Feeling like the oldest Sklorno at the family picnic*

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a decent night’s sleep. And so I did what we all do, I reached for the caffeine(1,3,7-trimethylxanthine if you’re nasty.)

And it seemed like no matter how much I tried to sleep I couldn’t. I’d either wake up throughout the night, be unable to sleep for hours,or wake up hours early and toss and turn.

I suspected congestion, I suspected bruxism, I even suspected apnea.

I knew that one of my medications had an affinity for the same liver enzyme that’s used to clear caffeine out of the body, and that it could make one cup of coffee feel like five.

I didn’t know it could cause caffeine’s typical 6 hour half-life to extend to well over 24 hours. I mean. The chart STOPPED at 24 hours but the little line was still hardly dipped down from its peak.

So. I read that and dumped my massive caramel something-or-other with double shots down the sink.

It’s strictly decaf from here on out,or at least as long as I’m on this medication.

Upshot is I am in withdrawal and derping so hard I did my eyebrows with lipliner the other day. Fun!

Better living through chemistry, bitches.

*Barbecued.

Macho, macho Jan

So over the last couple weeks I’ve been binge-watching all the new I Kveld Med Ylvis clips as they hit the web..

And of course as I ran out of new ones I started watching old ones.The “Jan Egeland” video gave me pause, for a couple of reasons.

(In another interesting collision, the episode of South Park where they redefine “fag” to mean “Harley rider” is on tonight. Context.)

On one level, “Jan Egeland” is a testosterone-soaked love song to the Norwegian politician. On another level, it’s a playful poke at the male sexual gaze. All the hard rock tropes are out in force in the video – hoses, motorcycles, funerals, nudity – but it’s aimed at the male subject, by the male singers, with innuendo a-plenty. And then, in the middle of the song, this line:

He breaks down just like a homo

And starts crying just like a girl

But I guess you can cry and still be a man

If your day job is saving the world

At first I was like, “WHAT THE HELL, YLVIS” because “homo” is of course still a pejorative against gays. But then I thought about it a little more and remembered that their songs are typically genre parodies, and the hard rock genre is rife with sexual imagery, machismo, and a particular sort of hero-worship that treads the fine line between homophobic and homoerotic.

“Oh how I wish that I was Jan Egeland” Vegard sings*, as he rubs his chest and hips provocatively. Sometimes we think we want to be someone, but sometimes we simply want to have them, and it’s not always completely obvious which one it is. But for the repressed heterosexual male, anything that might even have a slight WHIFF of desire for another male HAS to be squashed under a thick layer of hero-worship and “no homo” dissembling.

Then there’s that South Park where the adults are scandalised by the children saying “fag” because they’re thinking of the homophobic definition but the kids think it means “lame, annoying Harley riders.” This is a parallel, of course, to the kids saying “gay” when they mean “lame.”

I was in junior high when that craze hit. “Gaywad,” “Gaylord,” or just the drawn-out “Gayyyyyyyyyyy” were used to insult pretty much anything. I even find myself thinking it reflexively, sometimes, when something especially stupid is happening. “So gay,” my brain whispers before I can even consciously react. It’s obnoxious, it’s irritating…it’s like I’m punching myself in the face.

This was really just a ramble about how internalised homophobia can make language do weird things to people and also how language can also be used to attack that institution, like in the “Jan Egeland” song. Good on ’em for pointing out that a guy pretty much has to be the most heroic manly man EVER in order to be allowed to cry. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, which is exactly why I love it.

Say it out loud. Shine light on the stupid. Get it out of you and it can’t hurt you as much.

*good god can he sing, he hits a high note that would make the guy from Queensryche shit his pants in envy.

An open letter to Top Gear

(Author’s note: This isn’t going to be a TV blog all the time – I leave that job to the inimitable Keith Telly Topping – but I gotta get this out.)

Dear Top Gear,

It’s been a good few years, eh? But times change, and people change, and we’ve grown apart. I think it’s time we started seeing others.

It’s not me, it’s you.

Well, to be more specific, it’s not Hamster or Captain Slow or the Stig, it’s Jezza*.

The Stig never called an Asian person a “slope.”

Hamster never said “Eenie meenie miney moe, catch a n****r by the toe.” His excuse? “That’s how we learned it in my day.” Yeah. You’re in my mom’s age bracket, she heard that version too. Know what, though? She had more sense than to repeat it. Even as a child, she had more sense than Clarkson has now as a supposed adult.

And I don’t think Captain Slow, despite his perpetually baked demeanor, would be dim enough to put a Falklands plate on a car destined for Argentina.

I don’t know who held up the sign saying “Gay cunt” with the arrow pointed at Clarkson’s head, but I wouldn’t put it past him doing it himself, since he also tweeted it.

Clarkson also said he wanted Cornwall to disappear.

You used to be that imported show featuring Three Guys Goofing Off that I waited eagerly for new seasons of each year. But I’ve found someone new, and while they’re occasionally immature, they’re never on the level of gleeful, unrepentant douchebaggery that Clarkson’s plumbed to.

So, Top Gear, I’m leaving you for Ylvis.

Have a nice cancellation.

No Love,

Me

PS: You aren’t even that good at the really juvenile potty humor anymore. @Midnight has taken that from you too.

The World Is A Vampire, But The Moon Is A Tribble

First of all…

spoilers

Generally speaking, with Doctor Who or any other long-running show, there will be Those Episodes that you keep coming back to because they’re important, amazingly well-done, a hilarious breath of fresh air, or they provoke strong feelings (or “feels” as the kids call them nowadays.  What was wrong with “verklempt” Discuss among yourselves.)

For example, “Bad Blood” is one of Those Episodes of the X-Files, because it’s brilliantly staged, lets Mulder and Scully show the funny side of their long, often painful partnership; and somehow makes you hungry for pizza even while watching Scully perform a gorram autopsy.

Another one is “Closure” because we finally really properly learn what happened to Samantha Mulder, and it’s a complete gut-punch that makes sense in a series where little ever does. I still can’t listen to Moby’s “My Weakness” without weeping, over a decade later.

“Kill The Moon” is one of Those Episodes for Doctor Who.

Doctor:  Listen.  There are moments in every civilization’s history in which the whole path of that civilization is decided; the whole future path.  Whatever future humanity might have depends upon the choice that is made right here and right now.  Now, you’ve got the tools to kill it; you made them.  You brought them up here all on your own with your own ingenuity.  You don’t need a Time Lord.  Kill it or let it live, I can’t make this decision for you.
Clara:  Yeah, well I can’t make it.
Doctor:  Well, there’s two of you here.
Clara:  Well yeah, a school teacher and an astronaut.
Doctor:  Who’s better qualified?

Doctor:  Essentially, what I knew was that you would always make the best choice.  I have faith that you would always make the right choice.
Clara:  Honestly, do you have music playing in your head when you say rubbish like that?

Oh, Clara, Clara. She still has not forgiven him for regenerating, has she? She still misses her cuddly floppy-haired young-old Doctor, because he’d have given her a hug and a pep-talk and made it not so scary.

But he’s still the same man, and it’s times like this I wish she could remember all the other Claras she’s been, who’ve known the Doctor all his lives. But even though she can’t, she could at least remember the time she talked the Doctor down from using the Moment to destroy his own planet. She was good enough then, so why does she doubt herself now, when it’s her own planet? She’s not like the others, who turned off the lights and said “Kill the moon, even if we die along with it.”

If he does have music playing in his head, then maybe it’s time she let herself listen to it. Just a little.

Was he harsh? Yes. But was he wrong? Oh hell no. Lundvik even says the same thing. “Not everything can be nice.”

Even making the right decision can hurt so, so bad. The hurt is temporary, though.

In time, I think, Clara will see that. And the Doctor – well, I think he’ll let his guard down once Clara lets herself actually see him. As he pleaded in “Deep Breath,” Clara still isn’t seeing him.

Some people have complained that they insult each other too much, and I think that comes from the building tension that has been there since Trenzalore – the fact that they’re attempting to carry on and pretend nothing’s changed when in fact a lot has changed. And the harder they try to pretend that nothing is different, the less they can see the parts that are the same.

*whew*

If I could think this deeply about coding, man, I’d be a frickin’ Java wizard by now. On the other hand, there’s a lot of fish in that sea, and maybe I just haven’t found my particular Babel fish yet.

So, that’s my review of “Kill the Moon.” Basically, don’t kill the Moon, it’s an egg and if it doesn’t hatch when I hit 71 I’m going to be very, very cross with you all.

Breaking Broadchurch

So Gracepoint aired last night, and it’s every bit as queasily self-conscious as I’d feared it would be. Of course, being a remake, it’s impossible to be any other way(unless it’s been a decade or two since the original, and even then there will be comparisons.)

The fact that the entire show is resting on David Tennant’s narrow shoulders is unsettling; while he’s more than capable of carrying the story, he shouldn’t have to. It’s an ensemble show, and the rest of the ensemble is unfortunately showing their roots as graduates of the Zooey Deschanel School of Emoting. (“Omigod you guys I’m so sad.” “Omigod you guys I’m so scared.”)

Even Anna Gunn seems hamstrung in Gracepoint, and anyone who saw her in Breaking Bad knows she’s got the chops. She just doesn’t seem to know when to dial it up or down here, and neither does anyone else. (Well, except Tennant, but it must be acknowledged that he has the advantage of having made this show once before.)

The first thing I noticed, unfortunately,  was the cinematography. Everything is too brightly lit, too blue, too HD – it’s washed out like soap opera lighting, which unfortunately gave me flashbacks to Passions (Remember that trainwreck?) which is never good. Then there was the self-conscious “THIS IS A PERFECT SLEEPY HAPPY FAMILY TOWN” vibe they were attempting to create, right down to the “Gracepoint: America’s Last Hometown” banners hanging from light posts. It was just one anvil after another smacking us upside the head.

The shot-for-shot remaking is a strange technique. I’ve seen it done elsewhere and I don’t quite understand the appeal of it. I suppose one could argue that it’s like seeing the blurry images sharpened up and made new, while preserving the original meaning – but done poorly, as it’s done in Gracepoint, it feels more like a bad LARP.

(Full disclosure time: I’m a pretty hardcore David Tennant fangirl. His work on Doctor Who is of course stellar, and has made him the star he deserves to be. But if you want to lose your socks entirely, watch him in Takin’ Over The Asylum, or Hamlet. In the first, he’s playing an emotionally disturbed twenty-something while actually in his twenties. In the second, he’s nearly forty but still comes off as an emotionally disturbed twenty-something. Plus, Claudius is played by Sir Patrick Motherf**king Stewart. What’s not to like?)

Point is, when you’re doing something besides soaps or reality shouting TV, you need to actually make your characters live and breathe. Body language matters, people. I only took a handful of acting classes and even I know that. If you just stand there with the same look on your face in every scene, I’m not gonna buy your emotional beats no matter how hard you anvil them at me. Hell, even Olivia Colman in her Eighties outfit on “Look Around You” wasn’t this stiff and awkward, and she had a reason to be.

So. That’s Gracepoint in a nutshell, and while I’m going to stick out the rest of the episodes for Science, I’ll recommend you just go watch Broadchurch instead.

Or watch Gracepoint muted, because Tennant is still ridiculously good-looking.

A Bumpy Start

Today was an odd duck, if days were in fact waterfowl (in which case Wednesday would be that one derpy duck that is perpetually half-sinking, and Thursday was the one that looks like it just fell into a shredder.)

I have struggled to figure out my blog’s theme, goal, mission statement, what have you. The thing I think matters most is that I want to write, need a place to write, and can’t really justify any other sort of permanent repository for the doodles.

So there will be doodles forthcoming, and links to my other creative pursuits, and things I want to share with you.

 

Like this:

 

You’re welcome.

 

(No, I don’t know what’s in the water in Norway, but I LIKE IT.)