Sunday, March 30, 2008

Knowledge is power

But for real. It is. Having new knowledge makes me feel really mighty, even when it is knowledge that can never possibly be useful for anything, ever. Like Merlin Holland's fax number. Or Samuel Pepys and his amusing use of French. Or the word for "black stockings" in French. All of these things, they make me feel stronger and more prepared for everything that happens.

Like! Scenario! Okay, it's The Last Judgment, and all the living and the dead rise up and get set to be judged, and Robert Browning's standing next to me in line (they've got it set up by birthdays, obviously), and we're chatting, and he gets all judgy about, I don't know, about how much trashy TV I watched during my lifetime. Something like that. Well, okay, he's all being a douche to me, and finally I get fed up with it, and because of my KNOWLEDGE, I can say to him, "Oh yeah? Oh yeah, Robert Browning? Well, YOU didn't know what twat meant! The OED, the OED, had to come find you and stage an intervention, that's how much you didn't know the meaning of that word!" And he'll be really embarrassed and back off and beg me to lower my voice and assure me that it's nothing, really, even he could enjoy a good episode of Gossip Girl and I shouldn't feel ashamed that I had used my valuable time on earth watching it.

Now, granted, this exact scenario will never occur, because for one thing, I don't think the Lord is going to arrange us by birthday (height would be much more fun); and for another thing, Robert Browning is a sweet dear and would not be a douche to me at all. But, you know, if anything like this ever does happen, I am prepared.

Similarly, if there's some major Oscar Wilde emergency, I can get in touch with Merlin Holland. Like if I suddenly discover a cache of nasty letters from Alfred Douglas in my attack. Yes, it's unlikely, but what if I did? What would I do with them if I couldn't fax Merlin Holland an urgent note asking him what my next move should be?

I only mention this because the other day some furniture got delivered to my house, and the invoice was on my kitchen table, and then underneath it there was a list of all the other deliveries that were going on that day, and I just happened to glance down at them, so now I know who else got furniture delivered that day. And it pleased me, because in case I ever run into Clem and Susan Mallory of Magnolia Drive and they turn out to be vicious killing machines and they have thrown aside all those who have tried to fight them and are advancing on me, I can be like "Oh Clem? Susie? I just have to ask before you kill me – how are you liking that cinnebar mahogany chair with the polyurethane foam cushions in leopard-print with small tufts?", at which point, astounded and alarmed by my KNOWLEDGE, they will pause just long enough for one of the people they thought they killed to come up behind them and crush their skulls with an axe.

And that's nothing to sneer at.

Edit to add: I was counting all the recent posts I've made about books and writers lately (many!), and I reread this one and realized that I wrote "attack" for "attic" when I was talking about Lord Alfred Douglas. I was going to fix it, but it's so clearly one of those mistakes you make because your brain is thinking something else while you're typing, and that particular mistake seems very characteristic of my relationship to the idea of Lord Alfred Douglas and his entire psychotic messed-up family.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

This is NOT FAIR

(Yes, but as Jimmy Carter said, neither is life. P.S. I love Tony Kushner. Thank you, Tony Kushner, for representing my state in this fashion. I really can't overstate how much I appreciate your existence; you are like Stephen Colbert to me in that regard (he's representing good Catholics, not good Louisianians, but the idea is the same).)

No, but seriously, I really mean it about the NOT FAIR. Although remembering the existence of Tony Kushner and the fact that my DVD of Angels in America has a French language track (hurrah!) (but no French subtitles! Seriously, what IS the hell of this? There are audio tracks in English, French, and Spanish, but the subtitles can only be Spanish or English. If I ever decide to learn Spanish it will be much much easier, shit) has briefly distracted and cheered me, I am still cross about this VERY NOT FAIR thing.

So, okay, when I first came to university, you know what I had to do? I had to read Fast Food Nation. Have you read that? It is mad depressing, and furthermore, it is icky, and furthermore again, it has not even remotely stopped me from eating fast food when I feel like it but only put me off Subway where I rarely ate to start with (they're really mean to their franchisers). Fast Food Nation is now sitting on my bookshelf gathering dust, and it really just seemed like a colossal waste, them giving me this free book, because it was a rubbish free book that I actively didn't want. I remember being very annoyed about it at the time, because, hell, if they're going to be giving out free books like candy (oh! I feel so guilty! I just remembered my confirmation class gave me a catechism and then I ditched them for another church!) (oh well), anyway if they're going to be giving out free nonfiction books like candy, why not give out something cool, like Expecting Adam, or Too Close to the Falls?

Or Persepolis?

Guess what. I'm not even kidding in any way. This year, the university is giving away free copies of Persepolis. Both volumes. Dozens of copies. Hundreds.


It's really, and I'm sorry to repeat myself like this, it's really NOT FAIR. There's all these wee freshman who have been given this book and I'm sure don't give a shit about it and are probably occupied this very minute in throwing it at the wall and forgetting about it, and I would love to have a free copy of Persepolis! And I can't have one! I am seriously on the verge of going to my old high school and collaring a senior and being like, "Hey, you, you want to give me that copy of Persepolis that you've got? I KNOW YOU HAVE IT DO NOT TRY TO LIE TO ME."

Okay, Persepolis is not my favorite book of all time or anything, but if they're giving out free copies? To all the freshmen? I would enjoy a free copy! I will swap them for my dusty copy of Fast Food Nation! WHY DO THEY GET TO READ THE COOL MEMOIR WITH THE GOOD FILM ADAPTATION AND I HAD TO READ ABOUT GRUESOME MEATPACKING ACCIDENTS?

Like I say. Not fair.

P.S. When I was talking about graphic novels earlier, I forgot about Persepolis. People sometimes mention Persepolis instead of Maus when they are talking about Graphic Novels That Are Literature. Though who put them in charge, and why no one mentions the Sandman, which is brilliant and epic as well as groundbreaking, I simply cannot imagine.

P.P.S. Since I've now mentioned the Sandman, I will go ahead and also mention one of my favorite moments in all of the Sandman: When Delirium goes to visit Lucifer with a bunch of flying fishes on a leash and that woman whose name I forget doesn't want to let her in and finally she does and she says that Lucifer deserves Delirium and Delirium says "If he deserves ME he must have been very very good indeed....I am following my fish...." Oh, and also I like it that panel that is the creation of Adam, and I love it to pieces when Merv and Matthew and Lucien are gossiping about Dream while he's standing out moping in the rain, and that really good story about the cities and the guy who is like me and imagines what would happen if the world ended and only the people on this public transportation vehicle survived, and that time that Fiddler's Green was G.K. Chesterton and – er – well, many things. Neil Gaiman, man.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Seriously, Joss Whedon, why can't you just LEAVE ME ALONE?

No, this time it's really his fault. Last time I fussed at Joss Whedon, it was on the unfair side, but in this case, honestly, I think he really was specifically targeting me and my obsessive nature by having this whole "trademark" (pfft) thing that he has.

Because what Joss Whedon does is, he does a lot of single-take scenes. It's all one shot. He likes this and he does it all the time, and now that I'm aware of this possibility, it's become the same kind of weird all-encompassing film/TV obsession for me as people's eyes in movies. My brain can't leave it alone. I pay so much attention that I miss dialogue.

(I really do. The eye thing? It's awful. Sometimes I'm all thinking, Oooo, her eyelids are going up really slowly, that secondary character, gosh, I wonder what that means, and the focus that it takes for me to interpret every movement of her eyes distracts me from the main action and so I'm totally unprepared when something loud and sudden happens, so I shriek like a little girl. And watching for long shots, it multiplies the effect BY A LOT.)

Anyway, this single-take scenes thing. All Joss Whedon's stupid fault. Now when I'm watching a scene in anything, I'm wondering to myself how long they can hold the shot for before they have to go to a new shot. I get all suspensey and nervous over how long the shot can be sustained. If it's a long shot, I get tenser and tenser and tenser until they finally switch to a new shot and then I can relax and think admiring thoughts about how long that shot was. If it's a short shot – one of those times when people are having a conversation and the shots switch back and forth between them – I become very annoyed and have a mental tantrum that prominently features the words IT IS LIKE THEY ARE NOT EVEN TRYING.

And the more this happens, the longer it takes for the sane voice to interrupt the tantrum and remind me that, Jenny? You have to calm down because, honey, they aren't trying.

...Which I knew. Of course.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

On the up side

Though I plainly have no self-control whatsoever in all the world, I did pick a good day to do my splurging. Evidently The Movie Shoppe (FYE) celebrates the death of Our Heavenly Savior and the Harrowing of Hell by giving everyone 40% off of used movies. They're holy people.

Mind you, that's not 40% off the new price. It's 40% off the used price, which is already something like 40% off the new price. In addition to which if you bought two used things, you got another one half off. In addition to which I had some store credit. So basically I paid $40 of real money and got four TV show box sets. One, two, three, four. I had fun last night peeling off stickers and taping frayed edges, and today I will do some inspecting to make sure no damage has happened. It's all part of a gloating process that is very necessary to me when I buy new things.

In the interests of full disclosure, I will say that I thought I was going to be paying the full used price for three of these things and then getting the fourth one free. Which would have been good twenty bucks more, as it goes, and I was prepared to pay it. You can imagine how my head exploded with joy when the nice cashier explained about the Jesus discounts.

So. Happy Easter, everyone! I have a whole bunch of new things!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sometimes very pretty people make me feel bad about myself

When that happens, I tend to focus obsessively on weird details that make me less (or more – a lot depends on the kind of day I'm having) pretty than the very pretty people I am contemplating.

In the case of Keira Knightley, who is very pretty, I feel most intensely insecure about my knees. I never like my knees, but Keira Knightley makes me feel really bad about them, because hers are so normal looking. They're so normal-looking that she has now permitted two different people to caress them while the camera does a close-up on them (her knees, that is). And I really can't emphasize enough that one of those people is James McAvoy. James McAvoy. So she must feel really, really good about her knees, and no wonder when they are so incredibly normal looking.

In order to combat this, I allow myself to feel extremely smug about my clavicle. (Making fun of her for being flat-chested is both too obvious and too mean.) My clavicle is one of my most favorite things about myself. I have a nice clavicle. It's well-defined. Whenever I wear clothes that display my clavicle, people tell me I look pretty. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. So when I am feeling really bad about how pretty Keira Knightley is compared to me, I always think: Well, but her clavicle is subpar. And look how pretty mine is.

And today? I have proof that I am TOTALLY CORRECT.

You have to scroll down a bit to get to the relevant portion, but I will just tell you that they say she has a bony clavicle and should stop wearing dresses that show off her bony clavicle. Thank you, Fug Girls, for justification.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oh, Samuel Pepys

So this is kind of brilliant. How have I never known about this? How has it escaped my purview for so long?

On 19 March, 343 years ago, Samuel Pepys said:

Being very glad of this news Mr. Povy and I in his coach to Hyde Parke, being the first day of the tour there. Where many brave ladies; among others, Castlemayne lay impudently upon her back in her coach asleep, with her mouth open. There was also my Lady Kerneguy, once my Lady Anne Hambleton, that is said to have given the Duke a clap upon his first coming over.

And from another day:

Up, and to the office (having a mighty pain in my forefinger of my left hand, from a strain that it received last night) in struggling 'avec la femme que je' mentioned yesterday, where busy till noon, and then my wife being busy in going with her woman to a hot-house to bathe herself, after her long being within doors in the dirt, so that she now pretends to a resolution of being hereafter very clean. How long it will hold I can guess.

You know what charms me about this bit? "Avec la femme que je mentioned yesterday". Seriously, that IS me and my sister Robyn. That is exactly how we talk. Except we would have said "avec la femme que je mentioned hier". Oh, Samuel Pepys, your douchebaggery makes me smile. The entry about the relevant femme is ever so funny, so I will excerpt it, also. and by did go down by water to Deptford, and then down further, and so landed at the lower end of the town, and it being dark 'entrer en la maison de la femme de Bagwell', and there had 'sa compagnie', though with a great deal of difficulty, 'neanmoins en fin j'avais ma volont d'elle', and being sated therewith, I walked home to Redriffe, it being now near nine o'clock, and there I did drink some strong waters and eat some bread and cheese, and so home.


And also – (I put on my stern face) – very reprehensible.

But it was almost 350 years ago, so mostly it's just incredibly funny.

Okay, I have to say this

And I say it at the risk of feeling like a close-minded jerk. But I just can't keep this secret anymore.

I don't like comic books as much as – um – text-only books. Or whatever you call them when you're putting them in opposition to comic books.

This makes me sad because I think it's a very cool form. One thing I love about films is the way you see people's eyes move – I don't know why, but I'm completely obsessed with eye movements in films, when people's eyelids flick upwards suddenly, or when they glance over at each other, or, um....Do other people notice these things? It is my FIENDISH UNENDING OBSESSION. And it makes me sad that these eye-flicking movements can't be captured in regular books. And in graphic novels they can. And I also really love how graphic novels can do that thing of isolating a specific moment by putting it in a panel all by itself. Very cool.

And God knows I love me some Neil Gaiman. (Wouldn't it be cool to live inside Neil Gaiman's head for like a day? It must be very interesting to be Neil Gaiman and have all those weird-shit thoughts inside your brain.)

And I do not at all want to be one of those people who fall all over themselves trying to make it clear that although graphic novels (and they often say "comics" before they remember to correct themselves and use the more lofty term) are a Magnificent Art Form that can Win Awards (like Maus – they always say, Like Maus because it, being about the Holocaust, is the only graphic novel they can think of that they think qualifies as Literature even though they haven't read it), it is just not their cup of tea. That isn't me! Comics aren't not my cup of tea! I'm not those people!

I just, I just – you can't read them out loud. You can't read them out loud even a little bit. They're unreadoutloudable. And that's why I like them less.

I was thinking of this last night when I was reading A Game of You, because A Game of You has a whole bunch of characters with really, really distinct voices. I was thinking how much fun it would be to read A Game of You out loud, and then I remembered how I can't do that because of its graphic nature. I felt sad because I love Neil Gaiman so much and The Sandman generally would be tremendous fun to read aloud – Delirium? and Wanda? and the inn people in the Hob Gadling story? – and I can't. I would like to but CAN NOT. Every time I think about that I feel sad again. I'm making a frowny face right now.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You know what else I absolutely can't stand?

Actually, before I get started on this new round of bitching, I have to just remind everyone of how much I hate the phrase "playing ____ to his/her/its/their ____". I'm squirming while I type it. The contemplation of that phrase sends crawly unpleasantnesses up my spine. Ewwww. Who made up that awful, awful phrase? GOD is it ever awful.

Okay, but onward. There are many things I can't stand, and here's another one. THOSE DAMN NEW SPEED BUMPS THAT ARE MESSING UP MY LIFE.

See, I am very, very fond of driving. I feel a little guilty about wasting gas, but I love to drive. It's one of my therapeutic things, you know, driving in my car with some music on that I can sing with, and singing at the top of my lungs while I'm driving around in familiar places. Sometimes I do superfluous long drives just because I love, love, love to go driving. Like this one time I went to the library to get a DVD set, and they hadn't got it, and it turned out that the very-far-away library DID have it, and I drove allllll the way out there, at rush hour, to get the DVDs. Which, to be honest, I didn't really need that much, as evidenced by the fact that it's now two weeks later and I'm only just getting around to beginning to watch them.

(I decline to say what they are. I have my pride. But they will teach me French.)

My favorite drive is the drive to the library. I find that drive incredibly soothing. There are all the boulevards. There's the freestanding art sculpture. There's that house with the circular driveway that totally mysteriously disappeared this one day and has been gone ever since. (Seriously, WHERE DID THAT HOUSE GO?) And at the end, the library. Where I have been going since I was a tiny little girl, and where I spent some very happy days with some of my favorite people in all the world. (Hi, tim and Anna!) And moreover, I used to work at an online bookstore which was just past the library, and the family who owned it had a little boy who thought I was the shit and would scale any obstacles put in his path so that he could toddle into the room where I was working and say "Nenny? Nenny? Nenny?" to me; and when I worked there, it was really convenient to stop in at the library all the time. And finally, it is just a pretty drive, without a lot of driving past ugly McMansions that people persist in tearing down. Moreover, the library is one of the first places I drove when I got my license finally, after the long trauma inflicted on me by my driver's ed class, and I'm sure it's one of the reasons I love driving so much now.

BUT. Do you know, DO YOU KNOW, what has happened to my dear darling library drive? These damn speed bumps have happened. Because evidently someone in that neighborhood, their cat got run over. And they complained about people flying through their neighborhood, and the speed bump people came and put in, like, ten speed bumps. Really unpleasantly bumpy ones, not the normal paved concrete kind, but instead the kind that are hell on my poor little car which is old and rides low to start with, so I have to slow down to 10 mph going over them. Did I mention there are like ten of them?

Now I have to go the other way, down that other road, where that dumb old Steve Carter sign used to be. Rrrrrr. I don't like going that way. There's an extra stop sign if I go that way, sort of, and just, just rrrrrrr. Cats run into the street sometimes. They just do. Not fair to make every single driver suffer the consequences of a combination of YOUR CAT and ONE STUPID CAR. Humph.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I realize I'm tipping the balance here, and it may be out of a desire to be a happy person

I want to remark on something I just noticed. Briefly. Category-wise. I have ten more (eleven now that I've made this one) Hurrah! posts than Crankiness ones. Yay! I'm a happier person than I am a cranky one! How good! In other news (this won't shock anyone but it makes me feel a little guilty), I have almost three times as many Reasonable Crankiness posts as Unreasonable. So, um, guess what? I feel justified in being annoyed three times as often as I don't!

...As I say, not shocking. But strangely comforting to have that statistic. Now if I'm cranky, I can contemplate the point that there's a one-in-four chance I'm being unreasonable even in my own estimation.

In the best mood ever; or, Sleep is overrated

No, seriously, I'm in what may actually be the best mood ever. I know that staying up really late and not getting enough sleep is meant to make you seriously cranky, but I am as happy as a clam. Or happier! I am as happy as a girl who just got through staying up all night watching Angel (it's okay! not the same show! I'm allowed to talk about it!) and revising her story, and whose adrenal glands worked like champions pumping out the energy juice. Which is me. Oh, and I also finally handwashed all my delicates, so now I have a whole bunch of cute tops that I haven't worn in weeks because I couldn't be bothered to handwash them. And I did regular laundry. Many clean socks now. And my hair is in pigtails which I now know the French for. And I'm going to the library tonight.

It was all about the corrective emotional experience. Last week was totally sad, because of the DVD player breaking down, thus crushing my soul, but see, this week the plan went smoothly. I ate Cane's (mm, Cane's) and chocolate and drank a lot, a lot, of water. This was all part of the plan for keeping my kidneys happy so that they would give happy vibes to my adrenal glands, which would in turn start pumping out the energy chemicals. It worked. I'm a genius.

I went to bed at seven, woke up at ten-thirty, and went back to sleep until noon. That's not quite five hours sleep, but almost, and I'm all cheerful and humming and doing that thing where my brain is happy but not focused so I keep singing two lines of a song and then switching to a different one because I'm not paying that much attention. It's fun for my flatmates as you can imagine. All of that stressy business about loads of work and writing papers for school and my personal statement and my messy room – all of these things have been most delightfully relegated to the back burner. Yay. All that I am pondering is what kind of chips I'm going to purchase for consumption in the time before my logic class.

Oh, and what the name of my angel is. I learned a lot of new things yesterday, and one of them is that I have an angel and if I pray very hard God will hook me up with his or her name. So that's pretty much what I'll be working on for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What this lady said to me the other day

She said I was a walking advertisement for parents reading to their children.

What she meant was that here I was at the Book Fair, with the most massive canvas bag ever all full of books, gloating over them with unbecoming smugness and trying to massage feeling back into my legs after spending three hours standing and walking and crawling on the floor in order to find hardback copies of books I want to keep forever and store in my parents' house where they will weigh down the foundations of the house until I get my own apartment. Frankly, I think that makes me more of a cautionary tale.


Bongs & Noodles has no books in French. No books. In French. At all. Stuppid jerks. What kind of bookseller are they, and why do they love Spanish so damn much and hate all the other languages in the world except English?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hurrah, hurrah! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! I wish August were here!

Oh how I wish August were here! Or possibly September as the website's being very unclear about the release date, but whatever, in August (or September) there is coming a new book by Elizabeth Peters! Lovely lovely Elizabeth Peters who has read all the same books I have! And she knows the "bravest by far in the ranks of the Shah" song! Which I do too! And she makes fun of The Sheik and H. Rider Haggard, and I just love her books to pieces.

And in a few short (read: ENDLESS) months there will be a brand new book about Vicky and John, John, John, called Laughter of the Kings. YESSSSSS. I hope they are still interesting now that they are all kissy-face.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Learning French is a constant trial

And now for something completely different: a collection of my new useful French phrases. Try and pick out the ones I learned from -- er -- a TV show I can't mention, and the ones I learned directly from my lovely flatmate or from my French tapes.

depuis quand? (since when?)

les bas noirs (black stockings [saucy!])

tout a fait (quite, completely)

Ça fait un bail (It's been a long time [this is an exciting new phrase for me, but I can never use it because everyone I know that speaks French (Marie, Morgane, Robyn, my mum), it has not been a long time since I saw them])

bouche d'enfer (Hellmouth [I like this one a lot too])

All of these things I have learned. But not zeut.

My French tapes toy with me. All through this lesson they keep saying "le mot zeut" and then not telling me what it means. I keep getting all excited because the guy keeps saying, "The word 'zeut', and I think he's beginning a sentence that will end in explaining what the word "zeut" means. But then it always turns out that he just wants me to say "le mot zeut", so he can be sure that I haven't forgotten the word for "word".

Newsflash: I haven't.

Newsflash #2: EVER.


He never does though. Fils de pute amant des catins.

Whatever, guy. I don't need you. I can say "black stockings" and "What did you do last night?" so I am completely set for my next visit to France. As a hooker (catin).

And here's my other complaint: Hardly any DVD in the whole world has a French language option with subtitles that match. I can hardly say enough about my hatred for subtitles that don't match what's actually being said. It's a pain when I'm watching a show in French and the English subtitles are lying to me, because if Marie's not around I often don't notice. This "black stockings" business – he was saying "kimonos" in the English version! Not "black stockings"! WHY WHY WHY WHY? See, if Marie hadn't been right there, I would have thought that "bas noirs" meant "kimonos". (Assuming I realized that he was saying "bas noirs", which of course I didn't.) And then, and then he was saying "want to kiss you" in the English version but the French one said "want to take you in my arms". Bah.

It, um, it sort of sounds like I've been watching a French porn movie. I haven't, I swear. I'd tell you what I have been watching but I promised not to mention it again and I gave up lying for Lent.

(Ah, praeteritio. I'm glad there is praeteritio. Thanks, my good buddy Cicero, for introducing me to praeteritio. You and your Catalinarian orations. I miss you, guy.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


And you know what else? You know what else, too? GODDAMMIT!

I dreamed that I went to a little used bookstore, and they had a whole bunch of copies of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, and one of each was the edition that I really love, that little wee edition that my mum read them to us out of when we were so tiny that we couldn't even eat an entire hot dog at a time, and they were only ninety cents each.

And just now while I was working on something else, I thought of those books and how happy I was to have those editions, even if it was only with two of the seven, and then I remembered that it was all a dream. DAMN IT.

I'm so distressed and dismayed that I can't even work out whether this is reasonable or unreasonable crankiness. I'm leaving it untagged.

I am just totally sad now

Seriously. I am way sad.

Because basically I've been working my ass off all the time lately, and I never feel like I have a single second for myself even though I would like to because I'm trying to get some writing done, and what with one thing and another, I realized that I was definitely never ever going to have time to myself unless I stole time. Like a big stealing stealer. So, not having a Time-Turner (but how good would that be? I could have a nap and do work. It would be le awesome), I decided to stay up all night last night and just chill and watch TV and revise my story. Pretty much the most excellent plan I've ever come up with.

And yesterday was a long day: I had a midterm (five pages I wrote! and I have small handwriting!) and then an oral presentation and then another uneventful class, and then I had work, and then I had what we'll just tactfully call a very dull night class, and all through this extremely long day I was telling myself, Never mind, Jenny, pretty soon it will be the evening time and you can play! All night! There can be all-night playing!

But do you know what happened, do you know? Ugh, it was so unfortunate. I washed my hair and sorted out all the daytime stuff I had to sort out, and then I went to turn on the TV and put in my DVD, and the DVD player was broken.


Which means not only do I not get my free fun night at all, but also I have to now buy another DVD player. And oh my God, you just have no idea how much I wanted my free fun night. I am totally the saddest person ever right now. My shoulders are all droopy and they may never recover.

And today I saw a video of a soldier throwing a puppy off a cliff. And the Democratic race is still not decided. I am so, so, so sad.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The good news is, it's not stigmata

I've been having this cut on my leg for the longest time ever. I mean weeks and weeks, at least five weeks I would say. And it was just a little cut and I only noticed it periodically because it's at a tricky place on my leg, sort of on the inside of the bottom of my calf. And I never wear shorts, so there aren't really many occasions on which the inside of the bottom of the calf gets a lot of attention. But as I say, it's been weeks, and I was starting to get a little worried. Usually minor cuts and bruises on my legs aren't worth remembering. I would love to be as graceful as a swan (the nicest compliment I ever remember getting as a kid was when my choir teacher asked my mother if I was in ballet because I was so graceful), but in fact I am just about the clumsiest person in the world and I am constantly bashing into things. When I was tiny I bashed into things so often (with my head) that my mum got worried and took me to the doctor to see if maybe I was giving myself brain damage.

(Yeah, think about that, bitches. Think how smart I could've been.)

Well, as I say, being a remarkably clumsy person, I thought nothing of this cut for a while but then it wouldn't go away and it wouldn't go away and finally I started getting a little superstitious and checking it every couple of hours to see if it had gone away. Because imagine if it was a bizarre supernatural cut that was meant to be the signal for the beginning of a bunch of really excellent supernatural adventures, and I was so oblivious that finally the Supernatural Adventure Scheduling Panel got mad and was all "Oh, for God's sake, this girl's never going to notice a thing that changes with this cut. Give her supernatural adventure to that other little blonde girl we had on the string." I mean, how bad would that be? I'd really just regret that forever.

The other possibility, of course, which I'm sure would have leapt into your mind even if I hadn't brought it up already, is that it was stigmata, perhaps only the first in a whole stigmata series to appear in all the appointed places. And, okay, it wasn't quite on my ankle, but it was only a teeny bit above my ankle, and you know what? I wasn't there! I don't know where they nailed the foot nails in! I was seriously about to send an email to Mel Gibson to ask him about this when I found out what was up.

My boot was doing it. Damn boot. It had a tag, and when I wore these boots, I noticed that the tag was irritating, but it was only a little irritating, and if I flipped it outwards, my trousers covered it and it stopped hurting. And I know I sound really stupid now, because a smart person would have realized OF COURSE what was going on, but in my defense I have to say two things: 1) I have a really active imagination, and when one thought takes over my brain it's sometimes difficult for a different (yes, I'll admit, possibly a more rational and viable) thought to get past the first thought, and it is much more fun to believe I have stigmata or an upcoming supernatural adventure; and 2) I have two pairs of heeled boots, and one of them (not the ones that gave me the cut) come up a lot higher on my leg than the other, and I have had the higher pair for longer so in my brain when I put on heeled boots I am wearing shoes that come up higher than the place where the little cut was.

I cut out the tag. I'm sort of sad there's no supernatural adventure in store for me, but I'm glad it's not stigmata. I don't want people bothering me for the rest of my life trying to do pesky exposes.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Breaking my promise almost at once

Okay, I know I swore, no more Buffy the Vampire Slayer posts, but this is too funny and I have to. But no more after this, I swear. For real this time.

So I have this aunt who is totally fantastic in every way. She is brilliant and strong-minded and articulate and generous and just a totally good person whom I want to be just like when I grow up. (I know, I'm grown up, but it sort of doesn't count until I'm as awesome as my aunt.) And even though I admire her just absolutely vastly, I do acknowledge that our taste in film is a little different.

Actually, I can't figure out her taste in film apart from it is definitely different to mine. She baffles me. But as a trend it seems like she prefers cheerful films that don't have a ton of violence, or else moving and redemptive films that don't have a ton of violence. That said, she one time became so hooked on Firefly, which she was watching with my sister Anna, that she watched "War Stories" without Anna to tell her when to close her eyes. And for those of you not in the know, that's the episode where Mal gets brutally tortured with the electrocution and the ear being cut off and the yucky thing that went CLAMP and did all little squirmy things underneath his skin – ew, it was gross.

Well, yesterday my sisters and I had our Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon as scheduled, and it was great fun, and we had it at my aunt's house. And all day long I felt guilty and chagrined because my aunt and uncle sat in the room and watched it with us, and I was like, God, I'm totally ruining their day, making them think they have to sit in here and watch this show they probably don't even like just because we're over at their place.

Around 5:30, in the middle of an episode, my sisters and I had to head home for dinner. And I figured we'd just take the DVD and finish watching it at our house, because it wasn't a good episode for Aunt Becky, being the one where (HA HA HA) Jenny Carpenter gets brutally murdered. (Lame loser totally deserving everything she gets because she is lame and does not do justice to the very cool name of Jenny.) But Aunt Becky was all, We can't finish? Can you come back after and we'll finish it? which, sure, we were up for.

Well, after dinner we came back, we finished the episode, and I was pretty much thinking that the episode in its great unpleasantness would have put Aunt Becky off Buffy the Vampire Slayer permanently, but you know what she said, do you know? She said, "Do y'all have time for one more? Do you have to get back?"

Not really.

And then at the end of that episode, she looked guiltily at us and said, "Do y'all have to get home right now?" and when we all looked at her in surprise, she said, "Well! It's not often I get to spend a whole day with y'all!"

Sure, uh-huh. That's what the allure was. She wanted to hang out with us. Yeah, sure. We buy it, totally, we're completely taken in by that excuse, yup, it's all about the aunt-niece bonding experience. SURE IT IS.

And at the end of that episode (a semi-depressing one because they were playing like Angel was nice again), it was 10:00 at night and we'd been at her house since 11:00 that morning, with the break for dinner, and she looked at me sideways and held up one finger and mouthed "One more?"

Moral: It's not just me. That shit is addictive.

And you know what, you know what? Before Angel got evil, I was thinking that he wasn't going to be a very good villain and I was really not looking forward to him being a villain because I was all, Ugh, I can't maintain a crush on someone who's a lame villain, cause you know, if they're going to be bad they shouldn't do a half-assed job. But in fact the wicked Angel is so creepy. He sends little creeping creepy things creeping up my spine. I can't maintain a crush on him while he's evil because he's just SO DAMN CREEPY. Which isn't to say I didn't want him to kill Jenny Carpenter, because I really did (ugh, she sucks so bad), but still I get all tense and antsy every time he's on the screen and I totally don't like it when he's around or like thinking of being around, or when he's just hanging out with Spike and Drusilla (Spike! Aaaaaaaaand Druuuuusilla! I love Spike and Drusilla!) and the possibility of him being around other people is hanging in the air. It's very uncool. I wish he'd get good again. Spike is a more relaxing villain. In fact the centipede guy was a more relaxing villain.

And I miss Oz, whom we haven't seen in a while.

And you know what else, since I can't ever make another of these posts without being a promise-breaker twice, I have to say this. A while back there was an xkcd cartoon (PS, today's one is the best ever even though like tim I don't believe it's true and actually he MADE ME LOSE) that mentioned choreographing elaborate fight scenes in his head. Which, though it made me laugh, was not one of those things that I myself do, and I remember thinking when I read it, Huh, what a weirdo. But ever since I've been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have totally started doing that. When I come into a room I start looking around gauging what things could be used as weapons and whether there's anything around that could be used as a stake, and how I would play it if each person in the room suddenly turned out to be a vampire/demon. My brain's all, Okay, well, I could take these pens and hold them in a cross position, and then if Sarah could grab that pencil and stab it from behind really hard – but would the graphite in the middle disqualify it for use as a stake? And frankly, we can't be completely positive that Sarah wasn't herself turned into a vampire just now while she was supposedly fetching more paper clips. So okay, then the other option is the blinds, I could open the blinds. Hold the pens like a cross while I go over and open the blinds and then POOF FIRE no problems there. But if the sun isn't streaming directly in, or if it's behind a cloud, I can't totally count on that working, so let's see, there's several trash cans, but only one of them is metal instead of plastic – not very useful; it's like they want us to be weaponless in here – whereas that bobble-head Yoda is actually quite heavy so I could throw that, and although I'd hate to waste the expensive technology there's always the possibility of smashing the demon's head into the computer screen in order to disorient it, but I have to be careful not to let it get its hands on that piece of wood that used to be a shelf because if it hit me on the head with that it would hurt pretty much a lot and huh, I should really bring a lighter in here because if I tossed it into the recycled paper box and then smashed the vampire sideways with that picture frame into the burning box then it would ignite very handily.

Which I'd feel dumber about if not for this: My ex told me once about this video game he used to play where you got points for chasing ambulances, and he said that when he had played it for a while and then he went out in his real car, whenever he would hear sirens he'd be like SWEET! AN AMBULANCE! and have the instinct to go haring off after it. And this is similar. And as we have seen the XKCD guy does the same thing. Ah, validation.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


New category! About damn time I had this category. I mean, I really love TV shows -- it's of course a purely intellectual love; I am interested in the way TV show plots work, with the single plotline for each show and then the story arcs that span entire seasons. That is cool.

Yes. That's the reason. No other reason. I have not got an addictive personality, nope. I do not count a bowl of popcorn snarfed down in front of the TV as a meal, no, definitely not, never.

I should have made this category ages ago, dude. I have an entire category for Wallace Stevens – oh, Wallace Stevens, I hate you so much and I'm still super glad that Ernest Hemingway beat the shit out of you – and no category for TV shows? That was so not right.

Well, having alerted the internet about this new category, I will now go back through every post I have ever made in order to add this new category wherever it applies. My personality is not addictive in nature. Definitely not. Nothing of the kind. I can stop any time I want to stop.

Those unsolvable mysteries of life

Seth Green.

Seth Green, Seth Green - there are so many things that baffle me about Seth Green. Like, why is Seth Green not in more stuff when he clearly should be? And like, why is it possible for Seth Green to completely pull off wearing John Lennon sunglasses even though he is not like John Lennon at all and those sunglasses should just make him look like a poser? And like, why was there was a movie of Trumpet of the Swan? Haven't we learned by now that it's not a good idea to film EB White's books?

But mainly, why is Seth Green so lovable?

I'm seriously asking this question, and if anyone has any answers, I'd be enchanted to hear them. I don't understand what is so lovable about Seth Green. He's, you know, this little tiny pasty ginger guy that's not in a ton of stuff, and like – I don't understand! Why is he so lovable? What quality does he possess that makes everyone like him so much?

I've seen him in three things now (not counting, obviously, his Chris voice in Family Guy, though kudos for that, guy). He was the sleazy brother person in Rat Race (the movie that I know I shouldn't like because it's ridiculous but it always makes me laugh until I cry), and he was the ghetto poser bathroom sex guy in Can't Hardly Wait, and he was Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And, you know what, when he first showed up in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I totally didn't know he was in), he wasn't even doing anything, and still my head exploded with glee and I was all SETH GREEN! IT'S YOU! OH HOORAY! and I immediately demanded of my sister, who knows these things, how long I could expect to have him around (several seasons, hurrah!). And I can't account for it! Yes, he uttered one of my favorite movie lines ever, and yes, he and whatsherface completely stole the show from whatshisface and Jennifer Love Hewitt (hi, I'm Jennifer Love Hewitt! I don't deserve this name, because I am so, so bland) in Can't Hardly Wait, but that's no excuse for my reaction. Because if Johnny Depp, whose acting I really admire, and who delivers a line better than most ("The years no doubt have changed me", anyone?), had suddenly strolled into Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn't have shrieked with glee and hoped he would stick around, not one bit, nope. I would have been surprised, and pleased that he had had such a gig, and but the joyous shrieking, and the dismay at the notion of him ever leaving again, and the anxiety over his fate when Willow discovers she is a lesbian? Nope.

AND. I looked him (Seth Green, not Johnny Depp) up on Wikipedia, and apparently he was meant to be the pity death guy when Angel turned evil, but everyone liked him too much so the writers changed their minds and killed (thank God because I hated her, that unpleasant wench messing with Giles's head and getting him all stabbed and, oh yeah, WHERE DOES SHE GET OFF HAVING MY SAME NAME?) Jenny Carpenter instead. Which means that this isn't just me, it's everybody. Why, everybody? What does Seth Green have that makes him so lovable? WHAT IS IT?

Whatever. It's beyond me.

Incidentally, I was watching Angel (and I swear that after this I'm never mentioning Buffy the Vampire Slayer again – it's amazing how these TV obsessions take hold of me and rule my being, though in my defense I am working virtually the entire time I am watching them, either learning French usefully or revising my story), and Oz showed up unexpectedly, and I had the exact same reaction that Cordelia had about five minutes later, which was: "Oz! Oh, it's Oz! Oz, Oz, Oz, Oz! Hooray, Oz!"

Which, um, means I'm apparently the same person as Cordelia.