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Here at Buggre Alle Thys For A Larke, we believe in offering a number of services to our most faithful customers. Our Panel of Experts is here to offer advice with all life's problems and sticky issues.

Currently our Panel of Experts includes:
* Miss Penni Dreadful, professional drag queen, karaoke star and sandwich technician.
* Mrs. Dorothy Parker, professional raconteur, wit and poet.
* Mr. Blackwell, renowned arbiter of fashion.
* Monsieur Meezers, a retired Lolcat from New Orleans.
* Mr. Paul Lynde, funny uncle, bon vivant, and cartoon rat.
* Miss Melony Plunder, retired sex worker / fluffer and bonsai enthusiast.
* Mystery Date, who is a perpetual mystery.
* Countess Ra'Vyn Lysandra Daemonique, Hot Topic employee, mime, and fanfic author.
* Spork, utensil.
* Mr. Jim Morrison, rockstar, philosopher, hippie, cult leader.
* Mr. Andy Warhol, filmmaker, photographer, social gadfly, hoarder.
* Miss Barbara Millicent Roberts, cosmeceutical expert, astronaut, teacher, chanteuse, doctor, lawyer, firefighter, police officer, mermaid, princess, rockstar, Olympic gymnast, ballerina, flight attendant, more.
* Dr. Eugene Thorpe-Winters, professor of semiotics and literary theory at Yale.
* Mrs. Emily Post, knuckle-rapper, genteel lady, and manners maven.

To ask our Panel Of Experts a question, simply respond to any post, but please put "Dear Panel" in the Subject line. The first available Panel member will respond to your burning questions as soon as possible.


We regret that we cannot accept requests for specific Panel members.

We at Buggre Alle Thys For A Larke thank you for your continued support and patronage.

-- Management

My Video Projects (VIDEOS)

I have been stuck at home for the past week due to house-related stuff and a pet with health issues, so I've occupied myself with learning some new skills. I still have some improvement to go, but I'm pretty pleased so far with my efforts, most of which were in response to suggestions or requests.

In other news, Mr Woozle the ferret seems to be experiencing a relapse of the same symptoms he had in October, right before he had major surgery to remove an adrenal tumor. Wish us luck that it is merely age or hot weather, because he nearly died last time he had this health issue. Poor little guy.

Anonymous Hits The Big Time in MAXIM

O Lordy, is dat sum WIN?

"In the United States, Maxim is an industry leader, reporting a circulation of 2.5 million readers which they claim is enough to outsell leading competitors GQ, Esquire, and Details combined. The magazine is now using the brand name to market a myriad of other magazines and projects."


(Cover blurb says: "FREAKS VS. GEEKS: The battle between Scientology and the Internet.")

"Due to its success in its primary markets, Maxim has expanded into many other countries, including Argentina, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, Belgium, Romania, the Czech Republic, France (marketed under "Maximal"), Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia (where it stands now as the most popular men's magazine), Serbia, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, and Portugal (marketed under "Maxmen"). A wireless version of the magazine was launched in 2005 across cellular carriers in twenty European and Asian countries."

Scans of the article:


Get PDF:


According to the writer, the article is only supposed to run in the US print version of Maxim. Still...pretty cool.

Who's next? Intel leaked says it will be Wired. O RLY?

MOAR!!Collapse )

A video taken on Atlanta's MARTA system.

Click here to see the DRAMA!
Come back when you've watched this.
Seriously, this is madness. Fo' shizzle.

Okay. You back? Now, ain't that some shit? I hate MARTA, man. Gawd.
Apparently "Souljah Girl" (a.k.a. Stroppy Girl) was later arrested.
How NOT to "pop off," son:
"I'm pressing charges!
I'm pressing charges! I'm pressing charges!! ...Where's my do-rag?!"  (Oh no she di'in't!, ZOMG!, Zounds!, Egads!, et cetera.)

In other news, I've been trolling music blogs, and I must be getting old, because I loathe 90% of what I have found. Singers with terrible voices, wanky guitars, crappy drumming, and enough electronica to make me wish Gary Numan, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones and Kraftwerk would show up again and say "No, no, this is ALL WRONG, stop that right now. We may not have been All That, but we didn't totally SUCK ASS." It's getting so that every nerd with software fancies himself (or herself) a musical prodigy, and they are sadly deluded.

* I don't like the new strummy-strummy whiny folk.
* I don't like the new rap that has no sense of humor or message, and just promotes crappy values.
* I don't like the new chill-out music, which seems to require drugs I do not have available to me.
* I don't like the new punk, which is toothless, apolitical and more noise than tune.
* I don't like the new indie, which is far too self-satisfied and forgettable.

I'm not saying that I'm pining for the old days. Far from it. There was plenty of crap then, too.

I just want something I can either sing along with, dance along with, or be stunned by. I gave up and started trolling for old torch singers, but tracking down old standards, or even Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday online isn't as easy as you'd think. Four million Ludacris links, or Britney / Mandy / Jessica / Ashlee / Hannah Montana / whatever, or Grateful Dead bootlegs; sure, by the gajillions...and I DO NOT WANT.

Imagine my despair when I read a blog that was waxing nostalgic for Sublime and the fucking Spin Doctors. Let me sho u my hate. My hate, let me sho u it.

Invasive Copy Protection stuff & DoglandiaCollapse )

Speaking of music that sucks less that what I've been finding, Elliott Smith's "Independence Day" was a nice way to close out the holiday.

Since I'm bitching about music, I should probably give you guys some (both good and bad). It's been a while.

Sharing the MusicCollapse )

That's it for me today.

I was going to have a little rant about consensual crimes and the danger of trying to legislate morality, but I no longer feel all fired up about it. Maybe later.

Happy Fourth! (Embedded videos)

How Savannah celebrates the Fourth: stuff gets blown up over the waterfront and down on the beach.

Posted by Joe852963741. River Street, 2006. (1:21 minutes)
SNAP CRACKLE POP BOOM (includes "patriotic" cop car sirens whooping in the background. Welcome to Savannah!)

Posted by jusafaze. Tybee Beach, 2006. (2:04 minutes)
WARNING: Loud crowd noise.
PROTIP: Turn sound off, play something less tardly instead.

Mousebombs: Disney park fireworks 2005 (1:00 minute)

How the Motherland blows stuff up all purty: London's New Year display 2007 (3:19 minutes)

The Guinness World Record for the largest fireworks display was achieved on Madeira Island, Portugal, on 31 December, 2006 by Macedo´s Pirotecnia. (3:02 minutes)

From our friends in Japan: this is the world's largest type of firework, launched 9/Sep./2007 in Katakai Niigata, Japan. (0:49 seconds)

Size: 48 inches (120cm) diameter shell.
Weight: 930lb (420kg).
Altitude: Half mile (800m).
Burst altitude: Half mile (800m).

Flaming chrysanthemums: This was the most expensive and largest fireworks show in history. Poster scohen88 says: "By dumb luck, I was on the 55th floor of the Conrad Hotel in Hong Kong on July 1st, 2007 over looking Victoria Harbour on the 10th Anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China. Truly wonderful." (1:01 minutes)

How I will celebrate the Fourth:

If I can't get out of it, I will be railroaded into helping my mom unpack and "admiring" her completely unnecessary new condo that is causing everyone in the family so much stress and hassle. Plus I'll be the one recruited to go grill meat outside with the mosquitoes and 90+ degree Fahrenheit temperatures. DO NOT WANT.

If I can avoid that, my neighborhood is having a shin-dig and my neighbors are cranky with me for being a hermit. I may get dragged out of my house to celebrate. I can haz sparklers. Woo! This has potential to be entertaining.

If I can get out of those two demands on my busy social calendar (LOL), I'll be going with friends to mingle with loud, drunken, xenophobic rednecks at Tybee (that's the negative side). Plus sides: greatly enjoy hanging out and having fun with friends, and there will be lots of stuff going boom. :)

P.S. I can haz DSL nao! Yeyz!

About a week ago or so, I was hanging out at my friend C.'s house and we had NOM NOM NOMed some veggie din-din and were futzing with audio-visual files and gabbing away. All in all, a pretty quiet night.

We started looking up music files to put on the videos, and got sidetracked from pirate-related tunes to Coolio, of all people. Coolio naturally led to "Weird Al" Yankovic. "Amish Paradise" led to "White & Nerdy," and I didn't know the original tune, so we looked THAT up, and I suddenly gained better understanding of a LOLmeme that had amused but puzzled me before: "they see me rollin', they hatin'." Enter Chamillionaire.

Now, as far as rap or hip-hop music and videos go, I generally DO NOT WANT. They are all basically the same.


1. Hootchie girls with ample posteriors
2. Cars with riced detailing, hydraulics and/or rims
3. Strange hand gestures that are not ASL
4. Track suits or hood rat uniform or jumbo-sized clothing
5. Sunglasses
6. Grillz on yo teefz
7. Pimp cup and/or pimp cane
8. Posse
9. No musicians whatsoever
10. Urban setting or pimp crib
11. Phat beatz
12. Bust a move dancing
13. "Gold" chains, watches and rings; bling
14. Headwear: do-rag, toque, baseball cap at rakish angle
15. Expensive sport shoes (pristine white are best)
16. Bad cops
17. Booze
18. Mobile phones

Mix together, throw in some lights and street scenes, stir, serve.

The Chamillionaire video actually ranked fairly low on the Gangsta Rap Video scale and had a message we could appreciate: DWB (Driving While Black) issues / racial profiling, the sense of your personal zone of privacy (your car) being invaded.

Anyway, we were busy discussing it and C. was of the opinion that I needed to actually hear the Black Eyed Peas' My Hump to truly appreciate the putridity thereof, when WHOMP!! ...from out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, we sprang up from our seats to see what was the matter.

Then C. with her ciggie and I with my pop, emerged from the house to see lots of cop.

A DWB perp had slammed into a tree, going the wrong way on a one way street.

On flashers, on hailers, on cops by the dozens. Emerge neighbors from houses, dragging their cousins.

One very flat car that this morning was new, one unmoving perp, the street was a zoo.

You get the idea.

So this shiny red car was driven right into a HUGE old live oak, and, naturally, the tree won. Once C. and I determined that the crashee was moving and sassing off to the cops, all sympathy shifted from him to the poor old tree. The cops walked over and chatted, C.'s sweet gay neighbors, one who just had heart surgery and was clutching a big red heart-shaped pillow like a teddy bear, trotted over to see what all the commotion was about, C's dog was having anxiety spasms, and my ferret (who was visiting with me) slept through the whole ruckus.

Now for the pictures.

Audio-visual Time!Collapse )

Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.

My music so loud;
I'm swangin'.
They hopin'
That they gon' catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.

Here's what we know:

Brotherman was cruising around in his girlfriend's brand new hot red car, and the po-po were already In Hot Pursuit close behind. He tried to hang a tight turn onto a one-way street, flailed, scronched into a tree. It sounded like a branch had fallen onto C.'s roof.

Drama ensued.

Brotherman was hauled off to the hospital (WAAAHHmbulance never came) and grousing about who he would be able to talk to at the hospital.

The red baseball cap on the dash is a particularly nice touch.

Our assessment, the morning after: one completely intact headlight flung 15 yards away into the yard, busted concrete erosion barrier wall, tree has embedded glass and crud, mysterious car fluids spattered about, Heineken bottles that probably spewed from the DWB's car since C. cleaned the yard that evening before the drama.

Also, we concluded that IF Brotherman gets a clean bill of health from the hospital (likely, as drunks seem to be immune to serious damages of this sort), he'll be back in there, deballed, once his girlfriend finds out what he did to her car.

Tow truck soon removed the car-cass and all the hoo-rah was over and done with before dawn.
PROTIP: If the po-po are chasing you, pull the fuck over, nimrod. Don't try to evade them going the wrong way down a one-way. WTF. There were eight cop cars out there! Honestly, what are the chances of outrunning eight cop cars at 2AM? In-town?! With all the funky one-ways and usual nonsense? People are idjits. Seriously, was he trying to run home so he could bail out and pretend he didn't know what was the happs or what?

I dunno, I see a glaring flaw in that sort of clever plan. Maybe it is just me.

Peeve Poems

Presenting the Pet Peeves concept album!

I'll have to stick to the Greatest Hits version, or else we will be here all day.

Give me a "C," a bouncy "C."

1. Finish What You Started

Oh roommate, you asshole, your dishes are rotten.
The trash bin's in the corner, in case you've forgotten.
Your shoes belong on your feet, not the chair
The bathtub drain is clogged full of your hair.
Oh roommate, you asshat, you drank the juice up
Replaced carton in fridge, but two drops fill no cup.
Your pets all have mange and crap on the rugs,
they howl constantly and spread fleas and bugs.
Your laundry is growing mold in the washing machine
The rest of us all have clothes we must clean.
The toilet is peed on, and you never will flush it.
Your brain is a B-B and your politics are bullshit.
Here are some hints so you won't be killed in the night:
Don't share if you and your girlfriend are having a fight.
If it opens, you shut it, if it gets dirty, you clean.
We'd prefer that your hobbies stay undiscussed and unseen.
If the phone rings, go get it. Take a message, with pen.
If the mail arrives, you fetch it. Throw trash in the bin.
Don't block the driveway with your rustbucket heap.
Follow these rules, don't get murdered in your sleep.

2. Your Pets Are Not My Problem.

Your dog is a bastard, he humps all that breathes.
We hate when he visits and love when he leaves.
He drools and he slobbers, he maims with his breath.
We love animals, but wish him swift death.
Your cat is unmannerly and shreds up our chairs.
He tracks shitty kitty litter grit-clumps onto the stairs.
A litterbox needs cleaning, poo doesn't smell good.
It's not our job to do it, we wish that you would.
Your snake has escaped, Oh where does he lurk?
You need to get cacti, they take lots less work.

3. My Religion Is None Of Your Business.

It's Saturday morning, and I'd like some sleep.
Alas, the Jehovahs have appointments to keep.
My house is on their list, they won't leave me alone.
They come when I shower, when I'm on the phone.
My co-worker's screensaver is Thomas Kinkaid.
She asks every day if I've yet been saved.
She does little work, but faithfully prays
Over her lunches that come in aluminum trays.
She knows her Bible from front to back
Preaches about all the virtues we lack.
I am not a coupon, I don't need her to save me.
I did not want the tracts she gave me.

4. Your Butthurt Bores Me

We are not friends, yet you come for advice.
I don't know why you think I'm so nice.
You "yes but" suggestions and cherish your pain.
Go away now and do not bore me again.
Your boyfriend sucks? Then you should leave him.
Your brother's a liar? Then don't you believe him.
Your husband's a drunk? There are groups for that.
Your boss is a turd? Well, mine's an asshat.
You don't want help for your various ills.
You need some psychiatric pills.
Your unhappiness, your problems, your terrible life.
You are the cause of all your own strife.

5. If It Is Mine, Ask First.

You borrow my things, eat my food, drink my drink.
If it isn't locked down, it's yours--so you think.
You don't buy groceries, you don't pay your bills.
Your friends are all mooches, leeches and pills.
My candles, you burn them. My steaks, you eat.
You borrow my shoes, they smell like your feet.
You drink all my liquor, you borrow my CDs.
You misplace library books so I have to pay fees.
My scissors and batteries are never where they should be.
I'm not paying for you, I can barely afford me.

6. You Drive Like A Tard

Left lane is for fast cars, the right is for slow.
Please signal to let us know where you'll go.
You tailgate and chit chat and eat lunch in the car.
I don't think you know where you are.
You're the one weaving from lane to lane
or the slowpoke grandma panicking at rain
You're the first to flip a finger, the first to speed
You block folks from taking exits they need
You seem perpetually lost and drive like a jerk
Your defensive driving skills need work.

7. I Don't Care About Your Diet

If it once had a face, you won't eat it.
If is organic and tasteless, you need it.
If it is ethnic, it's tasty food.
If it's fast food, it's not good.
You live on grass and nuts and sprouts.
You and sugar are on the outs.
Your diet is strict, you preach about that.
Your BMs are regular, but you are still fat.

8. You Must Be The Star

You retell my jokes and take all the credit.
My part in the anecdote, you feel you must edit.
If I am conversing, you stand in front of my face.
You can't be happy if you win Second Place.
You must have attention from me and my friends.
To get it, your means always justify the ends.
You take credit for everyone's best anecdotes
When secrets are spilled, you're sure to take notes.
You're not a bad guy, you just have a great need
To be Number One: you have an ego to feed.

9. Your Musical Taste Sucks Balls

You love your hip hop and you love your rap
Everyone else with taste says it is crap
You hop into your riced-out Pinto hoopty
Full of speaker cabinets in the back seat
Roll down the windows to share with the street
"N*gga" this, "bitch" that, and that phat beat
It would be an effin' motherlovin' shock
to pull up next to a car rockin' Bach.

10. Shut Up About My Habits

I smoke outside and don't pick my nose
I turn my mobile off when at shows
I use the proper knife and forks
My friends don't ever act like dorks
You aren't my mom and even she
is not allowed to dictate to me
How I dress, or speak, or eat
So shut your yap or you're dead meat.

Party At The Church Of Scientology

To keep peace with my mother, I decided that the time had come to throw her a few bones of cooperation and daughterly agreeableness. She wanted me to see her new office at the university and go out to dinner. I wasn't particularly excited about either plan, but it was important to her and I had a little free time, finally, so I agreed.

This turned into a tour of her office, plus a look at another condo (when the first condo deal didn't go through, she didn't take this as a sign and bought another one in the same complex), plus movie night. I struggled to be positive about the condo, for her sake, but, when pressed, admitted that I didn't understand why she was so adamant about inflicting all this stress, financial instability and upheaval on herself (and me) when she was moving from one three bedroom to another right up the street. "It's an investment, and I am being foolish in the short term," she decided. Indeed.

We ate takeout fish and shrimp while watching "American Beauty," which I own on DVD. One of my mother's criteria for choosing films is if it has been nominated for or won an Academy Award. Not a bad thing, but I think she is finding it an unsatisfactory system lately. She chose the film (other choices were "Virgin Suicides," "Amelie," and "Breakfast At Tiffany's," so don't blame me).

It IS a painful movie, but it has some interesting things to say. Visual metaphors within it add another layer of depth that can be appreciated even if the plot leaves you cold. She fixated on the very first scene (repeated later in the film, and clarified), where daughter Jane announces that she hates her dad and he should die, and boyfriend Ricky deadpans "do you want me to kill him?" and Jane says "yes." Mom can't imagine a world where teenagers are so unhappy that they would talk that way unless they were sincerely plotting. Only evil, bad teenagers would ever casually announce that they hate their parents and wish they were dead. Given that lots of evil, bad children ARE killing their parents these days, she can be forgiven for being completely literal. In truth, my friends and I didn't ever say we hated our parents and wished they would die. We expressed our frustrations in other ways. (Incidentally, if you want to understand one facet of my mother's personality, watch how the Catherine character speaks to her daughter and husband with sublime passive-aggression, and how she can be so brittle and perfection-driven.)

It's interesting, the difference in the way a Myers-Briggs F-type watches a "difficult" film for the first time and the way a T-type re-watches the same film. It's about completely selfish, self-absorbed people with stunted emotional and spiritual lives, but it is also about figuring out what makes you feel complete, a search for meaning. On one hand, it's a midlife crisis and a peek into the interior world of an ordinary little man. On the other, it is an allegory about what we value in life.

What I find interesting, besides the use of the colour red in scenes (especially Americna Beauty red roses) and mirrored dialogue and actions are handled by different characters, is how Lester (Kevin Spacey's character) goes through three distinctly different phases, all in the pursuit of meaning and happiness. He tries doing what he's told to do, and sacrificing his personality and joy to fit in, then he tries being a walking ID, finding joy in indulging whims and naughty behaviors and regressive behavior, and finally he comprehends what he really finds important and seems to find a peacefulness in that, and happiness in that. Then he dies. He dies after reaching that state where he discovers peace and happiness and meaning in his life, though, but before he has to take steps to fix things.

The Ricky character has found meaning in atypical beauty, and sees some benevolent intelligence communicating to him directly when he pays attention to moments of beauty in ordinary or ugly things. I understand this, but I suspect that my mom was hung up on his sociopathic affect and the content of what he found interesting.

Another thing to look for should you re-watch the film is the absence of disorder, or pets, or creativity, and how symmetry (especially in the house sets) is significant of deeper problems. The more clean, colourless, symmetrically aligned and perfect a particular house is, the deeper the emotional rot and concealed truths of the occupants run. When Lester starts exploring adolecent impulsivity and assertiveness, the roses on the dinner table vanish. Fame and monetary value and appearances are what's valued. The Angela character has no depth of soul, no problem selling little bits of herself to people who don't give a crap about her, sleeping with near-strangers. All she is is her shell, and her view of herself as "not ordinary".

It's ugly and painful, but that's what makes so much of it sad, and why some of the humor is so black.

She recognizes it is a fine film, though she asked me throughout about the kids "planning to kill" Lester, rather than waiting for more context, though she kept asking me "what band is this?" during every song, and though she found the look inside a horny middle-aged man's brain uncomfortable. As such, I will not be screening "Happiness" (talk about a difficult and bleak film!) for her any time soon. She might implode.

Anyway, given her distress, I put "Amelie" on as a chaser and she promptly fell asleep. Oh well. :)

Role Models in the John Hughes Universe

As an adult, I started learning the knack of being a stealth introvert: I can act like an extrovert. At the end of the day, though, other people eventually tire me out and I need alone time. I haven't stopped being introverted, I've just learned how to socialize in a more socially-validated way. Add to that my decision in my 20s to force myself to do things that terrified me (speak my mind, write and share my writing, sing in public, public speaking, dancing in public, performance art), and I'm not acting out my shyness much lately. It's still there, but I don't allow my instinct to care so much about what other people might think about me to rule my life any more. Someone once said that shyness is a type of egotism or narcissism: you think you are so important and interesting that people are constantly watching you and taking the time tojudge what you do. Once you realize that you don't do this to anyone else, it gets easy to figure out that no one is doing it to you...unless they have a crush on you, in which case everything you do is fantastic to the observer.

In high school, despite the impressively advanced core curriculum (I took classes in college as a junior that used the same textbooks SCD used when I was a sophomore), many of my group of friends were not intellectually challenged much. I know several of us who wrote term papers and reports the night before and got As, art students who raced through the assignments given and did two or three instead of the one required, and kids reading the classics for fun, not because we had a test on them), a lot of us were frequently bored and disengaged. Those of us who weren't interested in standard social rungs like sports or cheering lacked those outlets for our energy. We're lucky to have found our niche with similarly adrift students who also had atypical interests and talents.

When you're trying to figure out what growing up and becoming an adult is all about, and finding out who, exactly, you ARE, where do you look? Teen movies these days may be re-treads of classics (Emma  and Clueless, Taming of the Shrew and 10 Things I Hate About You (or so I think, having seen maybe a quarter of it on cable),  Othello and "that other Julia Stiles movie I am too lazy to go look up on IMDB", the Cinderella fairy tale and She's All That, and Romeo and Juliet and ...erm... Romeo + Juliet), but often they are just one big fart joke decorated with the occasional boob flash (such as the American Pie series, which I find painfully unfunny and even kind of gross), or not-very-funny parodies of schlocky recent horror films. Sure, kids in the 80s had "Porky's" for that kind of sex-obsessed marketed-to-teens film, but we also had other options, such as charming John Hughes films.

You probably remember Grace the secretary in Ferris Bueller running down the list of high school students who belonged to various groups: sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads. How about The Breakfast Club: brains, athletes, basket cases, princesses, criminals. What if you don't fit into any of those groups? Are you forced into one? Forced to adopt the "least incorrect" labels as your own? Was our lunch table full of basket cases and geeks?

I don't remember anyone being turned away from our lunch spot, or much anxiety about roles we needed to be filling. Our table was always crowded. Were there that many folks who had no idea what roles, in an adolescence shaped by John Hughes movies and MTV videos and their messages aimed at us? Did we just not like what we were supposed to be? Not a single Farmer Ted in the lot, after all. But there could have been, and we would still speak to them when we passed in the halls if we'd befriended them elsewhere. (What peer pressure?) If you don't care what your peers think, or simply don't even notice, maybe that's a sign right there that you're letting it all wash over you and that it won't rate as important enough to remember once real life after adolecence kicks in and there are bills to pay. A defined role would shape memory: whatever you did that matched the expected role, you'd remember. Right?

Maybe Hughes should have added "artist" or "philosopher" or "iconoclast" somewhere into one of his lists of roles. Maybe one of us would have related to those.
Maybe we have to be satisfied with the "geek" label, even though it doesn't fit. Or maybe we're just not the types to take cues about roles from pop culture in the first place. Maybe I got all my ideas about my personal social roles from books or thin air.

John Hughes was clever. We like being told escapist fantasy stories. Rather than trying to ape actual teen dialogue, he invented a lot of the quirkier terms wholesale, or had parental or authority figures try to ape teens (where it would sound funnier; see again Grace the secretary casually using the phrase "righteous dude") instead of the teen characters, and it sounded real because real teens heard his turns of phrase and language choices in his films and liked how it sounded, and adopted it. Which came first, actual "neo-maxie-ultra-zoom-dweebies" in real life, or in a Hughes script? I don't think it could work today: kids are more savvy. Consider the character being admonished in Mean Girls: "stop trying to make (the slang term) 'fetch' happen!" No one likes a forced meme.

Also, I need better late late late night cable programming to watch. :)

I think another stumbling block that prevents so much role model glomming by current kids, in addition to more savviness about being a target market, is that pop culture is far more rapid-fire, diffused and ephemeral now. In the 70s and 80s, before the Internet and before almost all households had cable, you saw the same movies (in the theatre; this was before VHS tapes and DVDs were available, so you couldn't pick and chose), you watched (or avoided watching) the same three to five channels on the TV (and that's all you got, kid), and unless you had older friends or siblings or a helpful music fiend at a record store feeding you tips about cool stuff, you listened to what was on one of a handful of generally crappy radio stations or available through Columbia record club (or their competitor, which I can't recall). You wore what you saw on your peers, in one of a half dozen fashion / entertainment magazines, on television sitcoms, or what was actually available in the cheapest department store chains. There  were fewer sources, so even with the amazing diversity of fashion in the 80s, it still came from, say, MTV. You could tell what television and music someone liked by how they dressed. To an extent, you still can, you always were able to, but I suspect there are a lot more weekday bangers / weekend yuppies (or vice versa) these days.

What roles are being marketed to kids these days? Slut / bimbo a.k.a. Paris Hilton types? Gangsta thugs? Metrosexuals? Jam band hippies? Emos / proto-Goths? Clown band fans? Hilfiger fratrats? What? It may be more realistic to show groups of homogenous teens who are all basically interchangeable in films now (sometimes politically correct gender and race tokens are added), but what does that say? If you're not able to see yourself fitting into the firmly upper-middle class / wealthy / white American Pie crew, do you get your roles from TV, almost no one lives in a home worth less than several million dollars, even the lowliest secretaries (unless you watch BET, where your heroes can be either super wealthy, uneasily middle class, or even garbagemen, apartment complex supers, preachers and so on)?

If you're looking for self-awareness and your personal niche in life, and who you are, your role, where do you look? It's kind of frightening to think about what has gone into each of our personal self-images: a combination of the roles your peers and family chose for you, roles you liked and tried to adopt, and roles you internalized from observing others and from entertainment and media.

It might be nice to still have a John Hughes type making cartoony universes full of interesting characters we can instinctively understand. I just don't know if kids these days would be able to relate. We were younger, as teens then, than teens are now. Emotionally, life experience-wise, in terms of the educational and social opportunities available, kids are both older and more jaded, but somehow more immature. It's not something you can blame on them, it's just how things change.

Or, perhaps, I'm wrong. :)

Introversion & Memory

I didn't want to go on the trip with these kids, but I felt torn between my awareness that I was being too antisocial (as usual) and earning a figurative gold star on my college applications as a useful member of this particular school club. I lived a lot in my head as a teen. My home life was adrift and full of conflicting messages ever since my dad died and my mother started turning into the type-A worrywart she remains to this day. (Theme song: Mel Brooks singing "High Anxiety," accompanied by female crabhat-wearing accordion-squeezing retirees.) I had a lot to think about. One thing I didn't give enough thought to was bonding with my peers. If it happened, I was pleased. As a senior, however, I sensed that it was a bit late in the day to be making bosom buddies with kids who usually couldn't get my first name right.

This was a yearbook field trip, and I honestly remember only about a half dozen things.

1. It was at UGA and we were chauffeured there somehow, probably in a big van or bus. Many of the kids were excited, because they planned to go to UGA if they got accepted. They needn't have worried. My brother went to UGA and was never a studious soul and he managed to get a degree after 5 or 6 years.

2. I was listening to bands that only three of my friends knew about or could pronounce. My traveling companions brought three cassettes with them: Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, and one I have blanked out. Probably the Eagles or Jimmy Buffet or Elton John. The sad thing is that these artists were equally popular with their parents, which is because these musicians were already having successful careers twenty years earlier. If you do the math, and assume an unlimited amount of battery power + tapes that were an average of 45 minutes long + 24 hours in day + a ride that lasted 4,000 years, you can estimate how many times I heard the entire content of each tape. Note also that my traveling companions enjoyed singing along, and not a one could claim fine pipes. Volume and enthusiasm were applied to cover the lack of technique, but it was not a successful attempt.

3. I got WAY too excited over chipmunks. They were everywhere, and I was charmed. My peers thought I was retarded, gooning over striped rodents.

4. We were housed in what was then the second-tallest building I had ever been inside, on the umpteenth floor, and the elevators worked when they felt like it. The building was a giant cinder block. It had no air conditioning. It was approximately 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At one point, my hair burst into flames.

5. There were a lot of discussions about parties I had not attended. I had been invited to a few, attended one or two, and had no interest. I recall being more annoyed by the casual impoliteness involved with discussing social events in front of excluded or absent parties like myself than anything. Only years later did it dawn on me that I was supposed to be envious or hurt.

6. I learned absolutely nothing about yearbook stuff.

There were some dramas going on. Girls threatening to pee into the currently disliked girl's shampoo. (I took this as a hint to forgo shampooing my hair, and was thankful my hair was dry and that it was only a three day trip.) Boys describing the only African-American in the high school as being so dark that if he closed his eyes and mouth in a dark room, he'd disappear, thus they all vowed to call him the Cheshire Kevin when they returned to school. Complaints about how someone wanted X type of car or boat, or Y brand of clothing, but their horribly neglectful parents had refused to furnish the desired item. A particularly long discussion about whether grape Bubbalicious gum smelled fantastic or foul. Gripes about sunburns (we all got one), then complaints about peeling skin and blisters, then tanline competitions. Plans to insert as many candid photos of themselves and their friends and secret in-jokes into the yearbook as possible before the typing teacher assigned to mother the troops reigned them in. Some innocent hijinks were plotted, but it was, as it happened, too hot to carry out anything complicated.

I didn't keep a journal then, so I can only remember turning inwards and thinking about chipmunks and developing a permanent hatred for Jackson Browne. I kept wondering why I agreed to go, and why I thought it would be a good idea. Now, don't think I was treated badly. I was, by my own passivity, human wallpaper. Pleasant enough, but not really the most important thing in the room. I worried about the babysitting jobs I had turned down so I could go on this trip in which I (honestly) had no deep interest, and counted all the unearned babysitting dollars I would have made. I regretted not bringing more books to read. I discovered that disc cameras suck ass. I bought my mother some cheap crap with her sorority's Greek letters on them, since mom and dad also went to UGA. I saw the disparity between the Greek housing and the GDI housing, and knew, then and there, UGA would not be on my list of colleges I applied to. I never had dreams of being in a sorority.

But...WHY don't I remember more?

There's a nest of idea nuggets I'm intrigued enough about to inspire me to Google around in hope that I will tie some things together and it will all click, and then it will either be an old idea I can learn more about, or a new idea I can think more about and see where it goes.

Naptime now, though.


Latest Month

January 2009

What's All This, Then?

Britpoptarts is a girl who has a curl in the middle of her forehead. You know what that means.

She rants about stuff online so her "real life" reputation of being That Pleasant Young Lady isn't completely trashed when she gets the urge to, I don't know, choke a bitch or something.

She's a blonde former MENSA member (I didn't get stupid overnight, I just stopped paying them lots of money each year for the dubious pleasure of carrying a card with an owl on it in my wallet) who is currently in graduate school (pray for me), a poet who has little patience for crappy open mic nights, a cat person who currently owns no cats (I CAN HAZ FREE CATZ?), a Taoist suffering the tortures of the damned in the friggin' Bible Belt, a former vegetarian who loves steak dinners, a thirtysomething college radio DJ, an Anglophile currently residing on the wrong side of the pond, and, well, that's just the start of the slightly bizarre juxtapositions in her life.

Things she likes: music that doesn't suck, cute brunet men, sleeping, reading, manners, travel, England, singing, writing, ferrets, cats, art, sparkly things, toys, and other stuff. She suddenly realized that lists like this make it sound like she's auditioning for a date online, and was thus immediately mortified. So that's all you get.

Things she hates: Stay tuned. You're sure to find out.

Cats Are Funny (*roffle!*)



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