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Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa
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Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Summa Mamas, The
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Corner, The
Fiat Lux!
I Am the Lizard Queen!
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xkcd: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
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23 August 2008
Horrible Awesomeness
Found on the Dr. Horrible Facebook page:

Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:58 PM
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Wanna Play Cards?

Trust me, you don't want to play Blackjack with this kitty.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:02 PM
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04 August 2008
Back to It
Actually, I'm back to several things. As of tomorrow, school things start up again, since I'm mentoring a new teacher this year. Otherwise, I'd have until Wednesday before the in-service begins. As of next Wednesday, though, school begins, and thus this blog will once more go into hiatus (more or less). As usual, I may try to post during the year, but of course can guarantee nothing.

More importantly, however, I am back to trying to get a blasted agent for my blasted novel so I publish it in some blasted way that makes some blarmed money. Noting bitterness? Anger? Why, yes. That would be because I hate jumping through hoops like this. I hate being subject to the whims of people whose job it is to assess "marketability," especially when what I see on the bookshelves these days--if that trash and offal is what's marketable, then I don't stand a chance. Which is not to say I've written great literature, or anything, but come on--Laurel K. Hamilton? Really? Sigh. Anyway, yes, hoops. Hate 'em. Passion-like.

But, once more, I'm doing the research, getting a right big ol' list of agents drawn up. And kashi's helping with the query and other needful documents, since she's good with that sort of thing and I couldn't sell a pair of shoes to Imelda Marcos. Again, hoops. But it's comforting knowing my wife will help with this thing. Because it's worth it. It's important. I have to believe this thing is publishable (God knows I've poured enough of my life into it). And mayhap, in the end, I'll see it finally happen.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:27 PM
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Bad Movies
Inevitably, on our trips to visit the fam in Kansas, we get subjected to some pretty wretched movies. In fact, it's rather become one of the parts of the trip we look forward to, especially the godawful B-movies we tend to lampoon alongside kashi's dad. This time around, however, the experience was just simply painful. Thus, ever wishing to ward off others from the torture and the loss of valuable time, here be short reviews:

(NOTE: Since my goal is a very opinionated attempt to save people from these cinematic mistakes, I do not intend to avoid spoilers.)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

We rented this while visiting kashi's grandmother because it looked decent (Jesse James, Western, guns--how bad could it be?) and because I am fairly certain I had heard good things about it. Goodness but it was a mistake. Apparently the film was reviewed very well by critics, and it was nominated for many awards, even winning some. What we observed in viewing it, however, was perhaps once of the longest, most boring films ever made. I swear, it took 3 years to watch it. And nothing happens--excepting of course the creepy stalker activities of Bob Ford as he hangs onto Jesse James like some kind of Star Wars fanboy granted access to George Lucas' home. Très disturbing, I assure you. And then there's Jesse James himself, who is not the enigmatic yet charismatic figure he ought be, but rather a loony non-entity. And that's it. That's the whole movie. Bob Ford following Jesse James around like a lost puppy. Some people die here and there. Then James gets assassinated (which apparently he was fine with, since the movie suggests he allows it to happen). And then, guess what? The movie doesn't end! It keeps going, apparently trying to make Ford sympathetic, but rather indifferent to the fact of whether it achieves that end (which it doesn't). Call me crazy, but I like my stories to go somewhere. I like rising and falling action. When a story finds one note and maintains that note steadily throughout, I find it rather disheartening. And if this is art, then call me a philisitine and I'll take my vulgarian self elsewhere, 'cause in the end, all I'm saying is that a few decent gun battles might have made this worth watching.

The Orphanage

I had actually looked forward to this one. Good horror's hard to come by these days, and this one seemed like it could have a genuine creepy vibe. It did, at least, have great potential. The filmmakers managed some really creepy scenes. What kills it, however, is that it runs awfully slow, and any suspense they build cannot be maintained long enough to be effective. And then, there is the ending. The ending, which is happy because of suicide. Where the evil things going on weren't really evil after all (although, if you consider that they kind of "won" in convincing a person suicide was the only road to happiness, then I reckon they could be seen as truly evil--but I don't think this was in any way the film's attempted point). Where we're supposed to feel uplifted (note the lighting and music in that final scene after the suicide--it's all designed to support this suicide as the happiest thing ever). No, in the end, this film's selling something seriously wrong, and I ain't buying. No, thank you sir or madame.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:42 PM
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03 August 2008
In a Word...

And because it's true.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:30 PM
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02 August 2008
Annoying Summer Reading Review
(It's the summer reading that was annoying, hopefully not the review.)

So, the other day, I finished (didn't take long to read, thank God, but I'd been delaying starting) my school's summer reading choice for the year, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Woo hoo, I say. How lovely that we should get such an unbiased, non-partisan look at a serious issue in our world today. And from such a clearheaded, stick-with-it kind of gal, too! /sarcasm

Look, I'm all for investigating poverty, and, oh, I don't know, maybe even proposing doing something about it. But when the Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialist Party of America whines for two hundred pages about how difficult it is to work menial job after menial job (she demonstrates how hard it is by quitting repeatedly, complaining incessantly, looking down upon both the people she works with and the rich people who have condemned them to this life, and fleeing back to the upper middle class she excoriates), gives herself starting capital, various recourses when the going gets too tough, and an easy out that the typical wage slave does not possess, and in the end sets herself up to fail, then it rather invalidates her entire experiment. What is the experiment? To find out how low-income wage earners manage to survive. Not only does she invalidate the experiment as noted above, but she doesn't even succeed at finding anything out, because the typical wage slaves are still out there surviving somehow (though admittedly not in any pleasant way) and she doesn't bother staying in any one position or location long enough to actually find out how they really do it. She quits.

I think what really bothered me most about the book (because I never hated it as much as I did Ishmael two years ago) was Ehrenreich's tone. She's so smug and superiour about everything, it's nauseating. She consistently condemns capitalism, and really anyone living middle class or higher while neglecting to recognise (or feel bad about) the fact that she too is a part of those upper classes. And here's a book (NY Times Best Seller!) that has probably made her a tidy sum to boot. Does she suggest maybe changing her lifestyle? Donating profits to those she worked alongside, or perhaps shelters or food banks? Does she propose any concrete actions to fix the problems? No. What she proposes (and here we get to her true purpose, as a shill for the socialists, in writing the book) is that we need to throw capitalism out the window, get more unions out there, take away the money from anyone even remotely rich (apparently whether they worked for it or not), and let the government regulate every aspect of our lives through exciting programs! Workers of the world unite!

And in the end, while I admit I am no great economic mind, it's clear that her grasp of the way economics actually works does not resemble reality. Of course, I'm not going to even try to dissect her ideas of the economy. I'm not up to the task, and as far as I can tell, they really only amount to: Capitalism is bad, and Socialism will save us. I scoff. And I offer two much better assessments of the ideas:

Jonah Goldberg:
The Spoiled Children of Capitalism
Steven Malanga: The Myth of the Working Poor

As for me, Ehrenreich makes my soul to cry out for a re-reading of Adam Smith and a return to some semblance of sanity.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:13 PM
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New Comic
Since word-of-mouth is necessary on this, I'm urging everyone to head
here for a preview of a forthcoming new comic called Shadow of the Stars. Why should you do this, you ask? Well, because kashi's the penciller on the project, and the more successful the first issue, the more chance it has of being picked up down the line in print, rather than merely ebook format. And since I am not only in favour of anything what will help the finances but also simply a huge fan of my wife's art, I must needs urge all to go now and peruse!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   3:01 PM
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