The Avengers is the kind of movie that just makes me happy, truly a Joss Whedon masterpiece. Our experience was sullied somewhat by a particularly loud and obnoxious audience member who felt the need to cackle like a pack of hyenas every time something even slightly funny happened onscreen (i.e. every 10-15 seconds.) She was also fond of loudly repeating dialogue back at the screen. I won't go into detail but she looked like she was ready to be on Springer. It was sort of an interactive movie experience with us trying not to turn into the Hulk in real life to deal with this woman. I wish we would have gone to a midnight showing on opening night as it would have been quieter.
But it still did not ruin the movie. Nothing could ruin The Avengers.
Our friends made dinner for us and we just had a pleasant night together. I see them for rehearsals but it was nice to go there as a couple.
Last night was topped off by me getting the main verse riff finished on for the song I'm currently writing. It's a very chaotic thrash metal-style song, the kind I didn't think I could figure out how to write. But it's getting easier as I get the hang of it. This must have unblocked my creativity for songwriting since I was finally able to write some more lyrics today.
So it's been a decent couple of days, I guess. I'm grateful.
Last night I got called to ring up a customer who in the middle of the transaction blurts out "Are you a Christian?" I wasn't sure I'd even heard him right because even customers in the past who start talking about their faith have never been that direct and confrontational. I ask what he said and he replies "Are you a Christian by faith?"
At this point I was too stunned to make a coherent reply. Dealing with the public takes a lot out of me and I tend to be very non-confrontational at work just so I can function. I manage to tell him that I don't talk about that. His reply was "Well I'M going to talk about it!" And he proceeds too, going off about how he's been "reading about Catholicism and boy it's interesting. It's interesting... Like, is FAITH enough or do you have to DO THINGS to be saved."
I've heard all this before, my whole life. In case you don't know there's a huge prejudice among non-Catholic Christians that Catholics aren't really Christian because they believe good works are an important part of salvation. It's a thing I was raised in and I don't want to hear about it at work.
Then this asshole starts talking about this girl that he's dating and how she's Catholic and how he has "tried to talk about it with her." It's hard to convey, but there was an implication in his speech that he is with this woman so he can convert her.
Talking to this man left me feeling dirty, like being covered with the proverbial slick of oil. I wish I hadn't been so disoriented by him. I wish I would have just told him to stop and that I couldn't discuss this, because really I can't at work. I just wish I reacted more quickly with people and could get my mind around standing up to them.
Today however one these gawkers-at-the-zoo who came through my line turned out to be very funny in hindsight. I don't think she was on anything, I think she was just naturally spacy. REALLY space. She talked like a New Age crystal hippie although she didn't really look like one. Here's a dramatization of our conversation.
HER: Are you from Kentucky? I know a Tyree and he's from Kentucky.
ME: (makes a non-committal noise as I go about ringing up her purchase.)
HER: Are you from Kentucky?
ME: No. I'm from around here. (I'm actually not but just wanted not to be the subject of discussion anymore.
HER: Are you a Pisces? I'll bet you're a Pisces!
HER: You're not a PISCES! What are you?
ME: A Leo.
HER: You're a LEO? And your name is TYREE? I was sure you were a Pisces!
ME: Sorry. (I may not have actually said sorry. It many have just been an inarticulate noise: the verbal equivalent of a shrug.
HER: But you're so CALM! Not like my daughter! She's wild, and flirty, and acts like she's fifteen! She's so wild! My daughter is so wild! And you're so CALM! You're like the opposite of her! She's so wild... So wild...
Variations of this statement went on for the rest of the transaction but I think you get the idea. Did anyone else know that my name is a Kentucky phrase for "I'm a Pisces and I give two shits about your crazy ass daughter?" Because I sure didn't.
My icon is an accurate depiction of what Martin's detractors apparently think he does instead of writing his next novel :) Actually, this article is a little scary to read. An active community has banded together to wage war against an author who writes slowly... because they love him? I haven't visited the anti-Martin sites in question, but just reading this article makes the venom plain to see.
Then again, Martin's happy fans are on-record as being willing to dumpster dive for barbecue leftovers in the middle of the night in order to appease him so they may not be the most stable bunch either. In that light it's easy to see how the degeneration could happen when one of them feels jilted by his lack of progress.
I agree with the statement that it's an effect of the entitlement culture. And it's also the way our culture looks at celebrities, (or even people who are just celebrities to us.) People think they're entitled to some piece of them and are indignant when they don't get it.
Oh, and apparently everyone thinks it's just okay to refer to an author dying before a work is finished as "pulling a Jordan." Does anyone besides me find that not only insulting to a writer like Martin, but also to Robert Jordan as well? It carries an implication that Jordan somehow chose to die. Or was irresponsible in his career and chose not to make finishing his books a priority before his life ran out. Or even that his death was somehow a great big "fuck you" to everyone eagerly eyeballing the money they have set aside for the day in the future when he finally created and released a "Snakes and Foxes" game for the Nintendo DS. Nevermind the fact that by all accounts Jordan's drive to finish The Wheel of Time was what kept him going through the final years of a truly agonizing and debilitating illness.
Makes me almost glad I'm not a famous writer with a rabid fanbase. I don't even think my readership reaches far into the double digits. And I don't know what I would do if five of them hated the other five.
"SHE WAS CATHOLIC!"
*Stunned silence from the first two conversationalists, eventually broken by a tentative "What?"*
"SHE WAS CATHOLIC! ANNE FRANK WAS A CATHOLIC!"
First Conversationalist: "I really don't think that Anne Frank was Cath-"
"YEAH, SHE BECAME A CATHOLIC! THAT'S WHY SHE QUIT WRITING THE VAMPIRE NOVELS! ANNE FRANK QUIT WRITING THE VAMPIRE NOVELS BECAUSE SHE BECAME A CATHOLIC!"
Collective facepalm from the entire room.
Anne Frank was a girl who couldn't come out of an attic. Anne Rice writes about vampires who can't stop coming out of the closet. If you know nothing else about 20th century Western literature, know this.
I won't bother pointing out the folly of reasoning in this article. But probably the best part is where he quotes a Roman satirist as depicting actual married life in ancient Rome and how all the Roman gayness left married women unsatisfied. This is after he states up front that what the satirist has written is satire.
That's satire, folks. Humor. Because you know, it just isn't possible that just like we do today, people in ancient Rome of all persuasions found jokes about gayness funny. But no, as long as it agrees with your position it stops being comedy and starts being historical fact.
Come to think of it, there's plenty of satire out there these days about weird, bigoted Christians. But if you tried to tell him that this satire depicts the actual day-to-day norm I bet he'd get bent out of shape and defensive real quick.
I love it when religionists think they're being clever and smart and beating the enemy at their own game by appealing to unwieldly sociology and science that just doesn't fly.
There are actually people (Fox News's Glenn Beck among them,) who took umbrage at the elderly African American reverend who gave the closing prayer for doing the little rhyme about how now "black don't have to step back, brown can stick around, yellow can be mellow, the red man can get ahead, man, and white can do what's right." Apparently that's racist against white people and furthering divisions Obama said he'd get rid of. Funny, I thought it was a veteran of the Civil Rights movement talking about how his dreams of unity from many decades ago had come true. People love to read things that aren't there; people who, if they can't find a legitimate reason to be unhappy about something will just make one up.
And then people are mocking Obama because he tripped over a line in the oath of office. What actually happened was that the guy reading the oath to him screwed it up, Obama tried to get him back on track, and wound up with them both getting turned around. I've spent my share of time on the stage and can attest that you can be the best actor in the world, but if the other person on stage screws up you can STILL wind up turned around all to hell and back.
I recognize that a lot of people are just waiting for Obama to fail. But seriously, you'll get your chance. Getting your panties moist over insignificant word slips during a pompous ceremony just makes you look petty.
My mom told me a funny story this morning. Apparently she was arguing circles around one of my aunts who is anti-Obama. My aunt quoted my late grandfather who apparently once said that "if a black man ever becomes president the white man will be scrubbing the black man's floors and cleaning his toilets." My mom said "if he wants me to come scrub floors and clean toilets in the white house, sign me up! Those people make a lot of money!" That shut her right up.
Sign me up too. I don't know what kind of money a white house janitor makes, but I'm sure it can't be shabby. They've got to be out-earning me, at any rate.
Right now they're televising the President & friends attending the national prayer service at the cathedral in Washington. I'm sure the atheist bloggers must be creaming their jeans over that one.
2nd in command of al-Qaeda insults Barack Obama.
I'm sure this won't faze the WorldNetDaily-reading far right conspiracy nuts who are convinced he's an al-Qaeda sleeper-agent, however. Clearly this is just an act to throw us off the scent and their ridiculously circuitous plan to control America with a Muslim president will soon be one quarter of the way complete!
Here's the salient portion in excerpt:
It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement.
Nevermind the fact that Dungeons & Dragons is and always has been rabidly popular among American soldiers. The McCain campaign also does not seem to know that Hasbro, the parent of D&D's publisher, is a massive Republican donor. I know extremely far left gamers, I know extremely far right gamers. All of them live independently of their mothers.
( Let's look at the bigger picture here... )
Simply put, it was an excellent film and one of the most loyal adaptations from source material that I have ever seesn. Initially I was dismayed that the film was being presented with Godzilla-style overdubbing, (no surprise given that the film's director primarily does Godzilla movies,) but was then delighted when I realized that it was the entire voice cast of the English dub of the anime.
Here was what pissed me off, and it had nothing to do with the movie.
( Cut for angry old man-style rantings about what's wrong with teenagers these days. )
It's not Hillary's fault though. People as a rule don't like hearing the truth about themselves, and I can hardly blame the woman for taking advantage of that.
As a member of the male-dominated maleocracy, I am shocked that anyone would uncover our plot to objectify black women and force educated women into prostitution. This person is just proof that stupid knows no gender.
You don't hear much about 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists anymore, but they're still out there. I wish I'd had this article to wave at them back when they were at the peak of their noisiness and visibility. I've said from the beginning there's no way you could wire buildings of that size with enough explosives to bring them down without SOMEBODY noticing.
Man, I miss the good old-fashioned conspiracies where the Freemasons were trying to raise Atlantis and aliens paid Castro to carry out the JFK assassination.
Meanwhile, how about that anti-gay state representative from Oklahoma? If I was her I'd buy a lottery ticket because it's her lucky day. The governor of New York and his fondness for the ladies of the night kinda blew her story out of the water.
I was discussing the social implications of Governor Spitzer's nefarious actions with
When all is said and done, this whole sordid mess isn't really that newsworthy. A politician with a prostitute, how novel. But in America we love seeing a holier-than-thou type take a fall so I imagine the sad story of Mr. Spitzer isn't going away anytime soon. Fortunately, given how quickly our news media digests things that only means it will be with us until the end of the week instead of expiring after 48 hours or so.
Valentine's Day was wonderful. I surprised Mel with roses and we watched this week's Lost followed by the short anime horror film Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek. Even if you're not a fan of anime or horror I suggest you watch this film just for the breathtaking piece of art that it is. It's twenty-five minutes of animation that looks like it cost $25 million. Horror isn't really the right word for it: there's no gore at all. But it's still intense and disturbing.
I've got the news on in the background as I always do at work and they're talking about the Dekalb, Illinois college shooting. They just had a man on whom they identified as a "campus shooting expert." What does it say when campus shootings happen often enough for there to be "experts" on the phenomenon? What does it say about said "expert" when the best he can do is caustically blame video games?
( Survey, in case you care. )
"Hi! I'd just like to give you some of our conservation information!" And she promptly hands me what looks like an environmentalism magazine. Of course it wasn't, but the facsimile was impressive, right down to the forlorn looking water buffalo on the cover. The lady doesn't pause for conversation, but promptly scurries back to her van and drives away. Suspecting something is up, I open the mag and find the eco-zine ruse promptly discarded on the very first page. It's Jehovah's Witness propaganda. And oh look! A free issue of Watchtower tucked in the middle of it, just securely enough that it won't fall out until the our minivan-driving pamphleteer has made her getaway. Which she has.
My wife and I were already greatly annoyed at having our last few moments of calm before she had to go to work interrupted by a stranger shoving their waste paper in our faces.* Seeing what it really was and who it was from sent us into outright anger. Leaving my personal thoughts on JW itself out of the equation, I just feel the need to scream from the rooftops that stealth evangelism does not work!
I got fed up with this kind of thing in high school when somebody would promote something toward teenagers with no outward message of religion, hoping that unsaved kids would show up and get "saved" at the ensuing two-hour sermon. What it tells me when organizations do this is that they have zero confidence in their own beliefs. They do not have the courage of their convictions to tell you "this is what I believe and why I think you should believe it too." No, they are so unconvinced of their own teachings that the only way they can share it is to disguise it as something else and hope that their targets absorb it through osmosis. If that woman had been ready for a sincere discussion of her beliefs she wouldn't have felt the need to scurry away like a cockroach when the lights are turned on.
Worse than it being cowardly, it is deceitful. Stapling a photograph of a yak around a bundle of advertisements for your religion and calling it "conservation information" is lying. You're not going to win many people to a god who says "thou shalt not lie" by tricking people.
*I subscribe to the Mitch Hedberg school of thought: "When somebody hands me a pamphlet I feel like they're saying 'here, throw this away for me.'"
x-posted to christianity
I mean he didn't say "Excuse me, you've got a tail light out." No, it was "You've got a TAIL LIGHT out! You've got a TAIL LIGHT OUT! ALL YOUR TAIL LIGHTS ON THE RIGHT SIDE ARE OUT!!!" Mel and I thanked him and tried to go across the street to my parents' house, but he wouldn't leave us alone, just kept nattering on about it in an extreme state of paranoia, saying he didn't "stop us" to be a jerk, he just wanted to tell us we had a tail light out. Then he starts going on about how he was an ex-police officer and didn't want to see us get a ticket. He must have kept us held up there for about five minutes, capering around like a court jester in the middle of the street, going on and on about all my tail lights on that side being out. Meanwhile my parents are watching from the house going "wtf?"
I don't have much firsthand experience with hard drug users, but this guy was skin stretched over bones, sunken-eyed, sunken-cheeked, and I could have imagined it, but I think I saw several sores on his left arm. You can draw whatever conclusions you want, but I think if he really was an ex-police officer, then the reason he's not with the force anymore is because meth or speed kept disappearing from the evidence locker.
Then when we finally got rid of the guy, he peeled out leaving a nice fifty-foot streak on the pavement, blasting this weird country-western fiddle music all the way. He had a little boy in the car with him too. That made us feel whole lots better.
During the conversation I kept waiting for him to ask us for money. If my parents hadn't both been standing outside by the end, I think he probably would have.
It was just one of those episodes I had to blog, you know?
BTW, it turned out it was just my brake light that was out. Not the whole panel.
Sadly I am already back into the cycle of not being able to sleep properly. Just knowing that I have to be to work at midnight and that 90% of my job is just to stay awake makes it very difficult for me to sleep for any length of time. Now I remember what I didn't like about my old job. I'll still take it over Void Circle Pharmacy, though. Any old day of the week.
Yesterday's funny adventure involved getting my license to do the job. I just figured it would take an hour and then I could come home and go back to bed. Wrong. They issue you a check to go get the license then take the cost of the check out of your pay. That's fine, I've done it all before. Anyway, my old license expired last month so my company cut me a seventy dollar check to get a new one issued. Renewing only costs fifty, but since it had expired more than thirty days ago they figured I'd need a completely new one.
So I get up and go to the commissions office where they tell me that no, the length of time for renewal is sixty days not thirty and they'll need the check for fifty, not seventy. Therefore I had to drive all the way to my company's office - ON THE OTHER END OF THE CITY - get a new check from them, and drive back. But the time I go thome it was one in the afternoon. No wonder I didn't get enough sleep.
The guy helping me at the commissions office was none too bright either. I had to fill out an information form that includes place of birth. When he saw I was born in California he got all surprised and was like "What are you doing up here!?"
It was the way he said it, as if the concept of someone moving to a different party of the country somewhere over the course of their thirty-one years was completely foreign to him.
Oh well, at least I saved twenty dollars.