Howdy from Hungary

While I would always prefer that putting out sub-par blog postings and procrastinating on improving the design of It’s My TV….It’s My Peanut Butter was my real job…it’s not.  But occasionally the real world comes with benefits beyond the paycheck that keeps me fed, clothed and connected to the net.  The current benefit?  I’ve been sent to Budapest on business.

So far, it’s fabulous.  I mean, aside from the part where I have to work.  Other than that, this is an amazing city.  I’ve only had time to explore a very small fraction of it, and sadly, work scheduling looks like I won’t get to see much more.

I’m in the city center area, on the Danube (which I find neither beautiful nor blue…it’s muddy green-brown), Pest side between the Elizabeth and Chain bridges (which I would type in their proper Hungarian names, but the butchering would be too much).  This means I’m getting a lot of the tourist-y stuff.  In a way this is disappointing.  I’d like to be immersed in Hungarian culture….but on the street I hear as much German and British-accented-English as anything.

There are definitely Hungarians here and there, down the side streets I wandered off on this afternoon.  You can spot them easily if you know what to look for.  I’m sad to say that Eastern Europe maintains a standard of dress that I can’t help but mock, at least a little.  The women favor the highly unnatural hair color with a good 2 inches of dark roots and seem to cling to the 1980s fashions (although, that’s oddly not far from current fashion in some ways, so they’re doing okay there).  The guys, well, despite Hungarian pride, the guys all seem to dress in track-suit type apparel with slicked hair (or close cropped) and gold chains around their necks, kind of like you’d picture an Italian-American low-level mobster from New Jersey to dress.  Nothing to be proud of.

But, they’ve all been really polite.  Quite reserved, but I guess that’s because I keep getting them in the service context, and I’m sure the whole language thing is intimidating.  I did come upon one girl who was really friendly in a tiny little stationary shop on a side street.  The place was like a closet and was selling nice journals, pens and paper.  I was the only one in there (no one else would have fit–if I held my arms out to the sides, I could easily touch both walls at once) and at first she started chatting with me in Hungarian.  She was the first one I felt comfortable asking questions.  If I had more time, I’d try to find the place again just to get her to tell me about the city (and also to pick up another journal–I bought one while I was there as my souvenir for myself).

My European experience pretty much consists of this trip, but I can’t help but think it’s slightly cooler than Paris, London, Berlin…..Sure, you see the crumbling facades poorly maintained, and the scars of ugly, communist-era blocky buildings.  There are weeds in the cracks of the side walk and graffiti on things that should be pristine, but that almost adds something to it all.  A little umph to the place, if you will.  Even under the neglect, it’s hard not to appreciate the fantastic architecture that graces the front of almost every building you pass.  In the absence of time for museums, I’ve managed to build my own self-tour, recalling as much information as possible.

Here’s hoping I get the chance to post from here on another trip when I have more than a handful of hours to see what this place has to offer.  In the meantime, I’ll have to be content to see what I can of this beautiful city.

Sucking my Time Away… From the Couch

In today’s time vampire is in a little different vein.  It’s not a game or a vast compendium of knowledge or humor or lists.  It’s a blog.  A blog that is a times a vast compendium of knowledge, humor, and lists.  And where I have lost a lot of time

The blog in question is The Couch Gymnast.  At one point the tag line for the blog read: “Gymnastics and Lists:  Two of my favorite things” (paraphrased from memory).  It just so happens that Gymnastics and lists are also two of my favorite things, so clearly me and the blog are like *this*.  (The new tag line is  “Where the rant never ends” which is delightful, but slightly less descriptive of me.  Maybe.)  I used to describe my love of gymnastics as “my strange fascination with gymnastics” since it struck many people as odd that I am so borderline obsessive about a sport I never participated in.  Then it occurred to me that many football fans have never participated in football and Cammy’s fixated on biathlon though as far as I know she’s never even put on a pair of skis.  So I refuse to apologize for my love of gymnastics anymore.

Anyway, back to the time vampire at hand… It is a blog about gymnastics by a fellow non-former gymnast who is also a fellow graduate student.  She hails from Australia and I believe her name is Bridget.  She is not the Bridget who occasionally comments here; that’s my former roommate.  Unless my Bridget has been hiding the fact that she’s secretly an Australian gymnastics blogger, which would be weird.

I follow a couple gymnastics blogs, but Couchy is my favorite by far, largely because she brings the funny.  And because of a few features she rotates through on a somewhat regular basis.  By far my favorite, and I’d guess the one she might be best known for, is her “World’s Worst Leotard” contest.  Seriously, I thought that team USA’s hot pink concoction in Beijing were bad.  Couch Gymnast has shown me they could be SOOO much worse.  My second favorite feature is a sort of “what are they thinking” kind of thing where she captions what gymnasts/coaches are really thinking in photos, with high-larious results.  (example )  Then she does this “Cartwheels in…” feature where she explores gymnastics programs in countries that never make it to television.  This reminds us that there are girls who work their tushies off (literally) for years and years without the chance of making it onto a Wheaties box.  And that Couch Gymnast is just as big a nerd as I am.

So anyway, check her out.  I don’t think you have to know a thing about gymnastics to understand how hysterically ugly some leotards are.

The Second Time I’ve Been Disappointed In My Peeps

I am German-American.  Very proudly so as Kristy will attest.  Of my grandparents 3/4 claim identified as German.  2 out of the 4 had German as their first language.  The third it was a mixture of German and English at home.  Even the fourth branch, which is predominantly English-Scottish-Irish, has a nice spot of German back in the days of colonization of Pennsylvania.

While I did not grow up speaking German, I was made acutely aware of my family’s heritage.  In some cases I didn’t know it wasn’t normal.  I say “gesundheit” more than “God bless you” and until I was in college, I thought EVERYONE’s Dad yelled “Kommen Sie HIER!” when he was royally ticked off and wanted to have a serious talk with you.  I have family members who have made livings in polka bands.  Things I found common were seen as foreign and strange to my new friends (consumption of sauerkraut and cabbage in all forms, tendency to sing “O Tannenbaum” instead of “O Christmas Tree”…) when my family moved to an area with a virtually non-existent German population from the very predominantly German Farm communities we’d always lived in before.

My surname, however, is a bit odd.  Even I know that at first glance, it does not appear “German”.  For reasons of not-wanting-to-be-stalked, I will not give you all of it, but I will tell you that it ends in -ian.  More than once I’ve been asked if I was Armenian, as -ian is a common ending for Armenian surnames.  But it’s not Armenian.  My great Uncle has documents showing that part of the family came from Prussia.  I’ll grant you, where they were living is now Poland, not Germany, but they spoke German, settled into very German communities, and obviously identified as German.  From everything my great-uncle has gathered, the surname was mangled somewhere on entry to the United States–a not unfamiliar tale for immigrants.  The first part of the surname actually seems very similar to the partcular region we know they hailed from.  It also appears that at one point the name bore the “von” prefix–a sign of land ownership and nobility in Germany.  But, like many a Schmidt became a Smith and a Mueller became a Miller in the hands of an Anglo clerk at the port, so too did my surname appear to suffer.  Certainly I’d like to know what it really was before the mangling, but ultimately, my last name is incredibly unique, if you know it and you meet someone with the name you KNOW the are related to me.  According to Kristy, I am not allowed to give up this name upon marriage because it’s just fun to SAY.  For me, it’s German because that is the way my family has identified ourselves since long before I was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

And all that is just the branch from which the name comes.  That doesn’t include the part of Grandpa’s family that were German noblemen, or literally the first German family in Texas, or the part that is a member of the most well documented non-royal family in Germany (or all of Europe for that matter).  It also doesn’t include Grandma’s family, where I still have cousins living in the same town in Germany where my great-grandparents and great-great grandparents (and possibly much farther back) were born and raised.  Or my mom’s mother who  grew up eating pickled-everything and remembers her “Grosspapa” living behind the house, and whose family name is all over the painfully German Lutheran church in the tiny Texas town where she was born.  If my mangled surname isn’t enough to satisfy a German, I’ve got a whole list of other names who share just as large a percentage in my DNA that are so undeniably German its ridiculous.

So, here I am in Budapest at an international conference, squeezed into an elevator that’s kind of like the UN.  I’m jammed up next to a German (or perhaps he was Austrian, I didn’t really ask), trying very hard to keep my elbows pinned to my sides so as not to hit him.  He looks at my name tag.   “Did you know your name is Armenian?”  I smiled and said, “I’ve been told that, but actually me whole family comes from Germany.”  As I’ve said, this is old hat for me.  I’ve been asked this by work colleagues, people I’ve just met and even random people messaging me on Facebook.  He hrmphed me in a way that only a German man over the age of 45 can do, and said, “THAT is not a German name.  That is Armenian.”  The clear implication was that I was an little uneducated, unsophisticated waif who was either ignorant of or ashamed of my heritage and chose to refer to myself as German to cover my tracks and that in either case, he resented the fact that trash such as myself would sully his fair nationality.

And NOW I understand why people don’t like Germans.  Outside of the obvious Word War II problem (which was the first Great German Disappointment), I have never understood negativity toward Germans.  My experiences were always very, very positive. I’ve never, EVER had an encounter with a German like that.  I’ve only ever been embraced by them.  In the case of family it’s been the natural connection of shared blood, but even strangers have eagerly questioned about “Where in Germany your family comes from?”   Never have I been written off like this, never.  I’ve nothing at all against Armenians, I’ve met several who were exceedingly polite, if a little shy, but the grandfather from whom I get this name definitely didn’t grow up speaking Armenian in his family.  I’ll grant you that there’s a high probability that at some point these folks were Polish, but Armenian is a leap beyond reason.  Knowing all this, I DO NOT appreciate the disdainful look I received from this man as he took it upon himself to correct me on what I’ve known all my life, and to inform me that I was not of German descent.

But it’s all right.  After informing me that my name wasn’t German, and hearing my response, with the same arrogant sniff he said, “But you are American.” As if to say “this is better than an Armenian, although not by much.”  I know that there are plenty of Americans that give the lot of us a bad name, but I was polite, friendly, and had been very careful not to bump him as I got onto that crowded elevator, so my behavior was definitely above reproach, no matter what other Americans might behave like.  But I didn’t rise to that tone.  I smiled again and nodded.  “Yes, I am.”  What I meant was “Yes, I am you arrogant sonofabitch.  I get all the fun of German beer-drinking, sausage eating heritage and none of the guilt of a genocide.  I get to rock out to a polka, and maintain a sense of humor.  I get to sing “Stille Nacht” and “Aber Heidschi Bum Beidschi” at Christmas….but I don’t have to pay a God Damn VAT.  So SUCK IT.”

To be honest, I really should have stuck it to him with the honest response:  “Oh, I’m not just an American.  *I* am a Texan.”  And turned up my nose.  But I didn’t.  Anyone ignorant enough to look down their schnoz at my surname doesn’t deserve to know the presence of Texas greatness by which they are being graced ;).

Because there’s a real reason my family left what was once Germany:  We were just too God Damn awesome to waste our time there.

German Americans: Because the European Continent Wasn’t Zoned for This Much Coolness.

Top Five Coolest Male Voices

Call me a product of my generation, but I’m a chronic multi-tasker.  I can’t watch television or movies without doing something else.  I’m always cleaning, working out, crocheting, or writing blog entries that should have been up hours ago.  Which means I wind up listening to more than I “watch.”  Which is maybe where this list comes from.  Or maybe I just like guys with nice voices.  Who knows?  This is my personal list, not a collective production of It’s my TV, It’s My Peanut Butter.  While they’re fairly consistently my top five, the order shifts around a bit depending on my mood.  Note these are speaking voices, not singing voices.  That’s a whole other list.

1.  Avery Brooks.
It is a travesty beyond travesties that StarTrek: Deep Space Nine did not have a voice over in the opening credits.  Yes, it would have been awkward to rework the whole thing from the first two Trek series so that it was about a thing that stays put instead of has voyages to seek out new life and new civilizations and yadda, yadda.  But seriously?  They wasted the opportunity to have that voice sensuously intoning whatever over dramatic music and pretty images of space.  He could have been reading a recipe for marzipan and I guarantee you female viewership would have gone up.  I’m a weirdo among Trekkies in that DS9 may well be my favorite series (again, depends on the day, sometimes its TNG.  Note I waited till Cammy was out of the country to say that because she considers it a sacrilege.) and while Picard was clearly the best “captain” I think it’s undeniable that Sisko was the bigger badass.  And the voice was a big part of it.  I generally feel like DS9 should have ended a season earlier than it did, but season 7 has avoided being stricken from my memory for two things.  One of those is Sisko singing.  The other is a pair of white baseball pants.  If you’ve seen them, they need no explanation (no, they aren’t on Sisko).

2.  Sean Connery. Yeah, I’m a sucker for the accent.  And the attitude.  And the being that damned hot while being old enough to collect social security (or whatever the Brits have).  Admittedly Saturday Night Lives Sean Connery parody has become almost indistinguishable from the real thing in my mind, but whatever.  Favorite line ever?  A strange choice:  “If I have to wear a suit, she has to wear a bra” from Playing by Heart.  A line that would not be nearly so funny in any other voice.

3.  James Earl Jones. Do I need to explain this one?  Didn’t think so.

4.  Carlo Rota. Yeah, it’s the accent thing again.  And the tone.  Cammy was really the one to point this out to me, but I would listen to this man read the phone book for hours.  Physically, he doesn’t do much for me.  But that voice?  Mmmmm…. Momma like!  And if I could get him to say one one of those Yassir-isms to me like “My flower” or something, I could die a happy woman.

5.  Jeremy Irons. Another accent.  Yes, it’s a theme. I’m okay with it.  I’ll admit it was The Lion King that introduced me to him.  He is deliciously evil sounding.  My friend Megan once said, “Evil looks good.  It’s kind of the whole point of evil.”  Let me tell you, evil sounds good too.  But he sounds good as a good guy too.  I melt every time I watch The Mission.  Every time he says that line about “If you’re right, and might makes right, then love has no place in this world.  And it may be so, it may be so.  But I can’t live in a world like that, Rodrigo.”  I become a puddle.  I know, it’s a well written line and would take an idiot to fuck it up, but Mr. Irons knocks it out of the park.

6.  Antonio Banderas. BONUS!  Because I left him off my list and can’t believe it.  But can’t bring myself to bump anyone either.  Yes, another accent.  At least I have variety in my accents.  But damn!  His accent is intermittently delectable and hysterical.  And by hysterical I mean listen to his version of “Oh What a Circus” and hear how he says “hysterical.”  Make sure you aren’t drinking anything.

Coffee with Gentleman George

Not to be confused with Gentleman Jack.  Clearly we would both drink coffee with Gentleman Jack.

Would we drink coffee with… George Strait?

Cammy: Sure.  I have a feeling it would be kind of a quiet get together though.  Gentleman George has never had the reputation for being out-going and chattery.  I have a feeling coffee would consist primarily of sitting at a corner table with a good view of the in-and-out traffic of the place and minimalist and completely non-critical commentary on the goings on, which would be responded to with equally minimalist answers.  Any more substantial conversation, I strongly suspect, would revolve around Texas.  Particularly the greater San Antonio area.  Possibly with a side bar on the current status of Texas dance halls.  Maybe after a few hours he might be convinced to share some of the more amusing tales from his time on the road.

Over all, it would probably be one of the most relaxed coffee meetings on our list.  Maybe not the most exciting or most educational, but I suspect coffee with George Strait is something you could walk away from saying, “That was good.  We could do that again some time.”

Kristy: I’m pretty much with Cammy.  What she said.  And I bet George is a sweetie.  Except I see him as being someone who would prefer an outdoor table.  Do they have outdoor seating at the Spatial Anomaly Coffee Bar and Refueling Station?  On the one hand, space.  On the other hand, anomaly.  Mary?  Are you here?  What’s the verdict?

Anyhow, I think we ought to bring someone else along, because Cammy+Me+George=three introverts at one table.  This is a recipe for a lot of awkward silence.  Perhaps Reba or Lee Ann or both will stick around after our coffee session with them.  Or maybe Miss Mary can just sit down with us–she’s much better at that whole talking with strangers thing.  Regardless I suspect at some point I’ll be silently pondering whether the meaning of life really is written at the bottom of my coffee cup while Cammy and George talk about Texas.  But I’ll hang around in the hopes of aforementioned amusing road stories.  And I think it’ll be pleasant, if not world changing.

Swift Heresy

Everyone’s favorite sleeze bag Barney Stinson once said, “In my body, where the shame gland should be, there’s a second awesome gland.”

I am not Barney Stinson.

I do have a shame gland, it’s just smaller than the average and doesn’t function quite like it’s supposed to (which is normal for my body, oddly enough).  The result of this is that, as Cammy has pointed out, I don’t always embarrass as easily as the average lady.  I have no qualms about making a fool out of myself in public.  I readily admit to an unhealthy addiction to daytime drama.  I still have, and listen to, Debbie Gibson albums.  Not even ironically.  When my bra and vest simultaneously broke onstage, I found it hysterical rather than mortifying (there was a chemise between my “girl” and the audience).

But there are things I find horribly embarrassing.  Like stepping out of the front door without foundation on (this has happened three times in my adult life, two were to go to the emergency room).  Things that tend to embarrass me the most are the things that go against the things I stand for in life.  Or like to think I stand for.

This brings us to Taylor Swift.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t really hold any animosity towards Taylor.  She seems like a sweet kid.  It’s not her fault that she’s cute and blond.  And it’s not her fault that she’s severely lacking in talent.

Because really, her inability to hit two notes in a row, makes me uncomfortable.  I’m not really one to talk, since I guarantee you I sound worse, but the difference is, of course, I know I can’t sing.  I’m fairly certain she doesn’t know how she sounds.  It’s like that moment when the adorable six year old gets up to sing at church and it’s appalling bad, but you clap anyway because she tried.  Except this adorable six year old is making a crap load of money and winning awards.  So it’s not as cute anymore.

I used to think I should at least respect her because she’s a song writer, but then friend pointed out that writing your songs yourself doesn’t win you points if they’re bad.  (Also, having one of her first big hits being about Tim McGraw, who I also can’t stand, was not a good start)

So what’s my big dark, dirty confession?

Her song “White Horse”?  I *cringe* kind of like it.  And by “kind of like it” I mean that I think I probably know all the words and I sing along when I hear it on the radio.

There.  I said it.

Clearly this goes right past guilty pleasure and on to secret heresy.  Because it’s really hard for me to own up to this.

Understand that I don’t want to like a Taylor Swift song.  But I can’t help it.  It’s the unexpected cynicism that does it for me, I think.  The acknowledgment that fairy tales don’t come true and love generally sucks.  I am, after all, that girl who will totally call the cops on your ass if she catches you throwing stones at her window late at night.  And I’m kind of scared of horses, so I’m definitely not getting on anyone’s white horse with him.

I realize that’s no excuse, and believe me, I’m properly ashamed.  But I figured since Cammy’s been so open with her shame of late, I ought to get in on the confession action.

Secret Heresies:

I debated on whether or not I should categorize this as a Time Vampire instead of a Secret Heresy.  At the end of the day, I really probably lose more of my time to the swirling vortex of than any other time wasting mechanism in virtual or physical space.  But, I realized, the fact that it really is my number one, and yet I cringe at the thought of putting it out as a valid time waster probably means my shame is great enough to make this a heresy.

Kristy would disagree, I’m sure.  Kristy’s self confident enough that there’s not much on her list of interests and habits that she’s embarrassed about.  Also, she’s in folklore, where even the most bizarre pop-culture niches are legitimate fields of study–not exactly an environment that fosters shame.  But in my shady real-world job, and with my painfully practical family, just explaining what fanfiction is would be enough to take my black-sheep status to unknown heights.  And even here on the web, many an elitist has disparaged those who spend time creating worlds around someone else’s fiction.  But I’m ready to come clean.  Completely clean.  Because when it comes to consumption of fanfiction, hitting up is a whole new subset of bad within bad.  This is the Wal-Mart of fanfiction.  Everything under one roof, and disproportionately little of it being of any quality.  And yet, I not only clock hours there, I have strong opinions about my experiences.  Criteria for my activities and recommendations for those few souls I share my secret with so that they can avoid the mire of crap and find the decent stuff.

Because yes, there’s quality in fanfiction.  Not a lot, but it’s there.  And sometimes the quality you find might not have been the quality the author intended.  For example, there was a rather lengthy Battlestar Galactica AU fic that Kristy and I both read.  As far as plot was concerned, it was okay, but not that stellar.  But the dialog.  Oh, sweet mercy, it was FABULOUS.  In fact, Kristy and I can’t even remember the title of the piece, but we can quote whole chunks of the dialog verbatim and we refer to it as “The Toaster Baby Fanfic.”  When I can find it again, I’ll be referring Kristy to a Bones fic that has a similar quality to it.

And you also can’t underestimate the pure entertainment in reading some of the hideous things people post.  The schadenfreude of watching someone beg for feedback on a misspelled Mary Sue fic that makes your eyeballs bleed is remarkable.  There’s just FUN to be had in mocking the bad stuff.  Even the painful MarySue long-lost-sisters-of-characters have the potential for a little bit of “awe, look at the cute little high school student wishing she was on Castle!”  When it gets to be too much, I just think of what Kevin J. Anderson has been paid to write in some fandoms, and, honestly, with that as a baseline, even some of the high-schooler Mary Sues are pretty damned good.

But there are limits.  Levels of suckitude that even I will not endure.  I have a list of unforgivable sins which will render a story “dead to me”:

-posting an author’s note in lieu of a chapter.  If you get me all excited about a new chapter and all I get is your excuse about how you have finals, you and your story are dead to me.  Explain it when you post something real.  Don’t lead me on.

-any summary that says “I suck at summaries” or “Story better than it sounds.” Nothing will make me scroll past faster.

-bitchy demands for readers to R&R (Read and Respond), particularly when coupled a threat not to post any more.  Yeah, because there’s nothing else on the whole site for me to read, sweetie.

-when a fanfic writer for an American TV show keeps using “Mum.”  It’s one of those things that’s enough to jar me out of my tenuously suspended disbelief.  Actually, I forgive that one once or twice, but–and this has happened multiple times, so it bears comment–when the the author posts a bitchy little note stating something to the effect of “I KNOW it’s American, but I’m British and WE say Mum and I am the author so I’m going to have them say Mum!!”  Dead.  To.  Me.  If I were writing a fic based on a Brit material, I’d be making every attempt to put the useless ‘u’s into words, call people “Mum” and finally figure out when to use while vs. whilst.

-(added by Kristy) putting a note somewhere at the top that says, “I suck at spelling” and then using said disclaimer as an excuse to use the grammar and spelling of a five-year-old for the rest of the fic.  I have no problem excusing a typo or error here or there.  But you know what?  I’m lousy at spelling in English too (yes, English is my first language, but its spelling rules make no sense).  This is why BabyJesus gave us spell checkers.  Or get a beta reader.  And don’t get pissy with me over your lack of literacy.  Dead to me!

But, regardless of quality, the availability keeps me coming back.  At 4am when I can’t sleep, the library isn’t open.  But is there, waiting to bathe me in the glow of my laptop screen and offer me new and craptastic adventures of characters from shows canceled 10 years ago that I just can’t stop thinking about.

So my secret is out.  And it feels rather good to admit it.  Yes, my name is Cammy, and I spend hours on

Good morning starshine?

Battlestar Galactica lists are back this week because Cammy and I got off on our rotation and I decided this is the easiest way to fix it.

This go ’round we ponder what mornings are like on the Battlestar we call Galactica.  Who on board is a morning person? (we realize morning is an arbitrary construct when you’re drifting through space, but hypothetically speaking…)

Adama: No.  You don’t want to run into him outside his quarters in the morning before he’s had enough coffee.

Roslin: No, but she’s not evil about it.  She’s just quiet and speaks in monosyllables

Billy: No, but he tries to fake it.  He’s kinda bleary eyed and his hair might be a bit mussed.

Gaius: Strangely, yes.

Six: She’s a pretty even keel all day long.

Doctor: Hell no.  He’s wearing a 10am shadow

Dee: Yes.  Annoyingly pleasant.

Apollo: He’s quiet also, tries to fake it.  He’s more successful at doing so than Billy unless he was drinking with Starbuck the night before.

Starbuck: Another hell no!  The only exception is if there’s someone around more hung over than her—in that case she takes great delight in tormenting them (“Good morning, sunshine!”)

Tyrol: Best to avoid him for first couple of hours.  Don’t ask him questions.  Don’t try to make his coffee, you’ll just make it wrong.

Callie: She’s pretty zombie like, but not cranky.

Helo: Up and at ‘em kind of guy.  Would get up and run if there were somewhere to run.

Sharon: She’s functional, but not fun.

Gaeta: Considering he was up till 3am playing PlayStation he’s pretty coherent.

Tigh: No!  He reverts to primal grunting.

Ellen: Morning?  She doesn’t get up till after 12:00.

Tori: No, she gets up when she has to, but it’s about face time rather than feeling up to it.

Anders: Absolutely!  He loves mornings!  I’m convinced this was a big part of the failure of his marriage to Kara.

Leoben: Morning person presumes that he sleeps.  We’re not sure he does.  Time is kind of irrelevant for him.

Zarek: Yes.  And he’s smug about it too.

Time Vampire of the Week….Click for America

This is a short one because it’s very, very simple.

Click a button.  A lot.  Country with the most clicks wins bragging rights in very sad circles.

It’s an international competition for lamest of the lame.  FWIW, the USA is in 9th:

Sounds stupid?  It is.  But the combination of simplistic activity and pure competitive drive is potent.


Pondering the Job Market for the Undead

By my reckoning there have been at least three different television series surrounding vampires working as Detectives (Forever Knight, Angel, Moonlight).  I’m left to wonder whether this is a sign of a severe lack of creativity on the part of television writers, or if the job market really is that bad for the undead.  I mean, I know the economy is bad.  People with Master’s degrees are working in unpaid internships.  And when you’re a couple centuries old getting references for your resume can be tricky.  College transcripts written by hand on parchment with a quill pen can raise a few eyebrows.

But I don’t know.  I’m not completely dissuaded from the “lack of creativity” issue.  I can think of several occupations for which vampires would be perfectly suited.  A few examples:

Telemarketer. Okay, they can’t all work at night, but they do work indoors.  And in most traditions vampires are said to have hypnotic voices.  I bet they can sell mail order snow to an Eskimo.  And since telemarketing firms tend to have high turn over rates, I’m willing to bet they don’t check references too carefully.

Tech support. Why call Bangladesh when you can call the undead?  The damned are handy because they can work the night shifts on 24 hour support lines.  And yes, because of their age they might have trouble with technology, but let’s be honest, so do the guys you normally get when you call tech support.

Museum night watchman. Yes, I know, that’s a whole other movie.  But I always thought it would be a cool job. You can look at the exhibits when there are no annoying tourists around.  And you know, being old, it might be comforting to be around old things.

Paper boy. I hear these days they actually make good money.  And they work in the middle of the night.  Perfect for the guy/gal who’s allergic to sunlight.

Bartender. Again with the night time thing.  And the soothing voice and charisma that seem to always be attached to vamps in novels would come in handy.  Not to mention the quick reflexes and all that which would come in handy on busy nights.

Direct sales cosmetic consultant. I know you’re thinking this sounds crazy.  Who can picture a vampire ringing the doorbell and saying, “Avon calling!”?  Not me.  But this is the occupation I would go with if I suddenly woke up a vampire.  Most consultants nowadays make most of their money at night time beauty or spa parties.  And most accounts (Joss Whedon aside) seem to agree that vampires have beautiful skin.  Pale yes, but flawless.  “Alabaster” seems to be used ad nauseum.  If you had skin that perfect, everyone would want to use what you were using.

So if you ever find yourself in the position of creating a new vampire series for television, remember that you do have a choice in occupations.  The job market is bad, but it’s not that bad.

What about you not-so-gentle readers?  Where would you work if you were a vampire?