Letters, Parenting, This Modern Life

Actual Having a Baby vs. Having a Cat: A Riposte to The Oatmeal

Imagine your grandfather parsing that title.

Anyhoo, Matt Inman, hilarious scribbler of The Oatmeal, has ribbingly touted the virtues of cat-ownership vis-a-vis human reproduction. Inman’s antipathy to babies are known, so this is not suprising. Nor am I going to pretend that it is not funny. But in this day and age, we breeders deserve a shot-back. This will constitute it.

Also, as I have both babies and cats in my house, my comparison stems from first-hand observation, and not mere horror at the diminished freedom of one’s peers to consume ethanol in public houses.

It seems bad form to copypasta the man’s drawings, so I will content myself with reproducing his words in bold, and then replying to them in italicContinue reading

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This Modern Life

Theme-Hunting and Other Follies

I know I do this randomly and seemingly out of a sense of restlessness, but this time I think I may keep it a while. I’ve soured of the giant-header themes: no one needs to scroll through an image to get to the content. This one is clean, has the content front and center, and has a nice little Connector tab up top.

So you can hunt me down on Twitter, and Google+, and read my Tumblr, which is an ongoing project of going through my CD collection, and even look at my Youtube and Vimeo channels if such be your delight.

Bonus Internet points for anyone who can name all my rogues gallery at the end of the song above.

That’s all. I’m keeping off the wider internet so as not to be spoiled before I see Force Awakens on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.

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Politics, This Modern Life

XOJane Writer Dates Republican. Hilarity Ensues.

The article itself is whatever. She establishes her progressive bona fides and then proceeds to marvel at the well-dressed, mannnerly Republican she’s planning on marrying. She closes practically begging to be forgiven:

When I talk like this, it’s obvious that there is still a part of me that is a little idealistic, that wants to save the world. But what’s wrong with wanting a little less hate in the world, and a little more love? Even for those that you disagree with.

But the comments. The comments are comedy GOLD.

First, this:

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But it gets better:

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*snort*

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The rage! The butthurt! The hatred! You could make Sour Patch Kids with these grapes!

Does it ever become exhausting to have to spend so much energy coming up with so much disdain for things that have no effect on your life whatsoever?

I guess not.

 

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Music, This Modern Life

Comparing Apple Music and Spotify, angrily.

The definition of first world problems, sure, but if you want to pay money to curate your own music streaming experience, it’s good info.

I like the snark at the top.

For me, the only legitimate choices seem to be Spotify and Apple Music. I’ve chosen not to test other streaming services like Google Play Music (Sound Ears Noise Yes), Amazon Prime Music, and Pandora (I want to escape the radio not have a worse version of it) for various reasons. I’m sure there are many great reasons to like any of those other services (there aren’t), but I don’t want to hear about them (write your own post about them if you love them).

Pandora can be utterly tedious, but it has the advantage of being free. I’m not paying $14.99 a month to break my data overages. Call me old-fashioned, but I have mouths to feed.

Read the whole thing, if you want to know why Spotify is moderately better than Apple Music.

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This Modern Life

Correia Blogs Fallout, I Have a CK2 Nerdery.

I’ve never played Fallout. Or anything like that. I have a Wii U. I play Super Mario 3-D Word with my three-year-old. So most of this post at Monster Hunter Nation may as well be in Chinese. But a few things earn a critical nod:

Yes, PC Master Race, spare me from your recruiting drives. To me, being on a computer feels like work. Computers are for typing bestselling novels and insulting people on the internet. Consoles are dumb and easy. (hell, half the time I play while riding the exercise bike) And besides, I know enough of you in real life, and all I ever hear is you bitching about how you need to buy a new graphics card every other week.

I have a Mac, but when I had a PC, I couldn’t play Panzer Generals 3 because I didn’t have the right graphics card. It was lame then, and it’s lame now.

But the game that I’ve been playing nonstop for two years now? Good old, free to play World of Tanks. :D That is the one that I just keep coming back to. I don’t know what it is about WoT, but it just never gets old.

My game, that I could play all day and never get bored, that I keep coming back to, is, as my Twitter profile mentions, Crusader Kings 2. It appeals to a particular kind of history nerd, but it’s glorious. I especially like the When the World Stopped Making Sense mod, because I love the period immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire. Something about playing as the Merovingians (or even poor, doomed Syagrius) just appeals to me. Right now I’m trying to restore Rome as the Decian dynasty. Finally pushed those heathen Vandals out of Sardinia. Which reminds me, I really must play as the Vandals sometime.

And it strikes me, that playing in a postapocalyptic world isn’t terribly different from playing a dark ages dynastic RTS. I mean, other than all the ways it’s totally different.

And…weekend.

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Letters, Pop Culture, This Modern Life

When You Just Can’t Get into Authors You Want to Get Into

Last night, instead of going to sleep like a sensible person, I read Bret Easton Ellis’ “Thoughts on David Foster Wallace and ‘The End of the Tour‘”. In it, the American Psycho author holds forth on how the film “The End of the Tour” is a treacly one-note pile of horse flops that, with almost obligatory irony, does precisely what the character of David Foster Wallace worries about in the film: makes a false D.F.W. and substitutes it for the real one.

In The End of the Tour something happens that the Wallace in the movie keeps arguing he would never want: to become a character, and the movie willfully or mindlessly ignores this complaint. This is what the Wallace in the film is bothered by in scene after scene after scene — and what does the movie do? It keeps filming him. What does Segel do? He keeps playing a particular ideaof David Foster Wallace — and this is why the movie would have driven Wallace insane. The Wallace estate as well as his editor have disavowed the film not because it gets anything factually wrong but because it does something that Wallace would never have wanted: it turns him into a character.

All of which is a fine point scored on a film I probably won’t see anyway, for reasons I’ll discuss later. But while reading it I find myself asking why Ellis bothered to write it. Because for all the complaints against the film destroying Wallace’s authenticity in the act of worshipping said authenticity, I didn’t get the impression that Ellis actually thought there was much in the authentic Wallace worth preserving.

Do I think he is the most overrated writer of my generation as well as the most pretentious and tortured? Yeah, I do. And I tweeted this along with other things that bothered me, not so much about David himself but more about how he had been reinterpreted by the culture. The sincerity and earnestness he began trafficking in seemed to some of us a ploy, a contradiction — not totally fake, but not totally real either, a kind of performance art, sensing the shift toward earnestness in the culture and accommodating himself to it.

Of course he goes on to tell us that he did like Wallace and thought he was a genius (Yeah, he did). And a good thought about being okay with complexity follows. But I can’t avoid the idea that if Wallace started selling himself before his death as a great big earnest dork, then he’s complicit in the film’s “false” version of himself, so who cares?

Granted, that may just be me sharing Ellis’ opinion of Wallace’s work. Every time I get on Amazon and try to cajole myself into checking out his books, I get to the part about how Vlad the Impaler is a parakeet and my enthusiasm swiftly dies. I know I’m supposed to find that bold and clever, but I don’t. And reading a multi-layer, meta-narrative Rube Goldberg watchama-thing, as Infinite Jest is supposed to be, sounds exhausting. Making a novel not-a-novel doesn’t make a novel better.

But if I’m being honest, I have the same problem with trying to read more Bret Easton Ellis. I read Less Than Zero last year, and have re-read it since, and I still don’t know where Ellis put the plot. Then I read American Psycho and I had to stop about halfway through because I could not read another brand-specific catalog of what every person in the room was wearing. Getting the joke didn’t make it easier to process; I eventually started skimming both them and the step-by-step descriptions of murdering people (I get it, Patrick reduces people to atomized parts…) just so I could get to the end, which has the same problem as LTZ: it doesn’t close so much as stop. I guess that’s a point, too.

I like the guy’s prose style, and he’s got an inventive eye for decadence, but the thought of downloading Imperial Bedrooms to my Kindle and slogging though another 200 pages of Clay observing things – himself included – with all the emotional involvement of an alien scout reporting to the mothership, makes a nap and a cup of tea sound like a much better use of my time.

Yet here I am writing about him, and thinking about what I’ve read of his. Cavils about plot and structure aside, Ellis makes for a good tour guide to the darkness at the heart of the City of Man.

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