Sunday, October 14th. That’s when it’s back. The show I love to hate, full of the most dysfunctional group of addle-brained survivors of all time, comes back after an entire season spent on a farm agonizing over morning-after pills, religion, suicide, a woman’s proper role in life, love triangles, and where the fuck Carl has disappeared to and who’s gonna die because of it. Every now and again they put a zombie in it. It was not a good season. Most people agreed that it was slow and awful and dull, until the last episode seemed to make everyone forget about the horrible pacing and stupid arguments and ridiculous thought processes. Zombies! Guns! Impossible headshots and shotguns that never need to be reloaded! And then the big part, the last scene, where everyone seemed to have a collective fangasm and couldn’t stop gushing about what next season would bring. ZOMG the prison! And Michionne! Michionne! MICHIONNE!!!!!!!
A few weeks back, I provided some really awful parenting advice as part of my series about weight loss (sample: “Show your kids the back of your hand”). I included the caveat that no one should listen to any of my advice about anything ever, but then a weird thing happened. People, people with children, people with actual living human beings under their care and guidance, thought that I should write the parenting guide I’d jokingly referred to.
Well, OK. Let’s do this thing.
Because why the hell not? I’m a parenting expert, because I don’t have any squealing little brats that I constantly coddle and gloss over the sociopathic and demented shit they do. I mean, I was a kid once, I HAD parents, so I’m as much an expert as the next guy. I can see the forest for the trees and all that shit. Actually, I’m probably more qualified to be an expert in bee-eating than parenting, but whatever. As long as you don’t actually listen to a single thing I say ever, you’ll do fine.
I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog how much of a nerd I am. I am not ashamed of this. I can sit at a table in the middle of a restaurant while everyone I’m with disclaims loudly about LARPing or playfighting or tabletopping without wanting to die (Just barely. Seriously, not one of my favorite things, but I’ve gotten a little better at handling it.) The purpose of this post in no way indicates my need to seek absolution for being a nerd, because I don’t really care what general society thinks of my hobbies.
However, nerd society itself is big on shaming those that don’t share every geeky interest there is. Admonishments about how “you HAVE to watch this” or “what do you MEAN you don’t like this” or “how can you say the new Battlestar Galactica is a pathetic uninspired piece of shit that resembles more of a random Cylon-of-the-Week generator and whose main premise seems to revolve around the idea that LOOK STARBUCK IS A GIRL!” run rampant whenever geeks collide. Many of us nerds carry our opinions proudly and defend them vociferously. Others hide the things they hate lest they get besieged with long-winded arguments and belittled by someone with uncontrollable flatulence. They just nod knowingly but silently during the conversations regarding the things they dislike.
I fall into both camps. In general, my apathy (my third superpower) wins out over any desire to strongly express an opinion about anything to argue with another nerd about geek stuff, and my desire to get along with people means that I’ll happily seem interested in whatever thing they want to talk about. But seriously, if you use “frack” in conversation as a substitute curse word, you’re a tool.
Anyway, I’ve decided to come clean on some nerdy things I don’t like. I’m not sure I hate them (see: Superpower 3 - Apathy), but for many people the simple act of not really liking something is an act akin to supporting Vichy France. We nerds can be touchy. And I’m not excusing myself. Diss on Mass Effect or Skyrim or Firefly or Conan the Barbarian (original movie) or Marvel comics (specifically until 1992 or so, since a lot of ass has happened after that which is unforgivable. Fucking Clone Saga.) and I’m liable to get pretty snooty and uppity and use the word “Philistine” for some reason. But now is the time for me to confess my disdain for some of the Nerdy Touchstones. I’m not seeking forgiveness or absolution or anything. I’m just coming clean. Hopefully the rest of us can do the same and clear the air.
Here are some things I don’t like.
In honor of Snake Plissken Month, I thought it was important to take the time and focus on the most important advantage that Snake Plissken had in his one-man battle against the world. Forget his special forces training, Purple Hearts, and combat experience. It’s not his quick wit and acerbic attitude. It’s not even his guns (ahhh, the 1980′s – we just couldn’t get enough of huge unwieldy revolvers with massive scopes mounted on them). It’s not even his badass jacket. Forget all that shit.
It’s the hair, baby, all day every day.
There is someone on the internet so foul-mouthed and opinionated with a love of booze and wildly inappropriate statements that is absolutely hilarious and sarcastic and awesome in every way, and I’m not even talking about me. Oh, you didn’t think it was me as soon as I said “hilarious” and “awesome”. OK. Well. This is awkward.
Of course, I am talking about the incredible and amazing Kendall Grey. If you’ve not come across Kendall before, I highly recommend that you do so, right now, on Twitter or Facebook or at her blog. Be warned, though, that if you’re afraid of womancock, you might not want to, but if you’re up to it, you’ll be pleased. Take me at my ranty worst and turn it up to 11, and you’ve got a “good morning” post from Kendall. I heart her quite a lot.
Today’s a big day for her. I mean a HUGE fucking day for her. The first book in her paranormal romance (no, there are no gay-ass vampires in it, so don’t worry) trilogy, Inhale, is available for sale. I know how cool a day that is, how absolutely fraught with fear and excitement and nail-chewing insanity that comes along with the long-awaited release of a novel. I’m uber-psyched for her, because she is a phenomenal writer and someone that brings a completely irreverent and exuberant perspective on life.
I love me some cake. I mean, I love it like a fat kid loves redundancy. My whole life is littered with the cakes I’ve seen and tasted, from my grandmother’s Red Velvet cake (with vanilla frosting. Seriously, people, cream cheese frosting? Are we in Communist Russia? Am I to begin standing in line for beets next? Cream cheese frosting is ONLY acceptable on carrot cake. Nothing else. UPDATED: I let my rage get the best of me. Cream cheese frosting is delicious on pumpkin or other spiced-cake product. I stand corrected.) to the cherry cake pops my wonderful wife made a couple months ago. I fucking love cake, just to be clear. Love it.
This includes cupcakes. Ahhh, the sweet, glorious cupcake. It’s a mini-cake all its own, a piece of heaven made for one hand, allowing a cake lover like me to eat a cake without having to use a fork and plate. From EZ-Bake ovens to school bake sales to after-game treats to something to make a bunch of goddamn kids shut the fuck up for 5 minutes, the cupcake has a well-deserved legacy as a beloved American treasure. Like so much of our precious heritage, however, this glorious symbol of utter deliciousness is being denigrated and desecrated before our very eyes. If we don’t act soon, the cupcake as we know it will be gone, tossed carelessly in the compost heap of forgotten culinary treasures like so many crumb-lined paper wrappers.
For fuck sake, people, LIVES ARE AT STAKE. Possibly.
I finished Mass Effect 3 this weekend. It took me a long time to get there. The game has a ton of content, and I played a lot of multiplayer as well (because playing multiplayer actually makes a difference in your single-player campaign – you don’t need to, but it helps if you aren’t a completionist. I, however, am both, so I played the shit out of the game and it still took me 10 days to play through). I am sad that my first playthrough is over, because I love the game and the series that much, but I’m already into my second playthrough, so that’s OK.
Before I could finish, though, I’d heard enough about the ending to make me concerned. No one spoiled it for me, thank goodness, but even though I made a great effort to avoid hearing anything at all about became impossible. What I heard, though, wasn’t about anything game-specific; rather, what managed to get past my filters was loud enough to make it unavoidable.
That’s what’ll happen when a huge fanbase goes out of their ever-lovin’ minds.
Anybody that reads my blog with any frequency knows what an eclectic mess of random subjects and styles and curse words it is. Everything is just strewn around everywhere, making my blog a hoarder’s living room. Exercise reviews lay piled up on NFL season discussions, writing “advice” tossed all over a collection of Walking Dead reviews so filled with vitriol that a puddle of green ooze is slowly spreading from them, all with an occasional sprinkling of excerpts from my work like rat droppings behind the cardboard boxes of everything else. It’s a mess. And like any committed hoarder, I refuse to clean it up. I don’t care how many experts tell me I should. I am going to remain here, squatting in the fetid morass of my own filth. Well, filthy collection of random thoughts, rants, reviews, and bouts of whining.
Oh, and it’s all my opinion, just like this piece here. It might be wrong, but it’s wrong with a string of eff-words splattered all over it.
Of course, this means I’m Doing It Wrong.
Last year, I gave out awards in random categories for the following reason:
…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world. Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.” It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.
So I am TOTALLY in!
This year will be no different! As with last year, the Aravan Awards are a group of awards in arbitrary categories for arbitrary reasons. Oh, and since I am both lazy and have a horrible memory for time, I won’t restrict myself to things that came out this year, just things that I think I remember seeing this year. Or am at least pretty sure I remember experiencing in 2011. Seriously, time is a big-ass blur to me quite often. Maybe it’s the drinking. Anyway, it’s time to haul out the cheap plastic statuettes and give credit where credit is due.
(Disclaimer: like all my blog posts, this was written off the top of my head. I have no idea if it makes sense. In all actuality, I should put this disclaimer before everything I write.)
One of the first pieces of advice every aspiring writer gets, shortly after the obligatory “Show, don’t tell”, is this: “Write What You Know”. It’s good advice, in a way. Writing what you know allows you to bring depth and experience to a subject and makes your words ring true to a reader’s ear. If you’re a lawyer, chances are you can make courtroom drama and backstage legal wranglings seem like a peek into a world few get an accurate glimpse into. This can help make your story a lot more gripping and interesting. It also leads to some really shallow stories.
Take John Grisham. I’ve read his stuff before, back in the day when I was in high school. The whole lawyerly angle was cool and neat and nifty, especially since I was fifteen. As the years went by, though, I became acutely aware that, while the legal angles seemed perfectly plausible, the characters didn’t. Everyone looked and acted like cardboard cutouts or archetypical stock characters from every cop show since Dragnet. Identifying with characters is a huge part of investing in a story, and it’s not easy to feel empathy for a mannequin. A lot of authors follow this same path. The ex-cop with the crime stories. The doctor with the medical dramas. Most of these have all the heart and soul of a Wal-Mart holiday display.
But the best ones, the ones that resonate, aren’t just about what the author knows. They are about what the author feels.