The Desolation of Robot King



I’ve always been more of a Daily Show person than a Colbert Report person. I guess I just like my humor a little more straightforward. In case anyone has noticed, I’ve tried writing this post several times before, having put something up and taken it down at least twice before. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm. I don’t usually write like this, but these past few weeks have been a bit tumultuous. You ever have those days where you wake up wanting to watch the whole world burn? Yeah, I’ve been having a little bit of that lately. It’s a combination of financial stress, time-management problems, and the interpersonal friction that can happen when you spend prolonged amounts of time around the same group of people. I’m trying to remember the line from that David Foster Wallace speech I’ve posted once or twice: “This is water.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it or check YouTube. I don’t feel like linking to it again.

chris rockI’m having more trouble going to bed lately. I like to think of myself as a morning person, but since I can’t just go to bed after getting home late in the evening, I always need a few hours to unwind, meaning that I typically go to bed around 1 am these days. This needs to stop. I just can’t seem to turn my brain off, and on countless occasions, I’ve gone to bed, then gotten up to watch some silly YouTube video or something that I thought about watching earlier but didn’t get around to. How does something that tiny lodge itself so deeply in your brain? Sometimes that happens multiple times in a night and I overcompensate by staying up until 1:30 or 2 as if to say, “What do you want from me?” I’ve missed one or two shifts at my new job because I keep misreading my schedule and it makes me furious. I need every dollar I can get, yet more than once, I have come in to work only to find that I’m supposed to stay later than I thought (but still have to leave early because I already made plans) or gotten a call from my supervisor saying that I was supposed to come in today. I am very, very careful in copying down my schedule every week, yet somehow, that still happens. What the fuck, universe?

I’m generally pretty reliable when it comes to shit like this. I have locked myself out of my car (once), locked myself out of my apartment (once), and recently locked myself out of my locker at the gym for the first time. (I had to get somebody else to run and get an employee because I couldn’t go running out there in just a towel.) Something is out of joint. I know nobody’s perfect, but there’s a reason I solve jigsaw puzzles for fun and write a blog that’s all about hating humanity: it’s because I’m a perfectionist. Specifically, I’m an INFJ with OCD, and yes, I have used that line before. One on hand, maybe it means that I’ll save the world that day. Because I do see things that other people don’t see. I often tell other people that they are wrong about something despite having less firsthand knowledge of the subject than they do. And you know what? I’m usually right.

My supervisor doesn’t even seem to much mind that I keep screwing up my schedule. That’s not the point. When I was doing theater back in high school and didn’t get a part I wanted, my mother thought I was being a spoiled diva by storming around the house. She didn’t get it, either, which is part of the reason why I keep my distance from her these days. I was angry at myself for not getting a role that I was certain I could have played. It wasn’t my fault; the director liked someone else and there was nothing I could do about it. (The dude did fine in the role, by the way, but I was kind of competitive with him. He’s a nice fellow, but kinda boring. I’m not.) When I turned on my phone today and saw that I had a voicemail, I prayed that it was my mother for the first time ever. Of course, it wasn’t. I’ve had enough of a hassle working with my student loans and trying to get my employment situation straightened out. It might actually be nice to get a message from her saying, “Call me sometime. Bye.” Because I don’t have to worry about that, you see.

I’m going to have to see The Hobbit sometime, probably next week. What I’ve heard about it is that it’s the worst of the three, which is kinda depressing considering the lukewarm opinion I had of the first two. What happened to the Peter Jackson who was both a technical wizard and a strong storyteller? Neither of those elements are on display in these films. They are bloated and overlong, and they look like video games. I guess he just got carried away with himself. Stephen Colbert is, like, the biggest Tolkien nerd on the planet. I love Tolkien, but I don’t feel the need to know everything about him. Colbert’s humor is more “out there” than Stewart’s ever was. When one of his bits flops, I often find myself scratching my head wondering what he was even going for in the first place. Since the news is filtered through the lens of the character he plays, it’s not as grounded. Stewart just reacts to the news; Colbert tries to insert himself into it. It’s funny, though.

I like to think of what I’m going through these days as nothing more than growing pains. I’ve asked a couple friends for financial assistance and we’ll see if I get it. Just don’t feel sorry for me, that’s all. I have enough problems of my own. I can’t carry yours around, too.


The Robot Warrior

redwallMan is least himself when talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

– Oscar Wilde

I think I need a new job. I just got written up for shitty customer service. Again. I think it’s even less my fault than it was the last time. I was making drinks, and some lady told me that her latte was supposed to be iced. The order said hot, but I remade it anyway. Then she complained that I showed attitude in correcting a mistake that wasn’t even mine. There was also something about me taking a sip of it and saying that it tasted fine to me, but I didn’t do that in front of her. I think I set the latte by the espresso machine and took a drink while I was remaking it, remarking to no one in particular that it still tasted pretty good. My memory of the whole thing is a little fuzzy, but I guarantee that I didn’t do it to taunt her. So essentially, I took the heat because somebody else fucked up and I let my true feelings show. Oh, what a wonderful world.

We also have new management in my store. I’m not going to go into detail there, as that would be unprofessional, and anyway, it’s generally a bad idea to go whining about your job in a public forum, even when it’s an anonymous blog that some of your Facebook friends read. So I’ll just say that we have new management and that they may or may not do things the same way the old management did. And I may or may not be looking for another job. That’s all.

I have a thing or two to say about Michael Sam. As of Monday, he is signed up to be on the practice team for the Dallas Cowboys, making him technically the first openly gay man in the NFL. This is a milestone, but something smells fishy to me. Chris Rock once said that if say, his test scores are lower than a white dude’s, it would be wrong to give him a job or whatever over the other dude, “but if there’s a tie, fuck him”. Because he’s white, he’ll figure it out. See, affirmative action is about the acknowledgment that nothing is 100% merit-based. There is a symbolic value in seeing people who are like you on the field/in office/on TV/wherever. And there are biases in our system so deeply engrained that most of us can’t see them that are designed to prevent anyone who doesn’t make people feel comfortable from making it that far. So if a gay player performs as well as a straight player but the straight player makes the team, I am prepared to go ahead and call that homophobia. Because the straight guy had a head start.

Because I am not in the best of moods these days, I should talk about things that aren’t so shitty. I saw a movie last weekend that I think deserves more attention, a 2006 family film called Penelope that stars Christina Ricci as a blue blood girl who is born with a pig’s nose. It basically aims to be a modern-day fairy tale, and while it doesn’t completely succeed, it was a lot better than its 53% Tomatometer suggests. The big problem with it is that it expects us to believe that prospective suitors would be so repulsed by Penelope’s deformity that they would run screaming from the room. Then again, the film itself acknowledges this by having other characters basically shrug and say, “She has a weird nose, so what?” I think what worked about the film is that it didn’t pretend that all Penelope needed was a man to make her complete (not even a man who is played by James McAvoy) and approached the subject of learning to love yourself and your body with more subtlety than expected. The lesson isn’t so much that you can feel proud of your appearance even if you’re not conventionally attractive, but that you’re probably not that ugly to begin with. Also, Peter Dinklage is in it. With an eyepatch.

When I was a kid, there were three things that I spent most of my time doing: playing computer games, watching TV/movies, or reading. Problem was, that’s not enough to occupy all of my time. My social life has never been where I’ve wanted it to be, and if I had to find the root of it, I guess it would be my need to attach myself to a routine, even if it’s not exactly what I want. Whenever I ate lunch, I would pop in a VHS tape and watch one of the several dozen or more movies we had lying around. Not surprisingly, I saw a lot of them quite a few times. I’ve seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Clue more times than I can count. At least two of those are endlessly rewatchable, but that’s not the point. I get very anxious when crashing at a friend’s place because it upsets my sense of rhythm. I’m probably not the only person who has that problem. It’s still a problem.

I haven’t missed an episode of The Daily Show in years. I love Jon Stewart, but I do get tired of him returning to the same old jokes about how deep dish pizza is not real pizza and stuff like that. (Other running jokes, like the Lindsay Graham/Southern belle impression, never get old.) I don’t know what it would take to get me to stop watching. (And in case anyone is wondering, no, I don’t have Asperger’s. There’s a really good animated movie on Netflix about a dude with Asperger’s called Mary and Max. Check it out.) I don’t know what it would take to get my life where I want it to be. I just hope I get there before I die.

One More Thing…

Read this one in Peter Falk’s voice. It will sound so much better, trust me.

There are a great many things that I don’t understand. Vegans, reality TV, that stupid security tape on CDs and DVDs that is utterly impossible to pull of in one piece, you get the idea. But if there’s one thing that’s really bugging me right now, it’s economics. That’s not quite true, actually. There’s something just a little bit deeper that’s eating away at me. Let’s see if we can figure it out.

I enjoy objectifying men. Some people feel that it is wrong to objectify women, but I disagree. I love pornography. I also, as I mentioned in the post prior to this one, saw Skyfall recently and spent many long minutes drooling over Daniel Craig’s ripped body and glorious face. I want to have sex with him. There’s nothing wrong with that. I also want to rule the world, but until I can program these robots so that they will be sentient, adaptable, and fiercely loyal to me (how many mad scientists have sabotaged their own plans by forgetting about that one?), I’ll have to be content with my fantasies. As you might have noticed by now, I have a vivid imagination.

Okay, maybe that was too much information. I’m sorry. I have a lot on my mind. Let’s talk a little bit more about James Bond. The gender politics in that series have always been icky, but that is changing, albeit slowly. CraigBond is a bit more tender than ConneryBond or even BrosnanBond, and I don’t mind saying that while I wouldn’t mind saving the world with Sean Connery, I’m not sure I would enjoy being romanced by him. Some entitled old white men have bemoaned our culture’s gradual shift away from men who win women simply by dressing nicely and being available, and to that I say: good. How many movies can you name in which an average-looking sad sack woos a perfect 10? The former is almost always a man, the latter almost always a woman. Some cases are excusable–Knocked Up, in which the imbalance between the two was the entire point of the film, and Sideways, in which the woman was prettier, but no less well-developed–but after a while, the examples pile up. The most blatant example of this that I can name is Adam Sandler, whose characters have slept with dozens, if not hundreds of women who would not give a guy like him a second glance if they weren’t receiving a fat sack of cash for it. I suppose you could argue that Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison are funny in a very juvenile, Friday-night-rental kind of way, but the five minutes I spent watching I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (I couldn’t stomach any more) actually made me angry. What gives Sandler the right to cast himself as a total ladies’ man? Let me rephrase that. He certainly has the right, but that doesn’t make it right.

Adam Sandler movies have gone from being merely lazy to openly contemptuous of their audience. Jack and Jill was basically a feature-length scam, nothing more than an excuse for Sandler and his buddies to collect ridiculously inflated paychecks just to hang out and act like guys. Grown Ups, from what I can tell, was basically the same thing, although someone is bound to point out that Chris Rock is still awesome, so I’ll go ahead and say it: Chris Rock is awesome. Moving on…

The climax of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, according to what I’ve read (normally, it’s wrong to judge something without having seen it, but here, I honestly don’t give a shit), involves Kevin James and Adam Sandler’s little scheme to pass themselves off as gay lovers unraveling when the two can’t bring themselves to kiss each other in public. If you’re going to sign on for a ploy like that, shouldn’t you be prepared to at least give your “partner” a little peck on the cheek? But Sandler caves to the homophobia of his audience, still trying to include a message of tolerance by adding that it’s wrong to use the word “faggot”. Is it? I say “faggot” all the time. Faggot faggot faggot. And while I’m at it, homo queer cocksucker fudgepacker butt pirate pole-smoker gaylord gaywad gayass. Were you offended by that? If so, you’re on the wrong website.

I used to see every movie that was supposed to be good. I got bored with that after a while. These days, I see movies if they have some special relevance to me. A few weeks ago, I saw The Band Wagon, a fun old musical about the difficulties of working in the theater. This weekend, I think I’ll watch Food, Inc., for no reason other than that it’s been on my Netflix queue for some time and it will no longer be available for streaming as of Monday. But I will always have a special place in my heart for anything that is weird, out there, or just plain nuts. Speaking of which…

There’s only one way that I can properly describe this movie to somebody who’s never seen it: If you were a sci-fi-writing, disco-dancing leather daddy, this is what your acid trips would look like. That’s all I’ve got, seriously. It’s one of the greatest “so bad it’s good” movies ever made, a hallucinatory, hideously excessive futuristic musical with hammy overacting, surprisingly catchy tunes, sharp choreography, and a script so unhinged that when it ends with the most blatant deus ex machina this side of the Battlestar Galactica finale, it feels earned rather than cheap. If you are intrigued by cult movies at all, I cannot recommend The AppleĀ highly enough. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, in case anyone cares.

Stay out of trouble, everyone. I’ll be back soon.