Friday, May 01, 2009

Ephemera, May Day 2009

One of the things I've noticed about blogging is that you rather constantly have a little daemon in the back of your mind collecting things for the blog.

The following are bits and pieces of planned posts that I never got around to writing, and thus only the highlights remain in my brain. Which is actually a good thing, because you're getting the "good parts" version (with a tip of the cursor to the great William Goldman).

I recently went to a conference and noted many things that I intended to report, but only two have stuck:

- I saw a paraplegic in a wheelchair wearing a t-shirt that said "Stimulus Package" followed by a large arrow pointing at his crotch. So, I wondered if he was being ironic or not...

- The elevators had big, prominent signs (which were just standard 8 1/2 by 11" typewriter paper printed from a laserprinter) by the buttons that stated a capacity of 8 people, warning that the elevators would get stuck if that was exceeded. Inside, the elevators had professionally manufactured signs stating a capacity of 10, and without the dire warning of getting stuck. So, one day I'm getting on the elevator, and one attendee who was VERY OUT was riding down, and I asked him, "why do you suppose the limit signs outside say 8 and the ones in here say 10?" And he said in that cliché effeminate gay accent, "Because everyone's gotten so fat!" The response was funny in and of itself, but the delivery is what really sold the line. I laughed for half the day on that one.

My wife and I watched the final episode of ER (a few weeks ago, now) and were sadly appalled that the show had gotten even worse since the time we abandoned it. We barely made it to the end. They did a little retrospective show before the episode, and it wasn't obvious to someone who hadn't been watching for a while, but nearly all the snippets they played were from the first few seasons, and when the show proper started, the contrast was so stark I was embarrassed for those who now ran the show.

I actually had an index card filled out with all the subplots, and I was gonna lay them out here to expose their patheticness (patheticality?).

Anyway, in a nutshell, the overall theme was every patient who was part of a family lost a member of that family in particularly harsh ways (mom dies during delivery, old man unexpectedly and suddenly loses his wife to old age, etc.), with the sole exception being the (obligatory) gay couple.

A gay guy comes in because he feels weird and they discover he has a brain tumor. When his boyfriend/husband shows up, there's this overly sweet scene where they talk about what a wonderful life they've had and how they'll enjoy the last year or so they have with each other until he finally is taken out by the tumor (effusive lens filters are used, palette tones warm, violins swell). We also discover that he was one of the original patients diagnosed with AIDs and has managed to live all this time. Short version: gay = good happy life; anyone else = you're fucked, cope.

Good riddance to that show. (Though it looks as though they put an equally overwrought police show in its place; and they took care to announce it was created and produced by the same team that has brought us ER the last few years. I do appreciate that told us it would suck so I didn't have to waste my time checking it out.)

Read this book on Christianity called The Blue Parakeet, which I picked up blindly. A few pages in I was groaning inwardly because he was dividing us all up into bible-believing Christians and liberal Christians. Then he started talking to his fundie brethren about how they were not living up to the letter of the Bible no matter how much they thought they were, spends a few chapters proving that (which were kinda fun), and then talks about how they need to use Discernment and realize that they need to apply the Bible and its story to our age rather than try to pretend to live in a different Christian era. To which anyone who's not a fundie would answer: well, duh.

So, while it was mostly just entertainment for me (meaning I didn't really learn anything or get detect a point of view I wasn't aware of) watching someone fundie come to the realization that it's about love and the message is contained in the narrative (what he labeled as "the story") rather than viewing the Bible like a bunch of Chinese cookie fortunes that you can apply at will and out of context to whatever situation, the main impression I came away with was the author was a phenomenal asshole. It just bleeds out of his writing style and various attempts at humor. Even the back cover photo fills one with mild, free-floating loathing. I haven't had many experiences outside of reading some wingnut polemic where you could just feel what a creep the author (perhaps) is. (I hope the author never does a vanity search and lands here. If so, my apologies.)

Update: Sorry if this comes off a little harsh. I was apparently in a mood when I wrote this.

Speaking of assholes...

I rarely write about work, particularly in a negative sense, because typically it's not wise. Just hunt up "dooced" on the internets.

But I'm so amused with my little joke I just have to share.

One of the folks we work with is an utter SOB. Every single interaction with said SOB is unpleasant. I would posit that if you were to sum up the total amount of time people talk about what this person has done lately and basically conjugating on what a bastard s/he is, you'd have a solid 8 hours. I've read several books on how to make your organization one of the bestest, shiniest, efficient and overall wonderful places to work, and all of them say identify these people and show them the door. In this case, it will never happen. (It's a long story, and I'd have to give away too many details.)

Anyway, one of the code/secret references I've invented for describing events and interactions with this lovely human being is: "A Sleeping Beauty Moment."

It came about like this: I was talking to someone about a recent run-in and I said, "Afterwards, I had the exact same thought pass through my mind that went through Sleeping Beauty's as she fell into her hundred-year sleep ... 'Wow, what a prick!'"

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