Scribblings by Lizbeth
Confessions of a Hawthorne Fangirl
Rants and Raves 
11th-Jul-2014 01:50 pm - I'm Back...Kinda...Sorta
I know. I haven't been around much. I'm kind of crawling out from more than two years of personal gunk-i-ness, and my time seems to have contracted dangerously.

But I'm gonna try to post more often than "once in a blue moon."

Not that anyone is really left on the journals. *taps microphone* Heeellooooooo, is this still on?

In any case, I came across this and it made me howl.

Boston tourist Attractions, According to Unhappy Yelp Viewers

I'm not sure what is funnier. The reviews that completely miss the point, or the snark that gets served back.

Makes a perfect companion piece to this thing I wrote (holy cow!) six years ago called To All the Tourists I've Loved (and Not Loved) Before, which is a rumination on what it's like to live in and around a city that's an international tourist destination.

Whelp. Gotta go. I must work. Next up...corporate training. Which I'm putting off. Because I know it's going to be about brainwashing me into believing that being a doormat is the most important job skill I can possibly have.

The joys of corporate America, no?

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4th-Nov-2013 09:59 am - Fess Up. Who knew this?
Richard Pryor can...

I mean could...

Holy shit, that man could sing!


In other news, I really will respond to all your expressions of sympathy. It's just I've been doing a lot of sidling up to those posts, y'know, keeping them in my peripheral vision.

Then the point hovers over the comment numbers so I can click and respond and...


And I run away. So, still working up the courage.

Otherwise, my mother is doing okay, as is my brother. It's a process.

Anyway, enjoy the video and the jaw dropping moment above.

Because...well...holy shit!

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17th-Oct-2013 09:16 pm - Adventures in Obit Writing 101
Breaking radio silence because I...

Okay, I admit it. I can't stop laughing.

So, yesterday we make funeral arrangements. We went with the Italian Tribe's family undertaker, who is pretty much one-stop shopping. He deals with everything, he gives us "the family discount," and we give him money.

(Well, we give him money after inspecting the itemized bill, of course. Bless the People's Republic of Massachusetts, because itemized bills for funerals aren't just good business, but they're also the freakin' law.)

In any case, one of the items that are included in the one-stop shopping is a paid obit for the local paper. Great!

He will write it. Not so great!

As someone who, when visiting the parental units on Sundays, would read the obit page of the local paper for the sheer joy of insanely written obits with massive misspellings, timelines that didn't make sense, and leaps in logic that defied comprehension, there was no way I was going to overburden the clearly already overburdened copy editors at the local paper.

I insisted: I see it first.

Funeral director has no problems with that. Great!

Side note here: Back in the day, when I was a newspaper reporter, myself and every single one of my co-workers had to come up through the obits desk. Every single one of us had to write obits for almost zero pay. Some for months, some for years. I did my time in college by writing obits for a very large metropolitan daily every weekend for three years (this was so I wouldn't have to do it after I graduated college).

The idea here is your basic obit is your basic newspaper story in structure and style. If you can't write an obit, then you need to pack your bags and go find another line of work. It was the proving ground to prove you could do it.

So, back to today.

I get the obit from the funeral director. As I'm reading, I start giggling. Then I'm laughing. Finally, I'm laughing so hard that I can't catch my breath.

I have discovered the source of the local paper's obit insanity.

Turns out, the funeral directors pretty much write the obits and submit them directly into the local newspaper's electronic submission system. Then they go directly into the newspaper.

There is no one reading them. No one copy-editing them. No one even checking that the obit makes a lick of sense (my dad's obit had him becoming a mailman when he was 8 years-old). As for misspellings? Fuhgedaboutit.

Needless to say, I tore the whole thing apart and re-wrote it. I left in the personal stuff the funeral director included (sooooo not okay back in the day, but hey, back in the day you didn't pay for it), but otherwise it was re-written and restructured within an inch of its life.

Guaranteed it will be the best-written obit to hit the local paper in months. Guaran-fucking-teed. And that's just based on the fact that all of the words are spelled correctly.

I think I've hit on the perfect post-retirement job when I retire a few decades from now.

I'm gonna go around to all of the local funeral homes and offer to write all of the obits for $20 a pop. Back in the day, I could pound out four to five obits an hour. Get yourself a steady stream of five to 10 obits a day, that's one to two hours' worth of work a day, and that's $100 to $200 a day.

It's totally a plan.

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15th-Oct-2013 08:08 pm - Death in the Family, So Disappearing for a Bit
As you may have noticed I haven't been around much for the past year? Two years?

Well, anyway, aside from my life getting turned upside-down three years ago due to a complete change in my career -- and me returning to school -- part of that was due to my father being diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA). It's a fairly vicious nerve disorder that goes undetected because of its non-specific symptoms.

One year ago, my dad may have been unsteady on his feet, but he could still drive. Yesterday, my dad was barely capable of walking, and what little he could do could only be done with the aid of a walker.

It's the hardest thing in the world to witness. My dad was a mailman. He could walk miles and not even feel the strain. Only to wind down to something like this.

It's not an exaggeration to say that sometimes I would come home from visiting on Sundays so I could take my parents for a drive or run errands for them, and would burst into tears minutes after walking through the front door. Hell, sometimes I would get off the phone after talking to him (it was difficult for him to form words at times), and I would burst into tears again.

His biggest fear was that he would end up bed-ridden and in a nursing home. God knows my mother did everything in her power, as did my brother, to make sure that he could stay home as long as possible.

And truly, my mother and my brother bore the brunt of the burden since they were right there, and I was living 45 minutes away. My job (such as it was) was to be the safety valve for everyone so they could vent when they needed to, or to fill in for my brother when he needed a break.

(Truthfully, something really karmically good needs to happen for my brother. If any man deserves it, y'know?)

Right. I'm rambling.

*takes deep breath*

So, my dad died this morning. A stroke that hit him so hard that he didn't know what hit him. It was sudden, and it wasn't.

The point is, he had breakfast with my mom. They watched their morning news shows. Then he went to the bathroom. My mother got distracted by a call, and a half-hour went by before she realized that he was still in there.

She found him on the floor, already gone.

So...bad day for the family. But, strange as this may sound, a good day for my dad.

He died exactly the way he wanted to. At home. After having a nice morning with my mom. On a beautifully warm fall day. And so suddenly that he never saw it coming.

Anyway, ummm, sorry for the rambling. I'm not exactly at my most emotionally stable at the moment, as one poor stranger learned this evening.

I was going in to vote in the special election primary (Why? I have no friggin' clue, given the day I just had. I think I was operating a bit on automatic to be honest.) and some guy looked at me and randomly told me to "cheer up and smile."

To say I snapped at him would have been a massive, massive understatement.

So, yeah. Not exactly a good person to be near at the moment.

I know things will be okay. I know this is for the best. But it's gonna be a tough holiday season coming up.

But we'll get through it.

'Cause that's the thing when bad things happen. It might feel like the world has ended, but when you crawl back to your feet the most amazing thing happens.

The world, as it turns out, is still there.

And that's not a bad thing.

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14th-Oct-2013 09:33 am - Yay! New Blue October!
After the crashing disappointment of Any Man in America (their previous album) with its not-so-vague misogynistic overtones, I was afraid I'd have to abandon this band.

But they're back, and Sway is a sweet way to wipe out the bad taste their previous CD left in my mouth.

By the way, you can stream the entire CD under the cut. I'm able to embed the Spotify playlist.

(My God! Could this be a return to my Music from the Cube project? I abandoned it sometime ago because I was, ummm, contacted about offering downloadable tracks with my reviews. This would be a big, big way around this...)

Whoops...Didn't realize this would be so big )
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27th-Sep-2013 02:43 pm - Zombies, Run!
*shifty eyes*

I just downloaded the Zombies, Run! app for my phone.

Has anyone else done this? It looks hella fun.

Can you use this on a treadmill, or is this something that's GPS-dependent?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

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30th-Aug-2013 01:33 pm - Fandom Annoyance #4,352
The amount of mansplaining going on in the Skyler White thread over on TWOP makes me want to pull my hair out.

While I agree one can dislike a female character for entire non-sexist reasons, and I'm willing to give my fellow fans the benefit of the doubt, excuse me for being really dubious when you claim to be one of those people who hate Skyler for entirely non-sexist reasons but then turn around and use sexist language and/or sexist arguments to bolster your claim on why you hate SKYLAR!11!!!!!

(Oh, and it's Skyler, not SKYLAR!11!!!!! At least spell the character's fucking name right if you want me to take you at all seriously.)

This post brought to you by a healthy dose of annoyance at men in fandom.

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21st-May-2013 10:20 am - Time-Lapse of OK Tornado
To all my peeps in and around Oklahoma City, I hope you're safe in the wake of yesterday's vicious tornado that ripped through Moore.

This time-lapse footage of that tornado is's stunning.

I live in a part of the U.S. where tornadoes are honestly not that common (although when they do come, they come in clusters as what happened in Western Massachusetts a couple of years ago). Microbursts, yeah. But monsters like this?

Dear God. That footage is pure nightmare fuel.

(Did I mention that my second-worst fear after heights is tornadoes? I'm really, really scared of tornadoes. I do not know how people in the U.S. Midwest/Southeast/Southwest can live with the constant threat of tornadoes over their heads. I really, and truly, do not. I will take the most violent of nor'easters — aka, a hurricane with snow — over a tornado any day.)

In the meantime, to help the Moore tornado victims, I'll be texting money via 90999 REDCROSS.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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19th-Apr-2013 09:13 am - I'm Fine! I'm Good!
For those of you who have been following the latest on the Boston Marathon bombings, you know that it's been quite the night hereabouts.

Just FYI for my peeps who know where I live: I am safely at work, far, far away from the lockdown area.

The bigger question is: Will I be able to go home tonight?

For my peeps outside the Boston area: Yes, I live in the lockdown area, and I had planned to stay hunkered down at home.

However, I heard two key phrases, "it's suspected that the second suspect (White Hat) is strapped (as in, wearing bombs)" and "he's in Watertown, MA" (which is the town next door to where I live, but on the other side of town).

I figured it was safer for me to not be home than to actually be home. So I am 30 miles or so outside of Boston and 16 or so miles away from home, working in the very welcoming (and currently sparsely staffed because, dude, LOCKDOWN of Boston and all towns within a 20-mile radius) Jolly Green Giant.

I also admit that a bit of defiance did come into play here: Ain't no bomb-making loser gonna mess up my day.

Which...I don't know what it says about me that I consider going to work as an act of defiance, but there you go. Clearly I'm wired funny.

So, yeeaaaaah. Just letting everyone know that I'm cool...

Keep Calm and Drink More Damn Coffee.

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17th-Apr-2013 02:13 pm - Boston Globe: Nevermind
AP is reporting that a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in in custody and will be arraigned in federal court.

It appears the the main sources for identifying the suspect came from a Lord & Taylor store camera that happened to be aimed at the area and video tape from one of the Boston television stations.

More as it updates.

Turns out the news report was in error.
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17th-Apr-2013 12:45 pm - We're Fine...
I've been pinged by several people via DW and LJ asking if I was okay following the bombings on Monday.

Me and mine are fine.

I work 30 miles or so outside of Boston and live about 12 miles or so outside the city.

I was at work, safely 30 miles away when the bombings happened.

Ironically enough, I was controlling a teleconference at the Jolly Green Giant (my employer) that had an International Audience. Throughout the morning, said International Audience kept asking me to interrupt the flow of the meeting so I could broadcast updates from the Boston Marathon. This basically meant beaming the front page of via Adobe Connect around the globe so people could see the headlines.

Once the winners of the women's and men's races were announced, we all went back to our teleconfrerence with no interruptions.

Until someone came in and told us what had happened at the marathon's finish line a half-hour after it happened.

Immediately the room erupted and insisted that I go to get the news.

I kind of forgot I was still internationally connected (as did everyone else in the room), so more than a few folks in Europe got a face full of those horrific images from the marathon finish line.

Thankfully, the folks in Europe (seriously, I'm really, really sorry guys) were very, very understanding and raised no fuss at all about inadvertent exposure to the bloody aftermath.

Everyone in the room pretty much knew someone who was running the marathon, or was waiting for a loved one on the Boylston Street closing stretch, so the panic was...okay, there was some panic. Controlled panic, but still low-level panic. People hopped on the Boston Athletic Club's Website to check transponders of people they knew were running in the marathon, hoping they were still a few miles away from the finish line, others were discretely texting for news.

Luckily, friends-of-friends, family-of-friends, all co-workers-of-friends are fine. About the worst that happened is everyone in these concentric circles got trapped in the city and had to work their way out over the course of several hours.

It's...hard to describe my feelings about what happened. The current marathon route runs very close to where I work and live, close enough to disrupt my life not just the day of the marathon, but up to a week before as people from all over the world flock to the area so they can line the marathon route.

Hell, even during my Boston college years that marathon and its route was a rite of spring. I've stood in crowd watching the runners pass along that closing mile stretch of the marathon, yes, even on Boylston Street itself.

I've walked those two bombed spots on Boylston Street more times that I can count, and I know like the back-of-my-hand the areas where the bombs were planted.

It's strange, stranger, strangest to see alien images in such an intimate place.

As always, Boston-based writer Charles P. Pierce over on Esquire, has been pumping out the best writing about the marathon bombings. I highly recommend that you read everything under his Boston Marathon tag.

But nothing, nothing at all, tops this particular blog entry today, where he rails against the shit-weasels already coming out of the woodwork, especially the right-wing shit-weasels who've decided to make political hay over what is pretty much guaranteed to be an act of terror perpetrated by a homegrown nutjob.

Seriously, this made me cry because, yeah, This is Us:

We are not what they think we are. We are not the myths they've made of us. We are what we are, the Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, God save it, goddammit.

To all my fellow denizens of the People's Republic of Massachusetts in my online social circles: I'm glad you're okay, and I hope all of your friends and family are, too.

Let's hope the FBI kicks some nutjob ass.

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21st-Mar-2013 02:01 pm - Note to Self: You will be still sore two days later after.. slam your car into a concrete divider on an interstate highway at 60 miles and hour.

Yes. This happened. On Tuesday.

My hatred of people who cut you off on the highway without using a signal where your only choice is to swerve to avoid or slam into their back-end at a high-speed has now just reached stratospheric levels.

No, I did not need to go to the hospital. Yes, amazingly enough, I not only walked away, my 2001 Saturn SL1 drove away. (Luckily my car had spun on the slush and hit said concrete divider from the rear, rather than the front.)

Now I have to wait for the insurance company to determine whether my car is totaled. Do I have to say that it does not look good? Because it so does not.

Fan-fucking-tastic. I was so close to be completely debt-free. Here I was, just about to pay off every credit card debt (now under $2,200!) by the end of April thanks to my annual bonus and...and...THIS!

Fuck me. Just...fuck me.

(Some might argue that I'm focusing on the wrong thing here, namely, that I should be focusing on the fact that I didn't get so much as boo-boo and that if the worst you're suffering after any accident that slams you into a concrete wall at 60-fucking-miles-an-hour is sore muscles, than maybe you should be a tetch more grateful for breathing. Which I am. Trust me. But I seriously feel like fucking whining right now because I hurt, and I have to wait until Tuesday to find out whether I keeeelled my car or not.)

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25th-Jan-2013 03:28 pm - Brief Hiatus Necessary
After nearly two years of Dad!Marcs serving as something of a medical mystery, as well as multiple hospital stays and multiple stays in rehab facilities, we finally got an actual diagnosis this week.

Multiple System Atrophy — Parkinsonian (MSA-p), aka, Parkinson's meaner, nastier, deadlier cousin. And unlike Parkinson's, it doesn't come on slowly. It hits you like a hammer blow from Thor.

No, the news is not great. Yes, I'm kind of still processing.

No, my family right now isn't thinking long-term plans. The short-term plan is to keep Dad!Marcs moving as much as possible for as long as possible.

And yes, it took almost two years to get the right diagnosis, and even then it's because we happened to finally cross paths with a neurologist who just happened to specialize in this particular rare disease during Dad!Marcs's latest hospital stay.

So, now we're at least armed with the right medication regimen (which seems to be doing him better), and the right kind of physical therapy, and the right kind of other stuff that goes along with the right diagnosis.

Aaaaand, I'm rambling. Sorry.

In any case, I know I promised to deliver the second half of a fic this weekend, but it's not gonna happen. I've picked at the fic, but really not much more than that. Hopefully next weekend or the weekend after I'll be able to post a finished product. For the next week or two? Not gonna happen.

I apologize in advance for the delay.

In any case, I'm blacking out for this weekend (at the very least).

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24th-Jan-2013 02:42 pm - A New Way to Hear "Losing My Religion"

Hunh. This is pretty cool. A "scale-down video" in which all of the minor notes in R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" are now the major notes. It adds an interesting dimension to the song, that's for sure.

Looks like there might be a whole series of these "scale-down videos" over on Vimeo, to boot.

Hat-tip to Boing Boing
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14th-Jan-2013 07:15 pm - More on the Class Divide
During a meeting at work today there was an actual conversation about awful "ObamaCare" is and how the "less deserving" was going to take advantage of it.

Me: *biting my tongue so hard that I could taste blood*

One of the participants actually said, "Worst of all, how are we supposed to pay for healthcare for people who contribute nothing to society?"

Me, unable to take it any more: "A friend of mine died from sepsis poisoning that was diagnosed far too late because he didn't have health insurance, which meant he had no healthcare either."

Result: Stunned silence that lasted all of a minute.

Me thinking during the moment of silence: I hope every single one of you feel shame.

And then they started talking about hockey.

Me thinking during the hockey discussion: I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

What is wrong with people?

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11th-Jan-2013 06:05 pm - In Which I Discover That I've Crossed a Class Divide
The big news at work: The moment when everyone discovered they had a little less in their paychecks today than usual.

It took me all of one minute to figure it out. The Social Security Tax increased from 3% back up to its previous level of 6% after a two-year holiday. I know this because, y'know, I read the news.

It took my co-workers a little longer to figure it out. Cue the bitching and moaning. Not to mention discussion of what costs they're going to cut to make up for the loss of income.

This was my cue to blink uncomprehendingly at my co-workers.

Cut because this is getting long )

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10th-Jan-2013 10:23 am - Defining Bittersweet
For some random reason, I decided to look at the Website of the first post-college daily newspaper I ever worked for and saw that a reporter I used to work with is retiring today.

To make it doubly bittersweet, he was in the line of reporters that "bumped" me from my job as a beat reporter during my first-ever experience with layoffs.

"Bumping" works like this:
  • Step 1:  Newspaper cuts job/beat, leaving reporter without a job
  • Step 2:  Reporter doesn't want to leave workplace, so he or she "bumps" a reporter with less seniority out of their job and takes over the existing beat
  • Step 3:  Bumped reporter doesn't want to leave workplace, so he or she "bumps" a reporter with even less seniority out of their job and takes over the existing beat
  • Step 4:  Wash-rinse-repeat until the reporter with the least bit of seniority finds themselves laid off, even though it wasn't their job that was eliminated in the first place, in a real-life, high-stakes version of musical chairs
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this used to be how newspapers laid off people. Much as it sucked for me — mostly because it seemed like I was perpetually low-person on the totem pole — it also made sense. The newspaper got to keep the institutional memory for the geographic area they were covering, and older reporters with kids/spouses/mortgages didn't find themselves job hunting for the next year or two.

It sucked, but it was fair, y'know?

Now, newspapers cut the most experienced so it can hire the kid that'll do the same job for one-third the cost that's right out of college with no experience as a reporter, let alone any institutional memory of the geographic area or the newspaper itself. Which is wht we're all in the mess we're in media-wise, and it sucks.

Anyway, said retiring reporter was, I believe, somewhere in the middle of the "bumping" chain that ended with me. So, he wasn't directly responsible for me being out of a job, but he was within six degrees of it.

In any case, that layoff was the first in a long line of getting laid off from jobs, especially newspaper jobs. It's practically the defining characteristic of being Generation X in the U.S. of A., isn't it?

Baby Boomers and older can count the number of employers on one hand and have fingers left over. Generation X and younger have lost count of the number of employers they've worked for due to layoffs, company closures, company buyouts, grabbing make-work jobs between full and meaningful employment, and so on.

The hell with that. I've lost track of the number of industries I've worked in.

Well, in any case, good luck to my former colleague as he sails into retirement.

As for me, in the end it turned out okay.

Granted, it took me a decade (or two) to get where I am, but where I ended up ain't so shabby and, I suspect, suits me better than being a real-life version of Hildy Johnson.

I mean, if it wasn't for that layoff all those many years ago, I would've never wound up in a scientific field. Nor would I have ever discovered that I'm actually good at science for someone with very little post-high school education in it. An oversight that I am now in the midst of correcting.

(Secret: Despite all that, I sometimes miss being a reporter the way some people miss having a limb.)

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2nd-Jan-2013 12:41 pm - Goin' down for the third time...
Anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that ElJay is sinking below the waves?

Trying to get in for the past week has been a trip. (I know, I know...DDOS attacks galore, but still...)

Fort Knox is easier to get access to. Just sayin'.

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1st-Jan-2013 10:39 am - Happy New Year!
Happy New Year everyone! Here's the annual year-end United State of Pop from DJ Earworm.

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20th-Dec-2012 01:04 pm - 'Tis the Season for Some Dropkick Murphys
This makes me laugh like hell, because this is so, so, so Christmas Eve in my neck of the woods.

It describes my dad's extended family and my annual reaction to them in the most nutshell. Enjoy! And feel free to laugh your ass off at the pain I will surely endure this Christmas Eve.

And if I don't post before the New Year, I'll see y'all on the flip-side.

Speaking of which: I'm going to have to encourage myself to start posting more often 2013. It's all part of my "pull your shit together Liz!" campaign.

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29th-Oct-2012 04:53 pm - There are Times When I Wonder...

...whether Lorne Michaels has a picture of Someone Very High Up in the NBC Hierarchy having sex with an orangutang.

It's the only explanation I can come up with for this boneheaded move by NBC.

My problem with Up All Night from the start was that it was basically Raising Hope, but with Rich People and their Rich People Problems (I gave up in the middle of an episode where the characters decided that Mommy's sports car was impractical, and were deciding between buying a new four-door and a new SUV. Ugh.)

Which is not to cast aspirations on Raising Hope, by the way. I really like Raising Hope. I don't love it. It doesn't tug my heart the way, say, My Name Is Earl did. But growing up I knew some people who were like the characters on Raising Hope, which kind of gives you a clue about the mix of people I knew in my socioeconomic background. While I don't identify with the Raising Hope gang 100%, I kind of know what it's like when the whole family's gotta live within a tight budget. Raising Hope is my go-to when I need something funny, sad, and sweet and I don't want to think about it too much.

But Up All Night? Infuriated the fuck out of me with it's self-satisfied, smug version of Rich People comedy. Which is too bad, because I love the hell out of Will Arnett, Christina Applegate, and Maya Rudolph. I desperately wanted to like it because these three working together is like having the Dream Team on a comedy.

Now I understand that NBC is fueling a third (count 'em, third) retooling of Up All Night in a desperate attempt to save it.

They're making it multicamera. With "a live studio audience." While upping the episode order from 11 to 16 episodes.

I can't even begin to understand the thought process behind this. Just switching the set-up and the redoing the sets to accommodate a multi-camera is going to cost money. A lot of money for filming just five episodes. What few fans the show has will be alienated. And I'm pretty sure that a change in format isn't going to draw new ones in.

It's mystifying. Utterly mystifying.

But then again, it has been pointed out in the past the NBC seems congenitally unable to say "no" to Lorne Michaels. If Lorne wants it, he gets it.

Meanwhile, Community is still languishing in a hell-ish limbo without even a return date.

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29th-Oct-2012 08:49 am - For All Those in the Path of Frakenstorm Sandy (Like Me)
Stay safe everyone.

Because this is going to be bad.

Amazingly enough, I'm actually at work today. It's not too bad out, but we are keeping an eye on the weather and planning to go home early.

And I'm all prepped for the worst to happen, up to and including charging my weather radio.

I figure tomorrow and the rest of the week is going to be far, far worse.

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29th-Oct-2012 08:46 am - It's the Zomney Apocalypse!
I'm sure this has already been posted all over DW and ElJay, but I can't resist adding another addition to the scroll.

I admit, there are times that Joss Whedon drives me positively nuts, because I have issues with his favorite tropes.

And then there are moments when I think he's kind of awesome.

Like now.

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5th-Oct-2012 12:52 pm - GREATEST THING EVER!
Guys, Guys!

You have to read this story over on ONTD_POLITICAL, which is easily the BEST! STORY! EVER!

The nuts and bolts of this story?
  • Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve. I repeat: Canada. Has. A. Strategic. Maple. Syrup. Reserve.
  • The strategic maple syrup reserve was robbed.
  • The maple syrup was smuggled out of the strategic reserve by hiding it in hallowed-out blocks of cocaine.
  • The police have managed to recover some of the stolen maple syrup
  • The recovered maple syrup is being returned to the strategic reserve under police escort.

Just for the record? I WANT A MOVIE OF THIS! 
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27th-Sep-2012 01:44 pm - Like a Shot to the Heart
From Brian Moritz at Scholars & Rogues:

But things kept getting worse. The layoffs started, followed by the furloughs. Wondering every six months if you were still going to have a job was bad enough. Wondering every six months if you were still going to have a job while trying to figure out how to make ends meet when you lose a week of pay each quarter. Then the job cuts kept coming. The industry still hasn’t figured itself out.

More striking — it stopped being fun.

The newsrooms I worked in used to be fantastic, vital places. There was an energy to the room, especially when news was breaking. Being a reporter could be, above all else, fun.

That was long gone by 2009. The layoffs, the furloughs, the space cuts, all of it, sucked the life out of the room, out of the industry.

For this, I blame newspaper owners. By their actions, by their slavish devotion to print profit margins at any cost, by their desire to maximize profit while minimizing the quality of the product, by their inability or unwillingness to embrace digital news, they have sucked so much of the soul out of a business I love.

It’s telling that when anyone leaves the business, my first reaction (and that of almost everyone else I know) is “Good move. Smart decision.”

I recommend you read the whole thing at the source, because I doubt there isn't a single ex-reporter out there who wouldn't agree in whole or in part with the whole post.

All I can say is that I pretty much wanted to say "THIS!" while reading post, because everything he wrote applies to me.

Only for me, I miss being a reporter at every election. Doesn't matter if it's a town election or the presidential election, I miss it as much as I would miss a amputated limb.

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25th-Sep-2012 01:22 pm - GIP: I Feel Like I'm Cheating on Buffy

I have the overwhelming urge to houseclean and update my icons to reflect new fandom loves.

Which I won't do. Because I'm too damn busy between work, school (this semester is Biotech 101!), an ill parental unit, and overwhelming mess in my apartment, and jogging (only way to clear one's head to do homework).

So, yeah.

Still, if anyone could point me towards some half-way decent icons for Psych, Community, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Fringe, Sons of Anarchy...

I'm sure I'll think of more.

Also, is it me, or has Livejournal (and Dreamwidth, somewhat) turned into a ghost town. I remember the time when if I didn't check in every day I would be so hopelessly behind that I'd run out of "previous pages" before I ran out of new posts.

Today? I haven't been on in about a week. I caught up with new posts in less 4 pages. I load 35 posts per page, so that's less than 140 new posts. In a week.

In the meantime, Tumblr seems to have taken over fandom. I'm still not sure how I feel about it overall. I think it severely limits the ability to get actively involved in fandom and it most certainly limits people's ability to talk to each other, debate, and otherwise exchange ideas. It's a very, very shallow presentation of fandom.

However, the graphic-heavy nature of Tumblr also allows for a broader spectrum of people to become involved, most notably people who appear to have learned English by watching American and British television on Da Internets.

And they've learned it very, very well. Well enough that I'm hard-pressed to tell the difference between a native-speaker and one who isn't.

One thing Tumblr has going for it: It's a low investment for involvement which, as you can see from my list of "things that make my life far fuller than it should be", is about all I have time for when it comes to fandom.

In any case, if you've got a toe in Tumblr, you can find me here. I don't really do anything original. Just reblog the pretty and maybe make a snarky comment or two. That's about it.

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14th-Sep-2012 10:01 am - A Mormon Feminist Critique of Mitt Romney
It's no secret that the majority of the electorate in the People's Republic of Massachusetts has a serious hate-on for Mittens.

The man was governor of the People's Republic, and while he was still governor of the Commonwealth, he started running for president by basically dissing the very electorate that put him in office.

To say nothing of the budgetary mess he left behind. No Mittens. You did not "fix" shit while you were governor. You didn't even have a budget when you left office. You left that mess for our current governor, Deval Patrick, to clean up. Also, you left him to implement Romneycare in this state. All you did was sign the fucking bill. Then you disavowed it.


(Also, if you're interested in how ACA — aka, Obamacare — is going to work out, I highly recommend reading Charles P. Pierce's Life Under Romneycare in Esquire. Yeah. Voters in the People's Republic may hate the ever-loving shit out of Mittens, but it sure as hell ain't because of healthcare reform. Pierce's article also makes my heart swell with Commonwealth pride. Yeah. Massachusetts is a fucking awesome place to live.)


In any case, Religion Dispatches has an interview with Mittens's Best-Known Mormon Critic:  Mormon Feminist Judy Dushku.

Yes, mother of that fandom-beloved Dushku.

Here's a taste:

Not all bishops are alike in their pastoral or counseling abilities.

Right. Later bishops treated me with respect. But Mitt was still adored by many people in our ward, especially many who wanted to learn to be in business. He was a great influence in that regard. Some successors even emulated and reflected his style. My family was a bit different, though. It was the 1980s, and I was a divorced single mother—not typical for Mormonism—and I felt that in the Belmont, Massachusetts ward where the Romneys and others lived, my children were not perceived as useful or as having any contribution to make. I considered moving to a different congregation where they would be valued, but was told by my bishop that Mitt (then the stake president) felt my moving away from Belmont would be a disservice to my sons because in the Belmont ward, they had role models for being good Mormon men. My gut told me differently: that if I kept them around Belmont, they would leave the Church because this group made them feel unusual. There were times when I would ask the congregation’s Boy Scout troop leader how my boys were doing, and he would say “pretty good, considering.” And I would ask, “Considering what?” and he said, “Considering they don’t have a father.” This was in the 1980s.

The same shit happened to my mother in the Catholic Church, despite the fact that her first marriage ended in the 1960s.

Oh, and by-the-by: my mom's been married to my dad for now going on 45 years and she's still considered a second-class citizen in the Catholic Church. And treated as such. And, yeah, my brother and I are very much ex-Catholics as a result this and for so, so, so many other reasons.

So this is the passage that really stuck with me, for sure.

In any case, read the whole thing. If you're a woman, it's a pretty horrifying assessment overall.

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27th-Aug-2012 05:13 pm - Random Fandom Drive-By Bitching of the Day
What with real life biting my ass, I've been more of a passive participant (rather than actively doing anything) in fandom these days. This means that I'm mostly rooting around and reading fanfiction for some of the smaller fandoms I vaguely follow just to get my mind off things.

Delving back into the fever swamp that is fandom, however, means that I am being reminded of the downside of fandom, like how certain fan behaviors can turn me against not only a fictional character, but also a 'ship.

For example — in one fandom, I keep coming across a certain 'ship faction that keeps doing things like:
  1. Advertising that a fanwork is about a given 'ship, and then using the opportunity to actually bash that ship in the fanwork. The good news? It's the male half of the pair getting bashed, at least.
  2. Inserting their "stealth 'ship" as a secondary ship in fanworks that advertise a completely unrelated 'ship. Best of all? There is no indication that said stealth ship is going to  make an appearance or that it's even a secondary 'ship.
And it seems to be endemic in this one 'ship faction, to the point where I'm starting to assume the worst.

What doesn't help is that even before delving in this one fandom, I found the 'ship to be vaguely creepy to begin with, but I was willing to give it a shot. (Hint:  It's not the 'ship where the characters have a 13-year age difference.)

Now? I absolutely can't stand said 'ship and am going out of my way to avoid any and every fanwork where there's even a threat of it showing up.

This bitching brought to you by yet another fic advertising one pair (a rare-ish pair I actually like), only to find out that the fic is an excuse to explore the author's real favorite pairing.

Damn it! It's annoying! It isn't like the writing for this story was all that great, but I there's such a dearth of fics out there for this pair that I was willing to hang in there.

Ugh. Here I was hoping for a long-ass honeymoon period. So much for that idea.

I know, I know. Not really a problem. Nothing more than a damn annoyance, really. But still.

When are people going to learn that this kind of crap does not convince anyone, and in fact annoys the crap out of most.

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24th-Aug-2012 10:45 am - For Anyone Over on Tumblr...
Yes, I've set up a Tumblr (here:

No, I'm not planning to be terribly active over there. Mostly I set it up to 1) try it out; 2) follow some of my newer fandoms since that's where they seem to be; 3) squat on my nom de Internet; 4) the gifs are pretty.

If anyone's over on Tumblr, let me know so I can add you to my follows list.

As you can see, I'm really, really hopeful that I will have more room in my life to actually have fun online.

I expect it'll happen sometime in 2013...

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2nd-Aug-2012 01:16 pm - I Needed This Smile Today
Things are a little overwhelming at work, since I'm currently acting as a department of one.

Still, this five-minute brain-break was completely necessary. It made me smile. Plus, there may have been some dampness in the eyes.

Truly the classiest flash mob ever to flash mob

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16th-Jul-2012 09:09 am - When Fans Collide Over the Phone
I just had the most awesome chat over-the-phone with one of the IT Guys:

Me: Ummm, you know that program you pushed to my computer via the [Jolly Green Giant's] network? It did not install.

Donnie the IT Guy: *sigh* Yes. I see. Did you...

Me: Yes! Yes! I did turn it off and on again before I called you!

Donnie the IT Guy: *pause* You've seen the IT Crowd?

Me: How I answer that depends on whether you're a Roy or a Moss...

This led to the Best. Ever. Service. From. IT. Evar!

Sometimes it just pays to have Netflix Streaming. Just sayin'...

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13th-Jul-2012 03:23 pm - Odd Fandom Realizations for the Day
Odd Fandom Realization of the Day 1

Known Fact About Moi: Necrophilia squicks me out. Especially since I once wrote a story about a court case about a guy who...yeeeeaaaaaah. Not gonna finish that sentence. Use your imagination.

Pointed Out to Me: You realize that you haaaaaaaate all Vampire/Human ships, right? Like, Dude, you're the only person I know who hates Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike equally. In fact, you still do. When was the last time you even watched BtVS or AtS again?

Recently Realized Fandom Evolution: I have lost all interest in shows that feature vampires. I've only watched the first episode of "True Blood" and gave "The Vampire Diaries" a complete pass. I've steered clear of any and all vampire-related stories. Why? Because inevitably the human female lead winds up screwing one or more male vampires, even if she's all, "Ewwwwww!" at the thought at the start of the series. And when this inevitably happens, I get annoyed and lose patience, because I am not, not, not going to hang in there in the hopeless hope that the human female will come to her senses and drop the blood sucker, preferably into a vat of holy water.

Odd Recent Fandom Realization: My severe dislike of all human/vampire pairings going back to when I was still in college can be traced to my necrophilia squick. I can't get it out of my head that, no matter what, a VAMPIRE IS A FUCKING CORPSE!

Odd Fandom Realization of the Day 2

Known Fact About Moi: The shortest guy I ever dated was 5'11". I am 5'1" in my stocking feet.

Recently Realized Fandom Evolution: While I'm not a 'shipper by nature (and certainly never a rabid one) I've recently realized that I tend to be fond of fictional relationships involving really, really tall men and really, really short women.

Odd Recent Fandom Realization: It appears I have a fetish. Dear God.

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9th-Jul-2012 01:24 pm - Great Whites, Kayakers, and Paddleboarders...Oh My!
Behold! The Great White Shark Tribe has once again descended upon Cape Cod (it appears we are a gourmet destination for the big buggers thanks to our over-abundance of seals).

The weekend yielded what is, in my opinion, the most awesome picture of the Great White Shark Tribe summering down on the Cape.


—Shelly Negrotti/AP

Just for the record, this was taking place 150 feet off-shore in 8 feet of water. So we're talking really, really shallow water that's really, really close to shore.

And by the way, both the dudes in the picture did not expect to cross paths with what is believed to be a 12- to 14-foot long Great White. (All the shark did was sniff around to see if the kayaker was a seal and then took off when it was determined that plastic and seal flesh are not the same thing. Still. Yikes!)

In any case, the Cape Cod Times has the obligatory "And then I wet my pants..." interview.

For more of a nation-wide overview of the Great White Sharks' rekindled love of all things Cape Cod, MSNBC has more here.

In any case, it appears the Great White Shark Tribe are here to stay as permanent summer tourists, much to the delight of the locals who are sucking up the yummy money from human shark-spotters.

Although it appears that kayakers and paddleboarders may want to pay attention to the local Shark Spotters before taking to the seas.

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29th-Jun-2012 11:20 am - Yay! A Vid to Brighten Your Day
And once again, RL is kicking my ass.

So it is with great happiness that I find out that there's a new "Dancing Matt" video out for this year.

Okay. I know. Just a little cheesy at this point, but if you need a cheer-up there really isn't any better.

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24th-May-2012 04:13 pm - Things that Make You Head-Desk
I've decided: Harmonian fans are far, far scarier than Whedonites. For real.

The sustained temper-tantrum going on in Community online fandom is awesome to behold. Look, I'm sorry Sony decided to replace Dan Harmon since he was basically the show-runner auteur, but the fact of the matter is that most of the writing staff, production crew, and all of the cast is staying on.

While no doubt Community is going to change, after the sometimes-indulgent second half of Season 3, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing if Community starts being a little less up its own meta-ass.

And I say this as someone who has fallen head-over-heels with this show.

Besides, there's no way you can convince me that Harmon didn't know this was coming, considering he shares agents with the new show runners (Can you say LAWSUIT if Harmon's telling the truth, boys and girls?), and Comedy Central announced that he was working on a pilot for them even before Sony's announcement that Harmon was being being replaced.

You wanna feel bad for someone?

Feel bad for the reporters of the New Orleans Times-Picayune who found out today that one-third of them will be losing their jobs.

How did they find out?

By reading The New York Times.

Yeah. Now that's classy right there.

I'm saving my sympathy for the poorly paid newspaper personnel who are now shit out of luck. Given the way the newspaper industry is going, chances are most of those people — reporters and editors included — are going to not only have to switch careers, but leave the industry all together if they ever want to work for a living again.

Shit like this puts things in perspective, no?

Note to self: Stop nosing around the edges of online Community until Season 4 starts because biting my tongue hard enough to make it bleed is causing anemia.

Also: File this shit under how fandom can be fucking funny.

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