bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Adventure!)
I still don't get why people care so much about this, but some of these tweets did make me laugh.


Even at the beginning I was completely baffled by the backlash. I myself was pleased that we had reclassified it, since it showed that we are discovering more things and fine-tuning our understanding of classifications. We were creating more order.

But we get these protests all the time at the Space Place. It's crazy. A lot of these kids weren't even born when they changed Pluto's status. But we've made such a big deal that kids identify with the underdog.

So I've started to combat that. I've been explaining that Pluto's like the Ugly Duckling.

That's right, the story by Hans Christian Anderson about a little duckling who was, frankly, really bad at being a duck. Duckhood was beyond him, and he was weird and left out. At least he was until he realized something--he wasn't a duck at all, dammit, he was a SWAN, and presumably he was a lot better at being a swan.*

Same thing with Pluto, I tell the kids. It was really weird and bad at being a planet--until we figured out that it wasn't a planet at all! It was a DWARF PLANET, and there were other dwarf planets it could be friends with, and it was a forerunner for the new category and probably was a lot happier now, god dammit.

Hey, it's another story kids identify with. Maybe this will be enough to make them happy.

Or maybe the New Horizons photos will. I dunno. Pluto's not my thing, but it's still gonna be fun to see what it looks like. Just a few more months!

Discussion Question: Do you guys know the difference between a solar system and a galaxy? I'm always surprised at how many people don't. NDT isn't the only one who is quite used to getting that confusion.

*Though having been raised by ducks, he probably wasn't really exemplary at swanning, but he did find himself in a unique position to be able to bridge the gap between ducks and swans in the neverending duck/swan conflicts and perhaps lead the way toward peace between all waterfowl. But that's getting a bit esoteric for a fable about scientific reclassification.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Hannelore)
Today at work I was shutting down the sphere and a very pleasant old man approached the desk. "Can I get a drink upstairs?" he asked.

The human brain is flawed in many ways, but I'll give it this: it can assess a million little sensory cues and render a verdict in an instant. So before this guy had finished his sentence, my subconscious had already delivered a flagged message to me that simply said: "NOPE."

It didn't help that the next thing he said, once I'd answered his concessions question, was "Where's that little redhead I was talking to earlier?"

"SEE? I TOLD you he was off," my subconscious said. "This is going to be terrible." Meanwhile my valor, which hadn't caught up to current events drew its sword and howled, "PROTECT THE REDHEAD!"

"The redhead's gone home," I said. ("Oh," my valor said, deflated.)

"Too bad," the creep said. "She was very intelligent. But I guess you are, too, with this job?"

I muttered a few things about how we all pick up a lot at this job. He nodded, then, apparently finding this a natural segue, inquired in that same pleasant chatty tone, "Are you a gay girl?"

"... what?"

He repeated it. He had, indeed, asked if I was "a gay girl."

I have often said that if I came with a warning label, it would be "CAUTION: ANSWERS QUESTIONS." I'm like some kind of weird genie, bound by my own inscrutable nature to automatically answer any question put to me. And sometimes I will answer questions I find implicit, and god dammit I will KEEP answering them, I will answer the HELL out of them, until everyone begs me to STOP FUCKING ANSWERING.

Which is why it came as a surprise to me when, upon being asked this question, I took a second to suppress that first impulse. Instead what I said was: "That is an inappropriate question."

I did not get offended or angry. This guy was not that kind of creep. He was the kind of creep you get when something has gone measurably wrong with their brain, with all of his body language screaming "HI! I HAVE NO IDEA HOW CREEPY I'M BEING!" And the guy seemed genuinely surprised and distressed when I told him that. He apologized profusely and explained that he has no problem with gay people, he has gay friends, it's okay with him even when they kiss and stuff, he just wondered, etc..

"That's nice," I said. "But that's still not a question you just up and ask somebody."

He mumbled a few more things and then I politely told him that I had Things To Do Elsewhere--gotta return the equipment upstairs, check on the dome, feed the triceratops, whatever. He wandered off.

I have no idea if he'll take that to heart, but I walked away oddly proud of myself. Usually encounters like that make me feel creepy, but this time I was thinking, "I said the EXACT RIGHT THING! Go me!"

I hope the creepy old guy has someone to take care of him. I hope he actually heard what I said. And I sure as hell hope he doesn't come slurking back around, because if he my valor's still got its sword ready. Ain't nobody gonna creep out our Redhead and get away with it.

Fun Discussion Topic: What do you think prompted him to ask that? I did have a flannel shirt, a short haircut, and a rainbow chainmaille necklace; I suppose any of those could have suggested it. Or maybe it was how I brushed him off a bit. Or maybe he was Rorschach without his mask on and he feels the need to find this out about everyone? I am really curious about how his brain got there.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Space Madness)
So I finally got to Chanur's Legacy. I never read it before because honestly Hilfy was insufferable. And I stand by that assessment, though she seems to finally be getting the glimmer of a clue through her thick skull. And I do love getting deep into alien minds.

Definitely going to go on to Cherryh's other stuff, too--the Alliance/Union universe to find out Tully's context, and also I've got Foreigner here. (Tried to get into it once and never got very far.) But I'm wanting other sci-fi, too. Definitely on a kick. You nerds got any recommendations?

PS: LOOK AT THIS FUCKING COVER I FOUND. Suddenly I want to learn French just to find out what the everloving hell the translator who described Pyanfar THAT way to the illustrator was on about.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Optimus)
Amazing how upset people seem to get when you remind them that the police who are supposed to protect them can and do murder them with impunity.

I don't have much else to say. I'm just disappointed that people who are in authority don't realize that they MUST hold themselves to a higher standard. Even dumb comics like Spider-Man know that. But these guys don't seem to, so I'm definitely gonna get behind the tamper-proof body cams for all cops. I wish there was more I could do.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Triple Nerd Score)
[ profile] gwalla linked to a great article by Dr. Nerdlove about this whole Gamergate idiocy. For a long time I've been unable to say much coherent about it, because I get paralyzed by bafflement. Like, "Is this really a productive way you want to spend your time? Is harassing random women so important?" and then I get all slack-jawed and just stare in incomprehension.

But that article helped clarify something for me--and I have to say, I can sort of understand some of it, in the context of the rise of Geek Chic.

I grew up in the last decade when geeking was still marginal. I had all sorts of interests that got ridiculed by classmates--sci-fi, fantasy, Star Wars, wizards, pirates, aliens, conlangs--hell, books in general. I didn't get bullied for it,* but I did get bothered for it. And--just as important--there was no Official Geek STUFF. If I wanted cool wizard or sprite costumes and props for my dolls, or Super Mario earrings, or the One Ruling Ring, I had to make them myself.**

And suddenly I hit college and started hearing people self-identifying as geeks and nerds. Geekery started to become cool. And it was, honestly, KIND OF WEIRD. Those people who had pointed and laughed at me for writing fantasy before now suddenly declared that they were ALWAYS fans of the Lord of the Rings, just as much as I had been. Naturally, I viewed that claim with some suspicion. And what made it more confusing was that suddenly I was being marketed to, with geek products and replicas of cool stuff I liked, which is sort of surreal if you're used to being ignored by marketing. You assume that the marketers are disingenuously catering to your interests without actually caring, which is often true, but that's often true of all marketing. But the disingenuousness in marketing means you find yourself cynically assuming that NONE of these "new geeks" REALLY shares your interests--that they, like marketers, are just full of shit--because a lot of them spent years either ignoring them or outright telling you they didn't.

And then it gets tangled. Being excluded became part of geek identity, because it's a good way to cope when you are being excluded. But at the same time we want to tell ourselves we are better than our excluders. So now, when "they" are all starting to realize that the stuff we're interested in IS PRETTY DAMN AWESOME and want to join in, we have a choice. We can let go of the part of geek identity that treasures our own marginalization, accept people who refused to accept us, and share our cool stuff--or we can laugh maniacally, yell something about how the tables have turned and now WE are the excluders, and turn into the same jerks that we were trying to get away from.

Okay, yeah, it's tempting to dole out some poetic justice. But I want to actually be better than that, like I tell myself I am. Especially since the only thing I have to give up is my outcast status. In the end, it doesn't even matter that people who laughed at the things I liked in the past are now saying they always were fans of those same things.*** It's not like it's a zero-sum--I am still allowed to enjoy Star Wars even if they also enjoy Star Wars. Even if they like all the WRONG Star Wars things, well, that's their problem.

So what I'm saying here is, I can understand that knee-jerk reaction. But I also know that we can override it. And if we do, we'll prove that geekiness not only has the coolest toys, but we also are cool people.

Who would ever have thought that geeks would be cool?

*As far as I know. I was a bit oblivious to things that, in retrospect, were attempted bullying. Obviously not bad, but still.

**Possibly this is why so many geeks are also pretty good at crafting.

***If they were, then I'm unimpressed at how they failed to admit it and made fun of me, but then I realized that if they were then they were too scared to admit it and I feel kind of sorry for them. And if they weren't always into it, then they've just figured out that my toys really ARE cool, which is a positive step. And if they're cynically bandwagoning, well, whatever.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Murder)
The thing that's weirding me out the most about this Ferguson debacle is trying to figure out the cops' endgame.

The protesters--now their goal is pretty clear. They are trying to communicate that they would like to not have to worry about whether they might get randomly killed by the police. Which is really a pretty reasonable request in a country that claims that such is already the case.

But the police themselves ... I really don't see what they're trying to accomplish.

I suspect that they don't, either. I'd like to think that they are not just straight-up bad--I always would like to think that about people doing bad things. But I do think they are making the mistake of listening uncritically to the stupid parts of their brains.

I'm talking about the brainpart that has unconsciously absorbed the stereotypes swirling around it in society, and blurts them back at your smarter brain hoping that you won't take a second look at them to say "Whoa, hold on, this is one of those prejudiced thoughts. The smarter part of me knows better than this."

The brainpart whose first impulse when you fuck up irrevocably--smash somebody's window, run over their dog, or, y'know, MURDER THEM--is to run away and hide and hope that somehow it will have NEVER REALLY HAPPENED.

The brainpart that, when confronted with the reality that it's impossible to unmurder someone, doubles down because now you're COMMITTED to your first line of action because if you change that would be admitting you were WRONG and that is showing WEAKNESS and you can't do that.

I dunno, this is all speculation. I know I have that stupid brainpart. It's a constant struggle to ignore the monkey logic it shrieks at me, and I'm not always successful. I suspect everyone has the same stupid screeching monkey brain,* a brain that is pretty good at figuring out immediate threats like, say, leopards coming at you RIGHT GODDAMN NOW, but is not so great at integrating history and conceptualizing the future, and thus can't do much with complex things like human rights issues and institutionalized prejudice. I suppose the cops just aren't overriding those. It's the best explanation I can think of for the unbelievable illogicality of the police's response.

Or maybe they're just assholes. Hell, I don't know. I'm just stuck maundering as I watch people's requests that other people not indiscriminately terrorize them met with indiscriminate terrorism. It tends to raise questions, dangit.

You can also go beyond simple maundering: check out Amnesty International's call to action on this, or even donate! Dude. Amnesty International is in the US. What the hell is up with that.

*I debated whether to use the phrase "monkey brain" in this context, because it has, uh, unfortunate other connotations. But I've consistently used it over the years to refer to the fact that all humans are a very thin neocortex away from being straight up animals, and by god we behave like it often, and the phrase is an evocative way to describe it. I hate it when one group of people refers to another as "animals" because it just obfuscates the fact that we're ALL fucking animals, and we ALL have to work to keep that animal part of our brains from destroying our civilization. And as is so often the case, here White people, who have a history of baselessly congratulating themselves for being somehow less animalistic than everyone else, seem to be having a harder time shutting up that monkey inside them. Because nobody calls them on that shit, so why should they?

I hope that's clear. I have no frame of reference for that sort of thing. Correct me if I made the wrong call.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Optimus)
Y'know, I always assume I know jack shit about anything big going on and try to withhold judgment until I have all the facts,* but HOLY FUCKBALLS I AM JUDGING THE ST. LOUIS POLICE THIS WEEK.

*I don't always succeed, but that's the ideal.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Logic Fail)
Sometimes, while we're waiting for the next presentation, my coworkers and I wind up fielding questions about downtown Salt Lake City. Got a baffling one today.

GUY: Hey, I have a question for you! My family is in town for one day, and everyone tells me that we have to see Temple Square! What's that?

pause while my coworker and I exchange puzzled glances

COWORKER: You want to know where it is?

GUY: Well, yes. But also, WHAT is it?

ME: It's ... well, it's the Mormon Temple.

COWORKER: The LDS Temple. There are beautiful gardens ...

ME: Make darn sure you don't walk on the grass!

COWORKER: ... visitor centers ...

ME: I should add that you really aren't allowed to go inside the actual temple.

GUY: *with dawning confusion* MORMONS? It's all about MORMONS?

another pause

ME: This is Salt Lake City. So, yes.

The guy was not so sure about this, so my coworker and I gave him some other options. He settled on the Natural History Museum and Red Butte Botanical Garden,* which are right next to each other and quite lovely, with a far different feel than the Temple. More of the cool natural history, and the pre-frontier human history, than Temple Square, which I like better. (Though Mormon history is, uh, interesting.)

But that still left us with the question.

COWRKER: He ... he hadn't heard of the Temple. And he came to Salt Lake.

ME: Has he even HEARD of Utah before?

I mean, I know that we're not eactly as iconic as, say the landmarks of New York City, but by god, Mormons are pretty much the only thing anyone outside of Utah knows ABOUT Utah. That was the first question I got asked ANY time I said I was from Utah when I was anywhere else in the US--"Are you a ... MORMON?" I was going to make T-shirts. To have someone who doesn't know the most iconic thing about Utah is just ... bizarre.

*I also recommended the Museum of Look At These Fucking Dinosaurs, which is AWESOME, but he was not willing to go that far.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Logic Fail)
Fred Clark has made this point before, but it bears repeating: Witch Hunts are Dangerous; Witches are Not.

I have enough trouble with historical fiction when it tries to be true to what happened, because my rather literal brain can't get over the fact that no matter how much research you do, there's no getting around that it didn't really happen that way. I suspect that's why I like speculative fiction so much. You don't have to believe it. It's right there in the name, like, twice. Speculative. Fiction. "Historical fiction," regardless of what they're trying for, is an oxymoron to me.

But I admit, some examples are worse than others. Like, for example, if you try to tell me that a victim of a historical atrocity had it coming. I don't know if that's what the show Salem will do, but it's pretty much what the trailer for it does, and that's just ... yeah, not great for me. It doesn't take that much to file the serial numbers off!

Plus, the actual Salem Witch Trials are interesting enough without adding bullshit to them. I was bugged enough with Arthur Miller's artistic liberties in The Crucible. The bizarreness of it was enough without adding the scandalous sexy affair, dangit! That was just stupid.

Although the timing of reading The Crucible was interesting, though. I was in high school and it was 2002. We were discussing how Arthur Miller was using the witch trials to parallel his own era's McCarthyism and Red Scare. The teacher asked if we could think of any other instances of such hysteria, and I cheerfully piped up, "The War on Terror!"--And my classmates just about jumped on me. "That's different!" "There REALLY ARE terrorists!" "How would THAT be like a witch hunt?" It was ... telling. And it illustrates the same thing Fred Clark is saying: witch hunts aren't all in the past. People just don't always recognize them until they are past.

EDIT: I seem to have picked up a troll. There's a delicious irony in there somewhere, but I can't be bothered, so don't worry y'all, I'm taking care of it.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Optimus)
Y'all might think we Salt Lakers are weird, but we ain't got NOTHING on our slightly-to-the-south neighbor Provo and its BYU Bubble.* Sure, here in SLC we do get Disapproving Mormons who will frown at your immodest tank top, and a lot of them do insist that the onus is on the woman to keep men from thinking Impure Thoughts,** but the concern troll notes aren't quite such a big deal.

I shouldn't have read the comments, though. Highlights include:

-The original author of the post going "Dude, I wrote this like FIVE MONTHS AGO, what is even happening"
-A lot of helpful comments along the lines of "But my dear that is a VERY IMMODEST SHIRT do you want the boys to THINK ILL OF YOU?" when it's like an ordinary T-shirt.***
-Creeps, creeping on her
-My absolute favorite in terms of wrongness, in which a lady sanctimoniously declares that "my innocent 10-year-old son told me that the layers shirt I was lounging around the house in was making him uncomfortable; did I bite his head off about being a pervert or shame him into leaving the room? No; I changed my shirt because I love him and I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable" like that makes her really nice and considerate when all I can think is, How the HELL did this 10-year-old boy become an obsessive prude? and suddenly the whole anecdote gets really creepy.

God, I live in a weird neighborhood. At least I'm just on the outskirts.

*A lot of great artists and authors go/went to Brigham Young University, and while a lot of them are cool, somehow I can always tell just by the art and writing whether it's a BYU person. There's some intangible flavor there that's tough to explain to outsiders.

**Were I a dude, I would frankly be insulted by the constant implication that I was completely incapable of restraining myself around women I found attractive. The argument that they are helpless victims of women's wiles has always baffled me for that reason.

***Not that even smaller shirts would be worthy of notes like that, but it does go to show how hypersensitive people can get about things like this.
bloodyrosemccoy: (DEEP HURTING)
I didn't mean to. Twitter made me do it. Well, Twitter and my desire to see Idina Menzel perform "Let It Go" live.* And I purport not to care about the Oscars, but hey, hell YEAH Frozen! Female writer/director, Disney movie about sisterly love, two strong female protagonists, and goddamn that SONG.

Also, it was really cool that 12 Years A Slave won overall even though I'll probably never bring myself to watch it,** and like the entire rest of the world I now have a crush on Lupita Nyong'o.

But mostly it kind of made me sad, seeing so many people with their faces stapled and stuffed until they just look kind of ridiculous. There's a terror there, a terror of losing what you think makes you valuable, a desperation to continue being loved the only way you know how, that's kind of heartbreaking. And the whole show was pretty empty overall, save for a few genuine moments from first-time winners (and Harrison Ford, who was all about the pizza but needed a napkin). So yeah, don't think I'll be watching it next year even WITH the lure of Rifftrax livetweeting it.

Important Fashion Observation: What's with all the plunging necklines that make the dresses look like they're falling off people's shoulders? The fashions were actually rather pretty except for that.

*And while I mostly feel rather bad for John Travolta, props to the lightspeed response of the internet in creating multiple Twitter accounts for "Adele Dazeem" mere minutes after he garbled out that mysterious name.

**I can watch horror and sci-fi all day, but depictions of Real Life Historical Atrocities upset me too much. But I'm aware that I am extremely lucky that I can avoid upsetting things if I so choose, and want to make it so that the rest of humanity can do the same, so I guess the movies still do their job?
bloodyrosemccoy: (YOU ARE ALL WEIRDOS)
Went to a Jewelry Party this weekend.

It was at least as weird as it sounds.

I have to say, "getting sold things" isn't my idea of a fun get-together, but by and large neither are regular "not getting sold things" parties. But the person hosting this party is one of the nicest people in the world, and anyway since I was a kid I have considered it my Solemn Duty As A Writer to have new experiences no matter how bizarre, so I figured what the hell. And anyway, it's inexplicably fascinating to watch Sales Tactics In Action.

I mean, this saleslady was SELLING. The last time someone has that aggressively tried to convince me that I was getting a good deal was back in school when we'd have "assemblies" where the World's Perkiest Guy hollered about all the Fabulous Prizes that his company would just straight up GIVE us as long as we sold 300 magazine subscriptions or sub-par chocolate bars.* There was some serious psychology going on--there were prizes given out for people who had written the most things on their wish lists, and enforced audience participation,** and the offering of AMAZING DEALS in which they would knock the price of their terrible jewelry down from "absurdly overpriced" to "about what the jewelry is actually worth," and carefully repeating the brand name with Positive Language or some such nonsense, and basically use of the friendly setting to shame your ass into buying their junk.

It was attempted brain-hacking in action. And I am a sucker (har) for watching that sort of thing, at least until they try to include me. Although I do get rather justice-y about it when it goes too far: one person played a game and scored the "prize" of hosting another one of these weirdass parties, and when she tried to gracefully offer excuses as to why a party would not be feasible--no real place to host it, no friends who would be interested, no time, is actually the Dark Lord of the Otherworld and partygoers would only be dragged off to an eternity of ritualistic torture from devout Cenobites, etc.--and the saleslady just kept coming up with solutions around the problems. I am pretty sure she was getting the hint, but by god she was going to use polite social conventions to her advantage, and backing off was NOT an option. Which, again, is interesting to watch, but not if you're the one being dragooned into hosting a goddamn stupid jewelry party. So I stepped in to break the cycle and suggested that the guest "take a few days to think about it."

"I'll call you!" the sales lady said brightly. But it's a lot easier to say "I've thought about it and it's not gonna work" at that point.

So I left the party without any jewelry. But I did get to chat with some old friends, and meet some new ones, and get into a wonderfully nerdy conversation with one about DnD, so hey, the evening was nice anyway.

*Unless they are the Scholastic Book Fair, fundraisers at schools are unpleasant all around. Can't I just DONATE some money to convert your school gym into a Legends of the Hidden Temple set? Do I HAVE to get the coupon books?

**It was a relief that she never targeted me for that, because I've gotten pretty good at resisting enforced audience participation, and it's awkward for everybody.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Lobot!)
This weekend I managed to convince a buddy and her roommate to help me do some reconnaissance on a roller rink. I've been wanting to find a good place to practice skating for a while, and this place is one everyone half-remembers from childhood.

The problem is, it's part of a Family Fun Complex, and the reason we all half-remember it is because somebody or other probably had a birthday party there once. So I figured it could go two ways. It could be like the swimming pool I frequented as a kid and be nicely regulated so that every style of enjoying oneself was represented, perhaps with all-skates or adult-skates or kid-skates or what not.

Or it could be a calamitous riot of chaos and anarchy, with little kids darting perpendicular to the flow of traffic on Razor scooters or Big Wheels and slightly larger kids obliviously cruising against the flow and perpetually desperate junior high kids trying to impress each other.

Guess which one it was?

So yeah, it was not a good way to practice skating, what with the loud music and the constant distractions of trying not to flatten small children.* It was fun, for what it was--I liked being able to try really cruising on skates, and some of those desperate junior high kids were clearly regulars and could do fabulous gymnastics while on roller skates, which was incredible to watch--but man, if I tried to make that a regular practice place my psyche would probably explode.

And it was rather a relief to be there when I WASN'T part of a birthday party, because MAN those were stressful back in the day. You'd be self-consciously assuming that everyone else knew more about how this mysterious Fun Complex worked than you did, and anyway you wanted to try the arcade games while everyone else was skating, and the music would be too damn loud and you couldn't hear your friends' conversation,** and any minute an overly-enthusiastic voice was going to come over the PA calling your party over to a picnic bench to have a slice of miserable sheet cake and Shasta soda. I am glad those days are over.

So my buddies and I skated around for an hour, I managed to fall heavily on one knee at one point, and then we left. And as long as we were in a Doing Fifties Stuff mood, we had burgers and root beer floats at an old-timey burger joint, and since I am always pretty one-track, I scored a bottle of their house-recipe cherry syrup because SODA-MAKING DOES NOT REST. And we all agreed it was a very fun evening and let's never do that again.

I think I'll have to stick with the park's skate-track in the summer time. Then all I have to worry about flattening is ducks.

*I realize a lot of this makes me sound like an old codger, but since I've had this opinion about The Kids With Their Little Scooters And Their Loud Musics And Their Hyperactively Hazardous Self-Absorption since I was about six years old, I have to conclude that I just AM an old codger and always have been.

**What you may notice I'm getting at here is that, even when it's music I like, I really hate it when it's constantly played so loudly that conversation has to be shouted. I dislike any loud background noise. Even before I had the personal epiphany that THIS was what bugged me, I spent my life subconsciously trying to avoid being in loud places.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Movie Sign)
Finally caved in to Netflix's insistence and watched Hemlock Grove. Turns out I'm glad I did because HOLY SHIT y'all this show is fucking BONKERS.

It's hard to decide which thing is more entertaining--is it the crazy special-effects eyeballs-falling-out gloopiness of the transformation into a werewolf? Is it the inexplicable 8-foot-tall glow-in-the-dark one-bug-eyed Frankenstein's monster girl with a heart of gold, keen intellect, and anachronistic vocabulary? Is it Famke Janssen auditioning for Bad English Accent Theater's version of Morticia Addams? Is it the mad scientist with inexplicable super strength? Is it the symbolism that's about as subtle as a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel? Or is it the way everyone pronounces "vargulf" like "Wahrwilf"?

Okay, yeah, it's definitely that last one.

Seriously, this show. I am DYING to see what they do next season.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Optimus)
We are seriously considering adding a "don't be falling-down drunk" line to our Welcome To The Doctor's Office letter. There seems to be some confusion on that point.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Bat Signal)
Today's Discussion Question:

Show of hands, people. Did anyone else here besides me just not like Ender's Game? I'm not talking about the prevalent opinion of "Love the book. Shame about the author's raging douchenozzlery," which is a totally fair opinion to have. I'm talking about just being ragingly, compulsively unimpressed by the book itself.

I read it back in junior high, see. I think it was before I knew that Orson Scott Motherfucking Card was an unmitigated jackass, but I can't be entirely sure, since he's also a big source of pride for Utah and for a while he wrote a column for the Deseret News, the conservative Mormon paper around here.* I do recall getting a sense that he was a jerk from the book, but a poll of my classmates (we read it for class--Utah pride, remember) told me that nobody else got that sense,** and I've met a lot of cool folks since then who also didn't get that vibe.

But anyway, the upshot is that Ender's Game has always left me cold. I did not like or care about the characters. I did not really care about their fear of aliens, or their Battle Room strategies, or the kids' petty squabbles, or Val and Peter's Blogging For Change campaign. I spotted the twists before they happened and just thought the fact that Ender didn't made him seem kind of dim. The only thing I really liked was the revelation of the buggers' Oh Shit Moment when they realized they'd made a grievous assumption--and that was mostly an aside.

I know a lot of folks love it--pretty much everyone I talk to. So I'm just wondering--did anybody else have this response? Or was it just me?

*I'm not sure if he still does; frankly, I don't feel like looking it up.

**This doesn't prove anything, though, since some years later in high school only a select few of my classmates picked up on the fact that the chapter in Dickens' Our Mutual Friend in which the terrifyingly intense creepy stalker dude confesses to the hapless object of his desires that he is pretty literally crazy for her and he wants--and DESERVES!--to live inside her skin and breathe her breaths or somesuch was not supposed to be SWOONINGLY ROMANTIC. In retrospect, that discussion was a pretty good predictor of the success of Twilight.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Movie Sign)
Yesterday's first patient did something spectacularly, monumentally gross.

And I'm not talking about the psychological sort of grossness where you come across a particularly horrific Tumblr account, or realize that the creepy old man over there is undressing someone (possibly you) with his eyes. For that, yes, you want brain bleach.

No, this was just straight-up GROSS. Physically, viscerally, unhygienically gross. The kind of thing for which you need ACTUAL bleach.

Well, and also brain bleach. Which is why I am not elaborating on the specific details of the incident.

Now, my first inclination is to feel sorry for everyone involved, including the patient. You know, these things happen to everyone, alas it must be so embarrassing, etc.. I felt bad for her right up until I found out the full details of the incident. Why's that? I'm glad you asked! You, however, probably are not!

I'm sure everyone has had a day like this. Picture it: you're cruising along, minding your own business, and suddenly, without consulting you, your body does something gross. It's not your fault. Bodies do that. But now here you are, in the aftermath of one of those unfortunate but non-threatening meatsack malfunctions.

Here are the two things I would expect you to think at that exact moment, depending on your scenario:

1. "Fuck. Well, thank god I'm not in public. Better clean this up."
2. "Fuck, I AM in public! I'd better slink off and get unpublic fast so I can clean this up!"

You'll notice that nowhere in this range of possible thoughts did I include "Fuck. Oh, well! I have an appointment with the lumbar surgeon! No time to clean this up! Now, to step into public!"

I didn't include it because HOLY SHIT, HOW CAN YOU THINK THAT IS AN OPTION?

So here is a PSA, for those of you who apparently didn't get the memo the first time around: if something nasty but non-life-threatening occurs, leaving you awash in your own filth, please do not hesitate to RESCHEDULE YOUR GODDAMN APPOINTMENT. Sometimes it is perfectly acceptable to break a commitment. Seriously, your doctor won't mind.

So! It's been an interesting week at the office already! Especially because Mom'n'Dad were also seriously considering that a completely DIFFERENT crazy patient was going to bust in and force a third crazy patient to help reenact a Grosse Point Blank-type shootout yesterday. I am still trying to decide which would be preferable, myself.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Logic Fail)
The one thing I took away from that Miss Utah business was that it's ludicrous to expect ANYONE to be able to provide a satisfactory answer to a multifaceted, yet bizarrely vague, question addressing a large social issue in the 12-second time frame allotted. I would have stood there aghast and finally said something like "How the hell am I supposed to answer THAT? World peace. Fuck you all" and stomped offstage.

One of the several reasons I am not Miss Utah, I guess.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Ha)
I'm sure you'll all be relieved to know that this Earl Grey tea I'm drinking is gluten-free.

I was worried there for a minute.
bloodyrosemccoy: (Planets)
So Discovery aired a kind of sequel to Mermaids: The Body Found last week, and just like when the first one came out last year, and with that dragon one some years back, it raises an important and intriguing question:

Dude, am I the only one who thought it was just a really fun sci-fi mockumentary?

The only opinions I've really seen are "OMG I'M CONVINCED MERMAIDS R TOTALLY REAL AND THE GOVERNMENT IS COVERING IT UP" and "TRICKERY! This is naught but a HOAX you fools! It is trashy TV to ensnare unwary minds!" It's like for this particular series people forget that speculative fiction is a thing. Admittedly the documentary format is more prone to being misunderstood than your standard SyFy Original or blockbuster,* but c'mon. They are not trying to tell us The Truth, or to confuse the masses with falsehood. They are being creative and playing with science and story.

Anyway, I was kind of disappointed with the follow-up. I really liked the first one--I'm a total sucker for grain-of-science mockumentaries like that. And given that my school biology notes were covered with speculative attempts to design biologically viable, evolutionarily plausible mammalian mermaids (who are going to show up in OGYAFE 2: Electric Boogaloo), or fungal Mushroom People (y'know, the Super Mario ones), or plant-based fairies (like, say, Terwu'arie from Scatterstone), I would say that shouldn't be a surprise. I love making up critters. Hell, the game Spore was just an extension of what I've been doing all along. Only I do it more thoroughly.

But I am also a sucker for speculative anthropology.** So while the ~*~mysteeeerious mystery*~* of cryptozoology was fun, and I do rather enjoy creepy "found" footage, I would have preferred more of a staight-up metafictional study of their evolution and culture. As long as this IS fiction, I do wish they'd carry the story further. Public discovery, contact, language, all that shit that people think doesn't work as entertainment--I would watch the HELL out of that. ("Since making contact with the merfolk, Dr. Dirk Squarejaw has been living on his boat in the open ocean, studying their lifestyle. He filmed the whole thing. Here are some of the highlights." I WOULD WATCH THAT. I might even skip watching 7 Or 8 Assholes And Mister Rogers, if the two shows were in the same time slot. God, TV is so much cooler in my head.)

... Actually, come to think of it, that was pretty much my wish for Avatar, too. But you knew that.

RANDOM POINTLESS COMPLAINT: It kind of annoys me that they kept referring to the entire species as "mermaids." I hereby propose we come up with a good sex-unspecific term for merpeople that isn't as cumbersome as, y'know, "merpeople."

*Their big mistake was tossing in the Government Coverup. If you're a conspiracy theorist, any debunking of that is only further proof that the debunker is PART OF THE CONSPIRACY. There is no way to argue with the claim that "they had to present it as fiction because otherwise the government/Illuminati/lizard people would have completely crushed it."

**Or anthropoidology, I guess.


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July 2016

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