Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Ship Being Jumped: A Work in Progress

Today is my last day in the library.

That's one of those sentences that proves, rather conclusively, that I'll never be a professional writer. I mean, in conveying a rather profound and life-changing event, I managed to suck all the drama out of it and leave you with the emotional equivalent of a Denny's waitress delivering hash browns. The fact is, that this is a bit scary. I'm leaping into the unknown blindly. But, if there's a time to go, this is certainly it.

Since Chuck is my hero, I've decided to follow him into teaching.

Ok, maybe Chuck had nothing to do with it, but he is a heck of a nice guy. And taller than I remember. Strange. Anyway, it's been one of those things that I've wanted to do for some time, in a private-to-myself-and-lovely-wife sense, but something that was out of reach by circumstances. The thing is, now, I can get and the getting is good. I plan to get my feet wet doing some substitute teaching and, simultaneously, looking for a throw-away job to keep the cash coming until the alternative licensure program kicks up in the summer. Then, God willing, I'll score a sweet job teaching art at some school within driving distance of my residence.

Short driving distance. I don't want to spend the whole day in the car, thanks.

At present, though, I don't know who will have jobs open in the area. That's scary. That either means that a job needs to be created, someone needs to move, or someone needs to take a stroll through the pearly gates.

Side note: please don't kill anyone just so I can get a job. I know how it might seem like you're doing me a favor, but I've seen enough Law & Order to know you wouldn't be. Thanks.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back in...

I am wearing a black shirt today.

This, in and of itself, is hardly noteworthy. I wear this shirt about as often as I wear any of my other shirts to work. What made me think about it is that Ted Danson, on Becker as Becker (reruns, of course...they play while I'm running out the door), mentioned to a woman that black was very slimming.

I've heard this before, but I never really thought about the context. I mean, let's say I go up to someone and say, "Hey, nice shirt. Black is very slimming." What I've really just said is, "Hey, you're fat. That shirt makes you look slightly less so."

And then, I get slapped.

I suppose I get the principle behind the idea. I mean, black shadows less on itself and so it creates more of a silhouette of you and leaves out some of the 3-dimensionality (but, let's face it...even black has its limits) making one look like they might, in fact, be a bit more slim. I, for one, don't think it works in profile, though. At least, it doesn't on me.

When I was working at Wal-Mart, one of my coworkers and I had a running joke (?) that we were actually in a paper and pencil RPG. I'm sure we weren't the first to say such things, but we both decided that we'd fumbled a roll getting a job there. To carry that idea on, I wonder if black clothing items would then give you a negative bonus to your girth attribute, which would, inversely, affect your charisma. I imagine that a shirt made from carbon nanotubes would be some sort of quest item, giving a -5/+5 to girth and charisma respectively. Of course, there would probably be some sort of off-set to that, since black draws in light and heat like Britney Spears does crazy. Maybe over time the charisma bonus would start ticking away because the user gets sweaty.

Of course, no amount of black clothing created charisma could erase the stink of having played a Britney Spears song in a band, regardless of intended irony.

Fortunately, no one here has ever done that.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No Fuss? Make One!

I'm all for sensitivity. Really. Well, due sensitivity, anyway. I mean, you just don't go up and ask someone if they want to go back over puppies with you just after their dog has been run over. You don't ask a widow how single life is at her husband's funeral. And you certainly don't surprise a soldier fresh from Iraq with some leftover Black Cats from July 4th. Why? Because it's insensitive. And unduly so. Eventually, though, the dog owner will get over the loss of a pet, either through time or replacement, the widow will hopefully accept the loss (though respect for the dead is still a good plan) and, God willing, the soldier will not suffer long term trauma due to his service.

That had to see that coming...I think Fox News needs to man up. While doing my daily Google news check on the WGA strike (I needs mah TV, mayn!), I came across an article about JJ Abrams new movie Cloverfield. Thanks to clever marketing, I was intrigued by the movie around the time the first trailers ran. I probably won't ever see the movie because Andria thinks it looks stupid and our movie watching time is limited anyway, so I try to subject her to as little crap as possible. I don't feel like this has lessened my enjoyment of anything, though. I'll just read the plot summary on Wikipedia and call it a day. What got me was how the article said, and I quote:

Cloverfield also inadvertently disses New York for what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, by re-enacting scenes of buildings exploding and massive clouds of debris for fun and profit.

Does no one recall what was said following the World Trade Center disasters? There was such sensitivity about the huge human losses that images of the Twin Towers were erased from movie posters and excised from films.

Like I said, I'm all for sensitivity, but is it really necessary that we call a moratorium on destroying New York because of what happened? I mean, if we follow that logic, shouldn't Peter Berg and the people at Universal be called insensitive for protraying an attack on Americans on foreign soil. I mean, the US embassy attack in Kenya happened in '98, only three year before the September 11th attacks. And I am Legend has WAY more dead New Yorkers than Cloverfield, if that's the bar for sensitivity that we're setting. I mean, ALL of them are dead except Will Smith. And The Bourne Ultimatum has Matt Damon, which is insensitive to Ben Affleck, because Matt still has an acting career.

Now, hyperbole aside, it's not like Abrams and Co. are pulling a Uwe Boll and making light of the attack. They just have a movie that a) is set in New York and b) due to the plot has scenes of New York's destruction. They could have set it elsewhere and nobody would've thought a thing about any relationship between the attack and the movie. The clouds of debris would be just that. Clouds of debris. If they'd been left out, someone, maybe even the writer of the same article, would've cried foul over the lack of realism in the mayhem. But, they didn't. NYC got the spotlight. Why? Because the city itself is an icon. No other city is as recognizable as "America". Not only is it culturally significant, though, but it's also geographically prime. The 1998 Godzilla movie also took place in New York and also featured he destruction of the city. Now, I don't expect that anyone should've been offended preemptively, but the reason New York was chosen as a replacement for Tokyo (once again, beyond the cultural significance) is that New York is on the coast. Unless something is coming from space and lands in a cornfield, it has to go through some coastal area. And if it's going through a coastal area, why not someplace where it can trash things? I'm not a monster, I don't know how they think (ok, how they WOULD think, since they're not real), but I assume that a monster worth its salt would probably bypass someplace like Holly Ridge, North Carolina, in favor of the Big Apple. What would it do, kick over the Faith Harbor United Methodist Church, trip over Danny's Welding and Crane Service, then head back out to sea, bored to death? Please!

I'm not presuming that Cloverfield will be a good movie. It's a giant monster flick made by a guy who couldn't keep people interested in a bunch of castaways long enough to match Gilligan's Island!
(Ok, Gilligan only made it three seasons and Lost will be starting number four soon, but Gilligan died so that Gunsmoke could live and Lost is really only on life support because JJ and crew promised to wrap up that mess in 2010)

What I am saying is that the victims and families of the September 11th attacks should be treated with respect. However, that doesn't mean that we should automatically shy away from telling a story just because a minority of people who MIGHT go into the movie completely unaware of its subject matter and be offended by it. If Hollywood would like to do something to keep a majority of people from being offended, instead, they should try to stop making crap.

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