A Good Genocide

Filed under:Not Cool,Reviews,Television — posted by Anwyn on July 28, 2008 @ 7:59 am

Relax, I’m not talking about anything in the real world. I’m talking about Doctor Who … again … and how the idiot moral and political beliefs of its writers are turning the doctor into a more buffoonish figure than I would like to see him be.

**SPOILERS** for the season finale, “Journey’s End,” below. (more…)

What Fresh Horror Is This?

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on June 17, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

Relax, it’s only a movie, but potentially the most bizarre one I’ve ever seen on an IMDb rap sheet.

I admit I thought it was yet more bizarre than it is–I originally assumed it was live-action. Whew.

Please, Good Directors Everywhere, drop your obsession with telling stories about human beings in the weird plastic medium of CGI. Leave it to cars and pull-string toys.

I May Be Dumb, but Amazon’s Rude

Filed under:Good Grief,Need a Good Editor?,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 20, 2008 @ 7:07 am

So I joined the Associates program, thinking to pick up a few cents here and there on people’s Amazon orders. I was aware there are no referral fees on items I buy myself, but stupidly overlooked this part:

This includes orders for customers, orders on behalf of customers, and orders for products to be used by you, your friends, your relatives, or your associates in any manner.

Okay, that’s pretty restricted–my mother almost never orders from Amazon because she doesn’t like wrestling with a click system rather than just picking what she wants and filling out an order form. She orders through Amazon specifically because I set up the portal on my blog–thus essentially referring a new customer to them, the ostensible purpose of the program–and her purchases don’t count because she’s my mother?

It’s understandable, if a bit narrow. But what really got my goat was the offensive and condescending expressions of the Amazon flunky who wrote back to my query about why there were several orders but no referral fees in my account. He accused me outright of ordering all the items myself, when actually some were ordered by my mother as aforementioned and some were ordered by Daddyman. He then snidely mentioned that Amazon is not running a “discount program” here. Yeah, no duh, moron.

And because their system is “proprietary,” he condescendingly declines to explain to me how they “know” I ordered the items myself. Hey, Sherlock? My mother has my same last name and Daddyman lives at my same address, though we aren’t married and thus aren’t even related. I pretty well grok on my own how you “deduced” these items were nefariously purchased by me. But you’re dead frackin’ wrong–I have zero interest in old episodes of Doctor Who.

So while I understand that you have to protect yourselves from being taken advantage of, and that orders from the same household should probably be restricted from the program, still, that’s not the same as me ordering them myself to try to hoodwink you. When you accuse people of that, you destroy a lot of goodwill and good faith. Yeah, it’s embarrassingly stupid of me not to have noticed the “relatives” part, but it’s offensively condescending for you to send a lengthy, rambling email accusing me of acting in bad faith instead of simply pointing out the problem and the restricted items. Thus my membership in the Associates program is finished. Hire some people who know how to respond to emails without acting like people who invite their friends and family to use their Amazon portal are deceptive little weasels who really are only after discounts for themselves.

Lucas Gone Round the Bend

Filed under:Good Grief,Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 16, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

Well, all right, he was round the bend when Episode I was made, but now he’s so far gone I can’t even see him any more: Shia LeBeouf as the new Indy, with Harrison Ford coming back as the elder statesman a la Connery.

“I haven’t even told Steven or Harrison this,” he said. “But I have an idea to make Shia [LeBeouf] the lead character next time and have Harrison [Ford] come back like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out.

I guess I’m dumb even to be surprised and dumber still to be sad about this kind of thing. This stuff is aimed at the generations following on to mine, and they don’t care if things we treasured are ruined–they’ll plunk down their money and Lucas will gather it up.

But I doubt Lucas has come to terms with that in his own mind. He still seems to have no clue that these are not good ideas from a creative/story point of view. I haven’t seen the new movie yet; it doesn’t matter whether Shia LeBouf is the new Ford or spends all his time chewing scenery. It’s not about that. It’s about a creative institution: Indiana Jones. Don’t show him to us getting old, sitting around, giving advice to the new protege. We don’t care about that. He was a man at a moment in time, and we don’t want to know how Lucas thinks he ages. We don’t want him to age at all. Enough, already. Connery worked because he was a static character also: Introduce him, boom, he’s old, he’s Indy’s father, accepted, he’s a name actor with charisma coming out his ears and we all love him. Wild cheers. Exit to applause–a lesson Lucas has never learned. His lesson is more like “wring out every last drop.” I thought it was only television execs who were supposed to be so heartless to their product–execs who have no hand in writing, casting, or shooting the work. Lucas should know better. Why doesn’t he?

As for Lucas’s comment that the current Indy movie will be the “exact same experience” the other three were, all I can say is, actually, I hope so.

Eah, Doesn’t Even Look Much Like Him

Filed under:Good Grief,Not Cool,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn on May 13, 2008 @ 10:27 am

Obama as Messiah Rising from the Oregon Waters.

Alas, however, that is recognizably Portland, OR, behind him.

H/t Ace o’ Spades.

Oh Noooooooes

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 8, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

AICN–AICNis panning Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

The Great Conflict looms: See it, and potentially have to pretend it doesn’t exist, like the last three Star Wars films, just so I can say I’ve seen it? Don’t see it, and keep my Indy memories intact?

Oh, Spielberg, what the hell were you thinking? Whose fault is this? Given the comments about the CGI, I’ll go out on a limb: Lucas’s. Given the comments about the lines that don’t work and the bad acting, though, I guess it’s going to have to be: both. I have a sneaking suspicion, too, that the reason it took so long to come up with a good script, despite going through a raft of good screenwriters, is that Lucas and Spielberg are no longer comfortable with any villains, even the obviously evil ones they used to use, unless those villains include the U.S. or its henchmen. That’s what I thought when I watched the first trailer, anyway, but I could be way off base.

We’ll see. Come on, Kyle Smith, tell me soon whether I can expect to have a few more of my youthful memories corrupted–at least you’re getting paid to risk it firsthand.

Disney/Pixar Getting a Little Too Cute for Their Boots

Filed under:Mothering,Movies,Need a Good Editor?,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 1, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

So I’m watching Cars with The Bean, who now will occasionally deign to take a break from four or five episodes of How It’s Made per day to watch a movie, and we have the captions on, as is our custom since he likes to read them and I’ve got a long-standing caption habit dating back to his birth when I wanted the house very quiet. At the end of the first race when McQueen goes to make his appearance in the Rust-Eze tent, a comment from a random car in the crowd flashes up in caption: “That race was a pisser!”

What the hell? It’s one thing for that kind of line to be mumbled in a crowd scene so muddled as to be inaudible. Ha, ha, an adult comment in a kids’ film. Yes, we get it, you’re clever. But to put it in the captions? Do they just expect no kids to ever see those? In some houses “piss” still is a less than polite word, folks. What’s next–will I need to preview the captions on Aladdin to make sure that when the monkey, Abu, is leaping from stone to stone over the lava, he doesn’t really, in fully readable print rather than unintelligible monkey-squeak, say “Oh shit!” as it sort of sounds like he might be doing? (About 1:06 on that vid.)

Come on, people, get your act together. If you don’t want to make movies for kids, don’t. Don’t stick adult or even semi-adult language into kids’ movies, or if you do put in an inaudible nugget now and then, keep it out of the captions.

I’m Glad You’re Here to Tell Us These Things

Filed under:Jerks,Language Barrier,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 22, 2008 @ 9:27 am

Telling people what they really think, and how they really think, seems to be going around. Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court says:

…current decisions by state legislatures, by the Congress of the United States, and by this Court to retain the death penalty as part of our law are the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process…

Well! Now that you’ve pointed that out, Justice Stevens, perhaps you can tell us what exact line of thought and conclusion would be an “acceptable” deliberative process. Or, rather, tell it to your fellow Justices and to Congress so they can get it right next time.

H/t Pat Buchanan.

Government Health [Care/Insurance] Advocates, Take Note

Filed under:Mothering,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 21, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

This is what it looks like when the government gets involved in the prescription process for one drug. One drug!

Haven’t Tried It, Don’t Plan To

Filed under:Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 14, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

I’ve read enough pained reviews of Windows Vista that I have no plans to switch. And if Microsoft is so boneheaded as to insist on saddling us with ever-spiraling hardware requirements and an operating system–think about this for a minute–an operating system that actually clogs and burdens the hardware for its own flashy features rather than simply making the rest of the computer available for your use, then next time I need a machine I’ll install some flavor of Linux. Me and, apparently, more than 100K more users … but it’s going to take a lot more than that, I fear.

No doubt my more technologically savvy friends are laughing at me and remembering how each successive Windows version has done nothing but progressively require better hardware and then clog it. I remember when I bought my first Windows machine, in 1997, and admired the little animated papers flying from one folder to another to tell me that the transfer was in progress … and the tech friend helping me take the thing for a test run shook his head grimly about the resources that little jigger was wasting. Never mind. I’ve understood for a long time and I am finally at my limit. I have enough Windows, Microsoft. Lean it down, slim it back, give me my stable XP or I will go elsewhere. And while I’m not the most technologically savvy Jenny on the block (I’m having a hard time making sure my files are backed up before I upgrade to WP 2.5 as The Venomous One commands, also assuring me it’s easy as pie. Dare I ask her if she backed up her files? Oh yeah. I dare) I’ve got friends in Linux places who will be glad to help me turn back from the dark side. Believe it, Gates.

Getcher Own

Filed under:Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 8, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

Come on, Air Force, do better than this. SAC deserves better. Hell, for that matter, so does Cyber Command, whatever that is.

Update: If you’re wondering why I care, besides the fact that it’s slipshod, lazy, and rude, my dad was SAC (Strategic Air Command–bombers, tankers, and a few other arms) during his 20-year tour as an air force pilot. “Peace is Our Profession” was SAC’s motto. My dad and his KC-135 and B-52 buddies finished it “…Nuclear War is Just a Hobby.”

Update x2: “…so does Cyber Command, whatever that is.” See? I knew I liked John Noonan. Sounds to me like some people are too busy worrying about their patch, too cheap to pay a designer to make them a non-plagiarized one, and have their priorities a bit out of wack.

Like That “Diversity” a Little Less When It’s Engineered in Front of Your Face, Do Ya?

Filed under:Jerks,Not Cool,Politics,Priorities — posted by Anwyn @ 11:58 am

Some of the Obama crowd sees Diversity in Action:

While the crowd was indeed diverse, some students at the event questioned the practices of Mrs. Obama’s event coordinators, who handpicked the crowd sitting behind Mrs. Obama. The Tartan’s correspondents observed one event coordinator say to another, “Get me more white people, we need more white people.” To an Asian girl sitting in the back row, one coordinator said, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though.”

“I didn’t know they would say, ‘We need a white person here,’ ” said attendee and senior psychology major Shayna Watson, who sat in the crowd behind Mrs. Obama. “I understood they would want a show of diversity, but to pick up people and to reseat them, I didn’t know it would be so outright.”

H/t Hot Air headlines.

Something I Have No Right Whatsoever to Complain About

Filed under:Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 3, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

Okay, there’s one tiny part of it I may have a right to complain about, but it doesn’t come until the end.

My dad was a pilot at a regional airline, feeder to a major airline, which was eventually bought by the major airline. He’s retired now, but he and his immediate family retain flight privileges. He and my mother fly free; my sisters and I fly for a certain amount per mile (I don’t know what it is; their computers just calculate what it costs us to fly from point A to point B and it’s always the same for any given points A and B). In addition, we can buy a limited number of “Buddy Passes” at similar prices, though slightly higher, for anyone we like to travel with us.

Two catches: The travel is standby, and priority (the part where we sit at the gate with pale faces and shallow breathing while the agents calculate how many standbys they can put on board and which ones it will be) is determined by hiring date of the employee or former employee (my dad). So somebody whose dad or husband was hired before my dad gets to get on the plane before me, and if there’s any seat left after that I’ll get my chance. But–wrinkle!–Buddy Passes are always of lower priority than the family of the employee. So if I travel with my son, he’s on a Buddy Pass, and he comes after everybody else who is family of an employee, no matter whether they were hired before my father or not. And because he can’t travel without me, I’m bumped down to his priority level. Translation: We are always last or close to it.

Since 9/11, as you can imagine, with drastically reduced routes and correspondingly more packed airplanes, standby travel has been such a nightmare that I’ve largely forgone it altogether, especially with the Bean in tow. Traveling back to the Midwest for this death in Daddyman’s family, we bought one-way tickets, not knowing when the service would be, etc. Mistake. At the very least, son and I should have bought round trips. I decided I could “just fly standby” to get back out, even though I haven’t done this with son for years. Mistake. I’ve been watching the seat numbers get lower … lower … and lower until they’re finally overbooked, while son sits at the bottom of the priority list with Buddy Pass beside his name. Once they’re overbooked, it’s no use to go to the airport, so we stay another day and start the process over again. It’s painful, to say the least.

As I said, I have no right to complain. It’s a privilege to fly cheap, or would be if we could ever do it at all, one that the airline has no obligation to offer us (and a lot of the gate agents for some reason never want to let us forget that, even though their own friends and family travel the same way and presumably are subjected to degrading treatment from their fellow agents). It’s just painful, upsetting, and leaves us with an unpalatable choice of paying hundreds of dollars for a one-way flight or sitting on our butts for a few more days until we can snag a flight that isn’t overbooked and has few enough standbys that my son’s priority will see us through.

But here’s the thing, the one thing I do have some right to complain about. Airlines are running as lean as they can in routes and equipment use because of all the factors you and I both know all about–9/11, heightened security, rising gas prices. So the flights are always full. But worse: I know you know the phrase code share. This is when airlines say it’s their flight but it’s actually on an entirely different airline altogether. So they find it very easy to judge how many flights they should put on a certain route–how many passengers are they having to pawn off on their bretheren airlines? And if it’s not enough to fill a second airplane, why would they put a second flight on the route? Makes perfect economic sense.

But I don’t understand how this is not an illegal monopoly. They are colluding with their fellow airlines to determine capacity, and therefore supply, and therefore price. If the major airline in question only has to pawn off ten revenue passengers per route to their code share partners (oh, how I hate the very phrase), they don’t have to bother trying to market extra flights with attractive prices. And therefore they cram every flight to bursting (literally; overbooking is another practice I despise) and our privileges completely evaporate.

And they are privileges; if they’re gone, well, too bad. But it angers me that they’re gone through what appears from the outside to be a monopolistic business practice that should be illegal under antitrust laws. If anybody can explain that to me, let me hear from you.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace