December 31st, 2007

His Master's Voice, lapdog, nipper, tool

The "Class" Meme

I note that only one or two people in my flist have expressly identified this as a "Class Meme". I confess that I never thought much in terms of "class" when I was a kid -- but that's the most insidious thing about Social Privilege. You don't think of yourself as "special" in any way -- and you're completely clueless as to just how that gives you an advantage in the world.

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It's odd how some of this skews, though. After my mother's divorce, we moved in with my grandmother, who was still teaching. We then moved into a Much Larger House -- but in 1972, a household with two professional-level incomes was still an outlier, and "Teacher" and "X-Ray Tech" were still comfortably middle class. When Mom got remarried, we had three incomes in the house -- and that kind of multi-generational working household was rare in that time period.

I don't think a household with two X-Ray techs and a grade school teacher would be quite so comfortable these days.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful
hoard potato, tv, movies

Lost in Translation... from English to English

Every time a book or movie from the UK gets re-titled for its US release, there's inevitably a barrage of online commentary about how "American media dumbs stuff down", or, even more contemptuously, how stuff has to be "dumbed down" for narrow, provincial, red-state-dominated 'Mericans.

Funny how nobody ever says anything when a US film is retitled in the UK.

Yesterday, quelonzia and I watched the 2001 murder mystery, The Caveman's Valentine. The movie stars Samuel L. Jackson as a paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave in Central Park. One frosty Valentine's Day morning, he finds a frozen body on his "doorstep". Of course, he's certain that this is tied into his own delusional world-view, and is determined to find out what really happened.

The title is perfect: both poetic and descriptive. The theme of Valentine's Day and the body of the victim as a "Valentine" recurs throughout the movie.

In the UK, it was released on video as The Sign of the Killer.

I cannot think of a more banal, colorless, generic, dumbed-down title.

(I know that the UK doesn't celebrate the middle of February with the tree-killing orgy of greeting cards we strew about in the Untidy States, but a quick Wikipedia search shows that there are local traditions.)
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
Ommm, Second Life, Howitzer

You say you want a Resolution...

Well, it's that time of year again, when we set our goals for the year and try to meet them.

But first, a story.

Last week, quelonzia and I found ourselves in a dilemma: back in early November, we'd bought tickets for a December 29th performance of Jesus Christ, Superstar at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. I love live theater, and in our decade of marriage, she and I have only seen one stage performance.

The 29th loomed, and... Quel had caught my cold. She had no interest or desire to leave the house, much less infect a room full of theater-goers (and performers, come to think of it).

We spent Thursday and Friday trying to think of friends who might enjoy the tickets -- and who we've actually seen recently enough that it wouldn't be Totally Out Of The Blue.

The second half was the problem. We've been kinda cocoonish in recent mon... okay, years.

So there's my first resolution:

  1. Be more social. The single biggest reason we moved to the Bay Area was to be close to a significant percentage of our friends -- and despite that, for all intents and purposes, we pretty much dropped off the face of the planet. We've started to push ourselves out the door to hook up with people lately, but there are still folks we see less of now than we did when we lived down in Monterey. Maybe the Writer's Strike will help there; I foresee a lot of Uneventful Evenings in early 2008.


  2. Moving on:

  3. Kick the exercise up a notch. I did a pretty good job of revising my eating habits last year, losing 20 pounds and getting my cholesterol levels back into the realm of sanity. (The big secret: "Beef Is A Sometimes Food.") I leveled off at 210, though, and I think that's as far as dietary improvements can take me. I walk a lot, but I need more aerobic exercise and more upper-body work.


  4. Get a job that lasts more than three months. Hooray, I actually scored the elusive Job In My Field last spring -- well, it was near my field, anyway. Boo, it was a "consultant" position, and I didn't get picked up for full-time permanent work. I know a lot of people like the freedom that consulting brings, but for me? It just feels like I've made a career out of what I hate most: looking for work.


  5. Learn new stuff. I've got Ubuntu installed (though I might do a fresh install of Kubuntu, for various reasons) and largely mastered the basics; now it's time to dive into GRASS, QGIS and MySQL. This is the flip side of "consulting sucks" -- if I'm stuck consulting, I might as well have the tools to do the job.


  6. Crank up the creativity. In the last month or two, I've broken through my long dry spell and actually started GMing again, with a campaign that, for the first time ever, seems to have taken on a life and direction all its own. I need to maintain the momentum on that. I also want to start Producing Tangible Work, though. We've finally got a place with a decent amount of space again: with that all-important resource, any number of fallow projects and hobbies become feasible again.


Wow. You know, I hardly ever sit down and write out resolutions -- but this was surprisingly uplifting. There's a cultural predilection in our cynical times to think of New Year's Resolutions as making a list of things to fail in the coming year, but every one of these came down to "I made some progress last year; let's keep working toward those goals".

That's rather different from the "I've accomplished nothing in '07" wangst in which I've allowed myself to wallow.

I may not have kicked ass, but I have a list of names right here!

Happy New Year, everyone!