Monday, December 24, 2007

Faddish qualities and the industry of los juegos videos

I was talking to a friend of mine not two hours ago about how the Wii might be something known as a "fad" or a "gimmick," and not thirty seconds ago I finished watching a feature on Gametrailers.com about how, in many ways, to quote Time Magazine's N'Gai Croal, the Wii has many "faddish qualities" to it. I could not agree more. I was telling (basically preaching to the choir as I often do...wow, that sounded pompous) Karen that I thought I would give the Wii another year and a half tops before people got bored with the gimmick and moved on to bigger and better things with the XBox 360 and the beloved (or maligned, sadly) PS3. People can only flick their wrists and, come this next year with the release of WiiFit, wag their bodies for so long before kind of getting the sense that they aren't looking at what a console can truly accomplish with this generation.

However, the videogame industry has changed in such a bound in the last two and half years that it is indeed hard to say where things are going. I had no true idea of the possibilities. I do still stand by my belief that the Wii has a very small shelf life and, as the guys on the Bonus Round on Gametrailers were saying, the PS3 and XBox 360 are here to stay for, dare we all say it, up to 10 years. These systems have a LOT of shelf-life. Their limits have barely been pushed, and I am still awestruck by Oblivion sometimes. How did the videogame industry define "winning" back in the day (that being only four years ago)? By winning the market share. That will be very difficult to define now because not only will the PS3 and 360 always be neck-in-neck come 2008-2009, the Wii HAD the market share almost instantly. Microsoft releases their, in my opinion, ONLY, truly exclusive killer app back in September (I don't count Gears of War, because the sequel will be multiplatform and I don't count Mass Effect or BioShock because they were originally slated to be multiplatform until Microsoft paid millions upon millions for that to no longer be so), that being the unbelievably overhyped and overrated Halo 3, and the Wii STILL outsold it. We must laugh at this because we have our grandparents to thank for that since apparently the Wii has become exquisitly popular amongst the geriatrics.

Now a theory has been floating around that I just became privy to watching this feature on Gametrailers. A "Wii 2" by 2009? If that is indeed the case, we will definitely see a very interesting console competition. I am hoping that Nintendo does indeed do that, because as much as I believe the Wii is a gimmick, I think Nintendo is too ingenious of a company to go the way of the Dodocast (read: the Dreamcast) and Sega and become a 3rd party developer. Being a mondonerd who loves videogames, this will be a very interesting year.

Now my next step is to head over to Gamestop at some point during Winter Break and reserve Guns of the Patriots. You will not see me the first week of March, sadly, for I will be fully absorbed into my couch, never to return, playing through the final exploits of Solid Snake.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Reading is SO 2003."

I can't believe I'm already writing something else, but this just cannot be left untouched-upon. And thank you Grant for giving me something infinitely quotable, for, as I am sure you were aware when making that comment (and anyone aware of myspace history) that this new definition of identity known as "MySpace" began in the 2003rd year of our Lord.Ah, and the irony of me making a statement regarding our "Lord."

Now first, let me share something with all of you who do read this trifle of a blog. A verbatim transcription of the description, nay, MISSION STATEMENT of a group over 100,000-strong on Facebook:

'THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be releasedDecember 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of a trilogyby atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl kill Godso they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt about hisintentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are aboutkilling God."The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designedto be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take theirchildren to see the the movie and that the children will want thebooks for Christmas.The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig,and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it iscrucial that we get the word out to warn people to avoid this movie.'

Now I must first of all thank who made me cognizant of this group. So thank you Emily.

So moving on to the topic at hand. Ahem.

Yikes. How many times can I say that word and mean it in a day? So far, I haven't beaten my record of six times in a day, but that was during the response to VA Tech and those exclamations were interspersed with random screams of "Holy SHIT!" but this is indeed coming close because I really mean it this time.

Now I don't know how many of you have read the His Dark Materials Trilogy, but, at least in the context of complete and utter oversimplification, their description on their Group Page is right. There are definitely anti-Christrian (specifically anti-Catholic) undertones throughout all three books. Hell, I might even go so far as to say anti-religious. But that doesn't stop the fact that not only do I think anything that sneers at religion and fantastical belief as being something worth reading, that it is a very smart, well-thought-out, and despite its (as I remember it at least) awkward finale, good book. Okay so a quick deconstruction of this mission statement.

"A boy and girl kill God so they can do as they please."

Wow. Here it comes again. YIKES. First things first: what disturbs me so much here is the fact that, like I said, there are 109,078 members in this group. And that means that 109,078 people don't like to do what they want to do. They like to be dictated essentially. Freedom may be a meaningless and purposeless concept, but it's still kind of nice. Secondly: if they had read the book (which ironically enough they never will...but more on that later) they would know that the boy and girl don't kill God because they don't even know that it IS God right away, and if they had been reading the book, God was revealed to simply be an old, senile angel with delusions of grandeur who needed to be put out of his misery. These 109,078 people clearly have no qualms with tyranny, oppression, and being bossed around by senile old men.

"Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that, 'My books are about killing God.'"

Now this seems a little dismissive, am I right? Now the Internet is a wonderful thing. It provides easy access to information and all you have to do to quote someone is something lovely called "Copy/Paste." This is unfortunate because it allows for things like this to happen when a statement in an interview is taken, in this case, somewhat out of context. This is also fortunate because it allows me to find the actual source and present to you the quote, from the interview Pullman did in 2003 with the Sydney Morning Herald:"I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people - mainly from America's Bible Belt - who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."So what did this group get right? He did say "My books are about killing God." And the quote did definitely get said in 2003. But if you close-read this quote, you'll notice that he is perhaps, oh I don't know, making a deliberately dismissive statement about HIS books to defend the integrity of someone ELSE'S books. There may be a touch of bitterness there, because he, like any provocateur (or poser type...it does indeed take one to know one), relishes his subversive status. But that does not stop the fact that his statement was made in jest. Especially because in pretty much every other interview conducted with him, he's made the statement that he's not trying to destroy Christianity or make everyone believe the same as him; he's simply sharing his viewpoints through literature.

And finally,"...it is crucial that we get the word out to warn people to avoid this movie."

This is more disturbing to me because of the simple assumption I wish to make that many of these people probably haven't read the books. The creator of the group, a young gentleman by the name of Dylan Moore, from Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, clearly hasn't because he, like I said before, didn't even know what occurred accurately in the third installment of the trilogy. People who are offended by something, usually those on the more conservative end of the moral spectrum, don't like to immerse themselves in something they are against. It's inconvenient to their time, so they spend most of their time complaining about something they haven't even experienced. I will share with you one final anecdote to say that this happens way too often (also because the computer lab here in Nicholson closes in five minutes, so my time is short):

About 50 years ago or so, famed linguist Noam Chomsky wrote a scathing review of famed psychologist (actually recently named the most important and influential psychologist of all time) B.F. Skinner's book on Verbal Behavior. The review got more attention than the book. That is the first red flag, mind you. It was not until 1970 when another behaviorist by the name of MacCorquadale reviewed Chomsky's review that it was made clear that the linguist had never even read the book. His criticisms were of general theories postulated by Clark Hull and his followers in the 1930s and 1940s about learning and goal-directed behavior. He simply had problems with a scientist writing on a topic that he was known for and it simply became an ego issue. Not exactly the same as this current issue with the Dark Materials Trilogy, but it simply should remind us that reading is out and unsupported ranting is in...maybe the title of this ramble should have been "Reading is SO 19th Century."

I shouldn't be surprised, but...

What in the HELL is going on? The background on the non-logged-in myspace page is a JOHN MCCAIN ADVERTISEMENT? I can't tell if the candidates have sunken below the lowest common denominator or if that's their only way to get through to the youth because we've all forgotten how to read, let alone watch the news (though in complete honesty, the latter isn't too much of a problem). I don't know, call me paranoid, or someone who gets worked up too easily (oh yeah, that's DEFINITELY not me), but I just felt incredibly trapped when I saw this last night at about 2 AM when I was on a typical myspace bender. I felt like I could not escape this element of culture and I literally feared for my sanity for a few moments. I managed to calm myself enough to sleep but when I awoke, and I cannot make this up, my friends, it was the FIRST THOUGHT that entered my conscious mind. All I can say is this: "Yikes."

All right, here is the one moment from 2007 that randomly sticks out in my mind (and no, it's not the 14th Drunken Lindsay Lohan Getting Out of a Mazaratti Crotch Shot...though the news of her joining AA and going to rehab more than once in a two month time span and knowing that she's merely a month older than me does come close...) is when the Republican nominees were having one of their debates and it was essentially requested that those nominees who didn't believe in evolution raise their hands and about three of them did. There's no punchline there. That's all that can be said. Except that it was nice seeing them try.

2008!

I swear upon all things sacred (which includes Bret Easton Ellis novels, Oldboy, the Metal Gear Solid franchise, tasty Thanksgiving meals, loving cats, and Jeff Goldblum), my friends, that there will be nothing that enrages me more than the period of time in which we approach the 2008 election. A vein will pop in my forehead upon the sight of the first "VOTE NOVEMBER 2!" bumper sticker or something to that effect. I will choke for air when I hear that Hillary Clinton got the Democrat nomination and I will claw at the walls of my room in a panic when I see whatever insane mongrel the Republicans decide to nominate. A parked car will receive a dent to its fender from my head's impact with it when I watch the debates whenever the hell those are. Needless to say, 2008 will not be a good year for my sanity when it comes to contemporary American politics.

In an effort to explain my enragement at certain things today (I would call these my "Rules of Enragement" if Lewis Black hadn't already titled one of his albums such), here is my list, in no particular order of four of the worst things I've seen during election season before and what we are bound to see again.

1.) Bumper stickers

I already mentioned bumper stickers. But I must devote a "miniature" tirade against them. Bumper stickers are like the post-modern anti-war protest it seems. They come in a small, easily, relatively digestable form (I say relatively because whenever I see a "Free Tibet" or "Kerry/Edwards" sticker attached to the back of a hybrid car it makes me want to vomit profusely) and they make some sort of "statement," and during election season, it's usually to state who one is going to vote for. Typically people say that it's pride in their candidate that drives them to do this. If that's true, why did the majority of people who even bothered to tell the world via bumper sticker that they were voting for Kerry and Edwards also say that they were voting for the lesser of two evils? And on a usual digression, why the hell were people even trying to say with a dumb-ass grin on their abhorently and irritatingly liberal faces "He's the best! He's the best!" when talking about Kerry, knowing full well that despite the fact he would theoretically be a better president than what we have right now, he STILL got a worse average grade at Yale than our president did (Bush: C average, Kerry: D average). MOVING ON. Bumper stickers are simply the most irritating thing about election season. There is a slight consolation when the person that they have a bumper sticker for loses, they still have that thing on their car (I understand that it's a bitch and a half to scrape off one of those things, but still...) for years to come and as a result they look like complete morons, but that humor only lasts for so long. Returning to the fact that bumper stickers are dismissive and representative of what's wrong with information being passed on in this country. I understand that it is completely pointless to have a bumper sticker with the equivalent of a discertation on the corruption of the United States on your car, but the fact to have a bumper sticker at ALL is what is wrong with this picture here. I almost prefer a bumper sticker proclaiming the owner of some car to be a "Pussy Magnet" or something along those douche-bag, pop-polo-collar-type lines simply because they are HONEST about what bumper stickers are all about. They are not pretending to be making some sort of knowlegable statement. So I say this: bring on more Naked Lady mudflaps!

2.) Political ad campaigns

This will be a little less, ahem...lengthy. All that can be said about these is that they should be renamed as simply "smear campaigns".

3.) The political debates

There is nothing more depressing than watching the political debates today. They have always been depressing in one form or another. There is usually some satisfaction of some sort, but these few hours of "I humbly disagree with my honorable opponent" b.s. usually have very little in the way of being informative. They are simply extended PR campaigns. The people on the stand never REALLY say what they're thinking. They are saying what they think the American public wants to hear. I know that that is part of the election process, but what does that say about America? In a place where we're supposed to have the freedom to speak our minds, we simply can't stand hearing what we might not WANT to hear. Hardball is more energized and honest than this tripe. One classic moment, however, when you didn't even need hoenst statements to be made was when the Kerry/Bush debate happened. Despite my ramble against Kerry earlier, I still loved him for that one hour he made his points in a concise, well-worded and efficient manner and listened to Bush fumble and flail pathetically with simply understanding the questions presented to him. You could see the little smiles playing across Kerry's face when Bush paused for literally over five seconds on a question. The funniest post-script to this is that Kerry ended up losing ultimately.

4.) People taking their wins and losses personally

The fact of the matter is that some people seem to think that it is The End of All Things when the candidate they supported flops in the ultimate race. In 2004 when Kerry lost, literally, I could not make this up, I saw people WEEPING. On television, in my dormitory, and I heard over the phone. People were acting as if 9/11 had happened again. I guess my problem with this is the fact that I don't see how any candidate winning affects anyone directly. Gays and lesbians seemed to think that they would be worse off when Bush won again. Hey news flash: THINGS SUCKED FOR YOU EITHER WAY. I don't mean to seem like I'm attacking the gay community, but a lot of people in that community are representative of why people taking election results personally piss me off to no end. My point is as I so eloquently put it before: things suck either way and no matter who's president right now, no actual change is going to be facilitated. No president is going to go so radical on us that it will be noticed; an actual immediate, and noticable change occuring is not exactly likely. It's up to the passage of time itself for change to happen, since no individual can really make a difference and those in power have no spine to make progressive change, we have to rely on history to shape us itself. Okay, this is getting a little too big for this topic.

This stuff has happened before and it will happen all over again. I doubt it will be a trend during election season forever, but I can only hope. Oh and I did think of a fifth thing that's excessively annoying during election season.

5.) Excessively negative people who ramble about politics during election season, perhaps? See? Even us cynics have a self-depricating sense of humor too!

Abortion

Okay what right do I have to talk about abortion? Do I have any more right to talk about abortion than say, oh I dunno, a politician? Of course not. I'm not getting prenatal tissue sucked out of me. It's easy for me to tell some girl I knocked up to get an abortion, but of course I will never fathom the depths of psychological damage that procedure can do to her. However, I feel that I do have the right to talk about why I feel that it is completely ludicrous that we have old/middle-aged (mostly white) men trying to tell women that they cannot choose to rid themselves of something they can't even imagine taking care of. I am well aware that I am most likely preaching to the choir here, but I feel like I should say this anyway.

Even most conservative women will tell you that while they believe that abortion is wrong, they don't want any sort of institution to tell them what to do with their bodies. Here's my point with abortion: you bring a baby into the world because you're not allowed to get rid of it...if that's your reasoning for having a child, THAT IN AND OF ITSELF IS KIND OF A BIG RED FUCK FLAG!

Brief, I know, but I recently have been hearing people talking about pro-life, pro-choice, blah blah blah because we have an election coming up or whatever, and I felt that I should respond with this: WHY DO WE STILL CARE?!! Oh yeah I remember, it's like that gay marriage bullshit! If we stop abortion, we'll get out of Iraq scot-free of American casualties (hey maybe even 4000 will magically come back to LIFE)! Oh and did I mention that democracy will reign in the Middle East and we won't have a horrifyingly monstrous defecit building up here anymore? Oh oh oh, AND! AND! The ice-caps will stop melting! Hell, every one-armed child in Darfur will get a nice, new, shiny pony! Maybe the aforementioned missing arm will grow back! Everything will fix itself! It's the Neo Domino Theory! I swear, I can't believe I forgot this, I feel so stupid! What's wrong with me?! Like I said, if we ban this evil upon the land known as abortion and make sure women shut their damn mouths when they start whining about not being able to you know, get a simple procedure to make their lives livable again, all of the problems will go away! Ladies, learn to live with your mistakes and use a damn DIAPHRAM. It's up to YOU to make a difference!

Cellular technology on the run: REVISITED

Normally I don't revisit my last topic of ramblage, but I must in this case. This is something that, like the Aqua Velva Jake Gyllenhaal orders in Zodiac, can no longer be ignored.

All right, text messaging. It's gone beyond what I was saying before, about it becoming the preferred manner of communication with one's cell phone with many people. Not only was I right, but I was more right than I even knew. It has become institutionalized and I wish I didn't have to say this, but friends, I shit you all not.

There was an article in the Minnesota Daily a week ago or so about this. Apparently, in the wake of Virginia Tech, college campuses are going to utilize text messaging as a way to get a hold of all students in times of campus emergancy (though it will more likely go beyond that and become to announce that there is a poster sale at Coffman Union, eventually). Now this is a great idea, do not get me wrong. In the event that some disgruntled, anti-social, hackneyed writer who likes to fondle himself while looking at Guns and Ammo decides to take up arms against all those who wronged him again, it would be very efficient for every student on campus with a cell phone to receive a text message saying "RUN AWAY" in so many words. Since such a small percentage of U of M students check their emails at ALL (though in the event of another school shooting, I highly doubt students would be rushing to computer terminals across campus to check their emails to see what was going on) and especially since 90% of college students have cell phones and the majority of them these days are glued to them by their fingers, texting wildly, this is a very effective way to get a hold of students in the time of an emergancy. And it's all voluntary, so it's not like it's getting forced on us.

Now, this does indeed sound very positive-toned, especially for something I would write, let alone have it be about something I bitched about quite extensively in my last rant, right? Well here is what I find so utterly disturbing: it has finally been recognized by an educational institution that text messaging is the only way to get a hold of students anymore. Now while the pretext of it being for campus emergancy is all well and good, we all know that once no shootings or bomb threats occur for a sufficient period of time, this text messaging service will start to be used to address issues such as, I don't know, what savings one can have at the Bookstore or what deals one can get by signing up for Time Warner at one's dormitory. Who knows?
What implications does this have for our increasingly disconnected yet "connected" culture we live in? Text message-based meetings with one's advisor? I've only met my advisor once, but that was because I just never really cared to. Soon, we may never have to meet him or her at all; they'll simply be some random avatar for the University. I almost shudder to think at how cold and impersonal things will become within five to ten years. Things are moving too fast. I'm twenty-one years old and I feel out of touch. This is not cool. What is going to happen in the next decade is what I want to know. But again, who knows?

What I DO know is that if I sign up for this service by December 15, I stand to receive a free iPod cover. Who's TOTALLY stoked now that I know this? THIS GUY!

Cellular technology on the run: REVISITED

Normally I don't revisit my last topic of ramblage, but I must in this case. This is something that, like the Aqua Velva Jake Gyllenhaal orders in Zodiac, can no longer be ignored.

All right, text messaging. It's gone beyond what I was saying before, about it becoming the preferred manner of communication with one's cell phone with many people. Not only was I right, but I was more right than I even knew. It has become institutionalized and I wish I didn't have to say this, but friends, I shit you all not.

There was an article in the Minnesota Daily a week ago or so about this. Apparently, in the wake of Virginia Tech, college campuses are going to utilize text messaging as a way to get a hold of all students in times of campus emergancy (though it will more likely go beyond that and become to announce that there is a poster sale at Coffman Union, eventually). Now this is a great idea, do not get me wrong. In the event that some disgruntled, anti-social, hackneyed writer who likes to fondle himself while looking at Guns and Ammo decides to take up arms against all those who wronged him again, it would be very efficient for every student on campus with a cell phone to receive a text message saying "RUN AWAY" in so many words. Since such a small percentage of U of M students check their emails at ALL (though in the event of another school shooting, I highly doubt students would be rushing to computer terminals across campus to check their emails to see what was going on) and especially since 90% of college students have cell phones and the majority of them these days are glued to them by their fingers, texting wildly, this is a very effective way to get a hold of students in the time of an emergancy. And it's all voluntary, so it's not like it's getting forced on us.

Now, this does indeed sound very positive-toned, especially for something I would write, let alone have it be about something I bitched about quite extensively in my last rant, right? Well here is what I find so utterly disturbing: it has finally been recognized by an educational institution that text messaging is the only way to get a hold of students anymore. Now while the pretext of it being for campus emergancy is all well and good, we all know that once no shootings or bomb threats occur for a sufficient period of time, this text messaging service will start to be used to address issues such as, I don't know, what savings one can have at the Bookstore or what deals one can get by signing up for Time Warner at one's dormitory. Who knows?
What implications does this have for our increasingly disconnected yet "connected" culture we live in? Text message-based meetings with one's advisor? I've only met my advisor once, but that was because I just never really cared to. Soon, we may never have to meet him or her at all; they'll simply be some random avatar for the University. I almost shudder to think at how cold and impersonal things will become within five to ten years. Things are moving too fast. I'm twenty-one years old and I feel out of touch. This is not cool. What is going to happen in the next decade is what I want to know. But again, who knows?

What I DO know is that if I sign up for this service by December 15, I stand to receive a free iPod cover. Who's TOTALLY stoked now that I know this? THIS GUY!

Cellular technology on the run

Before I start, I just want to say hello. How are you? Things been treating you all okay? Right on. Okay, so here I go on another pointless, so-called intellectual self-indulgent tirade about one thing or another.

But to preface this, here is an anecdote to explain what brought this on. I was sitting in my recent therapy appointment with my LT (liscenced therapist) Dave and we were discussing any number of things going on in my life. I bring up one thing or another related to text messaging and how a good majority of people actually prefer texting to actual talking. My logic here was (and is), if you're only going to text someone, let alone text them an incomplete, grammarless phrase without punctuation, why even bother? Now anyway, while I was talking to Dave about this, a look of awe came over me and I realized that things truly are moving and evolving a lot faster than ever before, excluding perhaps the dawn of the last century, but I am willing to bet that it is even faster now. And cellular phones are representative of this. Now notice something I did earlier on: I used the word "text" as a verb. Then I used the word "message" as a verb. Now friends, I am willing to bet that you did not even think twice about my usage of those words in such a manner and no doubt I did not either. When did these words enter the vernacular in such a context? It seriously has been less than five years. This makes ME feel old.

Now moving on, that actually carries some relevance here. Think about this: five years ago, did we have cell phones? Of course we did. I got my first cell phone five years ago and it had a lot of cool features, such as voice and speed dialing, a library to keep my friends' phone numbers recorded, et cetera. But if you look at it today, you would almost chuckle at its bulky size, colorless-screen, and, God-FORBID, its antenna! Ringtones? None, apart from the MIDI-tones that came with the damn thing. Needless to say, this phone was very usable, had an excellent network (it was Verizon, by the way), and honestly, people would look at me as if I was the most antiquated asshole around if they saw me using that thing today. Now, another anecdote. After that cell phone's plan ran out, I was phoneless for a brief period, then I owned a Virgin mobile phone, which I refilled maybe, I dunno, twice. I figured, what was the point? I had a phone in my dorm and other phone numbers elsewhere with answering machines; people could get a hold of me. So for at least a year, I had no personal cell phone. This is was 2005-2006, the period that I like to call The Changeover. This eighteen-month span of time was when cell phones ceased to be an added convenience. Nay, they became a NECESSITY. I was verbally reamed by almost everyone in my age group for not having one. I will never forget the message on my dorm room answering machine from a friendof mine my sophomore year of college saying, "God, you are impossible to get a hold of! You need to get a fucking cell phone!"

I am going to give you all a couple of moments to digest that message and think about what was said, and what can be read between the lines here. Okay, so iif you didn't see what was so funny and outrageous about this message, you probably have a T-Mobile Sidekick or Blackberry or iPhone or some other obscene piece of 200-500 dollar technology that relies on typing more than vocalization. But we live in a world now where even a voicemail, A CLEAR INDICATION OF AN INTEREST IN TALKING TO SOMEONE, is not sufficient in getting a hold of them. We rely on the "Missed 1 Phone Call" notification and the text message. Needless to say, I called my friend back, no harm, no foul. However, the ridiculousness of this whole scenario, while not lost on me, needs to be somewhat admonished.

Allow me to continue: Later on that summer of 2006, at the end of August, I got onto a family plan with my mother on T-Mobile, and I, after a year and a half, had a cell phone again. An lo and behold, life became easy. Almost too easy. Everyone could get a hold of me whenever and I them. It made plans to hang out much easier and streamlined. I was sucked back into culture, reality if you will. And sure enough, everyone was text messaging me and I received a bill that was way too high because I lacked a text plan, which I distinctly remember telling the guy at T-Mobile who sold me the phone that I didn't need. I think I know why today he kind of smiled and laughed and said "okay" the way he did. I tried telling my friends not to text me, but sure enough, no one listened. There was always a reason: "I'm in a movie/place I can't talk" or "I don't have any minutes left to talk" or [insert reason here]. You get the idea. So sure enough I upgrade my plan to get text messages. And I of course go over my limit, so my overall plan gets upgraded to 1000 texts/minutes. I fear that next bill, I will be over and I will owe God-knows how much money. So like I said, I was sucked back into cell phone culture, and I am here to stay, as are we all. Except Milo. Somehow he survives without. But Milo is a demi-god of sorts, so I don't think we need to worry about him. I hope he reads this and appreciates the verbal fellatio I just gave him.

Now on a complete side note: I sit here in the Nicholson Hall computer lab and I see a tack sitting in front of me, by the keyboard. Why is that here? All I want to do when I look at it is to put on the chair of some unsuspecting Freshman. Or actually, a Cultural Studies major might be preferable. It might cause them to spill their rolled cigarette everywhere.

The love of my life

That would be films, friends. This came to me today, not two hours ago, as I ate some refreshing lunch with my father at Eddington's downtown. They truly are the alpha and omega of my life; when I'm sad, I watch them, when I'm happy, I watch them and regardless, I get happier after watching them. I even love to see bad films because I love to be able to say I hated them (the only reason why I'm happy to have sat through the purile 3 hours and 3 minutes I will never have back that is Pearl Harbor).

Now there are prime examples of films that are, to me, so good that they remind me WHY I love films. Of course, one of them is Oldboy, but that's kind of a given. I need not go on a rant and rave about why that film is the epitome of movies in the last ten years, because truthfully, I will someday probably devote an entire entry to that. But most recently, last night specifically, I rented a little movie from a Red Box at Lunds with two of my best friends. We didn't get through it, and I didn't finish it today either, lacking the time to do so. I'm sitting at my desk in my apartment, my dad calls me to let me know that he's outside, and I stop to think about the fact that I will get a late charge if I don't return this film to another Red Box location today. However, I realized that the extra dollar-oh-seven would be worth it to be able to watch this movie again. And that movie is Zodiac.In case you couldn't tell from that lengthy preface of sorts, I love this movie. I love this movie so much that it almost makes me weep. I can barely describe why I love this movie so much beyond what I always tell people: that to me, this movie is actually perfectly constructed. David Fincher, the director, has made some damn fine films, namely Fight Club and Seven, the former being what I consider to be another one of those films that is one of the best in the last ten years, but even his other work like The Game and Panic Room have an undeniable charm to them. Zodiac is almost his pinnacle, and if it wasn't for Fight Club, I would consider it to be his masterpiece.

That is not to say that Zodiac is not a masterpiece. One can watch this movie and focus on only one element at a time and still get a kick out of it (even though taking it all in at once is pretty amazing). For example, watch it for the acting. This is Robert Downey Jr. at his twitchy, coke-addled best. If you see this movie, watch the absolutely uproarious scene in the bar that begins with one of the funniest lines of the year ("This can no longer be ignored: what is that you're drinking?"). Really watch it. Eventually Downey and Jake Gyllenhaal are sitting in a booth, talking about the Zodiac's cypher and after doing a bump of blow, Downey gets a little twitchy, but so much so that it's over-the-top. Now what should be noted is the way he reacts to Gyllenhaal putting books on the table, showing him how he cracked the cypher. That's all I will say about this, without completely ruining the scene for anyone who might want to view the movie. Downey in this scene is representative of the charm of this film.And there is much more than simple charm. There is taught suspense, there is exact detail in almost everything shown onscreen, there is this there is that, it is simply a good goddamn movie.

Now here's the real question: why do I not own this film? A simple, consumeristic and frankly, nerdy reason: the 2-disc special edition is not released until January.

Intellectual masturbation

All right, so things haven't gone exactly as planned, and blogging has not occurred nearly as frequently as I previously planned, but that's the way it is I suppose. It's called a week of studying for school and other assorted distractions.

So, my friends, what exactly is "intellectual masturbation"? Is it choking the bishop without the use of appendages? NO. It's what I just did there: a pretentious, wordy phrase that really carries little or even no meaning in the grand scheme of things. It's also known as blogging. What can be gained from a little blog entry here and there? What am I really accomplishing by writing here? Very little, in fact what I am doing is simply exercising my ability to string words together simply for the sake of doing so. Now that all being said, there's really nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to make it clear to you all who read this measily little online journal of mine that I have no illusions that this journal is anything more than detritus of my brain that allows me to sound much smarter and articulate than I actually am in real life. You want to know what I sound like in conversation?

Well on a GOOD day, I sound like Dr. Ian Malcolm, and if you haven't seen Jurassic Park or The Lost World then first of all, there's something wrong with you, and second of all, you will not get that reference.

Oh and this self-deprication is of course meant to charm, but it will most likely irritate, so I apologize. Next up, whenever that may be, will be something a bit more entertaining. Also it will be something written when I don't have a paper due in 10 hours.

I am Shiva the God of Death

Robert Oppenheimer, the supervising scientist on the Manhattan Project said that, upon the testing of his creation that ultimately led to the mushroom clouds that emerged in the place of sections of a few Japanese cities. That's a factoid to take home and put in a mason jar under the garage tool bench to store for some event that involves you showing off your newfound knowledge of the birth of the atomic age through a simple quote.

Speaking of mason jars, since when did those become a good place to store a man's testes when it comes to women? Because frankly, that's where they seem to retreat to at the most inopportune moments.

And speaking of that, because this topic, my friends, is TOTALLY relevent: since when did kids films from the latter-half of the 1980s into the 1990s become Hot Topic fashion material? How did this happen? I truly would like to know. I'd love to think that some "goth" individuals performed a psychological behavioral analysis/census to see what we Generation Y-ers had the most fond memories about, but I know that it was most likely a group of men in suits. What exactly makes these said fond memories so, dare I say this word in conjunction with Hot Topic, "alternative"? I just don't get it. And the same goes for all the Halo memorabilia? Halo is the polar opposite of alternative, considering that it's the fastest-selling video game in history (which is a true statistic, by the way) and I know plenty of "preppy" dudes who love the hell out of it (so much so I've seen attempted fornication with DVDs...not a pretty sight).

Fashion "senses" seem to just ooze out of the woodwork. I would truly love to someday hear the discussions at corporate offices that speak of the upcoming season. Sometimes it's tolerable, if not cool, but sometimes it is simply baffling what passes for fashion. Now in effort to prove my straight masculinity despite speaking of fashion and so forth, I will retire to go carry bricks up and down stairs and have sex with some woman at the bus station.

This entry is something that is known as "filler," which can be read as something that keeps a writer's hands and mind busy, despite being chock-full of drivel.

Newness and originality: another observation

First thing to note here is that there indeed has been a hiccup in my original plan to post daily due to time constraints because of studying and editing some film together, but that doesn't mean that I won't get back into my ramblings. Because I am absolutely CERTAIN all of you were dying to put up with these damn things daily.

In regards to cinematic efforts to be original, only some stand out typically, and no I'm not bemoaning the "studio system" or whatever. Indie films are not in and of themselves a seal of quality; you all know how I feel about Little Miss Sunshine (if you don't, refer to a post of mine from August of 2006 on here with the subject line, "Little Miss Sunshine is a piece of shit." [Note: this is on my myspace blog, so anyone truly interested can go rooting around for it in the depths of the archives there]).

In fact, the best five films that I've seen this year thus far were all (with the exception of Wes Anderson's, at least somewhat) released on multiple screens (Zodiac, Michael Clayton, In the Valley of Elah, Shoot 'Em Up, and The Darjeeling Limited) by big studios! But this seems to be changing, thank christ.

I believe that this year, like last year, is a great year for movies. They're taking more chances (and not in the "Showing-in-more-detail-a-skull-getting-crushed-in Method" of The Hills Have Eyes 2), they're stating they're positions in more sophisticated ways than ever, and the stories and characters have gotten far more complex. In the Valley of Elah is gleaming example of this, ironically because it was written and directed by Paul Haggis who made Crash, that, despite my loving of that film as well, was not all that complex, at least in terms of characters in it. In the Valley of Elah contains some of the most chilling characterizations I have ever seen onscreen. But before I start reviewing these films, I should just say that I think this decade has finally found its niche for films. Nothing against Peter Jackson's masterpiece trilogy (which I most definitely own the three extended editions of), but sadly, the first half of the decade was dominated by The Lord of the Rings and dramas that, in retrospect, felt slightly petty. Things are picking up for film. I wouldn't go so far as comparing this decade to the cinematic paradise that was the 1970s, but we still have another three years, plus another five to fifteen to reflect on this decade.

However, there must some concern noted at the mountains of terrible, awful, horrifyingly bad concepts being released. Coincidentally, the movies with the most annoying fucking trailers and concepts behind their stories have the name "Chuck" in them. I'll leave it to you to figure out which ones those are. But I look at it this way, now that I think about it: this terrible schlock that comes out of some people's minds is necessary for the really good stuff to shine through. On that note, that is all I can say, without going on for another page about music these days. But that ramble will have to wait for another day. I think I just spared all of your eyes, those who read my work.

Observation of Cultural Studies Majors...ism

All right people, I may be not giving credit where credit is undeniably due. It's not just Cultural Studies majors that fall into this observation, it's the whole damn department. Okay so Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature (or CSCL for those who don't want to sound like they have bloated tongues) is a department here at the University for those who want to study things such as film, literature, and even music from philosophical, psychological (only Freudian though; stay the hell away from the actual scientifically valid material), anthropological, and sociological perspectives. This can lead to the Studies in Cinema and Media Culture department (or SCMC for those like those in the aforementioned reason) as a place to study these subjects if you want to have a focus on film and television. This department is quite impressive with the breadth and depth of knowledge relating to these elements of our culture that we take for granted. It's also one of my favorite subjects.

However, I could never actually devote enough time to get a major in that field because not only is that degree completely worthless unless you want to get into academia, which I most certainly do not (I don't think...), but I don't think I qualify on a personal level for some glaring reasons:

1.) I don't smoke two and a half packs-equivalent a day of personally-rolled cigarettes,

2.) I may look for symbolism a lot, but I don't see it EVERYWHERE,

3.) I know how to enjoy big-budget Hollywood-produced blockbusters without going on a tangent about the evils of big corporations and "what is at stake" (an absolute favorite phrase of those in this field),

4.) I don't enjoy getting into long-winded discussions outside with my peers while smoking the aforementioned personally-rolled cigarettes, and

5.) I don't speak of "-isms" enough.

Thankfully, this stuff can never be as annoying as the increase in tonage in a person's voice when they say "okay" in the form of a question.

Hostel: Part II is way more intelligent than it has any business being

I can't believe I'm advocating such an uber-feminist piece of text, considering how much of a misogynistic individual I am, but it proves that Eli Roth is either a total genius or an accidental one.

So this essay by Mulvey called "Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema" speaks of a patriarchical phallocentric society, it being us (we love the penis I guess). What she means, though, is that we live in a very male-dominated society and while this is reflected in many, many other facets of culture, nothing expresses it more obviously than the movies. It's referred to as "phallocentric" because of the fact that in the cultural context, the phallus is power; it symbolizes power and the fact that power is given in society (power to give meaning and context overall) is what is of concern to many feminist theorists. So of course, the ultimate fear (of men, of course...I highly doubt women are much concerned with balls getting hacked off) is castration, literal and metaphorical.

Now women, arguably, are seen as a threat in this society. Not like they're going to take up arms because they're pissed about making 73 cents to the man's dollar (though at our age I doubt this applies since last time I checked, FIVE of my eight supervisors are female and they make nearly four dollars an hour more than I do), but rather that this is why they are obsessively maintained at a subconscious, intrinsic level. There are two reasons:

1.) Women are a threat because of this dualistic, binary system we live in (black vs white, good vs evil, life vs death, man vs woman). Men see women as the Other (oooooh spoooooooky) and without this Other, men would crumble. And more importantly,

2.) Women represent the loss of manhood because she is the opposite of man; the symbolic Other. We all know the phrase, "You are such a little bitch!" when directed at a man becoming all the more offensive to the man. This is representative of this. Now we delve into psychoanalysis (*SHUDDER*) and Freudian theory (*bigger shudder*). This is an anxiety regarding castration. Remember that Freud used the "bad mother" as the source for literally almost ALL neuroses that he "diagnosed" during his career. Not only does this make him blatantly and hugely misogynistic, it also shows that that is the underlying issue with men; a fear of association with women.

Now to get to the point here: in Hostel: Part II, the main victims are female, a total gender reversal from the first Hostel. While it seemed like the frat-guy douche-bag types were almost getting punished in the first one, in this one, these young women are literally reduced to innocent victims, reflective of how women are portrayed in film. The reason why I think Eli Roth is very conscious of feminist theory when making this film, and is fully aware of how women are portrayed in film, is this: a man gets his dick and balls cut off with a pair of scissors. That's it. This is what the film basically builds up to, making it the centerpiece for the climax. This represents that fear of castration being put forth; the man who loses his junk is now no more, left to writhe in agony in the torture room after his manhood is literally devoured by a dog (nice, possibly intentional reference to Caligula, by the way, the TRASHIEST movie EVER made). He is reduced to rubble and that's the end of him; we do not see his death, it is simply implied. But that doesn't matter; he's suffered the worst fate imaginable, many people (mostly men) are thinking; I actually heard, upon exiting the theater this past June a guy say, "Oh my fucking god, I can't believe that just happened...I'd rather just get killed." If a fate worse than death for men is losing their defining physical characteristic, militant feminist theorists may be on to something...

...but of course I would never support that. I like that extra 27 cents too much.

The Vibe

A simple observation, that could very well turn into a ramble.

I enjoy the website MNVibe. It cues one into upcoming events that many would not know about normally (all hail the underground culture of anything of course, no sarcastic tone intended), it lets people with common interest in electronic music come together and discuss their opinions in usually very clever, well-worded and thought out manners (sometimes with quite entertaining, as I believe the online speak goes with the young folks these days, "pix0rs"), it lets people reflect on the fun times they have had, and many, many other benefits to being a communal gathering website. It is a great site for many reasons.

There is no "however" here. I honestly believe that to love something or even simply like it, you can laugh at it and/or criticize it and hopefully no one will take it too personally.(Ironically enough, if I posted this blog on the forum there, I would get ravaged by people calling me any number of things from "stupid newbie raver trash" to "pretentious asshole.") Yes, so to be able to laugh at/criticize certain aspects is always a plus.

First thing I noticed that made me laugh: a quote within a quote within a post. To explain, MNVibe has this cool feature that I am sure plenty of forums do, that allows you to click a button called "quote" that copy-pastes someone's reply to the thread and puts it in a box for all to see, connected to your reply. On a thread, I saw a quote, that was of a quote, and I figured that that could probably continue on to eternity, but maybe not (there may be restrictions on that, I have no clue). Not the point here. Electronic music has been pegged as being excessively "post-modern" and as much as I despise that term when it comes right down to it (when in the HELL did "modern" come to an end?), I couldn't help but think about that and smile when I saw this replication within a replication, in and of itself a very, dare I say it, "po-mo" concept, attached to the Vibe, a site for all things electronic music.

Second of all, as an example of the nature of MNVibe's events forum, post-Justice, a forum opened up of course, people discussing the quality of the show. Great, that's all well in good. Let's jump in a time machine and flash forward to today, at 1:46 PM, not 48 hours later, and the back-and-forth exchange has turned to the topic Satanism. Only on the Vibe, is all I can say. That's why I think it rocks.

Third thing of note: I have only posted something like, four to five times. Not necessarily because I don't have opinions on matters discussed on these forums, but because I know that the deluge of responses would swallow up whatever thought I put on that page like the Sarlacc creature in Return of the Jedi (that for god knows what reason had a beak-like thing added to it in the Special Edition...I liked the original tooth pit with the tentacles, I don't want Toucan San goddamnit. But as always, I digress, because of simple use of unbelievably nerdy simile). But back to the Vibe forum.

I'm going to say this right now: this is the only forum that overshadows the pretentiousness of the imdb.com forum, except that this pretentiousness is tolerable because the people on the Vibe seem to have gotten, oh I dunno, actual education beyond the fifth grade. Thank god. This pretentiousness is not necessarily bad, it is just daunting. It's not even just that, but how utterly personally some people take comments is mind-blowing. An example:

"dude, you are way too defensive about this shit, and please don't go trying to deprive people of their own opinions. you seem nice in person but serisouly you are the worst poster on the vibe hands down. yes, justice is recycled daft punk in mine and plenty of other peoples opinions, i've thought so since i first heard them. for whatever reason they blew up, the show was packed, and thats great. despite that, some of us are interested in more than just a wild party and derivitive music we've already heard. i'm glad you had a good time and all, but seriously shut the fuck up and let us say what the fuck we want to on a PUBLIC MESSAGE BOARD without having to hear your banal fucking drivel about how old or out of touch we are. YOU ARE THE NEWB, we've all been to wild parties, freak outs, huffed nitrous, taken drugs, and stepped over people fucking on dirty floors, all to a strikingly similar soundtrack. just let it go when we question why something so obviously regurgitated garners such a response, as it has NOTHING to do with you personally, or your tastes."

...MY GOD. "I was there, I was doing this then" and to quote the King of Siam, "Et cetera et cetera et cetera." This poster, the handle applied to him/her being "PineBender", is the exact reason why I don't post on MNVibe. Responding simply to a friend of mine's statement of opinion on Justice, THIS is what is produced: a dissecting and dismembering of someone's opinion AND questioning essentially their right to say they had a good time. Thank christ my friend responded with something so concise it had to make me laugh:

"I actually LIKE being the newb, because it seems to make me enjoy parties a lot more than most people than most on here..."

Final example of hilarity: a few posts earlier, this "PineBender" character says, "also I didn't mean for that to come off as so negative earlier. sorry." Oh really? I will let that speak for itself. And like I said, this whole debate that looked like it was about to explode for about 14 nanoseconds was extinguished and next thing you know, there are discussions on the use of the Christian imagery as a gimmick, and that ultimately led to a discussion surrounding Satanism. Go figure. Only on the Vibe.

Now all this sounds like harsh criticism and I must remind you that it most definitely is not. I still like reading this stuff, it makes me laugh, it informs me, keeps me connected, et cetera. So here we are, at the end of this thread and where does it lead? Who knows. Eventually the interest in the Justice show will dwindle and a new thread will be started on something completely different, most likely the afterthoughts to the upcoming Bi-Polar, which I will read with equal relish. Maybe I'll even grow a pair of balls and post something.

A look of hate? From a hater? NO.

Okay first order of business, I say to myself, when my eyes flutter open this morning, encrusted with that mysterious gunk we noun-ify (PLEASE tell me that I just created a verb here) as "sleep," is to turn off the PowerDVD application which has been playing Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith's menu for the last six hours, so I stumble forward and do so and then crawl back into my blanketed sanctuary, warmed again by my typical college-student-owned double-sided comforter (which I really need to replace with something a little LESS typical).

Now let us flash forward by about 30 minutes or so when I finally actually get up. I open up Internet Explorer which goes straight to Google. The first things I see is "54 Degrees F, Cloudy, Wind E at 8 mph, 98% humidity." What a great way to start the day, to be told, in essence that it's going to be cold, wet, and depressing today. All day too, mind you. However, this is obviously out of our control, so complaining about it does very little, if anything (as if complaining on a myspace blog about ANYTHING does a single bit of good...but like usual, I digress).
The next thing I see a moment later is the following headline off to the left:

"School shooter had look of hate, teacher says."

All right, now as some may have heard, there was a recent school shooting over in Ohio last week (considering that minus VA Tech, we were behind on the quota for the year), where 14-year-old Asa Coon came into school with two handguns and shot four people, including the aforementioned teacher before the turning his gun on himself, making him the only one dead here. Now before I go any further, I should explain that I am not diminishing or attempting to diminish this tragedy, for that is indeed what it is: a tragedy. If you know me, you know that I take the subject of school shootings very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that I tend to read up on them as soon as they happen, and quite frequently, as was the case here, I get fed up with the coverage of them.

The "why" of these situations is confronted almost immediately after the event, and I understand why: people want to feel like there was a reason for what, in our minds as a society, is a meaningless act of destruction. But to begin speculation on the deep-seeded reasons behind these acts is futile. Need I remind everyone that it took forensic psychologists and researchers SIX YEARS to uncover a plausible explanation for Columbine, which was quite possibly, the worst-covered American tragedy in the last ten years (Don't believe me? Recall that Marilyn Manson was blamed for the killings because supposedly, these disturbed "teens" [I cannot stand this word, by the way] listened to and loved him. Little did these media jackals know, somehow, considering that this was stated on Eric Harris' public blog, they hated Marilyn Manson.).

The point should be gotten to. This simple headline provoked this entire ramble here because of the fact that it said something so obvious, that it felt facetious. Almost like an Onion headline. A look of hate? What other kind of look could there possibly be? A look of love? Happiness? HE IS ATTEMPTING TO MURDER PEOPLE. Honestly, what kind of news is that? We already know about what happened. No one is going to know anything more. Why bother continuing to cover it? So we can feel comfort in knowing that the media still cares. I see this as a sick way to keep people in the limelight so they don't feel ignored after a tragedy that has occurred. Ironically enough, by making someone recall a tragedy in a public way, over and over again, does very little in the therapeudic process at the intrinsic level.

I suppose that that was not much of a point, but honestly, people need to let these victims come to grips in their own way. However, if these people do indeed wish to come to grips by talking about it to the media, so be it. That is their choice. I'm just saying I, personally, don't agree with it.

I love livin' in the city

How do you define a hole in the wall? Normally, you don't, considering that it in and of itself is defined by its title. What do you think of when you see or hear about a hole in the wall? A place sadly with only a fist-sized grab-bag of devoted patrons and/or fans? A place with an incredible attraction to wrecking balls? Putting the cynicism here aside, I speak of a hole in the wall in the context of a food joint and that, my friends, is what I call that real magic (notice the complete flip from cynicism to sentamentalism). It does wonders for the pallette; I can almost guarantee you that almost always a hole in the wall, despite its questionable conditions, tastes phenemonal.

As an example, we of course have Al's Breakfast over on campus in Dinkytown, the immensely popular cardboard-box-sized diner utilized by many of the area's young folk as a place to nurse themselves after a night of partially destroying themselves with alcohol. It's great, this is established. But for me, it lacks that aforementioned real magic of a certain place called Scott Jamama's, on the corner of Nicollet Avenue and Diamond Lake Road in South Minneapolis. This place has been around since the dodo, as far as I'm concerned (okay, 10-15 years), but I only finally went there about a year and a half ago for an anniversary (best anniversary dinner ever by the way).

Okay, so here's the dining setup: you got two tables, one usually populated by a rather sizable mountain of newspaper and their telephone, the other basically scavenged from a bar from parts unkown. That's it. This isn't necessarily the place you go to to eat (and almost always are these tables occupied by people anyway), but that ain't the point. You go there to chow down on the best damn barbeque food ever. It'll make anyone who's a vegetarian feel, in the parlance of our times (or those of 1998-2000) and pun certainly (heaven forbid) not intended, salty (and the food's sodium content is probably higher than a hippie at Winnepeg Folk Fest). And as tasty as our favorites Famous Daves and Market Bar-B-Cue are, they cannot even come close to comparing to this place. And those places do indeed lack that personality that a hole in the wall such as Scott Jamama's has.

This isn't necessarily about sticking up for the small businesses. This is just proclaiming that Scott Jamama's is the best cardboard-box-sized hole in the wall dining facility in the whole damn city. Not much more can be said beyond that.

Welcome: Michael Clayton and other assorted ramblings

First I must say "Welcome." If you're on here and especially if you're reading this trifle of a blog, you probably already know me, so I can spare you the details on my life for they are quite worthless here. I don't pretend that this will reach a wide audience, but I can only hope that those who do enjoy my writing can find more easy-to-access blog than on Myspace. In any event, I hope you enjoy. The next several entries will be those I've written on Myspace over the last two months compiled together. So now without further adieu, let the rambling begin! Where to first? A little something called Michael Clayton.

Now Michael Clayton is one hell of a film-going experience, if only for the mind-blowing closing credits. Don't believe me? Go see for yourself. I highly doubt there has ever been a closing credits sequence like that in the history of film. If there has been, I will step off my self-assured film-going pedistal and retire to my studies of the human mind (which I am averaging out at about a B-). If you like thrillers, if you like legal-related films, if you like films in general, go see this movie. Or don't. The amount of audience this movie receives does not concern me.

What does concern me is the brief escalation of tone in a person's voice when they say the word, "okay." It's almost in the form of a question, but not like their asking one's permission for anything. It has almost a positive-sounding flavor attached to it, like they are almost happy to be asking the word, "okay." They are saying okay in that way to flip the power of a conversation into their favor, as opposed to having a real conversation; in other words, it is a so-called "clever" way to usurp the power of the conversation itself to bring it to its end. It's also an aspect of passive aggressivity, one of the banes of my existence. Pardon my melodrama in that phrase, by the way. But I digress.

Why do I even care about this change in tonage? Where am I hearing this? Well, being a telemarketer does have its perks, such as picking apart the ways people put words together when confronted with something such as someone in my profession. Now I'm not expecting these people to be welcoming my call with proverbial open arms; on the contrary, I expect them to tell me that they're not interested and to hang up on me (which, granted, some do). However, we live in this area of the country (Read: the midwest. Read more in depth: Minnesota) where saying what one means, where saying what is really on a person's mind, where expressing one's real emotions is verboten because it may offend someone's tender sensibilities. THIS is what concerns me. How long has it been since we can't truly and honestly express our emotions? As awesome as it would be to live amongst thousands of robots, it would be nice if these robots were not made of flesh and blood.

Do you enjoy the recordings of my explorations, observations, ramblings? Then keep reading as the days tick by.