Nov 022011
 

Or IS he?!

November 2, 2011

Why is Halloween so much fun?

If you’re a kid, you get free candy and get to dress up and essentially play all day and night. You get to watch horror movies and act out in the darkest way possible without getting arrested (for the most part).

But as an adult?

I’m going to warn you right now. I’m about to get all philosophical up in this post.

At some point, we stopped enjoying life. We go to work, cash a paycheck, and go about our routine. We’ll watch a television show or learn a hobby to pass the time, but we seem to have lost the spark of being able to play and enjoy life. This has to do with work and time as much as anything, and it’s not like we couldn’t make an extra hour in the day if we really wanted it. It’s just inconvenient. We work and act professional, and for most people this “professionalism” bleeds over into everyday life.

We become the suit we wear. The formality becomes normal.

And then Halloween comes around and we can wear a mask or a costume that, ironically, usually tells us more about us than anything else. Mary wanted to dress up like a bloody clown because she likes to creep people out. I dressed up like a calaca because I enjoy the mythology and symbolism of Dia de los Muertos.


+ Halloween+ by ~OMiyukixO on deviantART

It’s odd, but a lot of people get to be themselves more on Halloween than any other day. They let loose. It’s like they’re drunk without the hassle of drinking. There’s a general feeling that you can do anything on Halloween and it doesn’t count, so you get to see who is reserved, who is really a freak, and who likes to show off.

Maybe I’m over-analyzing it, but I think more adults need to just loosen up and have fun. Do something childish. My dad is a consummate professional in everything he does, but get him to a car museum and he turns into a little boy in a candy shop. I’m almost thirty and I work as an educator and freelance writer, but yesterday, my fiancée and I watched Tom and Jerry yesterday for a good hour.

Grow old. Just don’t grow up too much.


halloween yin by *Apofiss on deviantART

And now, to make up for the lack of articles in the last two weeks, here are some links made of awesome. Enjoy!

  • However, the best costume has to be Princess Vader. It’s so cute and epic it’s on a level on its own.
  • Here are some other epic costumes that also deserve honorable mention.
  • The airwaves are full of scary things. Like Jersey Shore. These broadcasts, however, are much scarier for other reasons.
  • I loved watching the Treehouse of Horror specials, but they seem to have gotten kind of lame lately. When I read this ranking, I was glad I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
  • I said everyone needs to calm down and just have fun with Halloween. It seems even Planned Parenthood got in on it. They released a very important memo about the dangers of vampire sex. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
  • You think Halloween is creepy and scary movies are gory and unnerving? Try Halloween a hundred years ago. The costumes back then were pure, unleaded nightmare fuel.
  • These guys pulled the perfect prank. It’s creepy, unnerving, they caught it on tape, and they managed to not break any laws. Behold the horror of Timmy!
  • And finally, let’s get over Hump Day with a little metal. And Halloween. Halloween metal!

Aug 252011
 

August 25, 2011

As I read through my Star Wars books and look for inspiration for this RPG we’re playing on Saturday, I can’t help but notice that the world continues to turn. Behold, the joys of internet surfing, wasting time, and everything you need to know!

  • You want something truly American? Joe the Plumber and Steven Segal. Granted, one’s a loon who made his mark with the Tea Party and the other is a washed-up action star with an ego the size of a small Pacific island, but still… It’s like pizza and beer.
  • Carrie Fisher has lost for than fifty months in the last nine months? Her goal? Getting back into the metal bikini. Seriously, though, she’s going it to help herself and she looks great. May the Force be her!
  • As I type this, Glenn Beck is in the Holy Land doing the Lord’s work… selling himself and his brand. No, really. If you’re a Christian and still think this whacko has ANY point on anything, please watch him hawk HIMSELF at his Jerusalem rally. He claims it doesn’t take a prophet to see the things he sees. Frankly, it takes brain damage to see the things he sees.
  • And finally, this has to be THE best commercial I’ve seen all year. Just watch it and try to guess what it’s selling.

Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.

Apr 272011
 

Hey, you! You're making me question my beliefs! Stop it!

April 27, 2011

It was bound to happen.

The Right Wing has officially jumped into Orwellian territory. Remember that plot point in 1984 wherein the Party would use phrases like “Freedom is Slavery” and “War is Peace”? The idea was that having the population believe two mutually exclusive ideas would create such a dissonance that more mundane lies would be much more easily accepted. It is the willingness to believe something that cannot be true by its very nature that would make the population easier to control.

Behold the American Conservative Movement.

The Heritage Foundation is pushing for something called “conscience rights.” In essence, they claim that things like abortion and gay rights are assaults on freedom.

Think about that for a second. When the blood stops shooting out of your nose, keep reading.


. Cognitive Dissonance . by *DigitalBaptism on deviantART

The argument goes something like this. Say you believe that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. By making same-sex marriage legal and otherwise embracing the homosexual community as normal members of society with the same rights and freedoms as everyone else, the government is encroaching on your moral fiber by making something you believe is a sin acceptable.

I’m really hoping you see where this plan falls apart.

They want to push to make things illegal because they are against their own morality, a morality that is quite clearly based on religious belief. But they’re not phrasing it like that. They’re phrasing it to somehow mean that we, as a collective, are outraged.

So… in order to protect speech, religion, and the right to love each other, you must take those rights away from others who believe, say, and love what you will not. After all, having worked with gays and having lived next door to one for three years clearly affected my ability to be attracted to women.


Love has no Limits by =MyLastBlkRose on deviantART

Okay, I‘m being snippy. The specific example they go for is that if a doctor against abortion is asked to perform one, he will have to comply. This is clearly an assault on his morality, right?

Well, if he didn’t want to deal with this, he shouldn’t have made choices to put himself in this position.

So, if I am offended that Republicans are against gay rights, immigrants, and a woman’s right to choose, can I deny to help students at TAMIU who identify themselves as Republicans and write papers on conservative opinions? I’d be helping the ideological opposition spread its message, and I just couldn’t live with that.

Without actually claiming and admitting that this course of action is about fundamentalist Christian morality trying to weasel its way into our legal system, they’ve set themselves up for failure. A small part of me wants for this to get taken up just so the Right sees the whole thing blow up in its face like liberal-hearted claymore.

A claymore filled with progressivism!


Explosion are Always Fun by ~GreenApples109 on deviantART

Hey, look! Links!

  • Cupcake-flavored vodka? I predict scores of sorority girls chucking this stuff, then puking their intestines out at parties in the very near future.
  • If you live in Tennessee, you will no longer be able to say “gay.” More specifically, schools won’t be able to address homosexual issues. Way to go, Tennessee. It’s not like gay teens were already marginalized, right?
  • And speaking of awesome things that don’t have anything to do with this, a new photo of Spiderman’s new costume (with battle damage) for the reboot film was released. The best part, we can now confirm the mechanical web-shooters are real. Even though it’s not the exact costume from the comics, I really like it.
  • And finally, Alessandra Torresani and some more geeks star in this wonderfully tongue-in-cheek video, “Tonight I’m Frakking You.” Can you name every character, reference, and actor by the end? Don’t think so. Anyway, enjoy the slave Leia outfit, female Ghostbusters, and in-jokes out the butt. See you Friday!

Apr 042011
 

My God... It's full of fail...

April 4, 2011

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and long-time logophile Amy at Dark Archivist has a rebuttal to one point in this article. Touché, my friend.

If you’re anything like me, you love you some science fiction, fantasy, and horror. There’s nothing better than an epic space battle with battleships the size of Alaska blasting each other with nuclear-yield weapons, a suspenseful chase as a vicious killer chases the last remaining protagonist you actually like, or the swarms of eldritch sigils flying through the air as a practitioner of the dark arts invokes otherworldly powers to crush his foes.

Good times…

As much as I’m a fan of the genre, there are those things that just… bug me. Really bug me. They’re things that seem to have just taken hold of the collective imagination for both writers and fans. They’ve become standard, not necessarily something you choose to use. Imagine if you suddenly found out that you didn’t need to use a ball to play baseball and could use rocks, or if you learned that cars could easily be built with three wheels and we picked four because, well, someone did it like that first.


Possessed Mind by *tashythemushroom on deviantART

Nightgowns and Little Girls

Look at The Ring, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, and The Last Exorcism. What do they have in common aside from mentally tormented young girls and an overuse of the term “exorcism”? If you guessed a white nightgown, you’re right.

I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure The Exorcist started this one. It made sense back then. Regan was a young girl who was thought to be sick, so it makes sense mommy dearest put her in her sleeping gown to make her comfortable. But why oh why did every woman dealing with a ghost or demon (or herself a ghost) have to wear this now? It’s like the similarly ridiculous “ black trench coat = mysterious badass” mentality.

Why not a hospital gown or even regular clothes? Why not just regular pajamas?  The easy answer is that such clothes can easily date a character, but a nightgown is something that, at least today, looks old. How many women out there own a nightgown like the ones worn in these films? Anyone?


Organic Space Ship v1 by ~bastilg on deviantART

We’re Fighting a Militarized Rutabaga

What’s that? An alien ship approaching your  interstellar flagship? Oh no! It’s organic! It appears to have been grown by an advanced civilization. All its systems are carbon-based weapons and armor. All your ship has is a laminated alloy hull with ceramic plates for heat dissipation, high-powered coilguns, and thermonuclear missiles.

Oh noes.

Really, though, this one is just plain annoying. It’s hard to really pin down where this one started. Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee Timeline stories have a version of this little cliché wherein the god-like Xeelee “grow” their technology, although it’s not organic, so the description is a bit vague. Babylon 5, Star Wars (New Jedi Order), and even Battlestar Galactica to an extent all used the assumption that organic technology is superior to simple metal and artificial materials designed from the ground up to perform a specific task.

Do you think “organic” is better? Would you rather wade into battle with a vest made of hardwood or advanced ceramics and Kevlar built to withstand such strain?

Would you rather have a dozen mathematicians in a room perform split second calculations for orbital reentry or have a single computer system built with accuracy to the trillionth degree?

Would you rather have an artificial  weapon, like a gun that fires ferrous slugs at a fraction the speed of light, or biological weapons that are indiscriminate, can be killed by extreme temperature and radiation, and may even mutate?

I’ll stick with metal and circuits, thank you.


Mexican Jedi. by ~VictorViin18 on deviantART

Where are the Brown People?

This one’s a personally sore spot for me. For a show like Star Trek, one which claims to be multicultural, to not have a single prominent Hispanic character besides the animalistic B’Elanna Torres is inexcusable. Want to know how many Hispanic characters I can count in speculative fiction?

Johnny Rico from Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie), Bender from Futurama, and Vazquez from Aliens.

Adama doesn’t count because although he’s played by a Mexican American actor, he does not portray a Hispanic character.

It seems that, in the future, there are no Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, or anything else. We’ve got Europeans, Asian-inspired culture to pander to the anime crowd, and some assorted ethnicities for flavoring. But where are the Mexicans?

Or the Costa Ricans? Brazilians? Chileans? Iraqis? Turks? Libyans? Anyone brown?

I really can’t find a good example of these demographics in speculative fiction. Sorry. Any idea?


Coca Cola by ~Telegraph-Road on deviantART

Why do writers still use these ideas? The best explanation is that at some point, it sounded or looked cool. The nightgown made sense from a storytelling perspective. Biological technology has some useful applications. At one point, Latin Americans were a fringe minority. We know better today, and yet these ideas linger on. These are only three little clichés, but I was thinking about them this weekend. There are many more, and maybe I’ll explain some later.

In the meantime, enjoy these links, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.  

  • We have some nice black bookshelves in the apartment, but if we have the time, money, and space, I’d certainly love to get one of these awesome bookcases.
  • And finally, I just barely watched The Hangover a few weeks ago and loved it. And now I can’t wait for the sequel. Check out the new trailer below, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!

Jul 052010
 

You can also get an Associate's Degree in Red Herring.

July 5, 2010

Before we get to the article, I want to make a quick announcement. Randomology.org, as much fun as it is to write, will be going back to a three-article a week schedule, at least for the next month. I wish I didn’t have to, but the schedule of researching, writing, and maintaining the website took its toll on me last month. I literately felt worse and more exhausted than I have ever felt in my life. Until I have more time or the work situation improves, I’m going back to the three-a-week schedule. I’ll post things on off-days, but they’ll be shorter articles, possibly musings or very, very short Divine by Zero articles.

Anyway, on to the show…


The Tired Writer by ~ChaosBang on deviantART

Are you a radical right-wing basket case who soils his or her undies on a regular basis because you lack basic bowel control?

Do you jump at the mere mention of opinions different from yours?

Are you seeking some pseudo-academic validation for your innately-held beliefs that liberals, minorities, and Godless heathens are destroying this country and stealing your freedoms in vague, threatening-sounding ways?

Then Glenn Beck University is the place for you.


Glenn Beck by ~markdraws on deviantART

We’re not accredited and offer no formal training of any sort other than forcing you to pay to hear the same thing Glenn Beck says on his show five days a week, but if you don’t sign up for these courses, you’re a sociocommunazi who hates God and eats babies for lunch! Even if you don’t know it!

Oh yes. For just six bucks a month, you too can enroll in classes where you will learn the tenets of Hope, Faith, and Charity. And who are your professors?

Well, they’re just the kind of people who like to spout their dribble… I mean, espouse their beliefs on Glenn Beck’s show. Sure, only one of them has a legitimate degree and the others may have been called psychos and history revisionists, but they’re legitimate if you have faith. Just like Jesus says.


American Jesus by ~MarkArandjus on deviantART

See, if you want to validate your beliefs, you have to pay us to explain them to you. You already know that liberals and progressives are ruining this country, but you can’t come up with a solid, credible explanation. Just like Mister Beck himself, you simply know progressives are evil. Like Beck, God probably told you. You probably hear voices and, like Beck, are certain these voices are God.

And why should you go to Beck University instead of one of those hoity-toity accredited colleges?

It’s a well-known fact that a college education makes you liberal. You can’t socialize with so many different ethnic and social groups like gays, atheists, Wiccans, Christians, Jews, and Pastafarians and expect to keep the same point of view you’ve fostered and sheltered your entire life. Debating new ideas will weaken your resolve as you’re sucked into a vortex of free thought and scientific thinking.

At Beck University, you won’t have any of that since you’ll be given the conclusions without you having to do any kind of thinking. And that’s the way it should be. After all, our motto means “Revolution against tyrants. Submission to God.”

Because you can’t be dependent on government to solve your problems. Instead, give in and let someone who claims to speak for God make your choices for you, because here at Beck University we believe you are so utterly stupid that you will believe us when we tell you to stop listening to people who want to help you… after we charge you, of course.

We are, after all, capitalists.

And yes, there really is such a thing as Beck University. I wish to God, Allah, and Cthulhu that it was a joke. Beck opening a university is like Palin opening up a planned parenthood clinic. You just know there’s a catch.


False Prophet by *ThreeWoes on deviantART

And now for more news from the world of the random:

  • An openly gay cleric in the UK may soon become a bishop. This is a massive step forward for gay rights and the integration of LGBT society in the “mainstream,” and I use the term really loosely since everyone seems to be onboard with the LGBT community except churches and governments and pockets of ignorant people.
  • An event so scandalous Neil Gaiman Tweeted (Twittered?) about it… A rumor that European countries might ban Nutella was met with fierce opposition as millions of Europeans feared a world without the nutty chocolate treat. And if you’ve never tried Nutella, get your heathen ass to the store and buy a can!
  • It takes conviction to clash with your congregation for a difference in religious opinion. It takes a pair of swinging wrecking balls to ask God for a refund.
  • Wonder Woman gets a new costume, finally replacing those silly-looking stars hot pants. Kind of surprisingly, it seems many comic-book artists have never seen a woman and don’t realize that high heels and leather are not the best things to wear when fighting crime. Even better, Fox criticized the change by going on about how this stripped Wonder Woman of her American pride… even though she’s not American and does not fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but is instead in our world to teach about love, peace, and sexual equality.
  • Some time back, I wrote about the internet holy war that was… well, the internet versus Roger Ebert. He wrote a now infamous article where he said video games could never be art. However, ever the professional, Ebert now claims it was hasty of him to make such a statement since he would never review a movie without seeing it, so why make a blanket statement about a genre he was never really familiar with? Thumbs up, Mister Ebert.
  • If you like to follow Tea Party stupidity (and who doesn’t?), you’ll love Tea Party Jesus, a blog that puts the words of Tea Party-friendly politicians and Tea Partiers themselves into an image of jesus to see just how Christian some of their statements sound.
  • And finally, spricket24 is one of my favorite Youtube bloggers, and this recent video on questions from Yahoo Answers had me cracking up for a full 10 minutes. Her reactions are priceless. Check it out.