- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- Awww.....Geek Out! (Le Geek, C'est Chic):
- For Philosophical (and Patient:) Kubrik 2001: The Space Odyssey Explained. Now all I need is someone to explain Kubrik 2001 to me and I'll be all set.
- For the Readers: Star Wars, Episode III: The Backstroke of the West. What do you get when you take a Chinese translation Star Wars, Episode III and then translate it back into English? Well, for one thing, you learn that the China agrees with me about Anakin's terrible hair (the smelly boy). - [BC]
- For the RPGers (I'm Talkin' Tabletop Here - Old School Stylee): Yep - that about covers it. - [DB]
- For the Pedestrian: Stark Trek: The Next Generation bloopers, because it's funny to hear Picard swear. - [SFS]
- While the Time Away:
- Dragger: Simple drag-the-blocks to make the picture game. Interesting because (a) they don't show you what the picture is meant to look like in the end, so you've got to puzzle that out on your own and (b) the pictures are great works of art - including some Pre-Raphaelites (which I adore - Rossetti especially). - [WW]
- My Brain - It Hurts: Deduction (it's like Mastermind, at which I also often suck.) - [M&C]
Because I said I would - here's a link to my most recent Phillyist movie review: Must Love Dogs.
- You Seem to Have Adopted a Strange Dialect: More from Salad Fingers. (If you're not familiar with Salad Fingers, you might want to start with the first five episodes. It won't make the new one make any more sense...but it will at least let you know what you're in for.) - [F]
- Evil Finger Puppets: Strange, amusing (and sometimes dark) viral for Virgin Mobile - Billy the Finger in: The Catch and How to Beat It. Personally, I had to try all possible endings. (how can anyone resist the phrase "Crying Zombie Clown?" I know I sure couldn't). - [MF]
- The World of Tomorrow Today: I used to love those House of Tomorrow-type cartoons...but now that we're living in the "tomorrow" part, I'm having mixed reactions:
- I don't like the idea of jewelry that reads your mind, no matter how restful it might be (and what's the deal with that lamp?).
- I do like the prospect of downloading movie rentals right to my PC.
- I don't like the idea of a tub that does all of the washing for me
- I do like the idea of owning a Shakespeare Bust that doubles as an on/off switch (a la Batman)
- Jury's still out on the Digital Dylan Thomas. I think I'd feel less creepy about it if they hadn't gone with 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - [LF]
I'm sorry we argued the other day; you know I don't summer well. I know, I know, it's a terrible excuse, but all this humidity you've been laying down has been making me crankly.
I just wanted you to know that I see you're trying to change...I can feel it - and I appreciate it - (even if you are changing for the rain and not for me). When you're chill like this, I feel like I can be myself again.
I just wish you'd stop running so hot and cold.
Let's work it out, baby.
Hugs and kisses,
" I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It is like whispering to one's self and listening at the same time." - Mina Murray Harker
I read the above on Dracula Blogged this morning, and really liked it because (besides silly links, reckless meme-participation and shameless self-promotion) - this is what blogging (well, writing really) is for me - a means to address nebulous thoughts and ideas that bounce willy-nilly around my old noggin' and by doing so, come to a clearer understanding of myself.
What I'm getting at here, is that the following post is just a bunch of rambling nonsense I've been idlly considering- there is no point to it, it isn't likely to be meaningful or funny or insightful or even especially interesting to anyone but me (and possibly not even to me in the end). There's an excellent chance it won't make any sense (also - it's taking me a terribly long time to write this post - which means I really don't want to write about it - which in turn means I probably should). Anyway, if you're looking for something fun or pretty to play with - there's always the candybar dollmaker, which seems to have improved its interface since my last visit . I can't resist these avatar making-things. (And don't worry gents - you can make boy dolls now too.) This is going to be no fun at all, just so much whispering.
Or, possibly, whimpering.
I've been thinking quite a bit about the social concept of attractiveness lately. I'd like to say what set me off on this line of thinking was a commercial for the Swan (or some similarly degrading show) I caught on tv the other day. The commerical made my bile rise to the point where I was nearly growling at the tv. What kind of society flaunts the insecurities of its members for entertainment? (Well, ours apparently.)
I can't imagine what it must be like to be these women (I believe they were all women) - these "Ugly Ducklings" as the announcer called them - to feel so terrible about the way they look that they are willing to have appear on national television to be improved or corrected or brought up-to-snuff. I try to put myself in their place and imagine waiting to find out whether or not I'd get to participate in the show...when the call comes...which is the preferable outcome? Would I rather be told that yes, all my fears and insecurities are valid - out of all of the dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of applications I *was* in fact hideous enough to be accepted? If I didn't make the cut, would I feel relief if I did not make it on the show - or, already down on myself, would I simply feel the sharp pain of rejection, as though it was one more thing that I was not good enough for? Just thinking about either option is making me sad.
I do not envy these people.
I don't object to people wanting to change who they are or how they look; that's a personal decision. Having spent a portion of last evening coloring the gray out of my hair so I don't look older than I am (or, at least, not as old as I am) I can ill afford to climb up on that high horse. I don't even really object to their being some sort of media driven "ideal" when it comes to what is considered attractive; after all - if everyone was considered "pretty" or "handsome" then the words would lose their meaning, and we'd be "average" in the end. And if that happened we'd have to find some other ideal to compete for - like supreme wit or brain power - and then what recourse would self-important, pseudo-intellectual snob like myself have to resort to when we wanted to feel superior to our fellow men and women? (*Shudder*) If society feels the need to set the parameters for what it means to be "handsome" or "stunning" I'm ok with that; but people who meet these ideals should be considered the exceptions, not the rule - and people shouldn't be shunned for not subscribing to that ideal - either through choice or genetics.
At the very least, we shouldn't make judging them a form of communal entertainment.
Maybe what really bothers me is this - my internal monolouges are often guilty of this very same sin.. I walk down the street and see people coupled-up - and think, "They're not attractive...at least they're much less attractive than I am....and yet they have someone and I do not. What's the deal with that?" (Such a solopsist, it always comes back to me.) I'm not proud of this - and although I like to kid myself that this is some sort of reaction to a long spell of single-dom, some part of my brain insists that I did this sort of silent sizing up when I was married as well.
It's a disappointment to find out I'm so petty.
When I look at these people, I find myself wondering what it is about them that someone has found beautiful...because that's the trick with love, isn't it? I mean, the physical is nice, and it's certainly important - but I know for myself I the sort of men I find attractive on a superficial, fantasy level are very different from the types of men I am attracted to on a more meaningful level. Perhaps I do things a little backwards when it comes to potential mates, (big surprise) but I generally find myself drawn to a personality first - and then discover physical attributes I find attractive as a matter of course. In fact - I even go so far as to initally discount anyone I find too close to the social ideal of good looking - in part, I'm sure, because of my own insecurities (ie. why would he want to talk to me when he could talk to that girl whose much thinner/attractive/younger/etc than I am) - and in part because I make the unfair assumption that because they are "pretty" they will prove to be less interesting/dynamic/smart than the quirkier fellows I tend to go for, and ergo unable to challenge me intellectually or spar with me verbally - both attributes I find important in a partner. (Please see above note about my being a pseudo-intellectual snob). Which, incidentally, makes me just as shallow as they are if they do prefer to talk to the thinner/attractive/younger/etc girl; perhaps moreso for assuming that would be their preference in the first place. How strange - to refuse to recognize the beauty in someone unless I think they'll see the beauty in me. Well - not strange; childish, maybe. And cowardly.
Being beautiful is different than being attractive. I believe that everyone has the potential for beauty - not in the GQ cover model way - but not quite in the hippy-dippy "we're-all-beautiful-on-the-inside" way either. Well, maybe I am talking about the inner beauty, in a way...but in its outward manifestations.
For me, people are at their most beautiful not when they are poised and painted, coiffed and coutred - just the opposite. I find people beautiful when all they let go of their artifices - when they forget about judging and being judged and are just themselves. Most often, I notice this when people laugh with abandon - or when something unexpectedly causes them to smile - but it can be anytime there response isn't measured: for some people it's when they are singing - or dancing - or telling a story. It's why my favorite photos of people tend to be candids...more often than not candids taken while they were laughing. There's a stunning self-ness there - and it is amazing.
And it's the people the people we love - the people who love us - who get treated to this side of ourselves; because with them we feel safe and less apt to be judged. (Which is a nice thought, really- because it would mean when someone who loves you tells you you're beautiful - chances are good they'd sincerely mean it, because they'd have seen it in you - and weren't simply trying to spare your feelings.)
You know, my ex used to like to tell me that he wished I could see myself the way he saw me, because then I would know how beautiful I was. And now, right now, I believe him. (Hmm. Better late than never, I suppose.)
There is something simple and sublime in that moment when someone drops their social defenses. I'm not prone to mysticism and the like - but I will go so far as to say that in these fleeting, open moments - people do light up from the inside - they glow. It is rare the moment lasts long - decorum doesn't allow it - but for the time its there - it's magical.
Now I am worried, though- as it seems that I somehow equate being vulnerable with beauty, and this sort of beauty with love, the act of love and the ability to be loved. Maybe I'd feel better if I considered it "openess" rather than "vulnerability" - because demanding that someone be vulnerable doesn't sound entirely healthy.
What worries me more though, is if I really do equate being willing to be vulnerable with being beautiful and being loved -what does it mean that I continually face the world with every possible defense at the ready - crossed-arms, headphones on, book in hand - half-smile of acknowledgement to passerbys on the street?
Please commence with your wild-eyed monolouges and maniacal laughter
immediately. Thank you.
That is all.
Hugs and kisses,
Just wanted to say a quick congratulations to Jake Dobkin, Jen Chung and all the other -ists out there: the Gothamist network has been named one of Forbes magazine's Best of the Web.
I realize Phillyist is too new for us to try and take all the credit for this recognition...but that doesn't mean we won't take a little.
Speaking of which - Philadelphians (or those of you willing to drive a very long way for $3 lager specials) are invited to come out to Fergie's Pub tomorrow night at 6:30 for Phillyist's first happy hour. A whole hour of happiness; what's not to love?
Firstly, greetings and welcome to everyone stopping by for the first time via Daniel Rubin's New Media column. (For that matter, greetings and welcome to everyone else, too.) If you've come looking for news about Philly arts, politics and events, you'll want to shoot right on over to the Phillyist (and when you do, be sure to stop by the staff page; now that Phillyist and Sarcasmo's Corner have been mentioned in the newspaper, my folks are extra proud that I chose to represent myself with a photo where my tongue is sticking out of my mouth). Sarcasmo's Corner is just my personal babble space - there's nothing useful here.
Secondly (for those of you who stayed), I wanted to share this quote:
"The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience..." - Flannery O'Conner
I read the above in the beginning of Out which I've just started reading for my bookclub. I like this quote because it succiently portrays my own life's views much more elegantly than I could ever communicate them ("Life's short. Have fun. Do stuff.") - and because it gives me a chance to brag about my bookclub. Not only am I privaledged to meet with these intelligent, sassy ladies once a month to to talk about books and life, drink mimosas, eat cheese and discuss complex and interesting ideas - but next month we're also working in a non-book related excursion ...several of us will spend a morning swimming with the sharks at Adventure Aquarium. Take that, despair (you weasely scoundrel!)1. You ladies are awesome2.
Thirdly, in addition to Out, I've been steadily making my way through The Know-It-All, A.J. Jacobs' book about his quest to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. I'm sure this book is old news to many of you, (I actually received it as a Christmas present after hearing Jacobs interviewed on NPR last fall - it's just taken me this long to get around to reading it) but if you haven't heard of it before, I recommend you check it out. Not only does Jacobs tell a touching personal story - but each chapter is named after a letter of the alphabet, and includes several interesting, obscure or amusing facts that he learned from the corresponding volume of the Britannica. He's gotten my interest piqued in so many things that I have vowed to go through the book after my initial reading and compile a list of topics on which I want to do further reading.
Hmmm...come to think of it - if you have the same information seeking/book buying compulsion I do, maybe you shouldn't read this book - it's going to make you curious about an awful lot. (Well, at least when you're bankrupt from cleaning out the non-fiction section you can't say you werent' warned.)
Fourthly (and lastly), I know you've little interest in my random babblings, so here's the bit you all came here looking for - the Monday Morning linkage:
- Monday Morning Quiz: Is here.
- It's So Hot: Everything is melting. - [EIUC]
- WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (Oh Man, Now I Have a Headache): Sugarcrash - [I4M]
- The Problem Is He's Can't Smash Barrels for Free Stuff: Those gamers among you who remember the charmingly challenging GROW will be delighted with GROW RPG...if it doesn't drive you quite mad first. Try and grow the environment to best suit your adventurer's needs. Despite thunderous applause, I can't get him to survive round one. (Where's my Phoenix Down when I need it?) -[BC]
- MAN, This Little Guy is Sneaky: Avoider (keep your pointer safe). - [MV]
1 I watched Myth Busters episode about sharks on shark week...and so I'm not too nervous about getting in to the tank. However, the fact that this little adventure is going to require the purchase of a new bathing suit between then and now scares the bejeesus out of me.
2 I should mention that our friend Sam is also braving the sharks with us. Sam is neither in our bookclub nor a sassy lady...but he is also awesome.
Much love to Sharm El-Shiek.
My heart is breaking for our world.
I don't usually post here to let folks know when I've got something up at Phillyist (and this is because I know you all read it, each and every entry, with religious regularity regardless of where you live - because Philadelphia is just that interesting and Phillyist is just that cool), but I've decided that I will post a note here to let y'all know when I've done a film review because
My second review for Phillyist went up today - and it tackles The Devil's Rejects.(Some of you may remember I gave Rob Zombie a hard time about House of 1000 Corpses here two years ago (and I'm sure he still hasn't gotten over the slight).
My first Phillyist review was for Dark Water - but lest you fear that I'll only be covering the horror genre (I know not everyone loves scary movies the way I do) - next week I'll be reviewing a romantic comedy. Although, to be fair, they are often pretty horrifying on their own.
- MOVIES & TV:
- Movies That Rock: Here are some of my favorites.
- Sometimes Learning is Scary: Public service films from the 50s and 60s -[LF]
- The Bad Ideas: They just keep coming.
- Darn it! I wish I were 15 or under!: I'd design the best rubber-suited monster ever.
- Now Available for Your Streaming Viewing Pleasure:The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- Oh How It Hurts (So Good): Strange song covers (Lesley Gore sings Dirty Deeds? The Wiggles Walk on the Wild Side?) at Copy, right?
- Earworm Alert: Who doesn't love a dancing ninja kitty?-[BM]
- I Suppose It Was Only a Matter of Time, Really: Before fanmutation turned it's scary eyes towards They Might Be Giants. Behold, The Fingertips Project - [SH].
- Just One Favorite? But There's So Many: What's your favorite word? I think mine might be omphalaskepsis. Or maybe aprosexia. - [BC]
- The Bard: In original - [MF] and board game - [BC] form.
- I Don't Really Wear Jewelry:But I think I need a Banned Books Week bracelet. - [LiB]
If you ever want to discover just how often and thoroughly your friends and loved ones have considered murdering another human being in cold-blood, sit in a room with them and watch Blood Simple.1
Apparently, my friends and I all consider ourselves experts in the areas of getting rid of the evidence, reacting reasonably under pressure and, most importantly - appropriate and efficient body disposal.
If I ever need help ridding myself of my enemies, I now know to whom I should turn.
And, should I suddenly vanish - you'll know where to look.
1 I suppose one could also get the same information by watching Shallow Grave with friends. Shallow Grave does offer the benefit of starring both Ewan McGregor and Chris Eccleston (that's Obi-Wan and Dr. Who to you sci-fiers in the audience). On the other hand, we determined that Blood Simple easily lends itself to a drinking game; if you were to take a shot every time Dan Hedaya's character vomits you'd easily be snockered before the end-credits rolled.
Mindcomet's Bloginspace.com site is offering to transmit blog feeds into outer space. - [SM] Is it silly? Of course. A clever way for Mindcomet to harvest email addresses and recruit for the Blogstar network? No doubt. Did I sign-up anyway? You betcha. It may just be the closest I get to traveling the final frontier.
And so, for you new readers who may be coming my way via Alpha Centauri and elsewhere, I'd like to offer you this welcome:
Dear Extra-Terrestrial Brethren:
A hearty hello to you from across the vast reaches of space! I'm a thirty-something human female from the planet Earth (that's the little blue one by the Milky Way; you probably haven't given it much notice, since our nearby neighbors Venus and Mars are a bit more spectacular in the looks department). Welcome to my blog. Also, congratulations on learning the English language. It may seem fairly rudimentary to you - but I'm told it's one of the more difficult Earth languages to learn; even native speakers like myself rarely master it - so good on you!
If this blog transmission is your first contact with the Human Race, I hope you will allow me to clarify a few things for you. Despite what your readings may indicated, we are not a self-obsessed race who believes that our opinions are infallible, our wit unmatched, and that our individual lives are so fascinating to others that we are driven to document our daily minutiae - down to the number of bites we took from our ham sandwich before chucking it in the bin because we realized we'd rather have a candy bar. That's just the bloggers.
Here's a fact the blogosphere rarely likes to acknowledge: there are indeed people on this planet who don't have blogs. In fact, a large portion of the Earth's population don't have computers. And if they did, many would be distressed and horrified to read about the callously discarded ham sandwich.
Despite our often confused priorities, bloggers (and non-blogging humans) can be a lovely lot. (Some even go about arranging fundraisers or putting tin cans in boxes and dropping them off places to get over their guilt about the ham sandwiches). We've got our fair share of ill-willed individuals, but by and large I'm sure you'd like us quite a bit.
If you're considering Earth as a vacation destination, we've got a couple milling worth of art and culture to entering and enrich you; sunny beaches so you can work on your tan (although you might want to bring your own sunscreen, in case our existing products do not meet your Ultra-violet needs); lovely forests and jungles to explore; mountains to climb; and a plethora of urban and rural areas for you to visit and enjoy.
If you're thinking of coming here for colonization, I'd caution you to think again. Chances are good that you outclass us technologically; but we've no short supply of weapons or willful desire to use them. If you look at how often we turn them on each other, you'll no doubt appreciate the fact we'd be doubly happy to team up and fire them at a perceived threat of global magnitude. Really, we're lucky we haven't blown the place to pieces yet. (And it'd be terribly rude for you to do it before we've had a chance to.)
Of course, I'm sure your plans would be only of the most peaceable and mutually beneficial variety. With that in mind, I hope you will consider broadcasting your own blogs and personal diaries to us as a way to make first contact. (I'm not sure what Operating System you may use, but Earth offers a variety of flexible blogging solutions, I'm sure one would work for you.) Blogs have helped to make our planet a smaller place; why not the Universe?
Now, I know you were probably planning to try to communicate with us by demonstrating your knowledge of prime numbers. (I'm the first to admit that - despite having friends who are active in the scientific community that would be more than willing to answer my questions - most of what I know and understand about science comes from years of devouring science fiction. In all fairness - that will be true for most other humans as well, so you should probably follow sci-fi's lead). This is all well and good - but a number that can only be divided between one and itself isn't very expressive, is it? I might impart to us that you've got a firm grasp on the basic of mathematics, and give us a common ground for communication, but it doesn't tell us a single thing about who you are as a
person er..lifeform. We long to know about you, what you like, who you crush on, how cute your offspring is and which planets have the best hotels and worst customer service you have encountered. Imagine, if you will, that interplanetary disasters that could be avoided if we only knew in advance that you'd probably be in a tense mood because your pet Tribble had just passed on to the great beyond the morning before you landed, or that serving you a ham sandwich would be tantamount to insulting your Gods and challenging you to an intergalactic cage match. The better we know you, the more we'll feel like old friends when you finally arrive.
Please send your URLs to me post-haste (even better, provide the RSS or Atom feed. I'll stay more up-to-date that way). I look forward to our bridging the interspecies gap; learning more about your home planet; getting some good recommendations of galactic music and movies and arguing with you about the state of inter-stellar politics without feeling the need to back-up my opinions with facts, research, or proper spelling and grammar.
I don't have an extra bedroom, but you'd be more than welcome to some crash space on my floor.
Hugs and Kisses,
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here
- My UPS Guy NEVER Look Like Harrison Ford.:If I knew Amazon was celebrating their 10th anniversary this way, I would have ordered everything that Johnny Depp had ever been affiliated with. - [gab]
- Look Into the Past: This is very cool. I wish my city had them. - [wmmna]
- Creepiest. Chiuauau. Ever.: I don't know if Rubber Johnny is meant to be a dark sci-fi short, a music video, or just a nightmare...but it sure is...something. -[TSASTofI)
- 'What Do You Read, My Lord?' '
Words, words, words.Punctuation, punctuation, punctuation.'
A writer from Shanxi Province is waiting for someone to decode his novel, a novel without a single word but a set of 14 punctuations, with a reward of 140,000 yuan (US$16,900).I can't decide if this is brillant, or just unbearbly arrogant. Either way, I'm willing to bet the story goes something like this: Section 1: Boy meets girl. Section 2: Boy loses girl. Section 3: Boy makes dramatic changes in his life and learns hard but important lessons about man's inhumanity to man and the true nature of loss. Section 4: Boy regains girl (who has since suffered a personal tragedy). Section 5: They live complacently ever after, but boy maintains bittersweet longings for his former wild ways.
The author of the special touching love story "?" Hu Wenliang [baidu]
He claimed those 14 marks represent a touching love story, reported by the Beijing Daily Messenger on Wednesday.
So where's my 17 grand?
(ok, not really. some of them are just in my head.)
The following is a meme I pillaged (without permission!) from shellefly, because I really enjoyed it (and because it's my blog and I can meme if I want to):
Best fictional character to . . .. . .
- be at your side after the apocalypse: Dr. Robert Morgan (as played by Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth) because not only could he deal with the zombies, but he'd look dapper doing it. Or maybe Ash (Evil Dead series) because, you know, Ash.
- be at your side fighting a war: Actually, I'd prefer to be in a strong keep somewhere strategizing rather than in the thick of war...but if push came to shove, I wouldn't mind fighting along Grendel's Mom from Beowulf. For starters, she's a complete bad-ass...it took a whole retinue of soldiers to run her out of Beowulf's kingdom. AND we know she's not a glory-stealing braggart (after all, we don't even know her name, she's just referred to as the mother of Grendel, which means all the songs about our battle glory will be about me.
- take over the world with: (aww...but I wanted to do this on my own!) Tyrion Lannister from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Yes, he's dangerous, but he's also very loyal, extremely clever, and an inventive strategist. Also, he's a reader - so we could have some good book talks when we weren't strategizing.
- run your country with: Arthur, the Once and Future King of the Britons (do legends count as fiction?) True - he sometimes let his passion get the better of him...and maybe he was a little too reliant on the counsel of a certain wizard hell bent on pursuing his personal interests - but when it came down to it - Arthur led well, inspired his followers, and tried to be fair. And, since he's used to taking orders from some old guy in a robe, it shouldn't be too difficult to sway him to my way of thinking/behaving.
- be stuck on a desert island with: Prospero (The Tempest). He might be completely mad...but he comes equipped with an awesome library
- marry, grow old and have children with: Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The TV Series. A British librarian with a bad-boy streak who can sing, wield a weapon and who has a penchant for dealing with dark forces? Frankly, I'm not sure how he and I aren't married already.
wander the wilderness with: Han and Chewy. (Hey--space is a wilderness. Besides, traditional Westerns bore me).
- sail the seven seas with: Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) ...but only if he'd let me wear that hat.
- be your mad scientist: Dr. Herbert West from the Re-Animator series...especially the prison-buff doctor of Beyond Re-animator
- carry you off across his/her horse into the sunset: Well, if by "carry [me] off across his horse into the sunset" you mean "Ride along behind [me] while I venture off into the sunset on [my] own volition and of [my] own free will" then...Dr. Junior "Indiana" Jones. Fear not, we'll find some time for love, Dr. Jones.
- be your companion in a prison cell to save you from boredom and madness: Faria from The Count of Monte Cristo, because he would give me his knowledge, his treasure and a means to escape so I could wreak my horrible vengeance on those who had imprisoned me.
- outwit the dragon with: Soonie from Soonie and the Dragon. This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up. Oh, that Soonie; always good for a song, a yarn, and for showing up wimpy princes.
If you participate (and I hope you will, because I love to talk books and characters) be sure to add your own category to the end of the list!
- It's Nice to Be Wanted: What do you want to be wanted for? Make your own wanted poster. - [GB]
- DJ Lizard is Come to Kill Us Now: The Chemical Brothers game. It's rockin'. (I DIE). - [NB]
- Hey, Clem! Blow Your Pipes: ...with some carny lingo. Man, I do love me some slang. - [BB]
- You Know Who Shouldn't Put Out An Album?: Fabio. (Clips? Yes, of course there are clips.). - [FG]
- Excited for the new Harry Potter?: You're not the only one. - [TSL]
This weekend 1 I took some time to explore my new neighborhood2. I discovered, among other things: a private swim club3, a meat-market4 I didn't know was there, and a French cafe I had been to once a long time ago and knew was in the area, although I wasn't exactly sure where. Mostly, though, I just enjoyed ambling down wide, tree-lined streets, looking at repurposed-carriage houses and cursing the occupants who defaced them with such modern contrivances as "storm windows" and "air conditioners." I actually looked at an outdoor electric lamp that was designed in the style of an old gas lamp, and shook my head because they elected electric over gas. "Infidels", I thought, "They should have gone with candles."
This has been happening in my head for sometime. The day before this walk, I'd been in a different part of Center City, sadly admiring what were once well-appointed single-family homes5 turned multi-family dwellings. I walked down the block like a tourist, eyes ever-upward; I admired their raised porches, their stately columns, their tall-wide windows looking proudly out onto the world, their red brick walls and the wrought-iron that artfully twisted and turned around their borders. Yes, the brick has been dulled to a drab, the trim pain either thick from a century of touch-ups or else peeling; and I'm sure some of the interior corners were as unsure as the sidewalks gently angling up and down outside - but still - they are beautiful.
It was no less than a shock when I reached the corner to discover a recent construction (the previous building having recently been demolished by fire). There, on the corner of this lovely old street, capping off the historic charm, was what is clearly to be an office space or large apartment complex; modern, garish, and far from charming. It was all I could do not to exclaim my anger out loud.6 I was furious. How dare they?
Here's the strange thing...I know how ridiculous all this is. One of the things I love about Philadelphia, truly love, is that the historic and the new co-exist in a strange sort of harmony.
I myself am the first to put aside old things and jump on new technology. "Oh!" I proclaim, "Fast! Small! Shiny! Gimme7!" So who am I to insist that people turn a blind eye to advances in creature comforts just so as to not disturb my sense of aesthetics? Because let's be honest...a gas lamp? If I were alive in the late 1890s I would have been one of the first people to wire their homes for electric lighting - "pshaw"ing the dangers of fire and explosion.
After all, I would later need them to power my icebox, transistor radio, and the other electrical novelties I'd be quick to fill my home with. A home that I would no doubt later watch burn to the ground, my having chosen a fire company based on the look of the fire mark I would hang above my door, rather than the one closest and most convenient to my home.
And here, I think, is the crux of my problem. Somewhere in the back of my subconscious - I seem to fancy myself a Victorian lady; drawn as I am to their literature, their look, and their history.
So I must chide myself - do I really long to relive a past where I had no voice to vote, I would be forced to wear skirts or else face arrest, and that fainting couches would be de rigeur because my corset would be done so tightly I'd have 3 permanently broken ribs and no room to draw a full breath8? Do I want to walk down the streets, parasol laden, only to come home to have to dust off the layers of soot and grime that have settled on my clothes - unfortunately unaware that the self-same stuff is lining my lungs?
And if I being truly honest - let's point out how silly it is to assume I'd be a lady at all. More likely than not I'd have been a charwoman or shopkeeper; hardly having time to worry about new technologies since I'd be busy working everyday in order to feed and clothe myself and my family.
Hm..let us say, then, I would have been a governess; that's a happy medium. Not outside the realm of reason - and it would have still given me an opportunity to wear slightly fashionable clothes and cultivate an appreciation of the finer things life has to offer, as well as allowing me the middle-class ethic and the to secretly detest those luxuries, freedoms and indulgences I myself could ill afford on my meager salary.
My brain tells me "No! Don't be ridiculous! That is not the life you long for. Air condition those houses! Visit those new constructions! Buy one of those condos and set it up for wireless everything! Look to the future! It's shiny and full of promise!"
However, my soul whispers, "I don't think it would be so bad, really. Quite lovely, in fact. And I'd be ever so grateful, dear brain, if you'd lower your voice ever so slightly. Our quarters are close enough that I can hear you quite well, and a lady never shouts. "
So that's me. New brain. Old soul. All crazy.
1Before the extreme heat drove me indoors to hide in my tree-shaded bedroom, camped out in front of my box fan and hours and hours of schaudenfraude home-improvement television
2This might surprise you; I moved all of three blocks when I moved into my new apartment a few weeks ago - how different could the neighborhood be? In Philadelphia, the answer is "very." There are some places in Philly were merely turning the corner will put you into an entirely different cultural, business, social and economic settings; and some places where the side of the street you're on depends on the whether or not you're "in the city" and therefore subject to the dreaded City Wage Tax.
3 I'll admit, despite the fact I have a slight distrust of such clubs since I assume they only allow the participation of groups (whatever those groups may be) - the smell of chlorine and the sounds of children laughing and splashing coupled with temperatures in the high 90s drove me into their office to see what one had to do to become a member. Turns out - it requires writing a letter to be added to their 3 year wait list - or, I was told, I could go to the pool across town that was looking for members. I'm guessing my oversized t-shirt and Harry Potter baseball hat may have made me not exactly the group demographic they were looking for.
4I didn't go inside, but I assume from the sigange outside that the term "meat-market" meant that this was a neighborhood butcher; and not a place to go to ogle scantily clad singles. Of course, my neighborhood also boasts a bookstore that looks like a butcher's - so anything is possible.
5Simultaneously mourning the fact that they had been divided up into condos and wondering how many more jobs I'd need to take on in able to afford the mortgage for one.
6In fact, I may have done - which would have explained why that police officer seemed to follow me for another block or so.
7That kind of behaviour tends to put shopkeepers off, I can tell you.
8Not that a fainting couch would like do me much good, as on the few occasions I have fainted in my life it has always been with a face-forward "thunk" and never with a delicate leaning back and a tilt of the head; never has my swan-like hand draped itself across my brow. And fainting sofa or no, there's nothing elegant nor romantic about a face-forward thunk.
There have been several childhood memes floating around lately; and I've been avoiding them because I find them rather melancholy. However, I've been tagged by Nobi - and since I've known him over half my life now (how scary is that?) I felt compelled to accept his challenge. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
The Childhood Meme
What 5 things do you miss about your childhood?
This meme requires you to do the following things:
- remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place.
- add your blog's name in the #5 spot.
- link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross-pollenation effect.
- Next inflict the meme on 5 new people:
- Since I think meme participation should be voluntary, I'll just invite everyone to play along. If you do, please leave a note in your comments linking to your post, so the voyeur in me can peer into your past. And you few, you blogless few, can feel free to just post your answers in the comments, if you so desire.
- List 5 things you miss most from childhood.
- My Bravado: When I was young, I feared little; I knew I was a superhero genius - and didn't shy away from stages or cameras or speaking my mind. You can see it in photos taken before I started grade school - my smile is always open and as large as my spirit. It was only later when I learned the concepts of shame, humility, and the difference between belonging and not belonging that I became skittish and outwardly reserved. As an adult, I've been trying to recapture this adventurous sense of self - but by and large, although I talk a good game, taking personal risks scares the bejesus out of me. I still try and take them, though - 'cause I'll be darned if funny looks and awkward conversations are going to stop me from trying new things.
The book I'm currently re-reading mentions often that someone can only be brave when they are afraid - so it's good to know that although I'm essentially a big 'fraidy cat, at least I'm not craven.
- The Sticker Bush Next to The Front Steps: In front of my childhood home is a covered cement porch, and one must ascend a series of cement stairs to get to the porch and the front door. When I was a kid, these stairs were flanked on one side with wrought-iron railing, and a small, prickly bush and the lawn on the other. I cannot tell you the number of times that jumping from the porch (because it was there), rough-housing, and other generally silliness led to me landing in, on, or near enough to the bush to cover my arms and legs with scrapes and bruises. Since then, my parents have done all sorts of landscaping - and the house looks lovely - but the bush is gone - and for some strange reason that makes me a little sad.
I feel I should mention there also use to be a pine tree next to the bush - taller than the porch and proud - it used to be the way I designated my house to friends coming over for the first time - and although I felt it's loss when it was finally taken down (I especially miss how it looked in the snow), I just don't feel it the same way I sometimes feel the lack of that bush.. Maybe it's because when I'd see the tree sway in the night wind out of the corner of my eye, I'd imagine the movement was made by vampires or robbers or serial killers on the porch, who even then were crouched just below the window awaiting entrance; maybe it's because I couldn't jump it the way I jumped that bush; or maybe it's just because the bush reminds me of scraped knees and elbows - and I miss being able to acquire those without second thought or apology - but when I visit the 'rents it's not the tree I notice is gone.
- My Creepy Crawlers Machine:
Now-a-days, the Creepy Crawlers are edible - but when I had mine, although they were non-toxic - they were not for eating. Realistically, I don't know how long I had my Creepy Crawlers maker or how often I dug it out of my closet to make wiggly worms and spiders to the chagrin of my sisters (I was a weird kid) but this is probably the toy that stands out most in my mind as a commercially available symbol of my lost youth. (Other toys in this category include the skateboard I never learned to ride1, the wood-burning kit I never learned to use2, the Optimus Prime I shared with my sisters, and Dark Tower - which I missed so much I re-purchased it3.)
It wasn't so much the maker itself as the smell that permeated the air when the molds were in the heater. I can't describe it exactly - it was sort of a dusty, chemical smell. Every so often I catch it in the air somewhere, and I'm instantly transported back to my parents' breakfast; all gangly knees on the chair and elbows on the table, leaning over the heater and waiting for the candy-red spider to come out - still warm and pliable in my hands.
I know, I know. Other people get dewey-ed for their halcyon days at the scent of a particular flower or cookie or perfume - but for me it's my Mom's cinnamon bread and Plasticine bugs. I was one weird kid.
- Summer Vacations / Snow Days: Now, of course, these things still happen. Snow falls. Summer comes. It's just that I'm now irritated by it rather than excited. In fact, since I detest extreme heat and find humidity oppressive, I now loathe the start of summer. I miss the giddy anticipation of three whole months of having nothing to do, and being able to do anything.
I have friends and family in the noble profession of teaching - and almost all of them work through their summers. I can't imagine why.
- Playing Without Guilt: Essentially a big kid at heart, I still like to play. I like to runaround with my friends and be silly and eat sugary foods and stay up all night playing video games. It's just now I have a hard time doing it without some lingering guilt. Can I really justify an afternoon in the park when there are dishes to be done and bills to get paid and laundry spilling out of the hamper and onto the floor? Shouldn't I at least put the clean dishes away before I go out dancing? Is it *really* responsible of me to go out dancing/drinking/to a concert when I have to work tomorrow?
Does this stop me from doing any of these things? Rarely. I just spend a few minutes feeling like a failed adult somewhere between walking in my front door and crashing into my bed when I return home.
Oh - and I'm now entirely loathe to do anything that would create a large mess (finger paint, mud pie making, etc)...especially in my own home.
1 It was narrow, blue and plastic; and in the interest of protecting my limbs and brains my parents made me wear a helmet and elbow and knee pads. This was leagues away from the cool, skater kid doing wild stunts on her heavily stickered, wide custom deck, hair free flopping defiantly in her eyes; and so I only rode it a few times down the driveway.
2 Turns out wood-burning wasn't nearly as much fun as the commercial made it seem. Imagine.
3It currently lives in my closet, and I am always up for a game.
A short while ago, I intimated that I was involved with a new online project. Well, at long last we've broken the bounds of Beta and are going public. Ladies and gentleman; scoundrels and scallywags; I'd like to introduce you to The Phillyist - a weblog about Philadelphia.
I'll be blogging at Phillyist because I love my city, and because there just weren't enough places on the internet where I was flogging my
humble opinions. (Although mostly because I love Philly).
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- Aw...Jean Luc - You're a Cutie Too (But I Won't Sing to You): Star Trek soft shoe. - [AAG21C]
- Umm..Ok: Octopus Dropkick has an offering of Japanese commericals that leave me confused and frightened by their products. (This is not so differetn from American commercials, which by and large leave me confused and irritated.) - [wmmna]
- I've Always Said Numbers Were Evil: And now they're time suckers too. Web Sudoko. (Thanks, twilight spirit)
- And More Fuel for the Debate:. Pirates vs. Ninjas: overall and in everyday situations. I should say that I harbor great respect for pirates and ninjas both. However, despite the fact that ninjas and I share the belief that every hour of the day is the appropriate time for silky sleepwear, I'd rather find myself sailing the high seas, sword in hand than biding my time hiding in the shadows. And in honor of the pirates obvious victories - I need to get me this sticker.
- Hmmm..Now *I* Want Tea: Postmodern Barney looks at how Comic book characters making tea. As Delenda Est Carthago (from whence I yoinked this) suggests - the comments here are as good as (if not better) than the post itself. My favorite (from the comments):
Neil Gaiman anything:
The modern-day protagonist brews tea with aromas reminiscent of Shakespeare and served in a cup from Victorian England. At some point, the tea travels to a world tangential to our own.
- Since When Is The Last Son of Krypton Too Good for the Seventy-Five Percent Off Rack at J.C. Penney Anyway?: Apropos Comics; old school comic books reimagined. - [BC]
- If Joyce Could Kill Dumbledore: The Guardian is currently running a contest asking folks to write the death of beloved Harry Potter mentor Albus Dumbledore in the style of a famous author. Entries of note include: HP Lovecraft, Stephen Fry and Terry Pratchett and my favorite so far, this entry in the style of William Carlos Williams. - [BC]
- How to Piss Off Your Doberman: Dress him up like a poodle. - [gb]
- Surprisingly Social Commentary in a Screwball Comedy: My Man Godfrey is available for your viewing pleasure on the Internet Archives. I do love me some William Powell.
Much love to London.
Previously, I linked to the Pink Haired Girl's post ridiculing MSN's eminently ridiculable list of 10 Things Every Single Girl Must Own . She has recently pointed out that MSN provides an equally insulting-to-everyone list of 10 Things Every Single Man Must Own. Do people really still think this way when it comes to the differences between men and women; that all men are shallow, beer-guzzling slobs that can only gain the affections of women (all of whom are shoe-obessed, folk-song lovers unable to open their own bottle of beer - which is ok since we apparently only keeps it around in case some men stop by anyway) by filling their homes with expensive items suggesting wealth, stability and good taste they themselves don't ascribe to? Judging by these articles - at least 3 do (the authors who put together the lists and their editor); or at the very least they think that people think this way; and in either case, I find it terribly distressing. After all, we've entered into the 3rd millennium1; surely we've found better, more sophisticated ways to pigeonhole each other's abilities and personalities based on more exciting criteria than gender.
Still, I have to admit: once I stopped my internal diatribe about how ridiculous it was that our cultural still holds onto these stereotypes when defining the Male and Female human subgroups, I found myself with a puzzling question: what do I think it means to be a man? a woman? I'm not sure I know.
My automatic answer is that the difference lies in the primary sexual characteristics, because that's my actual philosophy when it comes to Life. Other than our genetically suggested roles in areas of baby making - I view men and women as pretty much the same. That may seem a naive, and I certainly appreciate that society in general isn't with me on this - but it has worked as a philosophy for me so far, and it has been my plan to stick with it.
Yet even with my surety of philosophy, I recognize that we as a cultural view the idea of 'Men' and 'Women' as more than just a way to sell relationship self-help books and to determine which bathroom a person should use: these are emotionally and psychologically charged icons that steer our daily interactions with ourselves and others. Not merely delineators of physical gender - what it means to be a Man or a Woman permeates nearly every aspect of our lives; it's unthinkable that I don't have a working definition. I search around in my head for the quintisential Man and Woman - but I've nothing but a jumble of faces and symbols. So I find myself stumbling down the slippery slope of semantics2.
I try quick word association instead:
Man: brave, strong (physical), & honor3
Woman: soft, strong (emotional), organized, dominant.
No. This list can't be right. I think my subconscious must have been brainwashed. All these words belong on both sides...I know this...after all...if I only expect men to be honorable, does that mean somewhere in my brain I'm willing to forgive duplicity from my own sex? My conscious mind certainly doesn't think so. If I fall into this trap, then I'll start letting other people dictate what I activities, beliefs and thoughts are appropriate to me as a female; and even worse, what one's are inappropriate. And if there's one thing I hate, it's being told how to act, think and or feel4. In fact, it's getting ready to kick my subconscious' complacent, society-following ass even as I write this.
Since my Higher Brain and Lizard Brain aren't coming to terms at the moment 5, I have no other option than to study this issue through the words of others, stand on the shoulders of those giants, and adopt their definition as my own.
A good man is hard to find.
I'll grant you, this proverb is more about "mankind" then men specifically - but let's be honest, you rarely hear the phrase "A good woman is hard to find" bandied about, unless people are talking about hired help. I find this distasteful, because it suggests that men are somehow inherently untrustworthy and that women are, in contrast, full of inert goodness. I've known some duplicitous women, and some very good men in my time.
Behind every great man is a a great woman.
Perhaps one of the silliest things I've ever heard. Not only does it suggest that women can't accomplish anything in their own right6, but it also insists that without women, men are incapable creatures. Certainly, behind some great men there surely were some great women...but also behind some great women there were some great men; and great men behind great men and great women behind great women. Further, it is likely that if you look behind any great personage, you're likely to find a whole host of great men and women doing things behind the scenes. (Other things you might find behind great men and women: a puppet master, a past they are trying to escape, a childhood dream, a chair for them to sit on when they get tired and need a sitdown).
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" - William Congreve
Hm. Really? Mind you, I've pitched one heck of a fit in my time, but I've never, say, mobilized an army in order to rebuke someone for a personal or political slight. World leaders of both sexes have done that - which seems pretty high on the fury scale to me.
"What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god." - Shakespeare
Ah, the Bard. I love him, but when he penned this piece, he clearly hadn't forseen the advent of reality tv, where both men and women regularly express themself in form and movement that is less than admirable.
"One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she'll tell anything." - Oscar Wilde
"When a woman is openly bad she is then at her best" - Latin Proverb
I lumped these together because they made me laugh. Apparently - just by being women we are trouble whether honest or reticient.
Just for the record, I'm 32..and although I don't do it nearly as often as I should - I do love to be bad. Feel free to fear me or revere me as you will.
Verdict: Rejected out of sheer ridiculousness.
It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.
Sir Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, "I'd rather be right than consistent," and I've yet to meet a person whose suggested that Churchill was in anyway feminine. The changing of one's mind is the prerogative of anyone (or anything) with the ability to recognize and process new information - anyone with the will and sense to reason.
In fact - right now I'm making it my prerogative to change my mind - great thinkers and orators of the past seem to have no clearer view of what it means to be a Man or Woman than I do. Therefore, I hereby reject all their suggestions, and revert back to my original hypothesis that what makes a man a Man and a Woman a woman is down to their bits and pieces. Rather than making blanket statements about my fellow humans based on their gender, I'll stick to doing it based on their political leanings, counter-culture group identification and/or preferred soft drink.
1Since we've been keeping track..
2Always more fun, I feel, than a gentle, graduated hill.
3Ok, if I'm being honest, you can also throw "sex" into that list.
4I know, I don't seem like the trouble-with-authority type - it surprises me alot too.
5My stubborn brain is (quite wisely) staying out of the argument entirely. In fact, I think it's having a nap.
6I know what you're going to say: women were previously forbidden by society to do things of social, professional and political import - so they helped effect these changes by counselling, assisting and taking care of lesser issues for their husbands. To that I say Feh! There have been women denying the status quo throughout history - with and without a spouse, brother, or other male figurehead to stand behind.
Ok, I know I said I wasn't going...but I had an hour to kill before
meeting my sister at Independence Hall, and I just had to come and get a
look. This is the crowd 1 1/2 hours before showtime.
There were supposed to be photos with those posts. I'll have to reread the post-by-email directions when I get home.
As a public service...when trying to avoid appearing in the press at
these things do not: (a) stand behind the woman who won Bon Jovi VIP concert
passes during Bon Jovi's soundcheck or (b) strike up a conversation with
a roaming Podcaster. Those
interested in Sarcasmo schaudenfreude can no doubt see my sweaty self on
the 6PM news, or catch me on Andrew's podcast later today.
(Sorry about the singing...for reasons unknown he chose to hold his mic over my head during Bon Jovi's set.)
Update: Alex has just called to tell me that I was on the news both singing and dancing. Great.
This was being done by the roadies. I turned to the young girls next to me and said, "Excuse me, I don't mean to be an old lady, but can you
tell me what band this is?"
"It's Bon Jovi's soundcheck."
"Then where's Richie Sambora?" I queried.
"Who?!?" The young ladies (whom I later learned graduated from my high school 12 years after I did) asked.
You'll excuse me while this old lady has a short cry.
Hello, my lovelies. Here's a pile of Friday links to get you through the weekend and then some. I'll be blogging light over the next several daysin honor of the holiday weekend, as well as the arrival of Sarcas-sis and her clan.
As much as I like y'all, I haven't seen her and her husband in over a year - and I'll only be meeting my nephew for the first time. He's already six months old and I haven't had a chance to expose him to any
vicious secrets charming stories about his mother's behavior as a child..and I'm already well-behind on making him heir-apparent to my interplanetary empire. (Yes, yes, I realize I haven't yet achieved supreme dominion over all things - but I don't see why that means I shouldn't get the paperwork started; help him develop his signature, maniacal laugh; have him fitted for his first diadem; or at very least get him aquainted with Trotwood so he grows easily into idea of a robot army.) Surely, you can see why they get top billing.
In the meantime, don't forget to check out Albert Yee's coverage of his Live 8 experiences over at Philly Future. If I don't get swallowed up by the maddening, music-loving crowd, I'll be back next week.
- As If There Weren't Going On Enough This Weekend: There's Live 8 - Americans will celebrate the 4th of July - and someone might finally capture Bigfoot. - [MITN]
- I Like How They Say "Scholar" When They Mean "Nerd": MSN Encarta wants to know if you are a Science Fiction Scholar. I scored an embarrassing 8 out of 11. I can only console myself with the fact that for most of those 8, I didn't need the multiple choice answers. - [LF]
- Job Blogs: Be kind to the people you interact with everyday, you never know when your waiter, tailor, bouncer or funeral celebrant might also be a blogger.
- Anticipate Gracious Serendipity: Random Happy Gibberish. Come on, get happy!
- Is it Wrong That I Want These For My Home? Should one purchase haunted bookshelves [gab], or simply expose their books to The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf, and hope they haunt themselves? -[BB]