Archive for May, 2010

So, what’s up mallcops?

May 31, 2010

Yeah, I saw the episode of MallCops, Mall of America. But in my favor, it was W who wanted to see it – and I said nothing about the Akatsuki. By the way, it was Pein (Pain – I don’t know how to spell it, as it was spelled in a variety of ways) (Yahiko and Nagato) they were cosplaying as. The clip was very short.  That’s it.  No drama.

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OMG you gaiz!

May 27, 2010

Late last night while settling into the bedtime routine, I was watching television. And on television was some ads for reality shows; one about women cops somewhere followed by one for Mall of America security.

One of those ads contained a shot of some kids cosplaying as Akatsuki (evil organization in current fandom)! Cloaks, headbands, makeup – the whole deal!

Somebody help me out here.

I don’t know if I’m pleased to find my fandom out there, or just embarrassed somebody dressed in the outfits of my fandom is dumb enough to wind up in a reality show about cops or mallcops.

Should I watch try to watch it? I imagine I’m only going to be really embarrassed by it.  But I am morbidly curious.  Who were they trying to portray?  The cloaks were pretty good.  I am torn.  What say you?

wha-kuza

May 26, 2010

Heard this interview on the radio recently for this book (excerpted here).

It’ s about a reporter who tried to get information about the Japanese  mafia (Yakuza).  Totally fascinated.  Don’t know why, really.  Gangsters are gangsters, right?  Well, except for the cultural touches, which make it interesting.

Obviously, most gangsters where ever they are don’t care to see themselves as thieves, pimps, drugpushers, extortionists, etc.  What is interesting to me is their historical context; how they arose, what position they play (or think they play) in society, if they are organizationally different from other large groups (say, the Boy Scouts), and how they interact with society and the press currently.  Also, how the guys at the top get there.

My father was interested in the topic as well.  One of us is definitely going to have to read this book, just so we can talk about it.

Sparkly heroine?

May 24, 2010

I read Vonda McIntyre’s “The Moon and the Sun” over the last week.  (It’s an alternate history of Louis XIV’s court, complete with sea monsters.  No, for real.  Very nicely done.  Not like “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” in the crack-fic way.)

I’m going to start out with this initial thought – I really enjoyed it.  I love her stuff generally, and am a total fan of her short stories.  Totally.  She’s very good at atmosphere and she gets the details right, which for historical fiction, even Alternative Universe, is hard to do.  (Believe me, I’ve been pounding away at something historical for months and months.)

That said, I have some thoughts.  I think reading fandom meta has ruined me for enjoying some kinds of characters.  Maybe for reading altogether.

Her main character is a beautiful, penniless, orphaned, colonial girl brought into the court of Louis XIV.  She just happens to be scientifically trained, mathematically talented, musically inclined, has red-gold hair, can also ride horses, do hair, draw and sketch, compose music, dance, considers the evils of slavery, and can talk to sea monsters through previously mentioned music.

Oh, and is spunky and outspoken, devout and easily beloved.   Also, she could be descended from royalty.  All she’s missing is some sparkles.  (And I did really like her despite the occasional wincing moment of “are you seriously putting her in this embarrassing conversation/situation?”, which is a problem for me, I guess, because of the next question.)

Is she a Mary-Sue?  And on top of that, do we, as readers into a universe of which we are unfamiliar, need characters like that to bring us into a story?  Someone who has modern sensibilities to which we are sympathetic, even if they are couched in historical terms?

Then, there is her counterpart, and the hero, a dwarf who is rich, prudent, handsome, favored by the king and an atheist who has traveled in Islamic lands and hence is very open-minded.  He is also a war hero, rides well, and dresses at the forefront of fashion.  And has beautiful hands the heroine wants to draw.

Would we care about people who are intrinsically more flawed than this?  (I refer you to the Mightygodking’s website, which basically declares the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever as “Asshole Leper Hero.”  W found those books unreadable.)

Maybe – but then the story might be a different story.  Sure – if she were unable to speak with sea monsters.  But would it have killed the author to make her a little less – I don’t know – something?  Less attractive?  Less forthright?  Less innocent so that everything – from the meaning of whore to homosexuality has to be explained to her?  It makes me wonder about the mechanism of a character that is supposedly very bright who needs absolutely everything explained to them.  I know there needs to be some of that, but still.  It seemed too much to me.

To be fair, the author does give good reasons for making the character as she is – and creates situations where explanations of the various issues society had at that time about dwarves, religion, science, etc., but such an excess of riches pushed me to the incredulous point.

Well, what do I know.  The book won a Nebula, and good on her for getting it.  Because, in spite of this, it is a good read.  I wanted to figure out what was happening, and where the story was going to end up.

Sigh.  I’m still working it out in my head – now that I know what something is, even if it is considered a bit negative, can I still like it?

Dollar Store Update – Cookie

May 15, 2010

On the rumor that Dollar Store cookies were like Girl Scout cookies – I bought. (This is due to the internet – it’s getting to be a real rumor mill out there – so y’all better take care.)

The answer: Yes. W says that the Clover Valley Fudge Peanut Butter Filled Cookies are “not appreciably different” than the Girl Scout originals.

So, yes, I am buying food at the dollar store now. I didn’t think I would. But I think I’m going to continue to do so. Especially as they have fig newtons, faux-samoas and faux-thin mints, for under the magical $2 mark.

Oh, did I mention they’re kosher?  (For all my Jewish friends, I’m checking out the goods for you out there.)

Android, part le second

May 14, 2010

My previous post sounded a little mean or flip, and I didn’t mean it to be.

You want to know my real problem? It’s in the reading. I was thinking about it this morning and realized that no matter how often I see this “OMG” I always read it as omg. Textbook usage onomatopoeia. And “OMFG” sounds like, well, the sound you make when you’re trying to lift something that is clearly way too heavy for you but you think you need to anyway. Imagine me trying to do with every acronym and thinking “there is no way this could work in the sentence as it is right now” before actually realizing “hey! what if every letter is just the beginning of a word itself! Wow!”

In spite or because of my years in public service, I should be used to it, but it is hard for me. I’m sorry, really, because this is clearly some sort of circuit in the brain that should hook up and does not.

android

May 11, 2010

I am terribly happy to know acronyms and “in” lingo – I just find it hard to read and hard to take sometimes.  Because, unless I’m very familiar with it, I have to stop and decipher it.  It takes me out of the thing I’m trying to read.

If I don’t know it, I’m a bit annoyed.   I think it’s not very polite – or the writer is being lazy/assuming things about their audience which may not be the case.  Then I worry I’m going to do that to someone if I use an abbreviation, so I try to write out everything, even if it makes me look like a piece of artificial intelligence or something.

Which is weird, because anything with any kind of specialization, especially fandom, is predicated on the idea of already obtained knowledge.

Maybe I’m just bad with abbreviations, portmanteaus, acronyms, etc.

Is it entitlement?

May 7, 2010

About a previous post about feeling weird about having somebody continue a story of mine….

I still feel bad about saying no.

They at least had the good manners to ask.

It’s all somebody else’s sandbox, right?

Maybe it would be good for the fandom.

(Can you tell how I got known to be a worrier and develop IBS?)

But I can’t.  Not yet, anyway.  The title of this post has to do with my sense of entitlement – not the person doing the asking.

As a bonus to this post – I add:  I lost another 75cents in that soda machine again.  I really do think it is a sign that I shouldn’t be drinking soda.  I contacted the assistant director of purchasing (again).  She was very nice, asked if I got my $2 back from the last time (I said yes and thank you), promised to send me the refund, and indicating that she would get the machine fixed.

I really appreciate that she sounded amused.

God, I am a pain in the tuchus to everyone I know, including me.

I broken-heart clean house

May 4, 2010

Throws something.  Yells at television “Where is my “Clean House?” you heartless, heartless bitches?!”  (I love that show.)  Cries into sleeves.

My cable company stinks.  It has moved around the channels and I can’t find my show anymore.  Right when the new season was about to air.  I wish there was an emoticon that showed a broken heart.  The show helped me get through my maternity leave, fantasizing about cleaning and redoing my house.

W thinks I have a slightly unhealthy fascination with that show – I know a lot of the episodes already, but I like to rewatch them.  The show touches on all my major emotional issues – clutter, life changes, garage sales, home repair and organization.  Plus, the hosts are funny and sassy and it has intentionally (it must be intentionally) have a lot of people of color on – as hosts and guests.  I love that – it’s something you don’t necessarily so much on other home improvement shows.