The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Why is Dance so Useless?

ballet feet slippers en pointe

Here’s a controversial opinion: dance is the most pointless form of art.

I don’t get the connection between the medium and the evocation of some kind of emotion or message. There’s music playing and people flailing their bodies at the same time. They look like apes in a zoo.

But say you hate ballet and you’re uncultured and unsophisticated. Forget that every one was written a hundred years ago (have you ever heard of a new ballet?). Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker. Why are they still performing dances from antiquated cultures? Everyone thinks Shakespeare was the greatest, but people still write new plays.

Dancing with the Stars' “Disney Night” Dance Choices and Songs Revealed -  D23

Do you know any dancers? Even on Dancing with the Stars they name the judges, but besides the celebrities, can you identify anyone’s last name? The last one I remember is Mikhail Baryshnikov, and that’s only because of the Cold War.

I’ve been watching dancing in one form or another all forty years of my life. And I feel safe saying it’s timeworn and meaningless. Moreover, I think it’s unhealthy for our culture–both for the dancers and the audience.

This all comes from watching the first episode of En Pointe, a docuseries about the School of American Ballet on Disney+, to keep up with Escape from Vault Disney. It’s everything you think it would be and worse, but there are two big takeaways.

One, it’s a fluff piece, basically a commercial for the SAB. Although I don’t know why they’d need it since they only accept 100 students per year.

Two, they never show any dark side. No one loses an audition. Everyone’s smiley and hopeful and working hard and has no obstacles besides their own drive to succeed. There’s no Black Swans here. There’s no pedo-teachers. No stage moms. No body image issues. No elitism or favoritism.

Disney Parks Sweet Treats: Rose Gold Edition | Disney Parks Blog

Now if you don’t know that it’s Disney’s disposition, when it comes to historical-record films, to remove any dark side, leaving only what’s sweet and nice and lovely. Given how milquetoast everyone seems, how hard the kids are worked, how judgmental the teachers are… what are we not seeing?

Here’s the thing about dance–it’s naturally exclusive. Only thin white lithe women and some men. No body diversity. No racial diversity. And it’s not like women of size can’t be flexible. I know they can be. If you’ve ever watched a dance class, you see rows of body-perfect white and blonde children in the same uniforms like a little army. Something a Nazi would dream of.

All the helpers look the same too. Why? Because they were previously dancers themselves. That’s the second thing–dance is an ouroboros. A serpent eating its own tail. Why is that? Because you’re done at twenty-two. Because your body simply can’t move the way you need it to for dance.

Q&A: Suzelle Poole, 78 year old ballerina - Senior Planet

There’s no future in it. It’s not like being a football player or personal trainer where you can make a career out of using your body. If you want to stay in dance, you have to do something tangential like theater management or choreographer.

Because you have learned no other skills because to be in dance you have to dedicate your EVERY SPARE MOMENT to it. No other hobbies, no other activities, no other interests. You want to have any fun in dance, they only accept those who commit every last free bit of time to it. The parents too, since they’ve got to drive them around to every meet and practice from the age of three onward.

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It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be a hobby. I hate that every sport requires you to start at age three to make Wayne Gretzkys and Michael Jordans out of everyone. You can’t just play casually or recreationally, you’ve got to make this your one and only sport and can’t join midway through. That the important thing is to enjoy the act of it.

I’ve learned from writing, if you’re doing it to see your book on the shelf or your name in a newspaper, you’ll never achieve your goal. You have to enjoy the act of writing, of creating worlds and characters and putting sentences in their mouth, one word after the other, and then fixing those words so they’re in the right order. If you aren’t into that, you’re going to have a bad time.

6,115 Kids Serious Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

And there are kids who like that sort of thing. Who like being serious, being flawless, being the best at something. They’re like rules lawyers for body position. I believe it’s okay for children to do performance work… if they want to do it. It’s difficult, not for certain types, just like martial arts isn’t for everybody.

It’s easy for a lot of kids to come out screwed up, so you need a really supportive family. One that’s almost got to put 100% of their energy into that kid, ignoring themselves and any siblings they might have. And a balance of work and school means not a lot of free time. If you can’t handle that, then you get results like Dana Plato and Drew Barrymore. But if you can, then you can get some incredible talent, like Haley Joel Osment and Anna Kendrick and Natalie Portman.

The difference here is that the films and songs and such that come out are something I can appreciate. You get The Boy in the Striped Pajamas or The Bad Seed or Stand By Me or even Home Alone. You can get Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and Selena Gomez and even Justin Bieber. I don’t like it, but I understand it. Dance I don’t get. I don’t get how it’s trying to communicate ideas or messages through body movement and music.

Contemporary Dance Class Series | Kennedy Center

As you may have noticed, I’ve mostly written about what it takes to produce the art and not about whether the art itself is worth it. Which I can’t really say because I don’t get it. It doesn’t last like a sculpture or a book. It can’t be recorded in an instructional form like music can (or can it — is there standard notation for choreography?). Sure, there’s an abundance of athleticism. But we’ve got American Ninja Warrior and Olympic gymnastics for that.

But even if you love dance, I don’t think it’s worth it for what you get. Too much bottom of the iceberg for not enough top. It uses up the people who get into it and spits them out after giving all of their body, all of their youth. They’ve learned no other skills. What do you do when you “graduate” dance? Teach? Then it’s just a perpetual cycle (see previous “ouroboros” comment).

At least in other sports you learn teamship. In dance, you compete with your friends for the top spot, like Survivor. These are bad lessons to teach.

It’s like dance is it’s own little subculture or secret society… which I wouldn’t have a problem if it wasn’t so A) time-demanding B) expensive C) elitist D) exclusionary. Know what other secret societies have those characteristics? Cults.

It’s a dying art, but just because it’s old doesn’t mean it has value. Something that’s hard and time consuming doesn’t automatically give it worth. Reading all of Homestuck is hard, but you don’t get a prize for it. You don’t get XBox achievements in real life.

Thanks, I hate it.

So Bye Bye, Fucking GTA Guy

grand theft auto hands

SecurRom errors, Social Club forced login, Games for Windows, and top of it all, the game won’t stop stuttering.

I bought Grand Theft Auto IV for about $30 during a Steam Summer Sale, but haven’t played it till now. I’ve been dinking with Borderlands and Star Wars. Steam says I’ve spent seventy minutes playing the game, but that’s a lie. I’ve spent seventy minutes trying to get the damn game to run.

Imagine your game running as a low-frame-rate animated GIF

I’ve tried windowed mode, various launch options, disabling VRAM, limiting frame rates, turning Vsync on and off, lowering the resolution. Nope, the same damn graphic stutter keeps going. Everyone moves like its a bad stop-motion film and it give me a headache. Usually, I’d try my damnedest to get this game going — I paid for it, I’m going to get my money’s worth. But then I realized I’m 34. I have a salary where I don’t worry about money — even with two kids. Whereas time is a commodity I can’t get back. Money can be converted to time, but time can’t be converted back. If I spend any more, I’d resent the game so much, playing it would be a slog.

So fuck you Rockstar. I deleted your game from my library without every playing it. See if I download one of your games again. Besides, I like Saints Row better. It’s faster, it’s funnier, its got all the things you do + cooler explosions.

Cool guys don’t look at explosions.

The Day That Never Comes

cover story book

You ever have those days where everything on your body itches? Like little gnats are nipping you? Or spots of your skin are dry? And then you get irritated and depressed? I feel like that these days. Even though I’m writing like a madman, I feel like I’m making no progress. I’ve got 100,000 words of written prose that won’t see the light of page, it’s all fan fiction. Plus it’s nowhere near done yet.

Plus my acceptance rate’s been low. My high was 17% at one time. Now it’s steadily dropped to 4% in the last six months. Haven’t been getting feedback from any agents or ideas. It’s been very blah.

One good thing that happened is that 50 Foot Romance did finally get published by Stupefying Stories. And I’m the cover story, see?

That’s Jessica right there. Pretty cool when you see your characters live. I can’t wait till I’m big enough to get fan art.

But yeah, besides that, it feels like a dry spell. Musa folded, so I’m shopping two manuscripts at the same time. Only three of the nine short stories I’m shopping around have never been published, and I can’t figure out what’s wrong with those three. I’ve spent my last few months finishing Defender or working on the Merm-8 galleys or a novella that I don’t know what to do with. There’s only one me and only so many hours in the day.

All right, that’s enough depression for one post. Here’s a picture of Medusa blow-drying her hair.

The Snooze Button

snooze button

I frickin’ hate the snooze button.  I don’t use it, and I don’t think you should either.

First of all, it’s the biggest damn button on the clock.  When my alarm goes off, I don’t want it to come back, I want it to turn off permanently.  I don’t want to get ready then, ten minutes later, wonder why I hear the radio upstairs.  Why do they make the “alarm reset” button the same size as all the others, but “snooze” is eight miles wide?  You have to maneuver like a blind man to avoid pressing it.

And why set an alarm if you’re going to turn it off anyway?  On “This American Life” they had this one guy on who kept hitting snooze, even after his girlfriend tried to wake him up.  After he told her EXPLICITLY to wake him up at a certain time.  He said “it’s like the sleep is better if it’s past when I’m supposed to get up”.  What’s with that mentality?  It’s destructive.  It’s unhealthy.  How many people are you pissing off by your slacking, bad attitude?

Maybe I’m an asshole, but I say, if you’re not going to get up, why bother setting an alarm at all?  Why bother setting anything at that time?  You’re not getting more sleep, you’re getting worse sleep for longer, wasting your life in bed.

I made sure my college girlfriend (now my wife) got up every day for class, no matter how much she complained about that she was a senior or that the grades weren’t based on lecture or it was a class she was taking for a GPA boost.  No!  You get your ass up and get moving, every day, because you never know what’s going to happen.

Lighting the Pilot Light

pilot light fire

It’s getting difficult these days to motivate myself to write.  Once I sit down, I have no problems.  Thank god for that hour per day set aside for lunch.  But if I eliminated that, I’d have trouble plunking down and getting started.  For one, too many distractions on the Internet.  But that’s every writer’s foil.  The harder part is that it seems I’m getting no feedback.

I’m not talking about critiques or helpful rejections.  I’m just talking about responses.  Seems like the places I send to are taking longer and longer to send back.  Months at a time.  Magazines typically fall outside their average and estimated response times.

I started sending queries for Merm-8 in January.  Now we’re halfway through the year, and I’ve only gotten six responses.  You can’t blanket send to agents, because that’s bad form.  So I e-mail my top picks one at a time.  Then a few at a time.

Gaps between responses are either 1-2 days (read: immediate) or 2-3 months.  That’s a long time, and I’ve got a long list of agents to query.  Compare that to when I finished the novel.  Compare that to when I started the novel.  Compare THAT to when I first got the incepting idea.  Way back before even my first child was born, who is now four.

I know writing and publishing is a slow process, but this is the most disheartening part.  This is the part they talk in writing advice books when you need to stay optimistic in light of rejections.

But I would be fine with rejections.  I just want responses.  I want throughput.  I need to see some results.  I know Merm-8 is a good book.  I know it’s publish-worthy.  And then I see books like Fifty Shades of Gray make it to the top of the charts with no editors and self-publishing…

The Worst Movies I’ve Ever Seen

dustin hoffman exasperated

The other day, my wife was talking about the worst movies that her parents had ever seen (the winner was something called Zardoz). But then she said their worst movie probably wouldn’t hold a candle to what I’ve seen. She tells the truth — The Evil Dead, Night of the Creeps, and Dragon Half are just some of the staples in my DVD library. And those are the ones I like.

Even though it’s easy to make a bad movie, no one’s really sure how. Some involved people whose head was up their own ass, making “films” with a “message”. Some knew they were making trash and didn’t care. Some were just mixed scripts, different cinematic visions, or something out of left field. The strangest coincidences can lead to the greatest movies (The Wizard of Oz‘s four directors) or the worst (Superman II‘s multiple directors). There are some movies even MST3K didn’t touch (Like Child Bride for one).

I love my movies. I hate pausing or stopping in the middle, even to go to the bathroom. I only watch movies when I can dedicate enough time to its full length. As I result, I’m always griping about how I never have time to watch my movies. It is very, very rare that I stop watching any movie with the intention of never finishing it. I’d like to say it’s to be respectful to the story, that stories should be finished. But it’s probably more that I have OCD and need to know how something ends. But there have been exceptions, a few I’ve stopped watching before completion (or wish I had).

There’s a distinct difference between a movie that’s so bad it’s good, so bad it’s bad, and just… intolerable. These are my top five intolerables (along with some honorable mentions).

I was excited when I saw the trailer for this one. I love fantasy movies. But a fantasy that’s a comedy? It’s about time. There’s no reason you can’t put these two great tastes that taste great together. Plus Natalie Portman? I was hopeful. I was ecstatic. I was anticipating a fantasy-genre comedy meant that spec fic was on its way to be legitimized.

“Your Highness” took a shit over all that.

And it was almost a literal shit, since that’s what all the humor was: juvenile fart jokes, weed humor, dirty pranks, and swearing. Let’s make a list of what does not belong in fantasy — weed, conventional curse words & slang, minotaur rape. Does not compute. Even the thirteeniest-year-old D & D player wouldn’t find this movie funny.

Not to mention our main character is the most unlikeable, laziest douche I’ve ever met. Yes, it makes sense for a prince to be unambitious and hedonistic because of his position. But it’s not okay to make that misogynist prince the sympathetic character.

I was sooo close to shutting it off. Sooooooo close. The only thing that stopped me was that I was watching it with someone, and I didn’t want to be rude, even though the movie was my choice. Which is like making dinner and then realizing you used salt instead of sugar. But you keep eating it for the sake of convention. This movie offended me in the worst sense – my literary sense.

The first time I saw this, I turned it off just about after the credits were done, when Meg Ryan is flitting about her bookshop, smiling and humming with her chirpy, perky voice, smelling flowers and fawning over books like they’re precious gems. (And yes, I said that and I’m a writer.)

Who wants to see a movie about Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks texting? Tell me who needs to see that? I certainly don’t. I guess the big deal was that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were reuniting for the first time since Sleepless in Seattle. Except people forgot that, in that movie, THEY DON’T SHARE ANY SCREEN TIME.  So who cares if they’re reuniting?  They never united in the first place! Fortunately, I never got to the part where Tom Hanks becomes the most uncharacteristically unlikeable character he’d ever played. Never thought I’d see that.

And I didn’t.

This kept popping up in my Netflix recommendations list, so I finally gave up and queued it. Boy, am I sorry I did. I like geek humor — there’s not enough of it out there — and I had just come from listening to the utterly hilarious Penny Arcade D & D games on podcast.

This is so totally different than that. This seems to be a low-low-low-budget independent comedy about some RPG gamers that follow the old trope of “the character is the avatar”. Unfortunately, every character is a jerk. One player keeps trying to have sex with everything, even in the throne room in front of the king.

There’s ten minutes (or what feels like ten minutes) where the a player is arguing with a DM about how he wants to play a certain character that doesn’t fit the universe/rules. That goes on for a while, and finally the DM relents, until the player tells him that he wants do something that violates ANOTHER rule of the universe they just went over.

It’s like someone made a full movie version of the Dungeons & Dragons audio bit. Except much, much worse. All the characters do is bicker over petty shit and act like stereotypes. All the potential in this kind of comedy died because it was about the passive-aggressive, argumentative, horndog geek. I stopped watching partway through when I realized the movie was just a waste of my time.

(Editor’s Note: Apparently, I’ve talked about this movie before and didn’t realize it, until I was Google Image Searching for pictures and my own blog entry was the first hit.)

A long time ago, I read a list of fifty movies that few people had ever seen and should. There were several good discoveries like The Arrival, Pulse, and Birdy. But not all of them, like Testament and Time After Time. And for some reason, The Winslow Boy was on there. I should have known this would be crap when there was no known stars, no science fiction elements, and a lot of British looking things.

This is based on a play about a boy who gets kicked out of his wealthy private school and goes back to his wealthy house, where his wealthy parents fret about what their wealthy neighbors will say and their wealthy daughter marrying the wealthy naval captain and I just don’t fucking care. Let the little kid suffer. Give me people with some real problems.

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything when I say this movie takes a shit all over my childhood is confusing, at best. Muppets had been on a decline ever since Jim Henson’s death, as one would expect. Yet they continue beating the dead horse to the ground, squeezing

every…
last…
drop.

But the biggest nail in the coffin, the moment we knew it was all over, was Muppets from Space. The plot rips off Close Encounters of the Third Kind and adds the schmaltz of Follow That Bird. It’s the Muppet equivalent of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” — a totally unnecessary sequel, focusing too much on the new, unlikable characters, D-List guest stars, and corruptions of existing characters. All the charm Henson gave to the muppets is gone. It even has the “nuke-the-fridge” moment of Gonzo finding out he’s an alien.

No. You can’t do that. Gonzo has never had an origin story. He’s not supposed to. I know all the other muppets are some kind of stylized animal, but Gonzo is a “weirdo” or “whatever”. He always has been, he always should be. Next you’re going to be telling me his fur is made of midichlorians.

The muppets can be good again, but if you try to make them the same as Henson did, you’ll fail. If you deviate too much from what Henson wanted to do, you’ll fail.  It’s a delicate balance, and this movie never even tried to do either. The magic is back, my ass.

Honorable Mentions

Scream 2 – Speaking of unnecessary sequels, boy, this certainly… was one. I never got the appeal of the first Scream movie, but at least it was watchable. Someone pointing out all the tropes and errors in a slasher flick is like someone saying wrestling is fake. Everyone knows that.  Doesn’t change the fun of watching.

But Scream wasn’t even about that. Past the one or two bits of self-referential humor, it was a knock-off of “masked-man-with-a-knife” movies like Halloween. And those are tame by today’s standards. But then you make a movie that’s exactly the same thing? No thank you.

The Family Man – Speaking of unnecessary sequels, let us not forget the unnecessary remake. I liked this movie the first time I saw it, when it was called “every It’s a Wonderful Life parody in a sitcom”. Could there be a more blatant plot steal than this movie? Starring Nicolas Cage — our era’s Kevin Costner? You can call it a modern-day version or a homage all you want.  I’ll call it like I see it: “transparent copy”.

Jabberwocky – My dad told me this was one of the later Monty Python movies, since I’d already seen Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Something Completely Different, Meaning of Life, and the entire “Flying Circus” series.

My dad lied. It’s directed by Terry Gilliam and stars Michael Palin, but contains nothing Pythonesque or funny. I don’t remember a damn thing about it — my mind tuned out for its duration.  When the credits rolled I asked “It’s over? Why? What happened?”

A Walk To Remember – Mandy Moore is hot. She’s especially hot as a demure, upbeat, moral girl with cute bangs, brunette hair, and long flowing dresses. She’s especially hot when I apply my imagination and… oh, wait. Sorry, I need to save that for my next fan fiction. Anyway, this movie told me everything I need to know about the works of Nicholas Sparks — characters acting implausibly, bubbly afterschool specialness with strong Christian overtones, and plots that just don’t work.

Malcolm in the Middle – I know this isn’t a movie, but I had to include it.  I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE this show. Everyone is an absolute dick to each other.  For no reason. Nobody is redeemable.  Nobody gets punished for being an idiot.  Nobody experiences consequences for their behavior. They’re bad people who are bad at being people. They’re jerks. They’re bullies. They’re sociopaths. Parents and kids alike.

I hate every fucking second of this show. I hate their stupid expressions, their yelling, that theme music. I hate fucking Frankie Muniz’s retarded, jaw-dropped expressions and wide-angle lenses. I hate that boy with the big ears. I hate that shrewish mom who can’t stand her own family, which she helped create. I hate that ridiculously ignorant motherfucker of a dad who’s got the maturity of a dog. They’re trailer trash, and they should all be lined up and shot.

Stuck on You / The Bourne Identity – There’s no real reason to lump these two together. The only commonality is Matt Damon, who I don’t like as an actor. He did Good Will Hunting and then nothing else, (except maybe for The Departed, but that also had Martin Scorese and Leonardo DiCaprio on its side).

Stuck on You – I don’t get why everyone’s so in love with the Farelly brothers. Ooh, it’s a Farelly brothers comedy. What does that even mean? Who are they? Why is this a selling point? Their movies aren’t good: Shallow Hal, Dumb and Dumber, Hall Pass. This is not how you advertise.

The Bourne Identity – I cannot imagine a more tedious action movie. It’s based on a book that’s twenty-two years old, meant to compete with James Bond. Well, then it should have come out the same time as James Bond. Brainwashed assassins? Been done. Car chases? Been done. Government agent being chased by his own people? Been done. One man crusade? Been done. The story’s full of cliches.  It’s like no one told the movie makers that the 90’s happened.

Westworld – I already mentioned my problems with this in my “Top 5 Movies That Need To Be Remade”. Basically, it’s a great idea that had piss-poor execution. There’s no conflict until 80% of the way through, when it becomes a technology-gone-haywire/Terminator rip-off.

(Editor’s Note: Unlike “Dorkness Rising”, I wasn’t the first hit on this one. Boo.)

Eraserhead – David Lynch doesn’t make movies. He makes films. Films are art. Again, no idea why everyone’s so in love with this movie. Yeah, it’s got some great imagery. Got some fucked-up ideas, some creepy shots. But it’s all mish-mashed together with a story so incoherent, full of deviations, it has to be constantly interpreted and analyzed, which is the sign of a lazy writer.

Down Periscope – Kelsey Grammer stars in “Police Academy in a submarine”. Sounds like a winning formula to me. Especially with the Police Academy movies getting such high marks. And star power like… Rob Schneider and Harland Williams. There’s no way this couldn’t be chock full of hackneyed, played-out jokes, toilet humor, and a script that sounds like it was written on the plane ride to the studio.

Transformers III: Dark of the Moon – I thought it was necessary to include a contemporary movie in the list, just to show that intolerable movies don’t solely exist in the eighties or low budgets. Blockbusters can be just as bad. Five or ten years from now, people are going to look back at Transformers and say “This was a top grossing movie!? It’s nothing but CGI and people falling!” And who thought Shia LaBeouf was a good idea for this role?  He’s going to make some bad career decisions, fade himself into obscurity, and end up on one of Dr. Drew’s rehab shows.

Killjoy – You already know what you’re in for when you’ve got a direct-to-video horror movie with African-American urban youth and a killer clown. Channel Awesome’s review provides a nice summary of what you’re not missing. The only reason I’m including it is this movie was a bit of a stepping-stone in my writing career. In the sense that, when I saw it, I thought: “I can write better than this. If this guy could get his script made into a movie, there is hope for me.”

Reign of Fire – I saw this one in the theater, and I was excited. I thought “Ah, finally, a movie that combines fantasy and science. We’re going to find out how dragons work!” as I was misled by dialogue in the commercial/trailer: “two glands in the mouth secrete separate chemicals, combined with exhalation — natural napalm”. In fact, this is the only line that even gets close to anything resembling science. The other 89 minutes is a tedious, post-apocalyptic cheesefest that belonged on the “Sci-Fi”/”SyFy” channel, but somehow got upgraded with thanks to Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey.

Pawn Stars Lies

pawn stars

Okay. Television. There’s a lot of reasons why you’re having trouble getting viewers. TiVo, over-saturation of options (not just cable, but Internet too), stilted writers, lengthy commercial breaks, piracy, and a slew of other things. So you’ve got to do your best to make people watch. Here’s the quickest way to get me not to watch.

Lie to me.

Para ejemplo, I was watching Pawn Stars the other night. During one of the commercial teasers, they were talking about a jet fighter G-Suit someone brought in, and they showed the “expert” they always bring in looking around it and it ends with: “And what’s this under the helmet?”.

I, being an idiot, wanted to see what was under the helmet, despite the fact I have no interest in jet fighters, G-Suits, pawn shops, or historical artifacts. Maybe it was the cold I have talking. I was hoping it was a secret note from a past lover.

When they came back from break, they didn’t go to the G-Suit right away. They went to some police badge (BTW, why do they only show the people trying to sell stuff? I want to see the people who buy this crap). And they go on and on, and then back to the G-suit. They go through the sale and they don’t do the “And what’s this under the helmet?” thing.

The rest of the show goes on, so I figure, maybe this’ll be something one of the fat cronies discovers later. Maybe it’ll be the stinger over the credits. I sit through another long commercial break where the History Channel advertises all its shows that have nothing to do with history.

And the episode eventually falls to a close with the big fat guy sleeping in his chair.

I’m pretty sure he’s some kind of Star Wars alien

Man was I pissed. Never am I going to forget how I wasted my time waiting to see what was under helmet and got diddly-bop in return. Fuck you, show. You can do whatever you want to me, but if you fail to deliver on what you promised, you can suck it. This isn’t like movie trailers where you have scenes that are just for the trailer (although I don’t much care for that either). It’s like writing — you make an agreement to the reader on page one that this is going to be what the story’s going to be about, this is the writing style, these are the characters. Failure to adhere to that agreement results in you sucking.

Thanks, Pawn Stars. You have lost a viewer.

Froggy’s Baby Sister Sucks

froggy's baby sister

You know, I am really sick of men/boys/males condescending to girls for… really, no reason. The reason I’m cheesed off is that there’s this book I’m often reading to my two girls — Froggy’s Baby Sister by Jonathan London. You can hear the full-text read aloud here. It bothers me because its got some stereotypical lines where the male lead does not like his baby sister for the sole reason that she’s a girl. That wouldn’t be so bad if the story showed she was just as awesome because she’s a girl, but it never does. Even if it did redeem that, I’d still have a problem.

I don’t know how to feel when Froggy learns the new baby is a girl, and I have to read to them “A girl? Yuck!” When Froggy teaches her to catch flies, he says “Not bad… for a girl.”

Yeah, at the end, Froggy learns to love her, but not because she’s a girl. Yeah, the book is aimed at young boys, but that means nothing really. Aren’t we beyond this immature gender bashing? All the kids outside my neighborhood play with each other regardless of if they’re girls or boys. This is the sort of thing that gives girls personality disorders and low self-esteem.

What are my girls thinking when I read “A girl? Yuck!” Are they learning that girls aren’t as good as boys? Are they going to grow up with fundamental knowledge that they’re disgusting? Am I planting a seed? Are they going to think that, whatever they do, they’re just a subset of humanity. Even if they’re the best at what they do, it’s only going to reach the “good enough for a girl” ceiling.

Why is this even still an issue? Women are breadwinners and men don’t mind doing the work My wife’s playgroup has two men who are the stay-at-home dads. One has a wife who’s a doctor. Out of all my friends, neighbors, and relatives, there are more girls than boys, and almost all the girls are the eldest. Despite their superior numbers and age, are you going to tell them that they’re second-class citizens?

I’m sick of it. My girls are not going to grow up with this idea that men validate their existence. My wife validates my existence, and I validate hers, not because we’re a boy and a girl, but because we’re right for each other. Boys and girls are different, definitely. Girls are more talkative and sensitive. Boys have more upper-body strength and less inhibition. There are differences, but that doesn’t mean one’s better than the other. And neither are “yucky”.

A Lesson on Proper Sai Technique

raphael sai gritty realistic holding sai wrong

Okay, here’s the thing: Every time you make a picture of Raphael holding his sai with his fingers wrapped around the prongs, and not the handle, you’re doing it wrong!

You know what the point of a sai is?  To catch the enemy’s sword or staff or something in between the prongs to disarm him.  If your fingers are there when that happens, guess what’s going to happen?

Second Old Man Rant in a Row

verizon logo

I hate to make two crochety old man rants in a row, but half an hour of my life was taken away yesterday by an incompetent “customer service representative” who sounded all of a disaffected female teenager.

Listen up all you big companies: we can tell when you’re not being sincere. All this, “I definitely understand your problem.” “I can totally sympathize with your problem.” “I understand your frustration.”

We know you don’t give a rip about us. We’re just another customer to you. We know that because WE have jobs too and WE deal with faceless customer units all the time too. Customer aren’t people, they’re customers. They have no history, they have no personal feelings. Oh, they do, but we don’t care. We only care about how they interact with our product or service, and then we let them go on their merry way.

But when you try and fake interest in our problem, when you try and pretend that you sincerely understand, we know that you’re reading from a script. You’re not an actor, you’re an employee. So quit trying to be something you’re not. We can tell, and it’s worse when you try because WE KNOW YOU’RE LYING.

It’s like breast implants. Women, don’t fool yourselves. Men KNOW when they’re implants. Some of us don’t care, but we know. You think you need breasts to increase attractiveness, but you’re missing the fact that men like breasts of all sizes. Or more specifically, each man likes a different breast size, or various sizes, or doesn’t care. Otherwise women with flat chests would never get married, and they’d have phased out by now.

Just an excuse to show boobs

Corporations, please take a hint. Quit telling your CSR’s to act like counselors, and tell them to give customers what they want instead. It’s like a relationship. My wife wouldn’t be happy if I keep telling her “oh, I understand your problem that the children drew on the carpet”, and “yes, I see that you’re frustrated that I’ve left the dishes on the counter again.” It’s meaningless if I do nothing about it, and you can’t hide behind policies.