I said before here that I detest the fact that we’ve allowed a two-party system to arise and get a chokehold on power in United States government. Of course, I leave the possibility open that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I am, after all, not an expert in political systems, or the intricacies of government, or history, or really any subject at all. I may be an expert in churning out stream-of-consciousness rambling word vomit, but even that’s debatable. I know enough about a lot of things to know I don’t know enough. But I do know enough to have opinions on them, and I am an expert on knowing my blog’s username and password, so I’ll continue putting out these things here.
To be honest, I’m writing this because it’s been a very emotional and shitty couple of weeks. And writing about the potential dissolution of our Republic is actually a way for me to escape my troubles. A few friends of mine encouraged me to write, so I am. My original plan was going to be a Fears and Hope in Donald America post, where I could talk about what I’m afraid of and hopeful for in the next few years. I may do that at some point. Instead, I’m going with a lashing-out of anger because I feel helpless and scared and sometimes yelling at clouds is the only thing I can do because the things I’m actually angry and scared of can’t be targeted or confronted. They just Are.
Anyway, whatever, here we go.
I watch a lot of movies, but usually well after they’ve been released. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about them, because I am an asshole (that’s what that old saying means, right?). Based on those two facts, I am introducing a semi-regular feature called Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews, since the review comes well after everyone else in the world has already seen it. The first movie is one I just saw over Easter weekend: Interstellar. Maybe soon I’ll do Avatar or Titanic next!
Oh, and by the way, there are spoilers here, because no shit there are spoilers in a movie review that’s been out for months.
I am not unfamiliar with the concept of a luxury hotel. I am also aware that hotels on the beach in Florida are pricey as all hell. I am not entirely a beautiful naive sophisticated newborn baby (despite what my betrothed would say), so the fact that there are incredibly expensive hotel rooms out there is not a shock or unfathomable or anything. It does make me feel a little ill, to be honest, or at least the concept of paying for such a hotel does – I am an accountant, after all, and cost/benefit analysis is as hard-wired into my psyche (accountants are born, not made – if someone likes to learn about rules and is the first one to read them when a new boardgame is brought out, you’d probably make an excellent accountant. Which after reading that makes accountants sound boring as hell, which isn’t always true, but accounting itself really is pretty boring when you get right down to it.) as love of steak and distrust of yellow squash. I can’t wrap my head around paying 10 times as much for something simply for the fact that I can afford it when a suitable alternative provides the same function. I get nauseous.
In another of my popular series, “Why I Hate on Random Shit Like TV Shows and Movies That Are Not Very Important In the Big or Even Medium-Small Scheme of Things,” I have decided to answer a question posed to me by a commenter on my last blog post. Basically, it boils down to this: as a fan of Tolkien, why do I hate on Peter Jackson so much when he brought so much of Tolkien’s vision to the big screen and mass audiences, revitalizing the genre and Tolkien’s legacy and exposing an entirely new generation to the joy and wonder of Middle-Earth?
Christ, when I put it that way I make myself feel like a crotchety misanthropic asshat who would complain about the method someone used to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, I am exactly the sort of person who would be disappointed if someone incorrectly assembled such a sandwich by, say, putting the jelly directly onto the other slice of bread rather than on the peanut butter, which is the proper method for creating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and anyone who says it is the same either way is wrong and should feel bad about themselves.
Ahhhh, spring. That time of natural and spiritual renewal, when life shrugs off the long cold grip of winter and embraces life anew, reveling in the rebirth and joy that the change of seasons brings. The heart lifts, the trees bloom, and smiles and good feelings towards all creation shine forth from the sense of freedom and reawakening that only Spring can bring. Read the rest of this entry →
Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.
World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.
What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.
Sunday, October 14th. That’s when it’s back. The show I love to hate, full of the most dysfunctional group of addle-brained survivors of all time, comes back after an entire season spent on a farm agonizing over morning-after pills, religion, suicide, a woman’s proper role in life, love triangles, and where the fuck Carl has disappeared to and who’s gonna die because of it. Every now and again they put a zombie in it. It was not a good season. Most people agreed that it was slow and awful and dull, until the last episode seemed to make everyone forget about the horrible pacing and stupid arguments and ridiculous thought processes. Zombies! Guns! Impossible headshots and shotguns that never need to be reloaded! And then the big part, the last scene, where everyone seemed to have a collective fangasm and couldn’t stop gushing about what next season would bring. ZOMG the prison! And Michionne! Michionne! MICHIONNE!!!!!!!
“Smoke detectors save lives”. So says everyone and everything on the internet. Every day, a smoke detector saves umpty-bumpty lives while simultaneously providing a much needed ornamental flair to the otherwise drab ceilings of our homes.
I hate them ever so much.
I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog how much of a nerd I am. I am not ashamed of this. I can sit at a table in the middle of a restaurant while everyone I’m with disclaims loudly about LARPing or playfighting or tabletopping without wanting to die (Just barely. Seriously, not one of my favorite things, but I’ve gotten a little better at handling it.) The purpose of this post in no way indicates my need to seek absolution for being a nerd, because I don’t really care what general society thinks of my hobbies.
However, nerd society itself is big on shaming those that don’t share every geeky interest there is. Admonishments about how “you HAVE to watch this” or “what do you MEAN you don’t like this” or “how can you say the new Battlestar Galactica is a pathetic uninspired piece of shit that resembles more of a random Cylon-of-the-Week generator and whose main premise seems to revolve around the idea that LOOK STARBUCK IS A GIRL!” run rampant whenever geeks collide. Many of us nerds carry our opinions proudly and defend them vociferously. Others hide the things they hate lest they get besieged with long-winded arguments and belittled by someone with uncontrollable flatulence. They just nod knowingly but silently during the conversations regarding the things they dislike.
I fall into both camps. In general, my apathy (my third superpower) wins out over any desire to strongly express an opinion about anything to argue with another nerd about geek stuff, and my desire to get along with people means that I’ll happily seem interested in whatever thing they want to talk about. But seriously, if you use “frack” in conversation as a substitute curse word, you’re a tool.
Anyway, I’ve decided to come clean on some nerdy things I don’t like. I’m not sure I hate them (see: Superpower 3 – Apathy), but for many people the simple act of not really liking something is an act akin to supporting Vichy France. We nerds can be touchy. And I’m not excusing myself. Diss on Mass Effect or Skyrim or Firefly or Conan the Barbarian (original movie) or Marvel comics (specifically until 1992 or so, since a lot of ass has happened after that which is unforgivable. Fucking Clone Saga.) and I’m liable to get pretty snooty and uppity and use the word “Philistine” for some reason. But now is the time for me to confess my disdain for some of the Nerdy Touchstones. I’m not seeking forgiveness or absolution or anything. I’m just coming clean. Hopefully the rest of us can do the same and clear the air.
Here are some things I don’t like.
I love me some cake. I mean, I love it like a fat kid loves redundancy. My whole life is littered with the cakes I’ve seen and tasted, from my grandmother’s Red Velvet cake (with vanilla frosting. Seriously, people, cream cheese frosting? Are we in Communist Russia? Am I to begin standing in line for beets next? Cream cheese frosting is ONLY acceptable on carrot cake. Nothing else. UPDATED: I let my rage get the best of me. Cream cheese frosting is delicious on pumpkin or other spiced-cake product. I stand corrected.) to the cherry cake pops my wonderful wife made a couple months ago. I fucking love cake, just to be clear. Love it.
This includes cupcakes. Ahhh, the sweet, glorious cupcake. It’s a mini-cake all its own, a piece of heaven made for one hand, allowing a cake lover like me to eat a cake without having to use a fork and plate. From EZ-Bake ovens to school bake sales to after-game treats to something to make a bunch of goddamn kids shut the fuck up for 5 minutes, the cupcake has a well-deserved legacy as a beloved American treasure. Like so much of our precious heritage, however, this glorious symbol of utter deliciousness is being denigrated and desecrated before our very eyes. If we don’t act soon, the cupcake as we know it will be gone, tossed carelessly in the compost heap of forgotten culinary treasures like so many crumb-lined paper wrappers.
For fuck sake, people, LIVES ARE AT STAKE. Possibly.