Well that was fun

Posted by andrea - March 31st, 2006

Note to self: if you are prompted by Firefox to download and install the latest version of the Java Runtime plugin, hit “cancel.”

Random dialer

Posted by andrea - March 31st, 2006

You know that story about the panic in India over “devil calls” — cell phone calls that supposedly “converts its listeners to brain-dead lunatics”? My first thought was “so that explains all the morons in my town that walk around with cell phones or those little microphone receivers grafted permanently onto their heads.” Then after reading this bit on Flea’s site about rumors in the Indian state of Orissa that cell phone calls were killing people, I began to wish that a similar panic would sweep my nation. (We came close with that thing about how cell phones cause brain tumors, but not close enough, alas.) Because then I would finally get a cell phone again. And then I would make sure to take the thing out in a crowded area, just to see people catch their breath and eye me in fear.

Spelt

Posted by andrea - March 31st, 2006

I’m feeling better, but I still can’t stand the cons that crunch. (Is that the sound they make when you step on them with a big pair of Cuban heels? God, I hope so.)

Not drowning but waving

Posted by andrea - March 30th, 2006

I’ve been too exhausted and sick to post. The usual viral attack; last night I made it to 8:30 pm before I conked out. I feel a little better today, so maybe there will be something here in a bit.

Mom Dimble

Posted by andrea - March 28th, 2006

I really need to get this off my chest before I get ready for work because it’s driving me crazy. It is, in short: the faddish substitution of the word mom for “mother” in every single article that refers to women who have children. I’m not talking just informal blog posts; I’m talking official published articles in news organs that someone got paid to write. People: 1) just because you get paid by the word instead of by the letter doesn’t mean you can destroy the English language with cuteness.; 2) the word “mom” should only be used by someone referring to that person who personally either gave birth to them or (by dint of official adoption) holds the same position in their lives — it should never, ever be used to refer to the bulk population of mothers, which is the word that should be used. I don’t care that “mother” now apparently conjures up an image of a woman in an apron on her knees scrubbing the floor while a pie bakes in the oven. Would you refer to Mary as the “Mom of God”?

Someone will soon. I’m waiting for it.

A night at the movies

Posted by andrea - March 27th, 2006

Eh. I had a bunch of thoughts that I was trying to mash into a post, and I’m just too tired. Okay, just one: it’s been Bond Week, or Bond Month, or the Year of Bond, or something like that on AMC. They’ve been showing James Bond movies just about every day it seems for ages now. I turn them on every once in a while and watch bits of them — I can’t really concentrate on one from beginning to end these days. My mother and I used to just love the Bond films. Not for the handsome, studly creature that is Bond, James Bond — which was either Sean Connery or Roger Moore, we liked them both (didn’t care much for the one with James Lazenby, though — he was sort of a non-entity to us, and we hated the ending of the movie) — but for all the hilariously over-the-top gadgets. A particular favorite were the cars with all the things (machine guns, the ability to fly or go under water or whatever). Perhaps as women we shouldn’t have liked such movies, because the early ones at least were all so sexist. There’s James shooing away a massage girl when he wants to talk to a fellow operative with “Run along now — man talk” and a smack on the ass, there he is callously using some (evil spy) dame as a bullet catcher (”Will you take care of my date? She’s just dead.”), and there he is turning his charms on yet another female who of course, falls like a ton of bricks. But instead we were traitors to our sisters, no doubt, and loved every minute of the films, and other similar adventure films. I don’t remember watching very many romantic dramas or any of the other stuff women were and are supposed to glom onto; except for a period (when she was staying at home instead of working) where she got into the soaps, she didn’t seem to really care for any of that sort of movie. I’m not sure why; maybe she just had gotten into the habit of watching more “masculine” fare because of my father. But I don’t really think that’s true — my father preferred Westerns and historical dramas about the Civil War. My mother and I liked adventures, mysteries, and spy stories. (We all liked comedies, but I was the only one who really got into old Japanese monster movies and old horror films like The Thing That Wouldn’t Die.)

Of course those genres are mainly male fantasies. Many feminist critics complain that the continued popularity of such movies is indicative of the continuing hold sexism and sexual oppression of women by men has on society, but I think the reason these stories are so popular is less diabolical than that. I think that male fantasies (not counting the pornographic ones, if you are wondering) are so popular is that for all their simplicity, brutality, and crassness, they are simply more exciting and fun than female fantasies. Think about it: what are the “traditional” (for want of a better word) subjects that form the plots of most standard female-aimed stories and films? Fear, victimization, sickness, abandonment, more sickness, loneliness, lack of love, more sickness, insanity (sickness that still gives the character a chance to thrash about), emotional disturbance, children (see sickness, insanity), contests not of strength or valor but of who can endure suffering more nobly and uncomplainingly, caddish men and the women they beat, romantic disturbance (see emotional disturbance, sickness), guilt, depression… that at least is the impression I’ve gotten whenever I’ve tried to watch a romantic film (last night they had Brief Encounter on, and all I could think of was “Get on that train, you idiot — in Africa you’ll finally be free of this selfish, moony female”) or one of those Threatened Woman sagas on the Lifetime channel (I’ve never been able to last more than five minutes, and each time I feel totally fucked in the head, as if I’d od’ed on Benadryl). Then there are the soaps. But let’s not go there.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Except I just wanted to note that male fantasies just seem to be a bit more fun than female ones, though thanks to a number of well-intentioned yet IMHO ultimately counter-intuitive social directives you’ll have to go into the classic movie bin if you want to get an action film without the required long, stop-the-action-dead scene of guilty self-reflection/flashback from the hero, and more and more action-adventure films have had to have a female “warrior woman” character shoehorned into it to keep off the PC crowd (c.f. the ersatz Arwen character in the otherwise fine Lord of the Rings films — which still did not get the film off the hook: it was lambasted by many a femme-critte as a male “boys adventure movie” romp which wouldn’t let girls in the treehouse).

The Down Low

Posted by andrea - March 27th, 2006

This is what I wish someone would say to the good Reverend Jesse Jackson’s face:

Yo, bro,’ are you shittin’ me? “New Orleans-Americans”??? What the hell? You know what, that “I Am Somebody” campaign was a long time ago, and your run for president was also a long time ago, and you’ve been coasting on past laurels for way too long. Now you’re just a has-been camera-whore who can’t bear the thought of no longer being in the limelight, so you’ll say anything to get attention. Shut up, just shut the fuck up, you adulterous, race-pimping fraud. Go. Away. Now.

And now for a jog down memory lane: due to school district lines carefully drawn up to make it look like Miami was a real cultural melting pot instead of the usual collection of urban self-segregating collections of ethnic and racial groups, I ended up doing seventh grade (in those days the first year of junior high, or as they now call it, “middle school”) in a school in a predominantly black neighborhood in Coconut Grove (that part of Coconut Grove that isn’t featured in Sixties pop hits). One day there was going to be a special assembly at the auditorium, but it was only for the black students in the school. What was the occasion? Why, Jesse Jackson was coming by to tell the black kids that they were Somebody. I don’t remember what I thought about that; I think I was glad because I either got to go home early that day, or I got to go to the library, which in those days was my idea of a treat. But as I think back on it now I think how interesting it is that some types of racial equality were more equal than others.

Silver lining time

Posted by andrea - March 26th, 2006

A short thought re that whole Abdul Rahman thing (the man in Afghanistan who was recently threatened with execution because he had converted from Islam to Christianity and refused to convert back): a lot of people are going the whole “drop them they’re not worth it” isolationist route, but I see a bit of progress here. Think: just a few years ago we would not even have heard of this man until he was dead, and probably not even dead. It would be “ho hum, crazy Muslims killed another person for not being like them” story if it appeared at all, and any protests or objections would have been met by the rulers of that country with a “the infidels are making some sort of funny sound again” attitude. Remember Bamiyan?

Update: hmm, and I hadn’t even read this.

I confess

Posted by andrea - March 25th, 2006

Ankle bracelets make me feel like a hooker. I never wear them.

I owned The Archies’ Greatest Hits when I was a kid. The record was destroyed when my sister left it out of its jacket on her bed and the dog jumped on it. OMG they have them on cd!!!

Children, quite frankly, bore me. I don’t blame them — they have no duty to be fascinating to me, and I was certainly not a fascinating child; quite the contrary, I was quite ordinary and not particularly clever or interesting in my witticisms. But the thought of raising a child, forming its mind, making it into an intelligent and useful member of the human race, just makes my mind glaze over. I imagine if I had had children I’d have been one of those mothers who were always irritable because the kids were always bugging me, and I’m at the wrong income level and social status to be able to send the children away to school in some suitably far country, like Switzerland. So the fact that I have not spawned is hardly a tragedy.

The above is why I won’t be leaping on the Demographic, Suicide of the West bandwagon any time soon. There are other ways to combat the high birthrate of unpleasant minorities in our midst. Unfortunately most of them involve the use of things like the pump-action shotgun, so they will never be implemented.

I am a tea snob. I will not drink Lipton, which is made of dried grass clippings anyway. Instead, I will go out of my way to buy loose varietal tea, even if it means walking several blocks to Whole Foods, where I can get it in bulk.

I like Whole Foods, even if the place is full of New-Agey Gaia-worship crap. They take money just like any other store.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Have much to do, must go.

Ghostwriter in the sky

Posted by andrea - March 25th, 2006

Among the long list of things I just don’t understand: what is it with plagiarists, anyway? How difficult is it to block quote and add citations? I learned to do that on a manual typewriter; you’re telling me it’s too hard to figure out how to do that in Microsoft Word? Throw the book — in fact, throw all the books and publications he stole from — at the little dweeb.

In other news: my upstairs neighbor is having an ongoing party that started, as near as I can figure, sometime around 5am. The interesting thing is that I am not bothered by all the noise, even though it did wake me up. But I was able to go right back to sleep. Either I have finally gotten used to the disturbances or the music they are listening to has the right combination of beats and sounds to not get on my nerves. Party on, dudes.

Note: changed the Flickr badge on the sidebar to be this cool Flash thingie. I may or may not take the long bus trip to the Cool, Overpriced mall so I can check out my page on the Macs at the Apple store. I don’t have very much dough this week — in fact, I have about twenty bucks — but I feel the need for a long trip somewhere, and going across town by bus is one that fits within my tiny budget.

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