That’s Not Funny?

It’s Wednesday and I’ve started writing my post for this week. I usually try to have updates posted on Fridays… lately, I’ve been slacking. Sorry about that.

Part of my writing struggles recently is that I just don’t want to write about what other folks in the world of “geekdom” are writing about. I’d like to stay unique, if I can. This has limited my choice of topics.

When I find myself struggling with a block, I generally think, “Oh well, I’ll just take a situation that happened this week and look at it through a ‘wacky’ lens, and then it’ll be funny and I’ll have something  posted.” The problem with this is that even though I can be wacky, I don’t live in wacky. I have a frustrating bent toward the logical, which is not helpful when you’re trying to find the absurd in everyday situations.

I am not a natural humorist in this regard.

I am great off-the-cuff, especially while watching TV. Just watch my wife put up with me MST3K-ing every “original” show on Syfy. Admittedly, this is the low-hanging-fruit of comedy but, I’m good at it.

Would you stop telling jokes?! I am trying to watch Tiffany beat up Deborah Gibson!! (*note: not an image of my actual wife)

Writing comedic essays is a different animal. It’s almost like writing a stand-up routine, but with no chance to workshop it in front of an audience to find out what works before you go to press.

I second-guess myself a lot, thus destroying the “off-the-cuff” stuff I’m actually pretty decent at.

Maybe I should have studied philosophy, then I might be more able to look at the world via an absurdist viewpoint. The thing about philosophy is it demonstrates just how pointless most (read: all) of the constructs of civilized society are, while giving you the intellectual tools to talk about it.

I was also never a member of a debate club. Debating gives you the ability to argue even the most ridiculous of ideas into the ground, no matter whether you agree with them or not (just look at a large selection of Congress…or the current Presidential debates). Debating is arguing for the sake of arguing, but making it sound high-fallutin’ and like it comes from a place of intelligence thanks to the use of fancy wordplay.

Philosophy + Debate = Cynicism… which can also lead to comedy.

But, I don’t want to be a cynic. Just look what happened when Stan contracted “cynicism” on South Park. Everything turned to crap. (I originally wrote “carp”, but realized that didn’t make any sense and also seemed bit fishy).

"The Doctor says I have cynicism..."

I prefer to be goofy. I adore absurdist humor. Just look at my banner art, or my penchant toward flan. Flan is the funniest of desserts. I mean look at it… plus it’s called flan… who calls something “flan”? What chef invented this pastry and when finished looked down at it imperiously and stated in a booming voice, “And I shall call thee FLAN”, then promptly adjusted his poofy hat in satisfaction?

Yo! Who you calling "absurd"?

Finding the absurdity of flan is easy. What can be hard is viewing most things as being just as absurd and writing about them… all the time.

So, I hope you’ll all forgive me for using this week’s posting as an opportunity to write myself out of writer’s block. Imagination and Creativity are both mental muscles… and the only way to keep them working optimally most of the time is to keep using them…the bad side of this exercise means occasionally turning out self-indulgent, whiny, “but writing is haaaard, wah” pieces like this one.

Woe is me! How shall I ever write again! It is too, too dreadful!

I’m grateful for you letting me churn this one out. I can’t guarantee next week will be a complete return to the “wacky world of me”, but I can definitely say that it won’t be another whine-fest.

Ya’ll have a great weekend!!!

What Do You Mean It Snowed?!

Yes, it snowed in Seattle. The jokes about how no one in the PNW knows how to drive in the snow abounded.

Well, here’s the thing… in the major cities, like Seattle and Tacoma (and I’ll throw Bellevue a bone and include them) there are HILLS. Not that there aren’t hills in the Northeast, there are indeed. But the difference between Seattle or Tacoma, WA and, say, Syracuse or Oswego, NY is preparedness.

We aren’t prepared in the PNW with comprehensive snow plows and salt trucks because it really *doesn’t* snow here like it does back East.

Let me give you an example – and yes, these people were stupid enough to try and drive in the weather, but the snow fall was minimal, and maybe they had to get home to Puyallup or something – this is what happens when the barest hint of ice appears on the extremely slanty streets of the Emerald City:

Physics was working against all of these folks in the worst way. You will note that a good number of these drivers actually managed to regain control of their vehicles, showing that they do have good driving skills if not the greatest sense.

What about the bus, you may ask, why would the city allow the buses to continue running in obviously dangerous conditions? Well, I’m not going to comment on the intelligence of City Hall, but I can confidently conjecture that the bus was likely already well into its schedule when the snow and ice struck and started wreaking havoc.

If this video takes place where I think it does within Seattle, there is a bus terminal not far from there, it’s very likely that the poor driver was just trying to get back there and off the streets.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been trapped, snow and ice bound, in my house for 5 days in a row (at the top of a steep hill) and I’ve gone stir crazy because I don’t want to fall into the category of stupid PNW driver who can’t drive in the snow.

P.S. Everything thawed today and I was able to get away from my house for bit… and it was wonderful.

P.P.S. My cousin “The Method” shared this awesome link with me. Llamas!!!! Letters!!! Letters made out of Llamas!! (pictures of llamas… not actual llamas…)





Sucked In, Again

There was a time in the early part of this century (and the last part of last century) when I was, admittedly, OBSESSED with the television show Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.

It was almost sad, really. But the writing was excellent, the acting ranged from good to great and it was a fun and, in some ways, filled a certain void in my life at the time.

Buffy wasn’t the first television show I’d become overly attached to in my life; I think as teenagers we all go through stages of obsession with media (be it music, television or film) when we’re desperate to feel someone (or something) “gets” us and oh-em-gee our parents are, like, totally clueless, right?!

Erm… yeah… sorry, flashback…

Anyway, there had been shows prior to Buffy that had absorbed a good chunk of my attention, such as Xena (because Gabrielle was totally hot) and the X-Files (because Agent Scully was totally hot) but no other show had ever caused me to obsess the way Buffy did (because Willow was TOTALLY hot).




Ok, in fairness, despite my obvious thing for redheads – what got me hooked on Buffy was the fact that (by the middle/end of Season 4) Willow as officially “out” or “gay now”, as she said. It was like, whoa… lesbian character who’s my age? I can totally relate to this!! Plus, she was in this super sweet and adorable relationship with another girl (Tara) and that is exactly what I wanted for my own life and so I started living vicariously through an imaginary TV couple. I even wrote a good chunk Willow/Tara fan fiction, and had a pretty decent following of readers, too.

But, that was years ago. The series ended (badly IMHO) back in 2003. After continuing to write fan fiction for a few more years, I grew tired of rehashing the characters and, ultimately, fell out of love. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch old episodes because I was (again quoting Willow) “bored now”.

So, I set the series aside and moved on with my life. I am now in a super sweet and adorable relationship with another girl (my wife…who also happens to be a redhead) and I don’t need to live vicariously through anyone (fictional or otherwise). Yay me!

So, really, this should be the end of this post. But, the title probably gave away that it’s not.

Last week I was contacted by someone who had read my Willow/Tara fiction “back in the day” and wanted to interview me for a history they were doing about a popular W/T fan message board (on which I used to post my fic). Naturally, I was keen.

We chatted  back and forth for a bit, and then he introduced me to the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer “canonical” Season 8 comic book, written by the writers of the show, including show creator Joss Whedon.

My interest piqued, I read the entire “season”, made up of 40 books in less than three days. Verdict? It was ok. The writing was uneven, the plot confusing and some of the character arcs downright uncharacteristic but, still, it was interesting. Was I drawn back in to the series? No.

But then I made the mistake of reading the first five books of Season 9 and, well dammit, they got me. It was like they had pushed the re-set button and said, “Do over! Let’s try that again.” The writing is still uneven, but the characters are at least behaving like themselves again, and facing obstacles and scenarios that make sense – which is a massive improvement. I was still skeptical until the last frame of the 5th book of this new season and then, wham, they got my full attention with a really nice cliffhanger.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post – I think I set out writing it as a way to see if I could figure out the why’s and how’s of getting pulled back into a series I’d so easily left behind – an article of my youth. Yet, here I am at the end of this little essay and I’m no wiser than I was at the beginning. I guess I’m just fascinated by my own fascination.

How about you guys? Share your experiences if you have any – inquiring minds, as they say, want to know.

Things for Your Eye Holes!

Here are some things I have been watching recently, and I think you should give them a try on your eyeballs.

First up, Prof. Brian Cox – A Night with the Stars. This is a full-hour lecture on basic Quantum Physics. And it is awesome.

Second up, a 48 minute video (actually an episode from a series in the UK) about using hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming or “NLP” to “program” someone to do something awful and have no memory of it. Like the Manchurian Candidate. Interesting beyond interesting:

Finally, for a palate cleanse – cooking while totally wasted!