"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

08 September 2014

No, really. All I want is to give a guy rapey thoughts about me in a Thor costume.

So today, Marvel entertainment is having a big sale on Amazon. Awesome, right? They’ve got toys and action figures and clothes for all.

Except when you click on women’s clothing, this is what you get.

Two suitcases, a pair of heels (for some reason I still don’t get) and five sexy superheros costumes. Five. And only one of them is for a female character (that’d be the last one: sexy lab girl, Gwen).

And the girls section? All costumes. For Black Widow, Spider Girl, and some of the male heroes (which are just boys’ costumes put in the girls’ category). Yeah, skin tight faux-leather catsuits for your five year old. Try sending her to school in that.

When sexism and misogyny in marketing and consumerism are discussed, this is exactly the kind of bullshit which exemplifies targeted anti-woman marketing. I don’t usually get on a gender podium, but this bothers the shit out of me. In an age where Marvel, a multi-billion dollar company who could hire whoever they want, market themselves however they want, who has fostered the development of amazing female characters in its films and comics, chooses to have the only available products on the number one online marketplace be tight-bodiced, short-skirted (likely poorly constructed) costumes of its male superheroes, it is literally screaming: WE DON’T WANT WOMEN IN OUR CLUB UNLESS THEY’RE SEX OBJECTS.

It may seem petty on a surface level, but what companies make commercially available to consumers has a direct effect on how that demographic is perceived. If you don’t make it, if you won’t sell it, we can’t buy it. So you use the excuse that girls don’t buy superhero merchandise unless its this incredibly sexist bullshit. That, in itself, is incredibly sexist bullshit.

Don’t tell me a Gamora or Nebula tee won’t sell when you won’t make one to test that theory.

Don’t tell people a Black Widow movie won’t make money when you won’t try making any female-led superhero film (since Elektra *weeps*), and when your Black Widow actress had a hit film this summer that basically involved her running around and being badass to a terrible hole-filled plot. People still came and it was pretty bad. Imagine if it were really good.

Don’t hide behind suits and corporate hullabaloo when it comes to shilling out merchandise. You want to know what consumers want? Try ASKING THEM. Try LISTENING TO THEM. Try NOT PURPOSELY ALIENATING AT LEAST 50% OF YOUR POTENTIAL BUYERS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE PENISES.

29 August 2014

A Change is Gonna Come...

OK, yesterday's pity party over. I just needed to get that out of my system. 
A short while ago, I was directed to this short post regarding committing the first 90 minutes of your 'work day' to your passion project, for 90 days (allowing time for it to become habit, rather than a challenge to be met).
I started earlier this week doing what I need to get more 'real job' ducks in their proverbial row. I made it two days before I wanted to give up and cry. Because as necessary as this process is, it's incredibly tiresome to repeat day in and day out. However, the alternative (having my soul die bit by bit every day I'm in this dead-end job) is worse. So while it may not be my passion project, I'm not going to have passion for anything if I don't change the manner in which I spend a 'work day.' And yet...
After three days of reassessing and editing resumes and cover letters, submitting to new sites, applying for 30+ positions, I need a day off to actually live up to the challenge and work on my passion project: writing. As disorganized as my job search efforts had become, my writing is in an even worse state. The chaos of life and other distractions has left me with more unfinished projects and rough idea outlines of projects-to-be than ever before. The act of just writing escapes me. Planning and scheduling have become a joke, not for lack of desire or commitment, but due to the overwhelming fear that to finish something may only tick off that work as 'done' on a checklist and never go any farther.
I've become afraid of the force of my own imagination. I've had my inner puppy kicked so many times it hides in the corner now any time I call its name. The true point of the 'challenge' is to work on your passions first, and the rest of the work later, and the truth is I've been afraid to do so. There has to be a balance for me, in making job searches a passion project of sorts to improve every aspect of my life, not just the creative ones. However, spending too much time focusing on everything that isn't writing is what put me in this depressed slump in the first place. Thus, writing needs to be given priority in this scenario. Now that my resumes are more in order and I've joined more job sites, I'm relegating the job searches to two days/week. The other days are for writing. Period.
It's been a tough week, but a productive one. If it's done anything, it's exposed how easily I can focus on projects if given the freedom and allowance to do it -- and how sometimes you have to give permission for that freedom to yourself because you're the one holding you back.

28 August 2014

What Do You Mean No One Cares About My Problems?

Seriously. I'm awesome. At least I try to be. I work hard, especially doing the things I love. I even work hard doing things I don't love if they're necessary and/or I'm getting something useful from it. I may not work as hard, but my "getting by" with work is most people's excelling. That's not hyperbole, it's fact. If you look at my employment history, it's a clear cut distinction -- I work for you, I excel.
Except I can't seem to parlay that excellence into the fields that actually drive me. I keep excelling at doing stuff to just get by instead of excelling at what I know I'm meant to pursue.
But I forgot. No one cares. I'm one tiny speck of human dust among billions of other specks on this planet. Throwing pity parties for myself doesn't help me any more than it helps anyone else.
The issue is, as little as anyone else cares about my problems, they care the exact same amount about my abilities, talents, experience, knowledge, drive, passion, etc. How do you make your voice louder than others when no one cares what's being said? How do you stand out from the crowd when your number in the queue prevents you from being seen even when squinting into the distance? How do you go from excelling in a career that makes you hate yourself to excelling in a life calling?
Seriously, how?

24 July 2014

50 Shades of No Way in Hell

There's a trailer out for that movie now... that movie based on a series of atrociously written books with derivative Twilight-esque plot which has done more for the bondage sex toy industry than any other piece of pop culture in years, while simultaneously flaunting a horribly abusive relationship as healthy, sexy, and desirable.
So yeah, I'm biased. There was a part of me, however, my own masochistic-for-terrible-things side if you will, which thought that maybe, someday, I'd sit myself down and watch this atrocity. Once it's out on streaming/DVD of course, where the drinks are plenty, the pause button at the ready for vomit-inducing moments, and there is a decided lack of horny housewives surrounding me. Then I saw Jamie Dornan in The Fall.
For those unaware, The Fall is a Netflix series starring Gillian Anderson as a detective who comes to Belfast from England to run an internal/external investigation on the police force and, particularly, a murder inquiry regarding a young woman. The one young woman turns into several by the end of the series, all fitting a distinct aesthetic the killer finds appealing. That killer is Jamie Dornan, and in a rare turn for what could be an extended storyline for a basic procedural, it isn't just the view of the cops we get. We see the killer in his everyday life, as a grief counselor for parents of children who have died in tragic circumstances. We see him at home with his wife, a nurse, and young son and (quite possibly burgeoning psychopathic) daughter. We see him running, stalking, breaking into victims homes, fantasizing about them, and you know, eventually killing them. We see the aftermath; we see his family and his marriage crumbling. We see him nearly kill the babysitter when she finds a token from one of his kills (and her skin-crawling attraction to him even after this incident). We see him wink knowingly at his creepy daughter when she asks if they're driving past a murder scene. We see him as a fully fledged person, and as a killer. It's unsettling to say the least and genuinely terrifying at times. And it is masterfully done. This is all eerily similar to the kind of guy Christian Grey would be in real life (sans the obscene amount of money) as opposed to the demented fairy tale version that appears in print and, likely, on screen.
The first look we have of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the trailer holds that same intensity and predatory look he gets when he's getting ready to murder women -- women who look eerily like the "50 Shades" girl, Ana.

This is my plea to women everywhere: If you still think the idea of Christian Grey is sexy and desirable, if you think having your own uncertainty ignored in favor of a man taking control of you and 'teaching' you to be his object is a positive portrayal of relationships, even if you just think the idea of a little bondage and fetishism in a mainstream movie is naughty in a good way, before you see 50 Shades of Grey, or pick up one of those books again, watch The Fall. Really watch it. Pay attention to how this man acts in public and in private. You may still see something appealing in Christian Grey afterwards, but hopefully at least some part of your brain will register the difference between poorly- written fantasy and a more grounded portrayal of what control-hungry men are really like.

15 July 2014

Weirdus Interruptus

Today's standard post will be replaced by the new "Weird Al" video, because... well. He kind of says it all.

02 July 2014

Haunted by the Signs

One of these days I'll stop harping on about life's little (or not so little) signs and get on to more exciting things like anti-hero worship, purple shirts of sex, hand porn, netflixing your time away and more (really, I have a list). However, the reason for my day skip in posting schedule happened because I was a bit taken aback by something that occurred yesterday.
Understatement -- I came thiiiiiiis close to having a mini breakdown.
See, it's all well and good when you're on the lookout for signs during life, and when you're getting encouraging nudges to certain things. It's kind of empowering to feel like your current situation of being trapped in a soul-sucking job that barely pays your bills is not the right choice for you, because YOU say it isn't, and life is encouraging you in fits and starts to seek out other possibilities.
It's not so refreshing when the universe slaps you in the face with just how out of place you are.
Imagine you're living in a home and the home is, potentially, haunted. You feel uneasy there. Just being in that environment drains you. It's kind of a nebulous feeling and you're constantly uncomfortable and stressed. Occasionally the furniture rearranges itself and you're deeply unsettled, but you take the oddly stacked chairs off the table and move on with your day. You can't afford to move, but you're looking at other places nonetheless. You're trying to make a plan of escape, but it might take awhile. Then, one morning, out of the blue, you hear a voice. You don't just hear it, there's an apparition with it. A spectral presence with only slight transparency comes right up to you, inches from your face, looks you right in the eye, and says, "GET OUT."
That, in essence is what happened to me yesterday. At my job.
Needless to say I didn't need any coffee after that encounter -- I was shocked into alertness. And then I panicked. And then I got angry. And then I tried to once again look at the wreckage this poltergeist has made of my life and tried to put some logical reasoning in place. There was a fair amount of denial and bargaining internally with what I saw and heard. So by the end of the day I wasn't good for much beyond going home, facebooking, twittering, and Netflixing.
Today is a new day, however. The presence has made itself known loud and clear and I don't intend to ignore it. I'm getting out. Soon.
But I'm still going to do it on my terms -- no matter how many times you rearrange my furniture or drag me towards the abyss of the TV.

Please don't kill me giant demon, I wanna be in the sequel!

24 June 2014

Following Some Signs

I once wrote a post about there being no map for life, no real signposts that tell you where to go, what to do, how to adult, or why schools don't teach practical skills along with other 'necessary' knowledge. While I still hold to that, and the concept of needing to learn how to read and follow your own life because it will always differ from everyone else's life on the planet, I do acknowledge that sometimes the universe sends you tiny messages sprinkled across time to somehow encourage or discourage certain courses. The key is you have to be open to receiving those messages, and you have to be in a constant state of observation regarding yourself and your life -- a thing which is not easy to maintain.
However, sometimes those little messages don't bother with much subtlety. Sometimes the signs aren't a leaf blowing past you on a cool morning, making you think of times past and inspiring you to start a story you've been mulling over for months. Sometimes the signs are someone walking in the door and saying, "I had coffee with someone today who's looking to fill a position and you should write to them now. Right now." Sometimes you're contemplating your current structure and if it's working, and if your deadlines are realistic, and if you're too overwhelmed with projects, and then a string of online articles across various social media slaps you in the face with tips you didn't even know you wanted and you surmise, for a few brief moments, that The Universe is supporting you in a very small way.
And sometimes you're not in the mood to write a blog post because the list of ideas you have for posts just isn't speaking to you today, and then you become inspired anyway because of life's little road signs.
For this moment, right now, something in The Universe seems to be pushing me ahead down a path. Not sure what the path is exactly, or where it leads, or how long it'll take to reach a destination, but I'm open to pursuing it, and sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other and keeping an eye on the world around you is the best you can do.
Well, that and sending your resume off immediately when someone tells you to.

17 June 2014

Only 41(ish) weeks until my next fix...

And I do mean fix. Like a drug. A horrible, abusive drug that I wish I could quit because the highs it used to bring me have dwindled to a scene or two per episode while I spend the rest of the time reaching my hands toward my television, repeating in agonized tones, "What the hell is going on? What are you doooooiiiing?!?"
This, is "Game of Thrones" withdrawal for an avid reader of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Full disclosure, I've only read through the entire series twice. I have read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings three times now, and the Dunk & Egg tales thrice as well. I'm aware there are people who have read these books far more than I have (most of these wonderful people helped create and maintain sites like Tower of the Hand and the ASOIaF wiki) -- there's also a ton of people who don't reach my level of knowledge on book lore. I'm not here to school you all on that, and risk lots of spoilers in the process. I'm here to talk about addiction to something you know is not going to satisfy you.
They got their claws in fast and deep, HBO did. They crafted the first season of this show in such a way as to allow both the newly initiated and the casual reader to view and enjoy without innumerable changes to the source material. Then came season two, and the eyebrows started to rise. Then came season three, where some sequences lulled you into a false sense of believing things might even out again while somewhere in the back of your mind you knew this wouldn't be possible. Then season four... and not only are you wondering if you've even read the same books as the show's creators, you're questioning your sanity. Because as much as you rant and rail and are constantly appalled by the character assassinations and rapes (both literal and figurative) in the show, you keep watching -- not because you're invested. No. You're addicted, and that is far worse. It's worse because you know in your moments of lucidity that all the joy you once felt has turned into morbid curiosity about which one or two scenes they might get right in this episode. The anticipatory rush you feel when Sunday rolls around turns into rocking on your heels in the corner, staring at a clock until the hour arrives for you to jack in to your viewing.
The magic and wonder has been replaced with an empty, aching need, accompanied after viewing by a hunger for something better, something more deserving of your passionate pleas for great storytelling and dynamic characters and motherfucking ice zombies who are just ice zombies with no explanation of where they come from or what they want beyond the destruction of humanity. Yet this is all you have. You don't have the show, the show has you -- and you know it always will. So you grumble, you sigh, and you set up your countdown widget until next season, absentmindedly tapping veins in your arm every Sunday evening until your drug feeds you again. Winter is coming, but not for a long while...

15 June 2014

The Blog Has Risen

Whenever I return to a blog after a long absence, I feel the need for two things:
1) To exclaim, "I'm not dead yet," like that plucky old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

2) To offer up explanations for my absence, even if no one cares because I feel obligated to give reasons for what really comes down to either: I've been busy and told myself doing this blog wasn't productive (which is a lie), or I've been caught up in my own mind in a manner that kept me from doing what I want and need to do in favor of engaging that monster of Depression and letting it win for a while (which is very true, and not an excuse, but a reason -- sadly).

What really matters is that I'm back, and to anyone still paying attention to my little corner of the internet, thanks for sticking around. I've got a plan and a schedule to resume posts shortly (as in this week), so tell your friends (internet or IRL ones, or both) to watch this space for updates soon.

06 February 2014

In Olympic Russia, Hotel Checks You


It's a bit modernist, but seems stable -- what could go wrong?

Oh, well, that's not good. Probably an isolated incident...

Unless you've somehow put a block on anything Olympics-related, you've probably seen those 'reality' images seventy times over by now. As if the socio-political aspects of this year's games wasn't contaminated enough by a government vocally bashing a not-small portion of humanity there's, well, contaminated water, open manhole covers, floor-less lobbies, and a sense of unfinished-ness permeating Sochi -- and the games have only just started.
Now, Russia is generally a winter-sports wonderland, but if the infrastructure of the host city is this unprepared for just the sheer number of people coming for the games, it really raises questions about their preparedness for the games themselves. Are the halfpipes structurally stable? Are the slopes maintained well enough? Are the speed skating tracks even?
And who the hell was in charge of maintaining the construction schedule for the press, visitor, and athlete hotels?

I'm not boycotting watching this year's games, for many reasons, the foundation of which is I want to support the athletes who have spent their whole lives working toward these games. There are new events and new Olympians mixed in with the classic games and seasoned athletes. These people are what the games are about, not the ridiculous, homophobic, misguided government backing these games, not the already ludicrous accommodations and state of the host city, not the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremonies, but the actual people participating. The athletes are what I care about. They're what I've always cared about.
You choose to boycott these games, for whatever reason, that's fine. Personal choices, not going to judge. Just remember: however these games play out over the next two weeks, the more focus given to the participants' achievements and how everyone going to Russia overcomes the obvious issues present there, the better we all will be as people.

That being said, calling out governments and officials on horrendous lack of planning, structuring, organization and implementation in any endeavour is not unwarranted. The more social media advances, the more opportunity we have to showcase these flaws not just at the Olympics, but any time, anywhere -- not through assumptions and false accusations, but through simple evidence. If nothing else, hopefully these Olympics will show some leaders that not all their inadequacies can be brushed aside using money and/or force, from the country level down through the smallest company.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go draft my Olympic viewing schedule from the comfort of my fully plumbed, entirely floored room.

30 January 2014

Put a Stake In It, PLEASE

It’s over! It’s finally over! It’s over for good!
Wait, maybe not? Oh, Renfield save me…

Previously, I talked a bit about what prevented me from doing weekly recaps of Dracula, and it basically came down to how appalling the series became, and so quickly, both in terms of predictable tropes and character assassination.
Here’s the thing, though. I can move past the predictability and utter nonsense that was the plot of this series -- and only because I’ve become so jaded and cynical in my belief that no one cares about even trying to be original anymore; it’s all a facade, this trend of doing a ‘new twist’ on classics in an attempt to make something seem more 'original' than 'adaptation.' Except it’s not original when you simply borrow from other sources and mash things together. It’s like trying to fit puzzle pieces of different puzzles together and expecting a full picture. But I digress. I’ve become accustomed to this approach, so that part I can get over...ish.
What really astounds me (and confuses me on the part of people who actually seem to like the show) is how the creators of the show gave the audience a swath of characters who are all narcissistic, immature, bitchfacey douchewads with no ability to act like mature, responsible, compassionate adults for more than an episode. By the end of the series every single main character, with the possible exception of Renfield, is deplorable. There’s no one to root for, unless you enjoy rooting for self-involved sycophants and whiner babies.
(Granted, Dracula isn’t the only show with characters like this, but it is the most heavily populated…)

It's difficult to find vampires more narcissistic than The Originals family, but Dracula made ALL its characters as bad as they are...

These characters are taken from a novel wherein there is one wretched, narcissistic jerkface. Just one. And despite the fact that said novel is named for him, he’s not actually in the book a whole lot. This is where my righteous indignation over character assassination shades into outright fury. Not only did you do a mash-up of other stories to craft your plot for the season, rather than maintain any semblance of paying homage to the source material, you also managed to completely mangle every single main character. Not just mangle by giving them attributes and/or flaws and/or character arcs that have nothing to do with how they’re actually written, but turn them into genuinely dislikable people. All of them.
I’m just glad Qunicey was nowhere to be found in this show.
If the series does get renewed, it’ll be interesting to see how they move forward with these characters. And by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘good luck getting any of your audience to give a crap about anyone,’ because there’s a difference between having characters that are flawed and make bad choices, and just having a group of blundering assholes.

12 January 2014


So back in October, I intended to chronicle my MST3K-esque journey watching Dracula.
Unfortunately life (and NaNoWriMo) intervened for a little while, and while I do have recaps of episodes 2 and 3, by the time I got to episode 4, a disturbing trend emerged (and no, I'm not talking about the continued character assassination of every canonical individual, which is still happening). The trend became this:
Character A does something to or for Character B.
Character B turns into a whiny bitch about it.
Character A apologizes, makes amends, or turns into a whiny little bitch, too.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Just sit and mope with me, Renfield. I'm too emo to do anything productive.

We're now just past episode 8, and this is still happening. More than global energy subplots involving mysterious sociopolitical/religious orders and tragic pasts, more than the hunt for Dracula (Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler, who we have to repeat all three titles every time we mention his name in case someone didn't know who he was) by a clandestine society of rich white guys who get a woman to do all their heavy duty fighting, more than the potentially emotionally engrossing story of young people exploring their feelings, desires, and sexuality in a healthy, honest way, the show has pretty much turned into a (really bad) soap opera with a vampire. And Dracula is pretty much the king of whiny, bitchy, tantrum-throwing moments.
It's really difficult to even feign interest in a series when every character is horrendously unlikable -- and not because they're wicked or evil or devious, but because they're selfish, whiny, assholes incapable of behaving like rational adults for more than a single episode arc. If I wanted to watch crappy daytime TV I'd watch crappy daytime TV. Don't try and feed me that swill on primetime network television and act like I'm supposed to think it's engaging.

Once you have sex with Mina, will you get rid of the ascot and ridiculous facial hair?

Aaaaaand that is why my next post is going to be dedicated to the complete opposite of Dracula: the utter magnificence that is Sherlock (whose main character is frequently a selfish, whiny, asshole... and yet you love him).

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