Two Things I’m Not Posting About, and One That I Am

What I won’t post about?

1) Stupid drivers.  Because every single one of them apparently decided to get out on the road today.  A left hand turn from the right hand lane?  REALLY?  And just because of the volume of snow?  Doesn’t mean you get a license to drive down the middle of the street when there’s on-coming traffic, asshat.  And if you’re going to tail-gate, at least don’t do it on the cell phone (and when that cop stops you, don’t look so shocked about it).

2) Sequestration.  Because it’s been a term I’ve had to deal with for over a year due to the nature of my bill-paying job, because too many people have presumed to know what I think about it, and because all of a sudden today everyone from the ladies in line at the cutting table at the fabric store, to talking heads on the news, to the politicians from the two major parties, to an inordinate percentage of my normally party-politics-quiet twitter feed is pointing mother-fuckin’ political fingers!  If you think either major political party holds the blame for this, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona I’ll sell you for a song.

 

What I will post about?

Snow.

This is the primary reason for my having missed so many posts.  We kinda got smacked.  Twice.  In two weeks.  And it was snowing again today (thankfully without any real accumulation).  It’s not that I live in an area that’s a stranger to snow, it’s just that we’re more used to it being parceled out in 2-3 inch increments, rather than a foot in a single go.

So, there’s been a lot of the death-defying commutes through white-outs, the lost time at work, power outages and the annoyance of dealing with the aftermath of a snow-plow when you just spent 2 hours clearing your drive….

And then there’s the good side:  the crazy, fun stuff people do with a shit ton of snow.  I haven’t seen a snowstorm yield this much activity out of people in a long time.  Maybe it’s the lack of snow last year and for most of this winter that drove people out to do something with the white stuff when we finally got it.

Up the street someone constructed a snow-castle that, before it began to subside was basically a story and a half high on it’s highest side (it was built on a slope), and big enough to park a car in it.  Seriously, it was amazing.  Even the igloo someone built on Barksdale field while I was at W&M was nothing compared to this perfectly constructed castle tower.  They even put up a tarp roof on the thing.  All I can think is that I must have missed one hell of an interesting snowball siege earlier in the week if that kind of fortification was developed.

I saw a brief bit of a battle (probably un-related to the castle, though I think some of the kids involved may have come from that end of the street–it’s not easy to tell when they’re all bundled up like Randy from A Christmas Story) out on the streets during the previous storm. Snow still falling, the street nearly full of snow after the plow had made its one pitiful pass hours before, there was a gaggle of kids advancing on a group hunkered behind the growing mounds of snow surrounding a going-nowhere Mustang in a drive way.  The advancing group thought they had the numbers, but they didn’t see what I did–that the kids by the Mustang had two teenaged older brothers lurking around the corner of the house behind what I first thought to be another mound of snow, but which turned out to be an arsenal of snowballs.  The battle was short, but heated (cooled?).

Someone across town sculpted bears in the yard.  And I don’t mean added bear-like features to snow-men, I mean actually carved out two bears about 7-8 feet high (they’re up on their hind legs, with fore-paws out in front of them), with sculpted fur and realistic features.  Menacing, but damned impressive.  Another house across town had formed some sort of large flower, which wasn’t all that cool, unless you drove past a night, when they had the thing lit from the inside.

Then there are the kids with the videos.  I’ve seen some pretty impressive footage from 10-year-olds mounting cameras on their helmets before saucer-sledding it down an area hillside. The coolest was when the camera-kid wiped out and was looking back up the hill in time to catch his little buddy–coming down right behind him–make the jump and sail right over the camera.  I’m sensing future camera operators for action films coming out of this.  Or, y’know, in some cases it’s more like Jack-Ass, The Next Generation.

We can get big snows into mid-March around here, but it’s likely this last blast will be it for the snow-ball and sled set.  I may not have enjoyed dealing with the snow from my own perspective of having to deal with it in getting out to go to work, but I can’t complain about what I’ve gotten to see other people do with it.

 

Standing up for Goths

Okay, I’m gonna admit right off the bat that this is absolutely a case of someone on the internet overreacting about something silly.  But I’m gonna do it anyway.

I was all set to write an entry about something that happened during my research that was really exciting to me and probably wouldn’t be to anyone else.  But then I came home and I watched Monday’s Castle.  And I got offended.  And I decided the interwebs needed to hear about it.

In case you missed it *spoiler alert* this week Alexis had a friend from elementary school who came to visit.  Alexis got all dressed up in a cute little t-shirt she wore in fifth grade thinking it would be just like old times.  Only the friend showed up and *dum dum DUM!* she had gone goth.  Yikes!  Eep!  The horror!

Wait… hold on… that’s it?  Not, she became a meth head.  Not, she kills puppies.  She has fake black hair and a couple of piercings.  And Alexis—who let’s be clear, I normally like—spent most of the episode whining about it.  As has been said, the Castle/Alexis relationship is the best father-daughter relationship on television.  It’s adorable.  Which is why I was so disappointed.

In case you don’t get why I was so offended, I was goth in high school.  And I had a friend from late elementary/middle school who moved away and came back to visit senior year in high school.  She had a similar reaction to Alexis.  It made me mad and I accentuated my gothiness and played Rent twenty-four/seven (did I mention she was also a conservative Christian who made a lot of anti-gay slurs?  Clearly she was nothing like Alexis.)  The thing is that adolescence is all about trying things out and trying things on and I think that should be cultivated.  We should be encouraging teens to be whoever they are, not mocking them and acting like they’re scary because they dress a little different.

What I was even more upset about was Castle’s reaction.  We had to listen to him asking things like, “What makes a cute kid become a goth?” (that’s a really bad paraphrase, I wasn’t taking  notes)  I realize that we are supposed to understand that he was freaked out not that Alexis’s friend went goth, but by the possibility Alexis could just as easily go goth.  But why would Rick Castle care about that?  I know my dad hated me being goth.  He assumed it meant I was worshipping Satan and smoking pot.  But Rick Castle is like the awesome, laid back dad.  I would have hoped he would have just given his daughter a lecture about making sure any piercings she got were done under sanitary conditions.  Let’s be honest, Alexis’s dad has a lot more to worry about from that boyfriend of hers than any fashion choices she makes.  And if anyone should know that, it’s Rick Castle—he was a teenage boy once.  (Granted, when Rick Castle was a teenager his name was Joey Buchanan and he was into older women, but I digress)

Everything ended happily—Alexis went shopping with her goth friend and they “got to know their new selves.”  It just felt like the gesture was made a little too late.  I was already annoyed.

A Very Minor Mystery

Note:  No film review from me this week.  Sadly, school has inhibited my Netflixing and I’ve run out of reviews.  How sad!  (for me, I doubt you care that much)  Anywhozel, we’ll talk television instead.

I wouldn’t call myself a mystery fan.  Not any kind of active hatred, I just don’t seek them out.  Don’t spend my free time reading them.  My mother has spent years trying to get me hooked on CSI and those type of shows (Mom loves mysteries), but I just can’t get into it.  Old Roommate Bridget used to watch some of those Law and Orders which actively freaked me out (I got her back by watching paranormal shows which evidently freak her out.)  (Off topic note:  Did you know that Animal Planet has a paranormal show now?  It’s basically “people who live in haunted houses and have pets.”  Even I have to admit this had gotten out of control.)

Anyway, long and short of it is, if you asked, I’d tell you I don’t watch mysteries on television.

Except I’d be lying.

I’ve just realized that three of the shows I’m currently following most closely are all mystery shows:  Castle, Psych, and Bones.  Hmm.  What’s that all about?

I don’t think I’m a particularly good mystery show viewer.  I don’t even try to figure out whodunit.  I don’t often care.  I just kind of sit there waiting for it to be spoon fed to me.  So why am I watching these shows?

Well, the first one’s easy.  I watch Castle for Nathan Fillion.  I have loved Nathan Fillion since his days on One Life to Live (best Joey Buchanan ever!) and a big part of my geek cred is tied up in the fact that I watched Firefly from the first episode.  There are other aspects of the show I enjoy (the familial relation between Castle, his mother and daughter is delightful), but it’s really all about Nathan Fillion.

As for Psych, it brings the funny.  In spades.  It’s got a great ensemble cast.  And I’m a sucker for an ensemble cast.  Also, the only theme music I can never make myself fast forward through.  It’s too much fun to bop along to.

I’m almost contractually obligated to watch Bones on account of it’s one of few television shows featuring anthropologists; as a folklorist I must support my cousin discipline.  Also, the whole ensemble thing again.  Also, Hodgins.  Who sometimes takes off his shirt .  And makes orgasmic grilled cheeses.  Mmmm.  Grilled cheese!

So I guess the outcome to this mystery (which I’m guessing all of you figured out by the second paragraph, because I don’t write good mysteries either) is: my ability to enjoy these mystery based shows without liking mysteries is that I just don’t care that much about plot.  I’m all about character.  And these shows do character well.  I assume they have plots, but clearly I haven’t been paying attention to them.

TV Cliches We’re Sick of #1–Avenging Cops

Law Enforcement Professional who chose said line of work after family member’s unsolved/unpunished murder/disappearance.

The fact that I know this is cliche and I don’t even watch procedurals is a clear indication of how cliche it is. Seriously, I can’t watch crime shows, they creep me out. Keep me up at night. Working with extremely limited knowledge, I can name off the top of my head the following:

Fox Mulder (X-Files, Sister abducted by aliens)
Bruce Wayne/Batman (um… Batman, parents killed in mugging)
Peter Parker/Spiderman (Spiderman, Uncle killed)(I’m a little unclear on continuity, but this one may not count as unsolved)
Kate Beckett (Castle, Mother murdered)
Temperance Brennan (Bones, parents disappeared)
John McBain (One Life to Live, father murdered, fiancee murdered)
Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars, best friend murdered) (okay, that one might be a stretch)

Okay, they aren’t all television characters, but they’ve all appeared on TV at some point. I’m sure many of you can add a whole host of others. And I do get why writers fall back on this cliche. Not only does it work well for motivation, it provides built in plot lines for future episodes. And I’m sure there really are people who go into law enforcement for this reason. But I’m done with it. I’m over it. I want something a little more creative.

Real life if often more random than that. I want to watch the story about the cop that turned to the law because he couldn’t get into physical therapy school. I want to see the anthropologist who’s just a big Indiana Jones fan.  The Vampire Hunter who just really like Brad Pitt movies.   There’s no reason any of these things couldn’t further the plot. Come on writers, you can do better.