Sep 162011
 

September 16, 2011

It’s Mexican Independence day! To me, this is a bittersweet holiday. Yes, it marks Mexico proclaiming itself a sovereign nation. On the other hand, the country is enslaved by the cartels. Right across the border, just a few miles from where I wright this, two people were tortured and publicly displayed for writing negative things about the Zetas. We have a long way to go, but I’d like to start by ending this stupid war on drugs.

And speaking of things that were probably influenced by drugs, let’s get some links out there and catch up with the week’s stories.

  • To all the new freshmen in college, please, for the love of Bob, don’t do this.
  • And speaking of bad decisions, could celebrities please stop taking naked pics of themselves with their phones? You, the thing that can be hacked? Unlike that camera that you need to physically get to retrieve said pictures? The reaction to Scarlet Johansson’s leaked nude pics has ranged from everything from an FBI investigation to the internet having a collective seizure. Because the internet, as you know, has been seen naked boobs and butt.
  • Nancy Upton entered a contest for American Apparel. She satirized what I can only describe as really unflattering images of women that look like they need a sandwich. Her pics were… well, they were unique. She’s confident, has a sense of humor about herself and the company, she looks wonderful and natural, and she won the contest by a large margin… and now American Apparel is saying they won’t go with her because she’s not targeting their demographic. Hypocrites, anyone?
  • Disney does not have the best record when it comes to acknowledging the audience’s intelligence. However, some of their older animators didn’t react too kindly to the higher-ups changing the name of a movie to make it more descriptive since audiences “might not get it.” The result is pure sarcasm and gold.
  • And finally, Nice Peter came out with another Epic Rap Battle. Mister Rogers all the way! Represent! And I’ll see you all on Monday!

Apr 082011
 

She's everywhere! Make it stop!

April 8, 2011

Music’s dead.

At least, pop music is dead. I know, I know. Every generation thinks its music is crap. I’m too old if I start whining about the kids and their music and their Beibers and all that. Yes, I know that we’ve always had crappy music and the really good stuff is the stuff that gets remembered.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to dismiss the utter crap fest I’ve been hearing on the radio.

I stopped listening to the radio in about 1999, back when every other song was Backstreet Boys. I swore off radio and the closest thing I used for a while was Pandora. I really have only a cursory knowledge of popular music in the last ten years aside from what I see on TV, in movies, or happen to read about.

So, Rebecca, as a concerned artist, I want to tell you to stop.

You’re a celebrity. Congratulations. So’s Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian. Nice list. They’re pretty much famous for making fools of themselves. And you’ve joined them whether you want to admit it or not.

Let’s go down the list of things done wrong, shall we?


Rebecca Black: Friday by ~mexicanpryde2000 on deviantART

Your parents paid for the music video and recording.

Someone else wrote the lyrics.

The video is just one notch above “middle school project with a camera and pirated copy of Final Cut.”

All you did was get dressed and sing. And you didn’t even do that! You got Auto-Tunned for half the song!

Look, I know Auto-Tunning is the latest, best thing to happen to people who want a music carrer. Without it, Ke$ha would be an alcoholic with a camcorder drowning in her own vomit. Even without it, she’s nothing special. You, Rebecca? You had a dream. You wanted to be famous. Did you practice singing? Train yourself in poetry and songwriting? Listen to the classics of pop music?

No. Your parents forked over $4,000 dollars to get your face plastered on a song where your own voice isn’t even heard. It’d be like me paying someone to write Charcoal Streets over a weekend, then putting my mug all over the cover.


Rebecca black by ~ItalianxGal on deviantART

Plus, the lyrics? I’d ask for my money back.

(Yeah, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah-Ark)
Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah-ah-ah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

I already have a headache. It’s the lyrical equivalent of white noise. It also proves that if you have nothing to say, say nothing at all.

7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

Gotta have my bowl? Are you smoking weed? Are you on the dope!?

Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’

Yup. You’re stoned off your gourd, aren’t you, Rebecca?

Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

You remind me of that scene in Knocked Up where Paul Rudd’s character gets freaked out by the number of chairs in the room. Just pick a damn seat!

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Also, people look forward to happy hour, 5 o’clock, lunch time, and the week’s episode of Criminal Minds.

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Okay, a few things. First of all, you’re thirteen. You’re frakking thirteen years old. What “partying” are you doing? Unless you’re snorting coke off a Justin Beiber CD or smoking that bowl from earlier, you’re not “partying.” You’re hanging out with friends at Chuck E. Cheese.

7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway
Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun

Well someone’s been reading The Secret. Hey, I can think about fun all I want, but it won’t make it so. I suppose one could make the argument that by moving faster, as you suggest, you could indeed use time dilation to make time outside your vehicle move at a much slower rate… But I doubt your songwriter knows how to spell relativity.

You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

I’m sitting in a chair. My hands touch the keyboard. My fiancé is at work. Okay, now your turn to spout out more blatantly obvious observations. Also, any point to telling us your friend is on the right? And, from a grammatical viewpoint, what is “this” you are referring to? I’m sorry I don’t speak “street.”

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

Wait, you’re hanging out with high schoolers? You’re what? In seventh grade? How are these friends of yours driving?! …Hold on. I thought you were already in the car. What-

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday

Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

Friday isn’t the weekend, Rebecca. On Friday AFTERNOON, you can start enjoying the weekend. People still work on Friday. If you’re so stressed in eight grade that you look forward to getting down on the weekend, you’re either in a very work-intensive middle school or you have no concept of what it really means to be stressed.

I’ve never seen a more blatant example of clutter in my life, too. There are words and phrases here that are just taking space. It’s like the writer simply got the beat for the song, then played Mad Libs trying to fill the void… and the void stared back and said, “Screw you.”


Friday by ~PeaceLoveMulan on deviantART

Look, these lyrics were obviously written by someone who wanted to appeal to teens who think the weekend is about partying all the time and dancing in a brightly lit room, but clubs are full of sweaty idiots who smell like Bud Light because they can’t stomach real beer. Real parties with teens typically have one idiot who brought a controlled substance.

Everyone has a dream. I have mine. You, Rebecca, obviously have yours. And I’m not being unfair by critiquing this. “But she’s just a kid,” I can hear some of my readers saying. “Leave her alone.”

No. You put this out there, you get the same amount of scrutiny the rest of us get when we put something out. I’m not about to give you a bronze medal just because you tried.

You, and Beiber, and Ke$ha, and your ilk are overproduced performers who go hyped to the top. You’re like Episode I, but more annoying because I can choose to not hear Jar Jar. I keep hearing this stupid song everywhere!

Let’s clean out those brain lobes with some linkage.

  • And finally, let me leave you with two of the most awesome things in the world: classic Michael Jackson and Transformers. See you Monday!

Apr 062011
 

Let's hear it for soul-crushing standards!

April 6, 2011

Is Victoria’s Secret finally setting some realistic standards?

Well, yes and no.

Model Candice Swanepoel (I am so glad I can just write this and not have to pronounce it) has gotten some flak from the press and the modeling industry because she’s getting too thin. Let that sink in for a moment. A model is TOO THIN for the modeling industry.

It’s not the first time this has happened. Alessandra Ambrosio was criticized last year for also being too thin, and in general, I get the feeling that the public is starting to really wise up about the whole “I need to be thin to be beautiful” mentality.


Plus-size model by ~Allexxandhry on deviantART

On the other hand, I really can’t see a difference between Candice and the other models Victoria’s Secret hires. The company says that the models need to be thin but muscular and they’ve taken some damage for moving away from curvier models.

Why not just say “healthy” instead of curvy? I guess they’re implying “bottylicious” is not healthy.

Anyway, it’s really confusing when you consider that that some women really do get this thin on their own. They don’t starve themselves or anything. They just have a really strong metabolism. That’s fine. Some women have to work harder at it. That’s also fine. And you know what?

I think Candice looks like Jack Skellington.


Dying to be Thin by ~anorexic-butterfly55 on deviantART

I’m sorry, but she does. Most of these models do. It’s one thing to be thin. Thin does not mean “anorexic.” You can be thin and healthy, but half these models look like they’d faint if they tried to climb a flight of stairs.

You can, however, be well-proportioned and slim. It’s doable. Jessica Biel is the best example I can think of right now. At least for the third Blade movie (oh dear gods, I can still remember it), she put on muscle and was fit.

Even if you’re not superheroine-shaped, a woman’s beauty isn’t about how she looks (as cliché as that sounds). Women just need confidence. How do does she feel about herself and ow does she handle herself? That’s the best way to gauge a woman’s sexiness. Even then, looking like you’re not a P90X participant is not the deal breaker. Looks are not the only deciding factor. I’ve been around women who conformed to “normal” standards of beauty and yet were ugly right to the bone. Confident, yes, but conceited, self-centered, and otherwise emotionally reprehensible.

Beauty is about YOU. If anyone ever tells you or makes you feel otherwise, kick him in the nads. And if it’s a girl, punch her in the ovaries. Hard.

And no, I’m not being a hypocrite by calling Candice too thin and saying beauty is on the inside. Girl looks like a dead body on CSI. She looks like her shadow weighs more. Even if she was Mother Theresa, I’d beg her to eat a cheeseburger for her own benefit.


Beauty by ~TroyBlue on deviantART

Let’s get some links up in this.

  • Ah-nold is done with politics, but he’s going back to entertainment in a new endeavor called “The Governator.” He stars as a politician who saves the world as a nigh-invincible superhero. Sound like a fantasy? The first trailer looks like, well… what Ah-nold thinks he looks like in an action role.
  • And finally, although I’m very hesitant of anything involving Ryan Reynolds, I’m very curious to see Green Lantern. The new footage recently released shows us a little more of the Green Lantern universe and, just maybe, as far of a shot as it sounds, Reynolds might pull it off if he can get past the Sandler-esque comedy he usually does. See you Friday!

Jul 012010
 

Even if it's jibberish, work with it.

July 1, 2010

I recently talked with a friend over FB chat. Over various subjects including gaming, and a reminder that while my job may induce headaches it also makes a difference, he said he wished he could make something creative. He just didn’t have the time.

A legitimate concern… And so I gave some advice I’d like to share with those readers with a similar concerns.

“I’m not creative enough.”

“I can’t write.”

“I don’t have time.”

Poppycock, I say!


writer’s block by ~sfalco on deviantART

Buy a notebook, something small you can carry around in a backpack, purse, or on your person. I own a Moleskine notebook with no lines that’s perfect for doodles and random notes at any angle. Not only does the book have pockets and a band to keep the whole thing closed, but it’s very durable. They’re made with acid-free paper. As someone who spent the better part of his college life working in university and church archives, let me tell you that acid-free paper is a must if you want to keep things around for a very long time.

Plus, you’ll feel all nice and pretentious with a Moleskine. Try it!

Buy a set of pens. I prefer gel pens since I don’t have to press too hard on the paper to actually write, and when you get inspiration and just want to keep going, a gel-pen is salvation in plastic. Fine tips are best so the ink doesn’t run everywhere. Treat your tools well, folks.

I always keep at least two pens on me. And don’t lend pens. People tend to keep them. And I loves my pens… Loves them, I say!


Pens by ~heroleon on deviantART

And finally, perhaps the most important part of all…

Listen to people. Some of the best lines I’ve ever heard have come from people just talking and trying to think fast. I write these choice quotes in my notebook and often look to them for inspiration or at least a chuckle.

A few choice quotes:

“Kennedy’s not dead. He’s in Cuba with Tupac.”

“I’m too Mexican to be vegan.”

“Where are you going?”
“South Carolina.”
“…Why there?”

“You are so full of beans and your nose is growing.”

“She’s going to come in and growl! Like an angry mother seahorse!”

To a Homeland Security employee: “Is that bacon? I smell a pork-based product.”

“How did you sneak in here!?”
“I’m wearing sneakers. So I can sneak.”

“Fuck you, rainbow-cake!”

“I did some morally reprehensible things on Friday… but I enjoyed them.”

“You are a broken cloud.”

“The strip club reminded me you can’t buy happiness.”

“It’s important to talk about sex, religion, and politics, just not before you put on a condom.”

Any one of these lines could be the basis for a character, a story, maybe a drawing, a poem, anything.

I remember working in DC and having one of the legislative assistants lament that, despite how much he enjoyed his job, he wished he could create something. If you really want to make something, even if it’s just haiku, devote some time each day, even ten minutes. Build up. Break it down. Rework it until you’re satisfied.

Perhaps most critically, have an ego about it. You can’t try to make something and think it will be horrible. That’s for editing or revisions. As you work, listen to inspirational music or music appropriate to whatever you’re making. Keep telling yourself it will be incredible. Force yourself to finish it.

You can create art. All of you. It’s just a matter of the right tools and mentality. Now get to work.

Here linky, linky, linky…

  • Model Larissa Riquelme has said that if Paraguay wins the World Cup, she will run through the streets naked in nothing more than paint. If you weren’t excited about the world cup now, GET EXCITED!
  • Great news in sex, folks. Scientists are just two or three years away from releasing the male birth control pill. You only need to take one pill every three months and human trials start next year.
  • Did you know that if you have more than one earring per ear you are a DIRTY, DIRTY WHORE?! Me neither…
  • Wizards of the Coast released an article detailing the pitfalls of playing a “villainous” race like drow or gnolls. It’s quite funny in a lot of areas, including the apparent lack of respect the company’s D&D products have for gnolls. How many other player races get beaten up every over cover or drawing?
  • Christina Hendricks, patron saint of hawt redheads, gave an interview where she talks about self-esteem and body image among other things. Part of me wonders if she’s serious about being so shocked people think she’s hot because she’s curvy, but it’s nice to see that we’re moving away from the stick-figure ideal and going back to women with curves. Go, curvy women!
  • And finally, this may be the funniest commercial I’ve seen all week. So, who has a man that’s cooked a gourmet cake in a kitchen he built?

Jun 292010
 

It tastes like freedom.

June 29, 2010

I love meat. I love rare steaks. When my grandfather makes carne asada, it’s cause for celebration. Meat in all its forms is an essential part of my diet. I am a proud carnivore.

But would I be willing to give it up for the sake of planet?

That’s the assertion made by the UN and reported in The Guardian this week. Within a few decades, we simply won’t be able to feed the population, and even with parts of the world already starving, the Western World and much of the planet may soon need to switch to alternate sources of protein and vitamins. It’s either that or we start breathing something besides oxygen.

There are other reasons for switching to a vegan diet world-wide, says the report:

Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, says the report, which has been launched to coincide with UN World Environment day on Saturday.

Would I be willing to do this? Would you?

Whenever someone talks of doing something for the common good, of forcing some measure on the planet for the sake the many, I instantly want to say “no.” Who are you, sir, to tell me I can’t have meat. How dare you dictate my diet! Say no to the one-child policy! Don’t tell me what political party to vote for!


Favorite meat by ~Nestea-Desu on deviantART

And yet…

Maybe it will come to that. We’re already working on chicken that is texturally identical to the real thing and is soy-based. If we can make a steak that cooks like a steak, smokes like a steak, and bleeds like a steak… maybe.

Maybe I’ll do it.

Whenever I try to explain the appeal of meat, I always have to get cultural. Meat is so integral in Mexican food. A cousin of mine once tried to go vegetarian. She lasted all of a day. You can’t be vegetarian in Mexico, I often joke. There are too many things that require lard, fat, pork, beef, chicken… Meat is in our blood. I’m type A1 Sauce.

If the thought of a rare steak grosses you out, I can’t empathize with you. The taste, the sensation of blood, it’s all more than the taste. It’s primal. This animal died so that I may eat. This being was once alive and now it’s not.

I live. It dies.


Predator by ~Nartum on deviantART

I know people who can’t even see bones in their meat or they’re reminded it’s an animal. I prefer to see the bone. I’d prefer to see the whole animal. Brains, liver, tripe, ovaries, stomach, everything… there is almost no a part of a cow or pig or chicken I haven’t tasted. Some would call it sadistic. In fact, people HAVE called it sadistic.

Nothing sadistic about enjoying food. Food should be a joy to eat and prepare. Food is about sensory experiences as much as it is about nutrition. If we wanted to, we could live on nuts, soy, and vitamin supplements. It would be tasteless yet nourishing.

But we crave flavor. We want textures. When the right smell hits us, it’s like we’re children again and can’t wait for dinner to finish cooking. The smell of cooked meat, or even raw meat for some dishes, is even more primal than that.

If it meant we saved the planet, though…

Yeah, I’d do it. I’m not so selfish as to think I should be able to eat a burger and kill the Earth at the same time.

I love steak, but I like breathing more.


Save the Earth by ~Sidoneon on deviantART

And now on to something less depressing.

  • Ever wanted to have an AT-AT? No? What about a miniature AT-AT that was as lovable as a dog… only armor-plated and armed with twin blasters?
  • It seems the middle class isn’t having as much sex as it used to, and this article looks at everything from the decreased gap between gender roles to the overworked nature of our country. An interesting read to be sure…
  • What if Jesus wasn’t actually crucified but was instead just tied to a pole? Would the symbolism of the cross be destroyed and punch a hole in the fabric of Christianity?
  • How do you get people to buy your food storage products? Show them how well they can handle dinosaur meat.
  • And finally, thanks to reader Eden Hirtzel for showing me this video. I’m hoping Muriel or other future demons in Charcoal Streets doesn’t come across like this, but it’s hilarious either way.

Jun 022010
 
 June 2, 2010  Posted by at 7:00 am June Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »

It's one theory... Read on to find out the others!

Warning: Some of the links in the article may be NSFW.

June 2, 2010

Disney fans hate boobs.

It’s one of a few explanations for the strange incident last week. Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams has nude pics out. Whether it was a hacker as she claimed or whether it was a publicity stunt isn’t really important. The important thing is that unlike other incidents where nude pictures for a female celebrity leaked, there hasn’t been a massive backlash against Hayley.

Why no condemnation of Hayley? Why no calls for parents to keep their kids from listening to the music this woman creates? I don’t want it to happen, but I was kind of expecting it. Paramore is often labeled as pop-punk and emo, two categories that have their largest audience in the teen demographic.

Thinking back to other scandals, I really was expecting this huge backlash. I want to make it clear that I don’t, under any circumstances, want people to ostracize her. I’d liken my reaction to seeing a missile headed for my house, then watching it turn to Styrofoam just as it hit. I was waiting for a boom.

There was no boom.

I’m not sad about it… just confused.

It seems Williams may have something the others didn’t. Let’s compare.

Disney vs. Boobies

Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame had a few images leaked out in 2007. For a while, it was hazy as to whether she would be in the third High School Musical movie, something you can probably imagine kept me up at night just like the ever-present threat of demonic sheep with machine guns invading my home. Eventually, Disney let her come back, but Hudgens has the distinction of having two NSFW pic scandals.

Seeing as how both she and Williams have similar demographics, why the different reactions? It’s probably because Hudgens works for Disney. The Empire of the Mouse has a long history of making pop-friendly, highly marketable groups, movies, and shows. They’re so wholesome and whimsical I could fart rainbows watching them. Nothing can offend in any way, shape, or form, and everything must be safe enough to show at a theme park with young children.

More on this later…

The Jonas Brothers
see more Lol Celebs

Bibles and Panties

Of course, Disney starlets aren’t the only ones who have the problem of unauthorized internet nudity. Carrie Prejean, former Miss California and Miss USA contender, had her own dealing with this sort of thing last year. After standing by her belief that same-sex marriage should not be legal, photos surfaced that showed then-17-year-old Prejean posing topless while she covered her breasts.

Apparently, this was in breach of her contract for the Miss USA pageant since she claimed to have never posed nude or partially nude and she did not hold herself “in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards.” This is, of course, before she got a boob job and paraded in front of the country in a swimsuit. Somehow, the collective American consciousness had an aneurism at the thought of a woman using her looks to advance her career having posed for a lone photographer.

The difference between Prejean and Williams is that Prejean was not supposed to do this kind of thing, or at least she promised she wouldn’t. She worked the squeaky-clean Christian angle, something she later felt made her a target when the pictures came out. Williams, on the other hand, is a musician. People almost expect this sort of thing. It’s the cliché of the “rock star” image, I guess.


pageant brainwashed by ~cantanta on deviantART

So where does this leave us?

Williams has the same demographic as Hudgens. Paramore’s lead singer has never done this kind of thing, much like we thought of Miss California. Several days after the fiasco, though, no outrage.

Let me repeat myself: I don’t WANT outrage. I just want to understand.

It’s not that Paramore isn’t famous. Their songs on the Twilight soundtrack helped shoot them up the charts and helped expose the band to the world. Williams has more than 700,000 followers on Twitter, and you can bet most if not all saw the picture or have since looked for it on the great god Google.

Even so, I’m looking at blog and news entries for the last week and there is almost no mention of the incident. It wasn’t a secret. No one’s trying to hide it. You can find the uncensored pic if you look hard enough.


Hypocrite by ~LifeLookedEasyOnTV on deviantART

Based on reactions to other starlets that have had nude pictures leaked, the only thing I can come up with is that the mainstream still doesn’t care about her or doesn’t consider her a threat. They’re not on the lookout for this kind of thing. It’s only scandalous when someone who is well-known and perceived as “pure” has these sinful, sinful images put out for the interblag for all to see. Once you cross that line, or if you don’t really belong, the mainstream won’t really care what you do. Williams’ fans are even backing her up and she even laughed about the incident.

Or maybe most media outlets didn’t pay attention because she’s not as… uhm, “healthy” as other scandalized personalities. And I promise I’m not going for the cheap shot here, but her real-estate, in the Monty Python sense of the term, is not as abundant as Prejean’s or Hudgens’.

Personally, I don’t think any of these women should have gotten flak for something someone else did. Someone else posted these pics (we think), and if that’s the case, these women have nothing to be ashamed of. All of them are good-looking and if we’re passing judgement on them for looking like women and, I don’t know, having breasts, we really need to check our priorities. Right now, I’m sticking with the explanation that Williams is still outside the mainstream, despite Paramore having gotten huge in the last few years, so she’s being ignored because the populations’ wrath is better reserved for other, more worthy targets considered “acceptable entertainment.”

Of course, it’s just a hypothesis.

It’s kind of refreshing, though. So, if I stay out on the fringes of the internet, I can say and do whatever I want? Cool! Okay, tomorrow, I unveil my master plan for a sociocommunazi takeover of the federal government using guerilla tactics and home-made napalm made from gasoline and Splenda, and then we take over Washington DC with a militia of Randomologists!

How many alerts at the FBI Cyber Investigations unit do you think I tripped just now?

If you want to discuss this topic in greater length, visit this article’s page on the forum.