1. Mouryou no Hako. Very probably my favorite mystery anime of all time as of current writing. Like I said in my reaction post last year though, the initial setup (dismembered girls in boxes) is VERY offputting at first glance. But it is one of the most intricate, thematically complex mysteries I have ever encountered in any medium. It is NOT a horror series despite appearances and despite genuinely disturbing creepiness. (All the creepiness is thoroughly grounded in reality with perhaps some SF undertones.) And like I said, it may be a difficult watch because it's HEAVILY grounded in obsessive esoteric cultural/linguistic/religious references. But it is so, so worth it. Bonus: the atmospheric post-WWII setting is gorgeously animated and the character designs (by CLAMP) are surprisingly nice. I'm actually interested in digging up the original novels, but of course they aren't translated because they are definitely not translation friendly. o_O (Though the one made into a live-action movie, Summer of the Ubume, WAS translated into English -- by Alexander O. Smith to boot!!! MUST LOOK UP.)
2. UN-GO. Easily the smartest show of 2011, mystery or not, and imo the best of that year. I've watched it about 3-4 times by now (I almost never rewatch series) and it still holds up. I posted somewhat extensively on it when it originally aired (check the tag I linked above). It's a cyberpunk* deconstruction** of the classic Golden Age mystery/whodunnit (to sum up: closed circle of suspects, central detective figure uses a combination of observation and deductive reasoning to pinpoint the truth of the matter) -- the cases themselves are often obvious (which is usually an irredeemable flaw for a whodunnit), but the true strength of the series lies in the tight writing, worldbuilding, amazing thematic arc, and underlying philosophical tension. I think it makes for good paired viewing with Mouryou no Hako (another good series to watch with Mouryou no Hako is Daughter of 20 Faces, but that's not really mystery) -- despite the subtly futuristic setting, the original material was set in the Meiji period (and written post-WWII), and the resulting thematic echoes/parallels are set up very, very well. In some sense I think the series is best appreciated if you have a solid grounding in 20th century Japanese history/literature/politics and Japanese Buddhist philosophy*** (plus some general awareness/understanding of Shinto beliefs), but it's not necessary and the series is FAR more "accessible" to a general audience than Mouryou no Hako.
Note though that the prologue movie (Inga-ron) should be watched LAST imo, as it otherwise spoils the classic Bones troll arc thrown in right before the finale. It explains a lot that can already be more or less inferred from the main series, but also offers the most satisfying conclusion. (Especially if you didn't completely grasp everything during the main series -- for once BONES offers ANSWERS ahahahaha.)
* afaik I'm the only person on the internet who considers the series cyberpunk. I explained my reasoning in previous posts though.
** I've since encountered an alternate argument that traditional Japanese mystery stories were already inherently opposed to the mystery tradition represented by the Golden Age writers (in the sense that the prime concern was not the deductive process/solutions, but rather in the examination of societal mores), but I'm not at all familiar with the "indigenous" Japanese mysteries that predate or weren't influenced by the classic English style or by Edgar Allen Poe (though I'm vaguely aware of their existence). Whether or not the original material falls under this category, I have no idea -- but imo as a 21st century anime adaptation it's impossible that the creators were unaware of the fact that they were deconstructing the genre as popularly understood nowadays.
*** not Zen as most Westerners understand it. The Buddhist principles that show up in the series cleave closer to Mahayana schools of thought. (Zen technically falls under Mahayana, but in Japan the difference between Zen and the other Mahayana traditions are much more pronounced than they are elsewhere. I believe Ango Sakaguchi was heavily influenced by Indian philosophy at one point [according to J-wiki he studied Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan in university], and I think it shows.)
( Conan, Kindaichi, other stuff...Collapse )
I wasn't kidding about my subject line.
comments at the original Dreamwidth post
My poly bureaucracy creeps slow. Very slow. This is for my wife and girlfriend’s protection, because I am a dumbass.
See, I have a tendency of assuming that emotional intimacy == compatibility. Yes, it feels wonderfully cozy that we share all of these fears and concerns and relationship patterns, and finding your most sensitive feelings reflected in someone else is a beautiful thing.
The problem is that I’m fucking crazy. So finding someone I really resonate with immediately? It usually means they’re as bad as I am, and that we’re actually going to exacerbate each others’ issues.
I’ve been known to dive head-first into relationships without checking for compatibility first, just sort of assuming that because we have A Connection it’s going to work out. Then, after months of daily fights, me wringing my hands 24/7 about WHY WON’T SHE UNDERSTAND, and an eventual slow death by slices, I’ve learned that I need to spend more time getting to know people before I start getting committed…. if only so my wife isn’t obligated to play psychotherapist for me when things turn sideways.
So there’s a six-month cooldown time in place, where we can make out but not have Teh Sexx0r… and usually that cooldown time stretches to nine months, or even a year, as we just take it slow and not rush getting permissions.
The big question is, why don’t I find this limitation confining?
Part of it is, of course, is that I chose this lifestyle. This isn’t an externally-produced ruleset, created in a process tantamount to blackmail; it’s one I helped shape, because after a series of four disastrous relationships that imploded messily across my poly web, I took an honest look and said, “Okay, that’s a bad pattern, what’s a potential fix?”
But more importantly, sex is the least important bit for me.
Don’t get me wrong; anyone who’s ever made out with me will tell you that I’m passionate as hell. But sex is something that’s common; particularly in the kink communities, it’s not particularly difficult to get. If you’re open about your desires, reasonably personable, and are sapiosexual as I am, you’ll have a lot of options.
What I can’t get elsewhere is you.
Sure, maybe I’ll spend nine months hanging out with you on our once-a-month dates, getting to know each other… but that’s the best part. For me, “getting to know people” is an activity I find desirable in and of itself. Chatting, snuggling, dining out… that’s all stuff I like. And the level of flirtation/innuendo is a beautiful spice for that.
If and when we eventually hook up, that’s gonna be a wondrous new layer to what we share, and not the entirety of it. So I’m perfectly okay waiting for that to happen, since that is far from the whole reason I’m here.
I’m in no rush.
So yeah, it’s a long time. It’s not a process I’d recommend as standard for most poly groups. But that’s the glory of poly relationships: there’s no objective set of rules. What would be insanely restrictive for one set of people is actually a wise and stabilizing force in ours, just as what would be joyous freedom for some couples would actually cause harm if I tried it at this time in my life.
But does it matter if my rules would work for you? Lemme repeat: if it’s working for you and the people you’re dating, then it’s great.
This glacial proceeding helps me to choose better partners, and keeps my wife and girlfriend happier (even as neither of them are bound by this six-month rule), and hopefully the people I’m dating in this slow process are still happy to see me even if I’m not whipping out Little Elvis yet.
It’s an approach. Because there’s no the approach. And there never will be a the approach as long as humans are varied creatures with differing needs.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/303286.h
The un-spoilery version:
This movie is a lot of fun action, funny one-liners, and also reveals a lot more about the Kirk and Spock characters, giving them more depth than they had before. I'd recommend seeing it in the theaters. I'm torn about whether I liked this or Oblivion better. Oblivion was prettier and more thinky, this was more action and fun.
( The spoilery version:Collapse )
So yeah, I really enjoyed it. :) Go see it.
Originally posted on Dreamwidth. comments there. Comment here or there.
While I had been enjoying the second half of season, there was nothing that blew me away. "The Name of the Doctor" fixed that.
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This entry was originally posted at http://veleda-k.dreamwidth.org/328259.ht
- Current Music:Time-Bomb- All Time Low
Three years ago I had the privilege of meeting you at a PostSecret Event. That same night, I also met a guy named Tyler. He was extremely good looking and we both loved PostSecret.
We started dating a month later and it has been an amazing three year journey with him. Just last month he proposed!
We are now in the midst of the crazy, yet exciting wedding planning and I just wanted to say "thank you" for creating such a wonderful project that brings people together - in many ways - through anonymous secrets.
Eventually, if you’re trying to make it as a writer, you’re going to despair. You can’t write well enough. This story will never sell. If you do sell it, it’ll never be popular.
This terrible feeling like you’re just wasting your time and nobody cares happens, absurdly enough, to very popular writers. It happens to nobodys. It happens to writers, period. If you’re putting words down and trying to get people to read them, there will be times you’ll want to take everything you wrote, set it on fire, and then fling yourself in to burn with it.
Here is what you do when those down days come: you write more.
Took a nasty rejection straight to the sternum? Write more.
Had a confidence-shredding bad review? Write more.
This grand story in your head is completely beyond your ability to commit it to the page? Write more.
This terrible book you’re reading made millions, and your better work can’t find a home? Write more.
Feel like you’re a fraud who’s somehow lucked out when better writers languish behind you? Write more.
Your favorite author just told you he abhorred what you wrote? Write more.
The thing about writing is that so much of it comes down to tenacity. The most popular writers in the world can all tell you about this fellow they knew when they were starting out, a colleague who could write stories that would charm the petals from a rose… and yet these natural geniuses didn’t stick with it. They either let life swamp them, or couldn’t stand the rejections, or didn’t feel like it. And these magnificently talented people never became Writers, because for whatever reason they never pushed through.
It’s not that they weren’t very good. It’s just that they stopped knocking on doors. While the writer you’ve heard of kept ringing doorbells until she got an answer.
So pushing through is what you need to do. Write when you’re sad. Write when you’re busy. Write when you’re uninspired. Write when you’re utterly consumed with the idea that you cannot do this. Learn to take all of that despondence and to transform it into beauty, for writing in the throes of despair will do two things: when you are writing sad scenes, you will have so many more emotions to cram into it, and when you are writing happy scenes, you will be forced to emulate joy. One will make for better writing, the other will elevate your mood.
The truth is, though I’ve written in both despair and elation, I can’t really tell which mood I was in when I go back to revise. You must learn to write without hope. Keep creating through those dry spells, keep sending out stories during the rejections; decouple your personal contentment from your creative muse and make that bitch dance for you. She’ll be clumsy at first, foolish… but with time, you can make her do the most elaborate pirouettes when you’re barely able to move off the couch.
In fiction, there’s often a plot sequence: Try/fail, try/fail, try/succeed. In real life, there may be a hundred try/fails before you get to that succeed. But you’ll never know unless you stay in that execution loop.
And then write more still.
(Inspired by Catherine Schaff-Stump’s Writers and Despair.)
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/303034.h
Just discovered: I could pretty much ruin any woman’s day when she’s about to leave the house by asking, “Oh, you’re going out like that?” and then muttering that it’s fine, it’s fine.
I just said that to Erin hypothetically, and she knows I didn’t even mean it, and she’s still itching to change her clothes.
(Cue tides of women saying that they’re above that. You may thank me for making you feel superior.)
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/302666.h
Oh, lord. Okay, so my health has been like... like the Chinese water torture of health or something. I'm gonna cut it here so people don't have to read it unless they really want to, especially as I'm not as concise a writer as I used to be. Bleh. But!
( Here.Collapse )
As for fandoms, nothing has really consumed me! I was heavily into One Piece at the time I hiatused and I was roleplaying Nami from OP for the longest time, but with certain creative choices for the manga and anime my interest is now starting to wane a whole lot, which saddens me. I loved Tiger and Bunny and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Blade of the Immortal is a longterm manga I've been reading since it was first released and that recently finished up, so I'm really interested in the characters and roleplaying from that right now. And recently, we've been watching various anime series at home: Baccano, K, Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, Gosick... I'm probably missing some things.
...and Sailor Moon because I'd never seen it before. But I only got partway into series 2 before I gave up on it. >> The, uh... anime storytelling is too stupid in parts for me. (I liked the manga, though.) Oh! And the 2012 TMNT series is actually surprisingly fun despite all my misgivings, so I'm greatly enjoying that!
I'm taking any and all recommendations for new things to try, though. mo_om
Music is healing. Currently Brad Mehldau making things better for me. You know, after 30-odd years I may finally be making peace with me not listening to lyrics. Am I missing something? Arguably no more than other people miss in the music itself. People all hear differently. For me, sound is so much more meaningful and immediate.
Posted via m.livejournal.com.
Tonight we had dinner at Houlihan's in Garland, near my work. My wife grew up in Kansas City, and remembers when the first Houlihan's opened on Country Club Plaza in 1972. We enjoyed the meal there very much.
Tomorrow I am to speak with my sister via google+ hangout. Then I plan to take a long walk in the outdoors. The unseasonably cool Spring melted into a more typical hot Spring. I am adjusting.This is also the barky-dog season for my rabbit-chasing canine friend.
I am about to read the book "Cloud Atlas", having seen the movie and having been given the book to read by a kind friend.
Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.
Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to follow rules nor a compulsion to rebel. They are honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others if it suits him/her.
There will be spoilers for all four seasons of White Collar.
Now let's go.
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This entry was originally posted at http://veleda-k.dreamwidth.org/328046.ht
- Current Music:Campus- Vampire Weekend
Which is not to say that Kirk was a sack of suet in the JJ Abrams-inspired reboot, but the fact is that the entire last act of the film involved Kirk lucking out through most of it. And while everyone has their own take on what Star Trek is or is not, to me a large part of Star Trek is that you don't ever bet against Kirk. He's not educated (even if times he aspires to be), but his low cunning has literally placed him up against gods on multiple occasions... and he triumphed. So to have the new Kirk hand most of the plotting duties over to Spock was a bit disappointing... and I was afraid that it would only get worse in the sequel.
It didn't, I'm glad to say.
The main theme of this Star Trek movie is unpredictability. In most Star Trek movies - hell, most movies - the captain has a job to do, and the course of action is pretty clear. But in this one, you're walking with Kirk as his crew and commanders disagree with each other, and most of them seem to have pretty good points. As the Captain, it's his job to make the calls... but it's pretty hard to second-guess Kirk's actions when you're not sure what the right call is.
And Kirk is still green; talented, but green. (Okay, this is Star Trek, so I must clarify: not literally green.) He makes mistakes, and then - to his credit - backtracks. This is a Kirk who is still very much learning what it means to be a Kirk, and to see a man flip-flopping as new data comes into play warms my Democratic little heart.
But still: uncertainty. There's a lot of sections that leave you feeling off-kilter, as in, "Are they really going to do this?" and that only gets worse if you know the old canon.
And now, I must venture not Into Darkness, but into spoilers - for like Iron Man 3, the less you know about the film the more you'll appreciate it.
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In the end, this Star Trek is... not that Star Trekky. The old Star Trek wrestled mightily with matters of theme and morality: the reason Star Trek II was so popular was because it asked, "What happens when you can't win the Kobayashi Maru? What happens when you're old?" This new Star Trek asks, "What happens when a violent terrorist - oh, wait, PLOT TWIST! Oh, look at that! Boom! Cool! And... hey, duty, isn't it great?" It just moves too fast to really actually ask or answer any questions. It is, like The Avengers, utilizing clever one-liners in lieu of actual characterization, which is witty and fun and does not lend itself to anything more than cartoon characters.
Which isn't a big ding. I mean, it's a big-ass summer movie. But the Star Trek concept has been watered down to fit in our popcorn, and it's satisfying enough. This may actually be a better thing on the whole, as the failure mode of Star Trek is BLAH BLAH MORALITY, and when Star Trek fails it becomes sludgy and preachy. This new Star Trek may fail at some point, at which point it'll basically degrade to Transformers... which, from a Hollywood perspective, is actually preferable.
(Fun Fact: Damon Lindehoff actually wanted to call it Star Trek: Transformers 4, which as he noted "Was technically available." He was joking, but I think there's more than a little acknowledgement that this new Star Trek is intended to be a blockbuster first, Star Trek second.)
I'm not saying that Into Darkness is bad. It's a notch below Iron Man 3, which I loved. It's a fun movie, and I'd encourage you to go see it. If you're a Star Trek fan, well, it's Star Trek Lite, and that's still a big hoopla, and they even throw in old references to make it work.
In short: it works. You'll probably be happy if you go see it. Benedict Cumberbatch is very Benedict Cumberbatchy, and Chris Pine does an excellent job channeling Kirk. And there's no need to stay through the credits, as there is no Shwarma.
This is all you need to know. Now go buy your tickets.
I fricking love getting my stories read at Escape Pod – the narrators there are so good, the forums so full of awesome feedback, and there’s just something beautiful about hearing words I wrote become part of an old-time radio show. So my singularity-as-horror tale “Dead Merchandise” is up – and the people at Escape Pod seem to be digging it, thus far.
In case you need a sample, it follows:
The ad-faeries danced around Sheryl, flickering cartoon holograms with fluoride-white smiles. They told her the gasoline that sloshed in the red plastic canister she held was high-octane, perfect for any vehicle, did she want to go for a drive?
She did not. That gasoline was for burning. Sheryl patted her pockets to make sure the matches were still there and kept moving forward, blinking away the videostreams. Her legs ached.
She squinted past a flurry of hair-coloring ads (“Sheryl, wash your gray away today!”), scanning the neon roads to find the breast-shaped marble dome of River Edge’s central collation unit. River’s Edge had been a sleepy Midwestern town when she was a girl, a place just big enough for a diner and a department store. Now River’s Edge had been given a mall-over like every other town — every wall lit up with billboards, colorful buildings topped with projectors to burn logos into the clouds. She was grateful for the dark patches that marked where garish shop-fronts had been bombed into ash-streaked metal tangles.
The smoke gave her hope. Others were trying to bring it all down — and if they were succeeding, maybe no one was left to stop her.
Anyway, you can listen to it here. It’s about thirty-five minutes. And another great production, but I’d expect no less from the ‘Pods.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/302367.h
Outside-the-cut-reaction 2: Oh thank you, I can finally go back on tumblr without fear of being spoiled.
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This entry was originally posted at http://veleda-k.dreamwidth.org/327755.ht
- Current Music:Into the Blue- Bush
So, if you haven’t already read Hyperbole and a Half’s absolutely brilliant write-up about severe depression, go forth and read. I’ll wait.
How ’bout that, huh?
I was talking to Kevin about the post (we’re both fans, and have both had our own bouts with depression) and as I was talking, I realized that before I had my particular breakdown, two people had said something to me—two people, one of whom I don’t know, one of whom said one word—and those two people had a profound impact on my experience with depression.
One was good, one was bad.
The first—the good one—was my doctor. When I’d gone in for my checkup after my divorce, when I was getting all the medical stuff done fast before I went off my ex-husband’s insurance, she asked me if I needed antidepressants.
I told her no, that I was fine, because it hadn’t occurred to me that what was happening wasn’t fine, if that makes any sense. Yes, I couldn’t sleep and was sobbing a lot, but I was getting a divorce! I’d moved out! Random sobbing and epic insomnia are normal in that circumstance! It’d be weird if I wasn’t miserable and irrational!
That’s what I was thinking, anyhow. I don’t know how coherently I expressed any of that, but she looked at me over the clipboard and said “Uh-huh. Well, call me if that changes, and we’ll get you started on something right away. It’s a lot easier to start it now than when you’re at the bottom of a hole you can’t get out of.”
I can’t say that this phrase saved my life, because I’ve never had suicidal tendencies (the closest I ever got was a profound hope that the atheists were right and I eventually wouldn’t have to deal with this any more) but it sure as hell saved me a lot of time and grief.
It normalized everything. It made it a medical problem. It still took me awhile to figure out that a lot of things were probably linked to depression (insomnia, say!) but when I finally broke, at some point what I thought was “Oh, hey! I’m at the bottom of that hole she warned me about! I will call my doctor. She will fix it.”
(And may Ganesh give her every blessing known to nurse practitioners, because she handled it like a pro. “Oh, no! Okay…okay…yes, that’d be anxiety.” (I believe I said “Oh! Is that what that is? Neat!” because even in a hole, I am still fundamentally me.) “Now where are you? Let’s find the nearest pharmacy, and I’ll call in what I can over state lines. Come in as soon as you’re back in NC.”)
If she hadn’t said that one sentence, I would have floundered around for ages, trying to do the brain chemistry equivalent of fixing a broken leg through the power of positive thinking. But she did say it and so when I finally realized what was going on—”Hey! This is a nervous breakdown!”—I didn’t go through any of the stages of trying to figure out how you treat that or was it bad enough or whatever, because she had set the stage.
The other person was…well, less helpful. And I don’t know her name and couldn’t pick her out of a line-up, but I still feel a vague bitterness toward her, because when I was newly moved out of my house and away from my garden, I went to a local garden center to ask what I could grow in pots in the shade of a building–real, true, deep dry shade, in permanent shadow.
She curled her lip and said “Plastic.”
I know I tried asking a few questions, and maybe she suggested ivy or something, but it ended quickly and she walked off with the you-are-wasting-my-time air. And I, in innocent despair, believed her and went home and didn’t garden again until I moved in with Kevin.
I know perfectly well WHY I believed her—I was depressed and getting a divorce and leaving one of the cats with him and it made total sense that of course something else I loved was going to be taken from me, because that was just how life was going to be. But I do wish I’d cracked a book open, because, as it happens, she was incredibly wrong.
I mean, jeez, I had flowerpots, I could have done ferns. Impatiens. Sedges. I could have grown moss, if nothing else. If I didn’t feel like watering, there are epimediums and cast iron plant and any number of things. Meehania will grow in a dark closet. (Fine, that’s obscure, I can’t blame her for missing that one. But I could have taken up growing mushrooms, for cryin’ out loud!)
There’s no knowing what road you don’t walk down, of course, but that definitely slowed my recovery. Gardening is what I DO. I say “I’m a gardener,” as often as I say “I’m an artist.” Gardening is where I feel the most like myself. (Art is where I don’t actually notice myself, if that makes any sense.) If I’d been digging around, I think I would have been much more resilient. (And by “resilient” I may mean “would have put grow-lights all over the living room and been living in a jungle” because if that had occurred to me, I expect I would have done it in a heartbeat.)
Plus there’s that one soil bacteria that gives your serotonin levels a boost, which is not to be sneezed at when one is fighting chemical wars inside one’s skull.
So I don’t know. Life is better now and both these things have largely faded, but Hyperbole reminded me. Much like single pieces of corn.
(Mind you, at the time I found duck decoys pretty damn hysterical…)
Yes, I've finally started just picking out some therapists from a search on the psychology today website. "CBT" was one of the search terms. I have been dragging my feet, thinking things like,"obviously a therapist that's working on S.I. Cannot get their shit together enough to get off this damn rock. But looking for someone in the city is a bad idea because they are more expensive, and there are so many more to sift through, and lets face it part of my problem is getting myself out of the house.
But if they have that S.I. accent it won't work for me. I know I'm being prejudiced but I have vetoed some on their last name (Italian) or if they look like typical S.I.
Also if they mention spirituality... One otherwise interesting profile included that she uses Reiki and " soul work" ::shivers:: no thanks. Although I know that meditation is probably helpful in general...
Anyway I sent off a couple emails, telling them what I'm looking for, and if they would be the right fit, or if they could point me towards a place/person that would.
It's weird to just pick people out, not get some kind of referral from someone else, but that method hasn't met with much success in the past, anyway.
I'm really ready to move on, man. I know it's going to require a lot more energy output and focus, but that's better than just being miserable all the time.
There was more to this, but it seems to have disappeared. Clusterfuck 7 problems...
In the meantime, today I'm reconfiguring a room here in our apartment, but it's very hot up there. I'm taking a break. We're also trying to talk our landlord into installing grounded outlets into our living room, dining room, and bathroom. As it is, the bathroom currently has no outlets of any kind. Sure, it's nice to be living in a 100 year-old house with lots of quirkish details, but dealing with wiring that dates back a half-century has its drawbacks.
Sometimes, you get a rare gift, but don’t recognize it for what it is.
Kitchen Nightmares is a show that specializes in dysfunction. The pattern is standard: world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay shows up to a failing restaurant, meets some owners who are in deep denial about some aspect of their business (usually the terribly food), and yells and cajoles them until they come around. (Most of the restaurants fail within three years after Gordon’s makeovers – but then again most restaurants period close within three years, and all of these guys would have been out of business within months without Gordon’s help, so I generally consider Gordon to be a good bet.)
Now, nobody cares about the food in the American Kitchen Nightmares – it’s all about the crazy people. The owners are each uniquely bollixed – overly-proud, self-taught chefs insisting that the customers love their octopus slides, sad sacks who’ve given up after discovering that the restaurant life isn’t the easy money they thought it was, chefs claiming that pub food is Steak Wellington and wondering why their customers keep asking for burgers. The array of people in denial on Kitchen Nightmares is a fascinating microcosm in all the ways that a personality can kill a business.
But this week? They found the mother lode.
Amy’s Baking Company Bakery, Boutique, and Bistro – yes, it has all those names – had one of the most magnificent Facebook meltdowns ever after appearing on Kitchen Nightmares, and being the only business ever who Gordon Ramsay – one of the most stubborn personalities on television – actually walked away from because he couldn’t get through to them.
Amy and Samy, the owners, greeting Chef Ramsay by imploring him to help them against the “lying bloggers” who were spreading bad reviews about their restaurant. The problem was not their food – it was that they didn’t have someone like Gordon Ramsay to vouch for them. And they routinely yelled at customers, telling people who complained to fuck off, we don’t want your business, a fact both shown on television and in their customer’s reviews. They’d literally scream at someone loud enough that everyone in the joint would turn to find them.
The problem was that their “real customers” loved their food. Anyone who complained was not a “real customer.” And they both became frenzied, like snapping chihuahuas, because how could so many people misunderstand them? If they just got the word out past these local yokels, got real chefs on their side, then the world would understand. The problem was not that they were being irrational, it was that they weren’t reaching the right people.
Which is a common dysfunction. You know, if the world could see what we did, people would agree with us! The problem is you!
And hence, Amy and Samy got a very rare gift: the world saw what they did.
Hundreds of thousands of people saw them act up on Kitchen Nightmares – where, yes, it’s a show that emphasizes conflict, but at the very least they still willingly hounded customers out to the street on camera – and then watched them argue on the Internet. And in fact, pretty much nobody agreed with them. We all thought that Samy and Amy were awful people for withholding tips from their waitresses, for firing a hundred people over the course of a year, for being brittle and awful human beings.
How many people get that opportunity, really? To have their reality tested so thoroughly? Sure, you can say that folks would agree with you if they only knew the truth, but how often does that happen? They have empirical evidence now that what they’re doing is childish, alienating, and unlikable!
Of course, that opportunity doesn’t actually work. They’ll find more excuses. That’s largely what humans are: excuse-hunting machines.
But honestly, it’s a strange and beautiful test of their delusions: they got exactly what they wanted. And now they’ll manufacture reasons why it wasn’t exactly what you wanted, if things had just gone a little different then Samy and Amy would be drowning in flowers and sympathy. They’ll show they have a truly world-class psychosis, one that can withstand all of America scorning them.
I feel a little sorry for them, as I do anyone who attracts the ire of the Internet. But in this case? It’s also a fascinating look at how darned intense denial can get.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/302091.h
Things are busy now, and a bit mobile. I am avoiding candy dishes assiduously. I like the Spring weather, though it's verging from warm to very warm. My philosophy is to metaphorically bathe in the heat.
I am in a creative mood. Sometimes that means fun things happen next.
NOLA Jewels Black Skulls & Roses Cross Necklace, $40. Stone skulls, heirloom black glass beads and handmade glass lampwork beads embellished with tiny roses, ornate jeweled black cross.
Making Money by Terry Pratchett. It's Discworld. It's Moist von Lipwig and Adora Belle Dearheart. What's not to love? And I thought that Vetinari was an especially magnificent magnificent bastard this time, but I think I always think that.
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Not as good as Silence of the Lambs, but it's been literally like a decade since I read Silence of the Lambs, so what do I know? I had a post brewing that compared the book versions of Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs to the movie verions, but since it's been a while since I saw the Red Dragon movie, and, like I said, roughly ten years since I read Silence of the Lambs, I'm not sure it would work.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. Really interesting, though certainly depressing. I was shocked but not the least bit surprised by what I learned in this book. Indeed, I feel like Perkins could have hit even harder than he did, but I understand that he had to struggle with a lot of both external and internal forces to write the book in the first place.
Currently reading: The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine. Stories within stories within stories. A novel both about family and the very act of telling a tale. I'm not very far along, but I'm really liking it.
This entry was originally posted at http://veleda-k.dreamwidth.org/327265.ht
- Current Music:Maybe- Ingrid Michaelson
There's a brand new, never-before-published Wild Cards story just up on Tor.Com.
This one was penned by Cherie Priest. It's called "The Button Man and the Murder Tree."
The 'cover art' by the amazing John Picacio.
This one is a sort of 'origin story' for Cherie's Button Man character, last seen in FORT FREAK.
You can read it here:
More Wild Cards coming on Tor.com... and of course on the shelves of your local bookshop.
- Current Location:Santa Fe
- Current Mood: cheerful
The film is doing good business, but getting decidedly mixed reviews from the critics. Some love it, some are cool, a few are tearing it to pieces. And the sides don't necessarily line up with those who liked or didn't like the source material, the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Count me with those who loved it. I think this is a great film. AND a great and faithful adaptation of the novel, which is not necessarily the same thing. I've never seen the two oldest versions of GATSBY, but the Luhrmann films stands head and shoulders above the beautiful but curiously empty Robert Redford/ Mia Farrow version.
Visually, this GATSBY is just amazing, something even its harshest critics have been forced to allow. (Though some of them do not like that). I don't think it would be correct to say that it brings 1920s New York to life, since I doubt that 1920s NYC was ever so saturated with color, life, sound. This is a dreamscape, everything bigger, brighter, noisier, drenched in life and color... but that's perfectly appropriate here, since the entire narrative is couched as Nick Carraway looking back on a formative time in his life, and dreams are always more intense than reality. Golden ages are never as golden as we remember them.
I'm a word guy first and foremost, though, and it is the words that sing for me here. There are a lot of Fitzgerald's own words in this GATSBY, in the dialogue, in the voiceovers, in the frame, and that's more than okay with me. There's never been a more lyrical writer than F. Scott and that lyricism is captured here.
The performances were also terrific. Carrie Mulligan's Daisy made me understand Gatsby's obsessions in a way that the Mia Farrow's Daisy never did; I would be have been obsessed as well. I will confess, I had my doubts about Leonardo diCaprio going on. The central flaw with the Robert Redford GATSBY is Redford himself. A fine actor, certainly, but far too handsome, graceful, self-assured, and in command of every scene to be convincing as Jay Gatsby. Robert Redford is one of the golden people, and Jay Gatsby is desperately TRYING to be one of the golden people, to aspire to everything that comes naturally to Redford, and that distinction is crucial... and ultimately as one of the things that sank the Redford film. I was afraid the Luhrmann version would suffer the same way. I've liked Leonardo diCaprio ever since I first saw him in THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (a guilty favorite) as The Kid, but in that, in TITANIC, and in all his major roles, he's comes across as cocky, brash, self-assured, handsome, with a swagger to him that suggests that he knows who he is and is unafflicted by doubts or fears... all of which is the antithesis of Gatsby.
He wasn't here. This is a new, mature Leonardo, as I have never seen himself before, and he does a great turn here. The Kid and Jack and all of those vanish, and there's only Gatsby... trying so hard, dreaming so fiercely.
I loved it.
And at the end, it broke my heart, the way the novel always does ever time I reread it, the way it did the first time I read it, back in the early 70s.
Now I will admit, I am prejudiced. This is one of my favorite books. This is a book that has vast personal meaning to me, one that has affected me deeply. The romantic in me identifies strongly with Jay Gatsby (and sometimes with Nick Carraway). I know what it is to chase after that green light. So I will not pretend to be disinterested.
But I love the book, I love the story, and I loved this movie. Go see it.
"... And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
- Current Location:Santa Fe
- Current Mood: melancholy