interested in fulfilling my full life potential than my full dream potential.
I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
- Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
I bring up lucid dreaming because these types of dreams are a central part of my worst nightmares; the kind that give me the screaming fantods (Thanks, Dan, for adding this fantastic phrase to my vocabulary!). In general, these nightmares had two aspects: false awakenings and dream loops.
False awakenings are exactly what they sound like. The dreamer thinks they are awake, and going about their day; but in fact are still sleeping away. Most often, I experience very benign false awakenings when I hit the snooze alarm one time too many. I will have a series of false awakening dreams in the 8 snooze minutes (dreams happening much faster than real time) in which I am running late, and am unable to catch up.
I've had more sinister false awakenings too. One of the worst I remember left me awake with feelings of dread and danger. One, I was in college, in my dorm room. I really thought that I was lying in bed, awake. I could see my roommate in her bed across the room. The streetlights came in through the window. The crack in the ceiling still ran above my bed; my books piled where I left them on the desk. Our closet didn’t have a door--instead it had a cloth curtain pulled across the opening. I could hear Jack Nicholson speaking to me from my closet. He was trying to convince me to off myself. I could only lay there, paralyzed. When I finally did wake up, I was afraid to move from my bed until morning.
Generally though, a dream with a single false awakening is irritating at worst. However, when paired up with what I call a dream loop, these dreams can reduce me to a whiny, babbling, paranoid.
These false awakening dream loops start out innocently enough. I dream that I've woken up. I go about my day. I notice something is out of place. I think, "Oh, I'm dreaming. I need to wake up." I wake up, back in my bed. I get up, I go about my day. I notice something out of place. I think, "Dammit. I'm still dreaming. I need to wake up." Each time this happens, I get more and more frustrated, and eventually, frightened. As the loop continues, I realize earlier and earlier in the dream that I am dreaming. By the fourth or fifth time through the loop, I start checking right away to see if I am asleep. Often there is a recurring character in these dreams (usually male)--someone whose presence makes sense in the environment. They tend to go from innocuous to helpful to adversarial as the dream loop progresses. They are my Antagonist Brain, and my dream self is the Protagonist Brain. I think the character manifestation of my Antagonist Brain is male just to aggravate me extra. (It is ironic, as the etymological nightmare was female.)
I once experienced a dream loop that was 30 or 40 dreams deep. After I finally woke, I spent the entire day waiting for something weird to happen. I warned a friend and co-worker that if anything out-of-the-ordinary happened that day, they shouldn't be surprised or concerned if I ran screaming from the office. I would assume that I was still asleep.
These dreams frighten me no end. I have control issues when it comes to my brain; this is why I (usually) don't drink to excess, and have never gotten into the drug culture. I don't like to give up that control. When these dreams happen, the part of my brain I am conscious of (if one can be conscious of the their sub-conscious) is not the part that has control. As they progress, I become increasingly convinced that they are never going to end; that the Antagonist Brain will keep me there; forever.
I'm just evil enough to do it, too.
I've done some research on these types of nightmares. They might be night terrors (although they don’t adhere to the diagnosis), they could be some sort of lucid dreams gone bad, they might be related to sleep paralysis, or they may simply be the result of poor sleeping habits. (This later is currently my favorite explanation. My cynic's brain can easily wrap itself around that reasoning.)
In my research, I've discovered that are certain triggers that are recommended for people who want to lucid dream; triggers that will indicate that they are dreaming, so they can do whatever they want to do, rather than follow the dream path. Although I am not particularly interested in steering my dreams (I generally like the journey, thanks) I have tried using the triggers during dream loops, in hopes that if I can prove to myself that I am dreaming, it will force me to wake up.
Unfortunately, my Antagonist Brain knows what my Protagonist Brain knows. It is neither fooled nor impressed.
I offer, by way of example, false awakenings/dream loop nightmare I had this weekend:
- It started off like a regular dream. I remember that I was talking to a friend who is an editor . Even though he works in the technical field and not in fiction, I was asking him to throw work my way, in hopes of getting some literary attention. At some point the dream switched over and I am in my bedroom, doing laundry. Then I am in bed. I wake up.
- I wake up in my bed. My limbs are heavy; I realize almost at once that I am still dreaming. I can't will myself awake, but I know Pop Culture Boy is in his office, which shares a common wall with the bedroom. I think maybe if I bang on the wall he will hear me, come in, and wake me up. I try to will my arm to bang the wall. My arm is heavy; it tingles. When my hand hits the plasterboard it leaves deep, splintery impressions. I realize I only hit the wall in my dreams, he can't hear me. I have to…
- I wake up. I try to call out for PCB, but my voice comes out thin, and squeaky, like I've lost my voice. (This is a good indicator that I am dreaming. I am never able to scream in my dreams. As a pre-teen, I once dreamt that a faceless man was sitting on my chest (oddly enough, a traditional pose for a nightmare), holding my arms and legs down trying to strangle me. That's the first time I remember not being able to scream in my sleep. When I did wake, my throat taut and sore, and my legs knotted in the blankets, my arms trapped beneath me.) I keep trying to scream. Eventually, PCB comes in, tells me it was only a bad dream, makes me lie down; tries to calm me. I look out the bedroom at the head of our bed. Despite the fact we live on the 14th floor of our building, it is not the presence of trees that tip me off that I am still in the dream; it is the fact that there is an overpass just slightly higher than our window, about 100 feet away. After a few cars go by, I see a mounted police officer, who drives his horse the wrong way across the overpass at high speeds. When he gets to the edge, they jump, and fly over our building, a shooting star sparkling above them. I see there are more mounted police on a nearby roof. PCB tells me to relax, it happens all the time. I tell him I'm still dreaming.
- I wake up. I turn to look out the window again, and see the Eifel tower in the far distance. I lie back down in a huff, PCB comes in. I tell him I'm not fooled, I'm still dreaming. He shrugs, and tells me he guesses I better try again.
- I wake up, and check the time (our projection clock projects the time on the ceiling). I see that not even a whole minute has passed since I checked the clock before falling asleep. I've barely been asleep at all. PCB comes in to check on me. He lies on top of me, full body, at first I think to restrain me, then I realize it's an advance.
- I wake up. PCB comes in, pulls the blanket back and throws a raw chicken at me. I can feel the cold fat on me where the chicken hit. I am grossed out, but something in my head clicks, and I understand this this is some kind of foreplay, based on some inside joke. (*note: this is not actually an inside joke between us, that was just the way the dream played out. I am hoping that, in fact, it doesn't now become one). I simultaneously am grossed out and find it funny. Just as sex is starting, he pulls away, disgusted. Tells me there is something wrong with me, but won't tell me what.
- I wake up and get out of bed. I think I've got it figured out this time. I think that if I can prove definitively that I am dreaming, then my Antagonist Brain will have to give in, and let me wake up. Lucid dreamers suggest, among other things, attempting to operate electronics and light switches. If the switches aren't there, or don't work, it is supposed to indicate a dream state. I knock on PCB's office door. He is sitting in there, in the dark. Only his computer monitor is on (picture of boats on it, I think), flooding his profile in light. "I've got it," I tell him. "I just need to flip the light switch. It won't work and then I can prove it’s a dream and wake up." He doesn't look at me, but responds "But all I have to do is ask you not to touch my monitor, then you can't turn it off. You won't prove anything." I know he is right, and that he is definitely working for the other side. I am foiled again.
- I wake up. I am lying on my back in the bed. I can't move at all. I sit there and try calling him again. I strain, trying desperately to scream. I am close to crying. All I manage are some gurgling noises.
My eyes snap open; I think it was the gurgling noises that finally did it; I must have made some actual noise. I am lying on my side, the same position I fell asleep in. I turn over but instead of looking out the window, I put my hands on the alarm clock. It feels right, real. I am awake. I get up and knock on PCB's door. He takes off his headphones and I tell him I got stuck in a loop. He comes in, lies down with me, and tries to calm me. I ask him if he is suddenly going to turn into a large pink caterpillar or something. He assures me he won't; I am relieved that he doesn't. My nerves jangle and hum with nervous energy. I want to keep talking, to banish the dream. I keep apologizing while he tries to coo me back to sleep. I am awake at least 2 more hours. I think he is asleep before I am. I am petrified that when I get back to sleep, it will start again.
You can imagine how the Nightmare on Elm St. films creep me out (well, the good ones. Look at any of the 3 directed by Wes Craven and starring Heather Lankgenkamp. These are the ones I mean).
I often wish I could have regular nightmares; being chased by monsters, being lost in a strange place, or speaking in public wearing my underwear. (I do sometimes have dreams about being back at school, but not knowing my schedule and being unprepared for all my classes. These generally happen when I am feeling nervous about work, or unprepared for a task.) I suppose my brain has stooped to these tactics because the standard nightmares don't really scare me anymore. Although I love horror and monster movies and films, they only kind of monsters that really frighten me are the kind I might actually face; serial killers, robbers, etc. For a period in my life I was beset by confrontational dreams, when these kinds of people would break into my home or attack me, and I would wake up frightened, nervous of each sound. Then, in one dream, I fought back (hit they guy with a trash can lid when I was in some backyard, barbequing). Now in my adversarial dreams I always fight back, and although they are often violent, and I don't always win, I tend to find them affirming and energizing rather than frightening.
What else can my brain do but taunt me in this land between sleep and waking? They say we need nightmares, just as surely as we need dreams. If I refuse to be frightened by traditional western nightmare tropes, I suppose it can only really get me by taking away what I covet most; my control.
These truly disturb me. Perhaps I can develop a healthy fear of broccoli, and give my brain something a bit less insidious to play with.
Ok, Antagonist Brain; I hereby call you out. I know what you are up to, and will defeat your dirty tricks.
Just let me wake up in the morning.
*Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven
I love bubble wrap. This should be a stay-home-from work sort of holiday, so we can all sit around a pop it all day.
However, for those of us not blessed enough to be able to stay home, here are a few ways to work the bubble wrap celebration into your day:
- Virtual bubble wrap. It's perpetual. Play all day. Play forever.
- Brush up on your bubble wrap etiquette.
- Make and wear some bubble wrap clothing.
Conversation with Pop Culture Boy after his return from the Linux World Expo:
PCB: Picture yourself in a white room..
Sarcasmo: With black curtains?
PCB (either completely missing or totally ignoring the reference): No, an entirely white room. There are no windows, and nothing on the walls. There is nothing but a bright light. How do you feel?
Sarcasmo: Like its hurting my eyes.
PCB (slightly exasperated): No...how do you feel emotionally.
Sarcasmo (closes eyes tightly, waits a beat, squints): I feel like its hurting my eyes.
PCB: Ok. We were playing The Cube [in New York], and someone suggested this game. The white room is suppose to signfy how you feel about your marriage.
Sarcasmo: Oh. Well, I wouldn't worry, honey. Idon't put too much stock in these things anyway.
PCB: Me neither. Don't worry. When they asked me, I said "Puzzled".
This conversation really cracked me up. Seems almost appropriate to us somehow.
Well, I was sitting here, staying up too late, drinking tea, watching BBC America's premier of The Office, and blogging. Sadly, the GUI ate my post, so I'll be starting over. Here I go, with a list of links to keep you busy during those insidiously long, Friday clock-watching hours.
With perhaps somewhat less enthusiasm.
- From the Cool-but-Creepy-Use-of-Technology Dept.: Scientists have found a way to produce three dimensional living tissue by modifying an ink jet style printer. Replace the ink with cells and viola!
Now, I've made no secret of my fear of genetic experimentation, but I'm no Luddite. It's not the advancement of technology I fear. I just doubt the ability of the humanity to adhere to scientific responsibility. So far, this news is not giving me the heebie jeebies. On the other hand, it puts a whole new spin on those ink jet cartridge refill kits. - (via Slashdot)
- But Will it Travel P2P? Scientist carries whole human genome on his iPod.The best part? He upgraded his memory so he can listen to music, too. - (via Boing Boing)
- Amazing. Gross, but Amazing:-Teenager has had ripped off in car accident; survives, thrives. Needless to say, his head was reattached. - (via Fark)
- Who Needs Allies Anyway? What do you do when you are trying to convince the rest of the world to support your military action? If you're Rumsfeld, you insult them. If we keep this up, we won't have to worry about getting the rest of the world to support a war; they'll just all be on the other side.
- Game Me: Don't let the soothing music and adorable graphics fool you. These Little Pigs will challenge you. - (via Milk and Cookies)
- Finally, Hamlet How it Was Meant to be Seen: Topless, in a theater made entirely of ice. That'll make it rather tough to Ophelia to drown, of course. Unless she falls in while ice-fishing. - (via Ananova)
- Clap on, Clap off: 80s Commercials. The flashbacks are delightfully frightening.
- My Brain Hurts: I've managed to beat every level but the "impossible" level. This game can keep you busy all day.
- As If My Spatial Relations Weren't Challenged Enough: 3-D Tetris - (via Fun Junkie)
- Really Quick Reads: 50 word fiction. So small, you can't read just one. - (via The Escribitionist)
Last night I trekked out with some friends to see Singing in the Rain at a local theater. I've seen it before, of course, many times, but on cable or video. There is a magic to seeing classic films on the big screen. They come from an era before VCRs, DVDs, and DIVX made home viewing common place. These were conceived as theatrical events, and they took full advantage of being in a theatrical setting. They were big, they were bold and so much about them was larger than life. And the colors. Oh, the colors.
I finally understand what the big deal is about Technicolor.
My whole life I've seen movies "Filmed in Amazing Technicolor," on television; but I never could discern a difference between their color quality and that of prime-time tv.
I had no idea.
The print we saw was re-mastered using an "Ultra-Resolution" process, that I won't pretend to understand. The colors …the colors were…spectacular. Outstanding. Vivid. Darn near blinding. They weren't used to enhance the story or add character to the background; they were characters in themselves. And there were so many of them; each one brighter than the next, moving around and clashing. It was as though they were screaming "Look at me! Look at me! I'm in TECHNICOLOR!". And it was amazing. When it first came to theaters, it really must have blown viewers away.
Another bonus to seeing a classic film in the theater is the shared audience experience. All these strangers in the dark, escaping into the same fiction, sharing the same journey. It is very public, very intimate experience. For example, Singing in the Rain is 50 years old, and I would wager a guess that everyone in that theater had seen the film at least once before. And yet the theater was filled with gasps of surprise, giggles of joy, and sincere, delighted, gut-shaking laughter. And after many of the musical numbers (most especially Make 'em Laugh, my personal favorite. Donald O'Connor is a comedy genius), the audience broke out into applause.
I love when that happens at the movies.
If you get a chance to see this in the theaters, do yourself a very big favor and go. It's a fantastic film (better than I remembered--there were numerous subtleties lost on me when I watched this before) that not only stands the test of time, but defies it. If you go for no other reason, go because it's fun. Unless you are Lina Lamont, you can't help but leave the theater in a good mood.
Mind you, I'm not in anyway suggesting that classic films shouldn’t be watched on television. I saw Mildred Pierce on cable over the weekend, and it was absolutely fantastic. (I can see why Joan Crawford won an Oscar for that performance, although I fail to see how it’s the only Oscar she ever won. Didn't the Academy see Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?) It's that if you do have the opportunity to see a classic film in the theater, you should go. I assure you it's entirely unlike seeing a contemporary movie in the theater; it's a horse of a different color.
I'm very excited because the same theater where I saw Singing in the Rain is showing Casablanca on Valentine's Day. Pop Culture Boy and I are planning to go. I actually was able to see Casablanca on the big screen years ago during a revival (twice, actually), and I can tell you without exaggeration that watching it in the theater was an unbelievable experience. It is one of the best Hollywood movies ever made. Almost as good as Citizen Kane (the first time I saw Citizen Kane was actually in the theater, so my first experience with it was theatrical. It really is a remarkable film. And to be honest, Rosebud hardly matters, so don't let knowing about the sled stop you from going. PCB and I quote it at each other quite often).
And of course, the Kurosawa film festival starts this weekend. Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood here I come.
I love the movies.
On one hand, I think this is a bit frivolous; the X-Men aren't really human at all, they are fictional. Who cares?
On the other hand, I find it sad. I tend to prefer DC to Marvel (I'm a Batman girl; I like my heros and villians completely mad); but one thing Marvel has always done well has stressed the humanity of their characters. It made the heros more interesting. The fact that they still had to face their everyday problems even after defeating the Evil-of-the-Week helped readers relate to them. It let them feel like even though they had girl/family/school/work problems to deal with, they too could aspire to greater things.
And the X-Men especially. They are the quintessential misunderstood outsiders; and now they are officially, legally, in-the-real-world, "non-human creatuers". Imagine how this will affect those readers who felt that they related to them.
Ok, Ok, so its just a comic. I can't help it. I was an English major. I see symbols everywhere. And I don't like how this one looks.
Link provided by PCB Himself
I recently had the good fortune to participate in a role-playing game that I enjoy (I am talking about the sit-around-the-table-and-roll-dice type of RPG, not one of the various video game counterparts) with a long-standing, group of gamers. A rusty, table-top gaming dabbler unsure of my abilities, as well as painfully shy, especially when faced with a new group of people, (this will surprise some of you, I'm sure, but you must remember that shy, quiet, and passive are not synonymous), I entered their ken with a mixture of nervous excitement and trepidation.
Infiltrating any group of people, even when invited, can be tricky business; there are pre-exisiting modes of language and behavior to be learned, rituals to be observed, shared observances re-iterated, offerings made. Coming into an established group of gamers---this is true even more so. They have worked as a unit, a well-oiled team battling "dangers untold and hardships unnumbered" while drinking and snacking; they know each others storytelling styles and traditional character foibles as well as they know each others real life celebrations, trials, and tribulations. And as many game systems can only accomodate a limited number of players; a new player coming in marks the exit of a former comrade-at-arms; a victim of professional responsibility, relationships, or a dearth of time. Certainly any outsider would feel like an interloper; and an outsider possessing the only set of double X-chromosomes in the room can only feel like the worst kind of invader.
This may seem an irrational fear to many of you, but it is a hot-button issue for me, and something I have faced many a time; particularly when actively participating in activities that are traditionally held to be male pursuits. Before you think of testing my limits on this, however, be sure to ask Pop Culture Boy about the young college jock whom I drove mad to the point of temper tantrum at the local laser tag arena. (Seriously, he stormed out of the place after only 2 games against me). I was not merciful nor kind; after humiliating him by deactiving him repeatedly, I mocked him openly and took no small joy in his growing agitation. Now, I may be mean at times, but I am not mean-spirited, but he deserved it; he accused me of being "just a girl.". Silly boy.
My initial fears of being treated with "but-you're-just-a-girl-disdain"" were soon proved unfounded. The gaming group did not suffer from Mr. Jock's obvious mental problems. In fact, they proved to be friendly, open and accepting. Not only did they not treat me any differently because I was a girl, they treated me as though I had always been there. It was a rare and appreciated sort of welcome.
Still, being neurotic as I am, I maintained some reservations; I didn't want to do anything out-of-step and upset the easy balance in the atmosphere. I spent most of the pre-game time quietly observing, sifting through my box of mutli-hued, multi-sided dice. I listened as they picked up threads of conversation that been dropped from sessions before. As I dug through my dozens of dice to locate my D10s and D20s, I noticed an odd exchange between two of the group. While talking casually about the recent political climate, one member of the group seemed to give an odd salute to the person diagonally across the table for him. The receiver of the salute did nothing; he did not return it, nor did he seem confused by it. Didn't even blink. I looked around furtively, but no one else seemed to think anything was amiss. Was I going mad? Did I hallicinate? But no, there is was, the same salute again. Again, it didn't seem to illicit a response.
I was *so* confused. What was going on? Had the game started? Was this some strange ritualistic tradition the group had? Or some weird hazing thing for newbies? Should I ask; and if I did, would I be the butt of some odd joke?
And most troubling, why was the salute *so* familiar? Each time it was repeated, there was a nogastalic tug at the back of my brain.
It took more self-control than I thought I could muster for me not to break out into a huge, bemused grin when I finally realized what was happening.
I don't remember having done this particular salute myself, nor can I pinpoint a specific memory of seeing it done; but I knew it, and I knew what it meant. It wasn't a salute at all. It was...a different sort of game. A game outside the game, if you will. A game that never, ever ends.
The saluting gesture is better seen then described, so to get the full effect, you might want to play along at home.
- Put your right hand out in front of you, palm down. Splay your fingers as far as you are able.
- Turn your 90 degrees to the right. Your thumb should now be pointed at the ceiling.
- Bend your middle three fingers so they touch the palm of your hand.
- Bend your elbow so that your thumb is resting gently against your forehead.
I described this to my youngest sister on the phone, and once her thumb hit her forehead, she burst into hysterical fits of laughter, recognizing it immediately. However, when I demonstrated the gesture for Pop Culture Boy, and he had no idea what it meant. I am curious how many other people will recognize it.
I did not join in, I am sad to say, which technically means I lost the game; if one can lose without actually playing. Best I could tell, only two of them were really playing. But it was clearly accepted by the others; or at the very least, no one thought it was odd.
Above all else, I think the gesture is really what made me feel wholly accepted, like I really belonged. No girlie-girlie outsider me. No false modesty or unnatural reserve was needed here. It gave me the confidence to play a rather aggressive first round.
Thus, I put forth the following with completely sincerity; it is bereft of irony or sarcastic undertone: If you really want to make some one feel utterly at ease around you, you must demonstrate your ease around them. Let them know you feel free to be yourself; there is nothing about them that inhibits you. Do this with new friendships, or even when you woo. If you really want to let a girl you consider them as cool as one of the guys, don't send flowers. Play the Fart Game.
And the quiz is up.
The Simpsons have been renewed through 01/05.
At work today, someone said of me:
"[Sarcasmo] never wastes any energy on being negative."
Which would have been appropriate were they being ironic, but they were sincere.
How little they know me....
Insert manical laugher here
Procrastination and impatience form a system of checks and balances.
I am impenetrably lazy. I put things off until I feel like doing them. And you can just imagine how bored I have to be to feel like doing something I've put off.
When it comes to writing, I've been a very bad, bad girl. Although I have done some work on revising my NaNoWriMo project, I've not been keeping up the way I've should. I have excuses galore, of course:
- I've been sick
- I have a hectic social schedule
- No matter how urgently I insist, the laundry refuses to do itself
- There is a Coupling marathon on
- I need to revamp the novel's webspace to make it a more organized, efficient workspace for me
- I can't decide on a design, or find a pre-built template I like for said website
- I have no personal workspace away from the TV (this is a valid complaint. I can't wait until we get around to moving so I can have my own office to retreat to instead of a tight corner of the living room)
- I can't go out and write somewhere else less distracting because: I am too tired/am already in my pajamas/don't have money to sit and keep buying coffee/have a headache/will do it tomorrow
- I'm afraid the crickets will come back and I'll stop sleeping again.
- I'm afraid the crickets won't comeback, and I'll lose the thread of the story all together
The worst part is, I really do think there is some value in what's written. I am just having a hard time making myself get back into it. The whole point of the project was to get me writing every day.
Hmm…thinking about my schedule as it stands….I am hereby decreeing Monday and Thursday nights as my scheduled revising time. If I don't work on revising the project for at least 2 hours every Monday and Thursday each week, you all have my permission to mock me openly and poke me with sticks.
Hmm..better changes those sticks to Q-Tips. Sticks would hurt.
My impatience always ends up costing me excessive amounts of time. Case in point: Last night I was playing Xenogears, trying to finish up the penultimate battles so that I can face up to the Big Bad Boss tonight.
Unfortunately, because I am almost always more interested in the story progression that the battles in these games, I tend to skip a great many of the smaller irritating battles in-between plot points. Engrossed in the story, I have been known to hit the Flee combination of buttons several times a minute, just so I can see what happens next.
Trouble is, the irritating little battles are there for a reason; they help your characters gain strength, experience, money, and goods. Things they need to be able to succeed in the penultimate and final battles.
*Sigh* I didn't even make a dent in those stupid things.
And I am just the tiniest bit ashamed to admit that after about four or fives goes at it (about 45 minutes total) last night, I gave up and instead watched some of the trashiest TV available: The Osbournes, Anna Nicole, and Star Dates.
Talk about an evening well spent.
My need for instant gratification seems to be multiplying exponentially. Curse you Internet and Cable on Demand!
I have to remind myself to slow down, lately; turn off the world (or you know, my computer monitor, from whence I view the world, literally), kick back. Wasteful laziness I do just fine (hence sur-reality TV night), but somehow slowing down and actually savoring the small things--it's becoming a forgotten art for me.
Trouble is, the little things are there for a reason; they help you gain strength, experience, money, and goods. They make you smile and bring you peace. Things you need to be able to succeed and survive.
I hate that this aspect of myself is becoming lost.
Some things I should do in the very near future to remember me patience:
- Have an evening (or dare I think it, an entire day) where I eschew technology: I'm not talking about becoming a Luddite, mind you; I still intend to take advantage of modern conveniences such as electric lights and heating. Rather, I mean spend the day doing something other than watching TV, DVDs, playing video games or surfing the web. Perhaps instead a nice long walk around the neighborhood (or some other neighborhood), cook my own dinner rather than ordering out, and then an evening at home with candles burning, a good book, and a nice pot of tea (current caffeine-free favorites include Moroccan Mint and Earl Grey with Lavender).
- Do Some Writing: See Procrastination
- Spirit Pop Culture Boy Away Our Favorite Get-away: So far, this has been our most effective spot to decompress. Days spent riding bikes along the canal towpath, and evening sherry by the fire, and that fantastic soaking tub.
Any additional suggestions gratefully accepted. Just make it fast.
Even a Manorial Lorship.
And me without $50,000 lying around.
Found on Who Would Buy That?
This photo of our Commander-in-Chief explains quite a bit.
Thanks, Deb and Breakfast Tacos.
But this picture gave me the serious heebie-jeebies.
Found via Small.to.
I was, of course, delighted yesterday when I heard the news that the new Harry Potter book was finally going to be released this summer.
When I told Pop Culture Boy about it (he is also a fan), he said he didn't think it would sell as well as the others. He felt that it too
much time had gone by; the fever had passed.
I, having worked in a bookstore for much of last year, and having subsequently been pestered every other day for about the new book, felt otherwise. Although several excellent childrens' book series have come out since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, (I am thinking particularly of the Series of Unfortunate Events and the Artemis Fowl series) and have had quite a bit of popularity, none of them filled the niche that J.K. Rowling left behind.
Today, I am vindicated. CNN reports that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hit Number 1 on Amazon.com's top seller list.
Not that I'm 100% yet, but my head is less blurry and alhtough I don't have
my appetite back, the thought of food no longer repulses me.
So, I will hopefully be back in full sarcastic swing over the next few days.
Then again, who knows how I'll feel after climbing the mountains of Manayunk
(home of the infamous Manayunk
Wall)tonight to play Paranoia.
Is Peter Jackson adding a new character to the Tolkien universe in Return of the King?
I can assure you that, if this were true, I would be right up there with the other fans pushing him into the lava (Jar Jar, not Peter Jackson. Well, Ok. Maybe both.).
Found on Anthony Malloy's Blog
Sorry I've not been active for the past few days. Between being sick and family obligations, I'm an exhausted, sneezing, sleepy mess. Hope to be back on my feet properly in a day or two. Till then, some things to get you through your Monday:
- The Monday Morning Quiz is up. And a few extra new ones as well.
- Check out the latest Her.
- If anyone can explain to me why women's dress slacks come with the pockets sewn shut, please do. (It would be one thing if there were prizes inside, but sadly, no.)
- View B3ta.com's most recent challenge entries: If Advertisements Were Honest. Many of the products seem to be British in nature, but there is still plenty here for all of us to find amusing
I remember being horrified when I first saw the Nike ad that used The Beatles Revolution. I was angry. I was outraged.
I was 14 at the time.
I love the Beatles' music; I grew up listening to my mother's old records in our basement. Their music is classic; it's timeless. But no matter how much I enjoy it, or how strongly I feel about it, I cannot claim any right to it, for myself or my peers; not in the same way I can claim the music of Guns -N- Roses (pre-Use Your Illusion) or Duran Duran. So, although it troubled me to hear songs I considered the cornerstone of modern rock-n-roll music playing in commercials, I soon become accustomed to it.
And now that popular music is so commonplace in advertising, I don't so much as blink when the latest band is playing their most recent hit in an ad for chewing gum. Again, this is not my music. I am not connected to it. I can barely tell the difference between a song in rotation and a commercial announcement on Top 40 radio anymore. It's all a blur.
And more power to the musicians. Really. As Pop Culture Boy has pointed out to me in the past, Pop Music is commercial music; it is made to be sold. Musicians and performers have every right to make a buck, I can't get sanctimonious about how they make their living. Besides, when a popular artist aligns his or herself with a product, each side promotes the other. It's a sad, strange synergy.
In the end, its all about the packaging. I suspect younger fans of the current pop scene willingly accept these corporate marketing packages because it has always been this way for them. If a new song came out without the accompanying commercial endorsement, video (and making of the video special), and a snack-food/ movie-tie these days, it would simply go past their radar. MTV would never sanction it. This is their music and their way; who am I argue against it?
Here I was, happy to let the advertising world swallow up popular music of today and yesteryear without anymore than a small sigh; but the monster couldn't leave well enough alone. Today I was watching television when something horrible happened; a Verizon ad came on. It told the tragic tale of love gone wrong, and begged the question..."will the brooding musician win her back?" The song they used to illustrate this moving tale of the besotted Everyman? All I Need is a Miracle by Mike and the Mechanics. I felt like someone had reached into my very being and stolen something from me. Seriously. I was like they took the internal soundtrack from my life, and were using it to sell communication services.
Actually, the intesnity of my emotional reaction surprised even me. Again, it comes down to the packaging. For my peer group (and those who came before us), Pop Music was packaged as something to assign to important events in our lives; not to sell products on the TV. Thanks to In Your Eyes we all wanted to date Lloyd or be him. We knew she was Pretty in Pink, even though we thought that dress was hideous. Billy Idol's version of Mony Mony brings back every dance we ever went to that was sponsored by a Catholic School, and the sheer thrill of chanting the alternate dirty lyrics during the lyric-less part of the chorus. They are our songs. They ae our anthems. They are our memories:
- Unbelivable by EMF: I remember singing it with some girlfriends my senior year of high school; we owned that song. We owned the world. It makes me wonder how our relationship ever ended up like it is now.
- Anything from Appetite for Destruction: and I'm 16 again, finally understanding what is like for music to blow your mind. I owned this on audio casette, and kept it in my walkman for a year. I felt like some mysterious musical veil had been lifted; it was amazing.
A specific Appetite for Destruction memory I have is of me listening to this albumn while taking the 59 bus to babysit the two worst-behaved children in the English Speaking World. I was wearing a short pleather skirt, and a sepia toned shirt depicting Alex from A Clockwork Orange (I loved that shirt). My hair was a rats' nest. I though I was some kind of rebel. (I wasn't.)
- I remember where I was when my copy The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust finally snapped from overuse. I was in the driveway near my parents house, coming home from school. It was late afternoon and the sky was very blue. I tore open my walkman and examined the snapped tape, devestated. (You may have noted that this albumn is not from my generation; in fact the original release predates my existence by an entire year. However, it does lead me to:
- The Ziggy Stardust cover by Bauhuas: This was playing in the background when I making out with my hard-core-high-school-crush in his bedroom; I really thought I was in love with him.
The whole affair was more PG than I'd like to admit; but I still blushed and stammered when his mother came home. She hadn't caught us doing anything, but it certainly felt like she had. I don't think I ever looked that woman directly in the eye.
What I remember most, though, was afterwards. He made dinner for the three of us, and I was setting the table while he cooked spaghetti an electric frying pan. I could see him through the passthrough, his head bent over the pan. He had just begun growing his hair out then, and he was so determined to have long hair that he had gathered every bit that he could to fasten into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. It was the tiniest, saddest little ponytail that ever way. And yet, standing there with a handfull of silverware, II had an epiphany: the nape of the neck is an extremely sexy part of the body. This is a view I hold to this day.
I don't know how I ever made it through that dinner with his mother.
To be fair, that particular Mike and the Mechanics' song doesn't hold any emotional value for me on its own; it's not attached to a particular milestone in my life. But hearing it in that context, and seeing it coupled with cheap sentiment (like Pop Music doesn't have enough of that already), made me feel advertisers were mocking that era; particularly that era of my life. It makes me want to march right into their office and demand they get off this ridiculous Pop Music kick and bring back the good old fashioned commercial jingle.
I love commercial jingles. Learned to sing 'em pratically before I learned to talk.
At the very least, stop selling me my past my you're trying to sell me my sneakers. You keep this up I'm likely to run out and get myself a pair of Chuck Taylor's (omigod when did these get to be $40?!). Or better still, I'll simply begin to boycott products that use the songs I love in their commercials. How's that for a revolution?
*Apologies to the generation that can actually claim The Who as their own.
German man on trial for making an ironic statment online which German officials feel glorifies "criminal behavior". He was responding to a post about the World Trade Center tragedy.
This law would never pass in the US....we'd never have any TV.
Found on Metafilter.
Wonder if your (so called) real world neighbors are also your neighbors in cyberspace? Check out GeoUrl.
To see blogs of folks near me, click here (or click the green button in the right hand side bar).
Found on Daypop.
I was going to blog about my cool new alarm clock. I can't wait this this baby synchs up with the atomic clock. Currently, it's displaying the incorrect time (by about 8 hours) on my bedroom ceiling. Still, pretty freakin' cool.
(Turns out we can actually set the time ourselves, but Pop Culture Boy and I agree that it will be much cooler to let it set itself. We are such dorks.)
However, I am not going to blog about my new technology because I am sated from a fantastic evening of good food, good friends, and the Pope. A pack of popes, actually. We were (literally) surrounded. And believe me...the group I was with; well, we're hardly poster children for the Catholic Church.
There are three reasons why the Pope Room at Bucca di Beppo is a particularly fun place to eat:
- There is a bust of Pope John Paul II on a Lazy Susan in the center of the table: Hours of fun spinning the Pope around to terrorize your friends. You try eating while he's staring at you beatifically. Seriously.
- The Vaulted Ceiling: The round room is only slightly larger that than the table itself--and with the Pope in the middle, it is darn near impossible to see person sitting exactly opposite you at the table. Not to worry though. The room's ceiling is slightly vaulted, affecting the acoustics in such a way that when the person directly opposite you speaks, it sounds as though they are standing right behind you, or that their voice is coming from right inside your head! Combine this with the smiling Pope head... Wee! Scary!
- The General Bucca atmosphere: Silly, fun, and kitschy. Even so, I think our boisterous, birthday-celebrating, pop-culture quoting behaviour intimidated our somewhat dazed waiter.
After dinner, we appropriated a different area of the restaurant, made ourselves comfortable (if you call this a comfortable position), and convinced the poor waiter (still petrified) to take our rather heretical picture(, thereby condemning him along with the rest of us. (Not to worry, the Pope was not involved. Although his picture was snapped separately.)
(UPDATE: You can see said heretical picture here. Please note the strict attention to detail; particularly the checkered tablecloths.)
Afterwards it was cake, parfait and Catch Phrase at the birthday boy's apartment until we were all giddy and too tired to think straight.
I am exhausted from laughter. Well, laughter and a full stomach.
And all this on a school night. I know. Shame on me.
And tomorrow night, Paranoia! This should be particularly fun, because I am an outsider to this gaming group , so I probably will actually be paranoid. How's that for realism? And me without my laser.
Woo-hoo! Let's hear it for an upcoming week of insufficient sleep and blatant irresponsibility!
So say British Researchers who are trying to help a holiday company make people happy. (Or rather, I am assuming, make people pay to be happy).
Imagine what this could do to everyday conversation.
"How are you today, Roger?"
"Well, Bill, it's a 3E, 1H sort of day."
"Sorry to hear that, Roger."
"Yeah, thanks Bill. But the Dodgers play tonight, so who knows. It could be a 5E 5H day tomorrow."
Once again I am stymied by science. I was going to come home and blog about this perfect moment I had after work. My needlessly long (yet surprisingly fashionable scarf) was draped loosely around my head, and I stood in the gentle snowfall. For that moment, I felt entirely and utterly at peace with the world. I was the Snow Queen, and no one could touch me. Magical.
Instead, I come home to find that the universe and I were not particularly aligned; it was just that my Ps Es and Hs were all in order. Somehow that takes the charming edge right off.
Found on Small.To
Get the quiz here.
I don't mind movie trailers, mind you...but product ads for soft drinks and cars really get on my nerves. Apparently I am not the only one.
Zhang Yang, a lawyer, is suing both the cinema and film distributor that recently made him sit through 4 minutes of commercials before getting to the film.
I am not a litigious person...but this man is my hero.
Found on Fark.
I've noticed that I've recently (very recently) developed a new habit of laughing out loud and clapping my hands when I find something delightfully funny. I did it several times while watching Amadeus last night (frequently when Mozart laughed). I'm not sure how or where I've developed this clapping habit; and I have not yet decided if it is endearing or dorky.
That being said, the part of Neil Gaiman's January 05, 2003 journal post titled Great conversations of our time, with Maddy age 8. Today -- Swearing, in Songs had this very effect on me.
As Pop Culture Boy was rousing himself from his slumber yesterday afternoon, one of the first sounds he heard was me shouting:
"Oh, for F---'s Sake! F---ing Mummers!"
Mummers. For those of you who don't know, Mummers are a Philadelphia tradition that involves neighborhood groups spending a year planning themes and making elaborate sequinned costumes, choosing their music, choreographing their dance moves, and then marching down Market Street on New Year's Day, like some surreal, scary, sparkly, music-playing clowns. They are much beloved by most of the city. They even have their own movie and museum. Apparently, they even have their own murder mystery book.
I can't stand them.
This, of course, makes me a bad Philadelphian, and may well have me run out of town. Still, I stand by my convictions. The Mummers irritate the hell out of me.
I can see why the Mummers themselves do it...they compete for cash large cash prizes, plus its a chance to do things in their communities (and, as I am led to understand, a great deal of partying). Also, if you play an instrument like, say, the Banjo, being in a Mummers' string band is about the only way you're going to be considered cool in this neck of the woods. But why people bundle themselves up and travel into town (some people even travel across the country) to stand in the bitter January cold and watch these people strut...I simply do not understand. Perhaps its because I am not a parade person. I think they are boring, and that standing there and watching them is a waste of time. (I would, however, consider attending a ticker tape parade for an astronaut (I am using astronaut as an umbrella term here--would include cosmonaut, etc). That would be gloriously messy and retro-cool. I think they should consider having one for the people who go to Mars.) I don't see the entertainment value. All I see is a chance to be crushed on all sides by a bunch of strangers (most of them several hours into drunk), and watching some people dance funny. When I want to do that, I go to the clubs. At least they are heated and I can get a decent drink.
Furthermore, this parade happens in my neighborhood, which means not only do I have to listen to it whether I want to or not (sound travels); but that the streets are overcrowded with people who don't know the area, traffic patterns are screwed up, and everthing is just a mess. Normally we bunker down in our apartment on New Year's Day, thus avoiding the crowd all together. However, because the January 1st weather was more inclimate than usual this year, they postponed the parade until the this past Saturday. And of course we had plans. The kind that involve leaving the apartment.
On the plus side, since everyone was at the parade, the restaurants weren't at all crowded; we received the fastest service ever.
On the down side, the restaurant we went to had the parade on their TVs, so I ended up watching some of it anyway. By way of example of how ludicrous these events are, the group (I believe it was the Fralinger Club) I had the...er...pleasure of watching (the sound was too low in the restaurant to hear the string band play) had an sci-fi theme. Many of the group were dressed as some sort of gold-lamae, dancing Cybermen, and their captain was dressed as a Klingon. However, being a Mummer, he had the requisite gigantic feather halo on his back, making him look rather like a Klingon peacock.
If that were not strange enough, the marching band members (who I believe were dressed like the aliens from Mars Attacks) then proceeded to play while the captain had a sword (light-saber?) battle with what was either a very short, sparkly wizard with no face, or an Azkaban Dementor. I lost track of things for a while, but I presume the Klingon won. Next thing I knew, E.T. was walking down the street waving to everyone. Then the performance was over.
And, if I have recalled the group name correctly, this is the string band that won.
You know, if I had a nightmare like that, I would consider seeking therapy.
The captain was then interviewed by some local tv news personality I didn't recognize. We could see the hospital down the street from our apartment in the background.
Sarcasmo: Honey, there's a Klingon outside our apartment.
Pop Culture Boy: (looking up at TV over bar) Yes, Yes there is.
Thankfully, when we got home, the Klingon was gone. There was, instead, someone playing James Brown so loudly that even with our windows closed it sounded like they were playing in our apartment. Which was particularly a pain because we were trying to watch the Director's Cut of Amadeus, and although I like James Brown, he hardly mixes well with Mozart.
At least its over for another year.
If I can avoid the Summer Mummers.
Some Star Trek fans have created an homage to the classic original series with Starship Exeter. I've only watched have the episode so far (it's broken up into several small movies),and I am already impressed. Kudos to them for capturing the look and feel of the original series (I was originally going to use the Acronymn TOS, but then realized only the truly nerdy among us would know what I meant).
What really impresses me though are their sets. They are fantastic! I wonder if I could recreate that look in my apartment. Of course, I'd have to convince Pop Culture Boy first.
If only I could set my phaser to "Do My Will" .
Found on Milk and Cookies.
Ok, technically this should probably go on the Quiz collection page, but I've decided to put it here so you can see just how disordered I might be.
According to the Personality Disorder Test, here is a chart of my likelihood to have/develop the following disorders:
- Paranoid: Low
- Schizoid: Low
- Schizotypal: High
- Antisocial: Low
- Borderline: Low
- Histrionic: Moderate
- Narcissistic: Low
- Avoidant: Moderate
- Dependent: Low
- Obsessive-Compulsive: Low
I've never heard of Schizotypal disorder before, but I can see where I would score high:
The disorder is characterized by odd forms of thinking and perceiving... They generally engage in eccentric behavior and have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. Their speech is often over elaborate and difficult to follow.
That sounds familiar.
I was going to say my score for Histronic (Histronia?) surprised me; I don't like to be the center attention, and generally don't like to draw attention to myself. Of course, I then realized I am currently blogging this for all the world to see...so perhaps that hits closer to home than I thought. Hrm...
And a low chance of being Antisocial? Better not let that one get out. People might start thinking I'm friendly...then I'd actually have to start talking to them. (Please note my moderate Avoidant score).
So there you have it. An insight into my psyche.
Found via Diary of a Madman. (An intersting blog which is, apparently, mostly dedicated to boobs.)
But this Photoshopped spider makes me sad.
Found via B3ta, where else?
I know, I know. You don't come here for the rambling, or the lovely decor. You come for the links (what else is a Blog for?). Here's a few to get your Friday going:
I found this one listed in a few places today:
Ticketstubs: A collection of ticket stubs (concert, show, airline, train, etc) and the stories that accompany them them. This site is likely to send you traveling down your own ticket-toting memory lane. And if you feel inspired, you are welcome to submit your own stubs and stories. (I totally dig that the webmaster is wearing a Get Your War On t-shirt on the helpful-how-to page.)
I still have a whole slew of concert tickets from when I was in high school. Of course, many of the tickets are embarrasing enough without having to attach stories. For example, hmm...Ratt. No wait, it gets worse. Even though Ratt was the headliner, I don't think we actually went to see them. We went to see Poison and Britney Fox, who were opening the show. Oh...wait. Maybe it was Cinderella.
Woo--is my age showing?
Also of interest: Full Panoramic View of Times Square on New Year's Eve. Trés cool. (Found via Hello Mate.)
Steak, the Other Cloned Meat. (Found by way of SmallTo.) Now see, things like this truly try my convictions. Overall, I'm creeped out by the concept of cloning and growing food (and germs, etc) in a petrie dish. Are these things we should really monkey with? I mean, hasn't anyone read Frankenstein? (No, seeing the movie doesn't count.)
On the other hand, the article says that the impetus behind this research is to provide food for long, manned space flights. I't hard for me to scorn anything that has to do with space travel. I'm such a dork about it. (I was determined to be the first woman astronaut when I was a kid; until Sally Ride took that dream away. Darn her! It was probably for the best though. I don't like Tang. Even so, I still find myself turning up my nose at her uniform display in the Smithsonian.) Can I really deny omnivorous astronauts their red meat? I don't think I can.
It's cool that we, as humans, can do this. I just don't know that we should.
Pop Culture Boy came out a few minutes ago and asked me what I was blogging about. This, of course, led to a 20 minute debate on why, in his estimation, this isn't remotely creepy. For him it comes down to the superiority of science, the possibility of nickle steak and the chance to solve world hunger. (I think he has a rather generous view of how this new technology will be used by mankind. I am imagining these special steaks will stay in the rich, capitalists countries, will cost an excessive amount of money, and only half the steak will be eaten before the rest goes in the bin. Yay, philanthropy.)
I understand that I can't gratefully accept "good" technology, like cures to disease and other medical advances, then scorn things like human cloning and lab steak; genetic monkeying is genetic monkeying. To be honest, if I found myself on Mars and in need of a steak, I probably wouldn't turn a lab steak down. But hear on Earth (and on a very basic emotinal level) this simply creeps me out. I just think the further we remove ourselves from nature, the worse for humanity as a whole.
Just to drive the creepiness factor home, here is the quote from the article that heebied my jeebies:
One researcher recalls a student, a vegan, who asked if she could just biopsy herself, grow up a steak and eat it. If you want to eat truly victimless meat, perhaps it is time to put yourself on the menu.
Blech. With my poor exercise and eating habits, I can't imagine I'd taste very good.
On the other hand, it's good news for the cows.
In large part, I think, to the middle-of-the-week holiday. I spent most of the day feeling like it was Monday; and now that the work day is done, I feel like it's like Friday, and my body is refusing to believe I have to go into work tomorrow.
Even week-day disorientation aside, I still feel...I'm not sure...restless maybe? I'm not out-of-sorts or sullen; I'm actually in quite a good mood. Just, well, off. I've been sitting here for the past hour, tv off and reading some news (at least that's one non-resolution I've got started), my entire MP3 playlist on shuffle in the background. I haven't been able to listen to anything, I've skipped past many songs before the opening bars. I've even skipped on several David Bowie tunes. And that never happens, I assure you. (Currently I am listening to Leonard Cohen's Boogie Street without complaint. Crowded House, Bobby Darrin, and Eartha Kitt have fared fairly well tonight too. Anyone care to interpret that mix of music as far as a mood indicator?) I just can't seem to focus.
So, I sit here, enjoying my Earl Grey with Lavender tea (decaf) (which I brewed in the very cool Portmeriron Pottery teapot Pop Culture boy got me for Christmas. Mmm....We-want-information-y) while I ramble on at you all.
I have been thinking a great deal about my revisions for Rodney, without having actually done any, which may account for some of my strangeness (yes, yes, a very small amount, I know). I think part of my mind has returned to creeping around that world while the rest of me is still hanging on here. I need to buckle down and get to work again soon, or my dreams are likely to get weird.
Believe me. If if wake up and tell Pop Culture Boy I've had a strange dream, he cringes. My mind takes strange dreams to a whole new level of weirdness. And when I don't write....well, they can get especially odd.
Hey, I never promised you talk that wasn't crazy.
Or I'd have broken one already. Sometimes people just get under my skin like a chigger bite and don't let go.
All this smiling without screaming makes my face hurt.
If the way you spend the first day of the new year is any indication of how it will go...then this year will be goofy, silly, comfortable, rainy, restful, and, well, lazy. I ushered the 2003 in by playing various video and card games with Pop Culture Boy and Dan. We then watched the fireworks from our fire tower, and stayed up to 4 AM playing, you guessed it, video games.
Needless to say I slept well.
I rolled out of bed around noon today, changed into my new pseudo-silk lounging pajamas and, appropriately enough, lounged. All day. Mostly I watched VH1's I Love the 80's. I sat through 80-85, as well as 89. Dan apparently asked if I was doing this as some kind of penance. Truth is, I really enjoyed it. Whoever did the interviews must have been great, because the people on camera seemed relaxed and looked to be having a good time. (Pop Culture Boy and I were utterly charmed by Ed's Michael Ian Black in particular. We've decided to put him in our on-going fictional film that stars all of our favorite actors and actresses. It's a pretty well realized fictional project actually. Plot, location, etc. We have discussed it at length. But that's another post for another day.) And I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely sucked in by all the 80s references and kitsch. 1984 especially seemed to resonate with me. It was a great, self-indulgent way to reminisce.
I also learned a few disturbing things about Pop Culture Boy while watching. (1) He's never seen St. Elmo's Fire and (2) He hated Small Wonder.
You think you know someone.
But hey, he forgives me for having been a Poison fan, so fair's fair.
Of course, a New Year's post would not be complete with a look at the year to come. Traditionally, I don't make resolutions. I think if I am going to do something, I'll either do it or I won't; starting on a particular day won't make a difference. This is not to say there aren't things I am looking to change in my life; there are. I'm just not attaching them to the idea of the New Year.
That being said, here are my goals for the indeterminate future:
- Write more.: Nanowrimo was the perfect shot in the arm for me. Now I can say that in the past year I've completed a short story and a novel. Granted, I'm hardly writing at Stephen King's breakneck pace, but considering all I've left unfinished, it's an excellent start. And since I've promised Pop Culture Boy that I would rewrite, edit, and submit Rodney, I have a definitive goal. Also, as an added bonus, I recently was contacted by another writer in the area who is interested in getting together for inspire each other to do more writing. She responded to an ad I placed on the Critter's Workshop (literally) years ago when I was looking for a local group. I'm delighted the ad is still up, and am looking forward to the added incentive. (Note to self: see if schedule can be rearranged to accommodate Critters again. Great workshop. Very supportive.)
- Be Less Pathetic: I've spent the last year or so spending a lot of time feeling insecure and sorry for myself. Time to wake up and start kicking some butt like I used to. Be more self-friendly over all.
- Eat Fewer French Fries: Really, this one speaks for itself.
- Sing, Dance, and Laugh More: Just because I like to
- Be Less Misanthropic: I tend to live in my head more so than in the moment, and to get really irritated by people in general. Here's to climbing out of my head more often, living in the moment, and, well, shrugging off those people who get on my nerves so I can better enjoy those who don't.
- Spend More Time with People I Like: Instead of in front of the TV.
- Be Better About Corresponding: If I owe you an e-mail, a letter, or a phone call, please know it is forthcoming. Chances are I know I do, and that I think about you frequently. I've just been really crap about getting on with the actual communication lately. Will be in touch soon.(Chances are, though, that it won't be a phone call. The phone is my most detested form of communication.)
- Do More Stuff: Preferably new stuff
- Watch Less TV, Read More Everything: This is a no-brainer
- Get Control of My Life Back from the Slacker Hob-Goblin Currently Living in my Head: This Hob-Goblin wouldn't be so bad if it cleaned the apartment and exercised every once in a while.
Hope everyone had a great celebration, and are destined for happiness and fulfillment in the years to come.