The feminine manly man.

I realized something about the "Things I'm embarassed about" post. 2 of the 3 are things that are overtly masculine. 3 if you add the unsaid "Is a big baseball fan" since most of my blog readers already know that and were already surprised to hear it. Its definetly an odd quirk about me because I genuinely am that kind of sensitive, poetic, creative guy who is very much in touch with his feminine side. And yet, I am in no way metrosexual-esque. Indeed, there are plenty of very manly things about me. That's why I understand the difference between feminene and effeminate. Effeminate really has nothing to do with how women actually act. Having feminene traits and interests really only compliment my masculine traits to make me a more rounded individual. And yet, its the manly stuff I tend to be ashamed about. Go figure.

For instance, I recently cut my hair quite short (for me, anyway) and then dyed it a very vauge shade of red. And I was asking around if people could see the dye. Here I am this big guy who is going on about his hair, but at the same time I'm not all metrosexual about it and I don't have some big hair care regimine. I like it to look good, but I don't like to fuss with it. The perfect marriage of male and female. I was also asking for opinions about an outfit I'm considering. Pairing a dark orange with an olive suit. Very autumnal, was the opinion, but it'd probably work.

All weird, but I'm happy with the result. (Now if I can just learn to spell feminine before I go into a big long post about it)


Top 3 Embarassing things about me.

For lack of any better idea, I thought I'd shoot off a post on vaugely embarassing things about myself and my interests that I have generally avoided discussing here. Because, why not. I figure I might as well get them out of the way now instead of occassionally making a point not to mention them.

#1. I like the Grand Theft Auto video games
What I can say? Killing prostitutes is fun. Seriously, though, GTA3 and Vice City and genuinely inspired games and a very real extension of what is possible in the genre. The expansiveness and open-ended game-play model is beyond impressive. Sure, its crime and wanton destruction, but that's about the only objective that would work for fully independant game-play. Sure, each game has a psuedo story to occupy your time, but even there they went all out to insure enjoyment. The introductions are shown like a movie and star genuine movie stars. Something which has apparently really caught on. The latest James Bond video game not only allows you to a controla Bond that looks like Pierce Brosnan, he IS Pierce Brosnan. What's more, Willam Dafoe is cast as the villian just for the video game. He's an "A" list star and its not like he's just voicing some character that doesn't look like him. It really is Willam Dafoe as your nemesis. Its even got all new "Bond Girls" and John Clease reprising his role as Q. To top it all off, Oscar winner Judi Dench reprises her Bond role, too. The whole thing is presented like a movie that you get to play. And Grand Theft Auto was at the forefront of that. The voice talent for Vice City was amazing. At the end of the day, are the GTA games that much worse than other forms of Crime entertainment, like the obvious influences of Scarface and The Godfather Trilogy. And speaking of enjoying violence...

#2. I watch Professional Wrestling.
Bet you wouldn't have guessed this. Its probably the one thing I enjoy that I'm the most sheepish about because I *know* how silly it is, but I like it anyway. I grew up in Connecticut in the 80's when it was required for boys to be WWF fans. WWF was headquartered just down the road, after all, and even major stars would occassionally appear at signings in my hometown since it was so close to the HQ. It didn't hurt that it was still an underground thing back then, even as it built itself up off Hulk Hogan. But, I grew out of it. Then in college, I caught a bit of it while flipping through the channels and noticed a guy my brother had really liked as a kid was back on TV. I pointed him out and my brother got a kick out of it. Eventually, though, he really got back into it. Actually, even my mom got into it. So, I was chagrined by this, but I would also watch it while home. What can I say, it amused me. When I got back to school, I took a class on television criticism and the Professor practically begged someone to write about Wrestling. I took the bait and spent a semester very closely watching and researching Pro-Wrestling. At the end I had myself my only collegite A+ and a new hobby. Now, I'm not a crazy huge fan. I don't buy the PPVs, though I do have video games and action figures. Actually, that's what got me into collecting toys. But still, its not so much the violence I like, but the theatricallity of it. Its really a moral theater of our age. A choreographed dance of good vs. evil. But, I still know its silly and though I'm generally unapologetic, I still get sheepish about it.

#3. I am fascinated by Pokemon
There is just something about Pokemon that I find completely fascinating. The cartoon, not the card game or video games. I find it utterly amazing that they produce so many shows with so few plots. I watched a lot of it in college just because when it was on and when I was in my dorm room. Essentially, there were 5 different plots that ALL of the shows fell into.

1. Ash befriends another Pokemon trainer with a new and different Pokemon.
2. Ash captures a new Pokemon.
3. Ash wins a gym badge or other prize.
4. Ash competes in a tournament.
5. Ash says good bye to a Pokemon.

EVERY episode falls into one of those plots and they all proceed almost the exact same way. Only the details are changed. I'm not saying I like the show, just that I am amazed at how much they produce with so few ideas.

Okay, so none of those were THAT embarassing, but that was kinda what I was going for. You don't think I'd tell you anything actually embarassing, now do you?


Generalized Housekeeping

Working on a couple posts, either of which I might post later tonight, but I thought I'd just toss off some unrelated blathering now.

First off, if anyone knows of anyone looking for an apartment in Boston, please feel free to show them my way. Yeah, I know chances are none to none, but I'm getting desperate. Need to have someone by April 17 or I'm stuck paying for a 2 bedroom on my own in May. It was stupid of me to take the chance, but whats done is done. Guess I just won't get down to NYC to see the Whitney Biennial like I wanted to.

And good lord do I hate Jenny Craig. Just saw some mind-numbingly stupid commercial about some woman who was so horrified to see herself at 175 that she destroyed pictures of herself from a family vacation. And her response to her effort to erase herself from her family's memories? To make herself more appropriate for her family memories. Because God forbid she examine why she is allowing her body issues to control her life like that. No reason to work on THAT when you can just make yourself look more appropriate for a limited period of time. BUT ANYWAY....

Blue robot was gone today. One can only hope he will find the help he needs to pick up the pieces of his life and move on.


Things go poorly for Blue Robot

I was walking down my street tonight when I saw perhaps the weirdest thing I've ever seen lying in the street. Right there in the gutter at the corner was a blue Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robot.

This troubles me.

It was anywhere near a pile of trash or anything. Garbage Day isn't until Friday, anyway. Besides, it was at the corner, so no one would leave their trash their anyway. Its not like it was with the whole ring or the red robot. Just the blue guy all on his own.

Did he refuse to throw a fight with the Red Robot and the Robot Mafia had him beaten and left for dead? Perhaps he hobbled there from Robot Fight Club. Maybe a life of violence was deeply troubling to Blue Robot, and led him to abuse drugs and now here he lies, collapsed from a drug induced stupor.

Its all very troubling. Now, if I see Optimus Prime in the gutter tomorrow, I'll worry.


Who Would Win?

[adult swim] has been cracking me up with their latest promotion, "Flying Shark vs. Flying Crocodile Week". At first, I just thought it was a joke about the those annoying Shark/Crocodile weeks on the Discovery Channel. I figured [as] was just taking that silly little ratings gimmick and wildly exaggerating it for comedic effect. Very funny, I thought. But then, I find out that the Discovery Channel actually IS doing a "Shark vs. Croc" week and all [as] did was add the flying. And yet, that made it so much funnier because just knowing that there is actually a Shark vs. Croc week complete with robotic Sharks and Crocodiles doing battle is so funny on its own. The fact that [adult swim] was so ahead of the game on mocking something that so desperately screams out to be mocked is just genius. Did they wait for Shark vs. Croc week to happen to make fun of it? Oh, no. They identified its absurdity straight away and put all their efforts into mocking it. Complete with a Shark supporting a jet pack and a Crocodile with wings. I just can't get over that there actually IS a "Shark vs. Crocodile" week. I generous applaud [as] for understanding just how damn funny that is.


Peace out

My employer's CD, which referenced the other day, is now available. I heartily recommend this to anyone who enjoys a capella choral music. Again, it really blew me away and there are some sound clips for you all to listen to, as well. I'm not begging you to buy it, but if its your sort of thing, I'm sure you will not be disappoint. It is an incredibly beautiful and moving album. Pre-order your copy TODAY!

Sorry, the Marketing Professional in my took over there. My sincerest apologies.


Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm really angry with myself. Inspite of being Irish, I forgot to wear green today. (I've since rectified that situation and am wearing far too much green) Not only that, but I wore orange. If you didn't know, wearing orange on St. Patrick's Day is very, very, very bad. It's a show of disrespect to Irish Catholics. I know, orange is on the Irish flag, but that's because the flag was designed as a symbol of unity between the Catholics (green) and the Protestants (orange) with a field of white to represent peace between them. But that doesn't mean orange is cool with the Catholics. Orange is the color of the English protestant invaders. The people who stole land from my Irish annecestors and who to this day celebrate their invasion by marching through the streets of Catholic neighborhoods on its anniversary. Very bad form all around. I was most entirely embarassed by my faux pas.

In other housekeeping issues, I will indeed be providing a link to purchase my employer's CD when it's available. I'll be happy to take credit when we get a bunch of California orders.

Also, the TV show I raved about the other day, "Wonderfalls", will be reaired on Thursday night on FOX at 9pm. In spite of its impending fat baiting, it really is a great, smart show and there aren't enough of those on TV. Now, if only we can get a great, smart show that won't devolve into fat jokes at some point, we'll be all set. But, I fear in this cultural climate, that is not a luxury we can afford. Grrr.


However Small

I'm working on an annoucement of a CD my employer is releasing later this month. I've gotten a hold of a review copy of the CD and have been listening to it all day. Its stuff like that which really makes working for a non-profit arts organizatin worth it. Knowing I've got a hand in putting out such a fantastic product. I've had concert fatigue for a while and have been avoiding them for more than a year, even shows I know I'd love. But listening to the CD reminds me of what I love about this work.

Its really my kinda recording, too. All a capella choral music, mostly contemporary stuff. The kind of thing I loved performing back when I was a singer. Indeed, its got one of my favorite all-time choral works, the Randall Thompson Alleluia. Its all this beautiful, solumn, reflective music. Really great stuff, and listening to it makes me know why some in the office are really optimistic about the recording. Its really got the goods for a breakthrough success. We'll be doing pre-sales on our website trying to get our sales up so we can debut in the Billboard Classical Top Ten when we officiall release. Even slightly hopeful for a Grammy nomination. We shared a Grammy last year, so we have some reason to be hopeful. The concept of the album is peaceful music for reflection and what-not. But its not as intelligence insulting as those albums usually are. Its really beautiful music. And something I really feel proud to have a part in, however small.

Yay me! Oh, and hi Misty.


See a penny, pick it up.

Sometimes, a TV show comes along that is so refreshingly different, unique, original, and just plain good that it reaffirms your faith in television. Then you get to be pissed off that its on FOX.

I suppose its too easy to be hard on FOX for their track record of canceling refreshingly original TV shows. Sure, they've racked up a lot of victims, (Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Futurama, The Tick, Firefly are just recent victims) but they only stand out because the other networks don't air refreshigly original programs. So shouldn't FOX get some credit for at least trying? Afraid not. Because FOX knows these shows don't have a chance, so they are culpable for teasing the viewing public with good programing only to pull it away just as our attention is peaked. They are, indeed, worse for giving us good TV and pulling it away than the other networks are for never giving it to us at all. The bastards. Besides, slim as the chances are, they might be hording the good shows so they can kill them least another network land them. The bastards.

Their latest inevitable victim debuted today. It was put off from the Fall, then from mid-season, and now it lands at mid-mid-season. I guess it would be too dangerous to debut it in the summer when it could become a sleeper hit. Meet "Wonderfalls", the story of a mid-20's slacker from Niagra Falls named Jaye. Ivy-League educated, she's now being passed over for the Assistant Manager position at a tourist trap gift shop and doing all she can to disappoint her family. As she puts it, they all work very hard and are dissatisfied with their lives. She's dissatisfied without even working hard. Until one day, inanimate objects start talking to her. Not long conversations, mind you. Their remarks are more of the cryptic variety, but somehow they manage to lead her to help people. Which is entirely not what Jaye wants to do, as she becomes increasingly annoyed but simultaniously complacant with the whole going insane thing. Its all played very quirky and funny and its just great. It feels like a lot of the quirky surreality type shows that have come before it, but also immediately finds its own voice. For one, things don't get "too weird". Its not a freak-show like, say, Twin Peaks or Eerie, Indiana of the Adventures of Pete and Pete. Its only Jaye that's getting the weird. And she's also out to help people, but has a very real response to it all. Its warm without being sappy. Jaye remains cynical in the face of the mystic, but also remains entirely likable and enjoyable.

An added benefit is that the lead is my age. I'm a weird age that's been largely ignored on TV. There were never TV kids my age. No rowdy college kids my age. No mid-20's types finding their way in the world my age. Well, a few, but not many. Now, to be fair, the character is 2 years my junior, but that's pretty close and the actress is my age, so I'll count it. I can absolutely identify with the mid-20's malaise, so all the stuff going on when toy lions are chatting with Jaye are very cool for me.

(Minor caveat: some reviews seem to indicate some gratuitous fat bashing in a future episode. Ugh. Is any show able to respect fat people? Maybe we'll get lucky and it'll resolve well, but I'm not getting my hopes up. And another show forces me to grin and bear it just to watch good TV. Grrr.)

UPDATE: On my fat bashing concerns, it appears they aren't gratuitious, but rather a plot point. Double Ugh. In a future episode (though not next week's if you want to watch then) Jay is obsessed with a fat neighbor who she refers to with a mean-spirited nick-name. She gets come-uppence for this, but on the way the guy is continually contratulated for his weight loss. The only positive is that the story is clear-ish that his weight loss doesn't solve his problems. Except they kinda do. Like I said, Grrr. At least its an entire episode I can skip. If I'm lucky, it'll happen on the upcoming Friday night I'm working.


I am such a geek.

Actually, I'm not really. I just buy like a geek. Just looking back at all my frivalous purchases in the last month and it is such a geek fest. A whopping 20 MST3K DVDs, the latest volume of the Futurama season sets on DVD, the second set of Star Trek action figures, and the exclusive "Adventure" Kermit action figure (aka. Indiana Jones rip-off Kermit). Oh, and some other stuff I'm not mentioning because they are more geeky embarassing than geeky cool so I make a point to mention it here.

Geez, just writing that has me anxious about money again. And feeling like a super geek. I'm really not that geeky. I mean, I don't go to Star Trek conventions. I don't collect comic books. I don't play RPGs. Well, okay, I have a couple, but not nearly enough to call me a collector. I don't dress like a geek. Its just the toys and DVDs. Really, I swear.

Well, and I watch Angel. But I watch Friends, too! That more than balances it out, right?

Oh, and I blog, too.

God, I'm such a geek. And poor. That, too. Damn non-profit not paying me better. Oh, yeah. Non-profit. Opps.


What to buy, what to buy.

I've been feeling very anxious about money lately. I think I'm overreacting, though, because I've been pretty good for a while now. When I first left my ex-ex-girlfriend, I rang up a lot of credit card debts in the process of getting myself together on my own. I eventually got a loan to pay them off, and haven't carried any credit card debt past the first statement since. But, my savings are very tight now, because of some slightly excessive Christmas spending. Now, it was temporary, and I've cashed in all the money coming to me to get back together, and it won't be that bad. Lucky I'm single and spending less as a result, hehe. So, though I'm panicy, its not that bad. So, I'm trying not to drive myself crazy when stuff comes along that I want. Like the toys I collect, for instance. This month is hitting me badly on that front, actually. hehe. The other thing are DVD's. Ordinarily, this is no biggie. Except that this week a local music/dvd store is having a big sale with 25% off all DVD's.

Nothing that gets my juices going like a good sale. The prospect of passing up the opportunity to get some stuff I want at the lowest price I'll ever see them is too enticing. Sure, some stuff will go down anyway, but I think I can identify those titles. But some stuff I want clearly isn't going down in price. Why not take the savings? Now, this would be simple enough if it was a couple DVD's. I've already gotten one I've wanted for a long time, and am looking at a couple others. What's going to kill me, though, is stressing over the Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD sets. I've long been a big MST3K fan, and with it off the air for good, I want something for my bot fix. These DVD sets are a great value with 4 movies in one set. Its a great way to start a collection and I'm salivating over getting them. Except, as of Tuesday, there will be 5 sets and a total of 20 movies. That ain't cheap. But, it does mean I save a ton on something I completely intend to purchase. Like $60. That's a good use of money right? Sure, I'm putting down $200 dollars, but saving $60. That's sensible, right?

Man, I hope they haven't sold the DVD's yet. I better go first thing Monday morning.


Titans, GO!

I hate to push down my lengthy discussion of fat sexuality, but it was pretty disorganized anyway so I'm not too broken up. Just I know people don't always check my blog on a regular basis, especially since I've been blogging so in frequently. But anyway...

A while back I posted about my love of Cartoon Network, specifically [adult swim]. The other thing I watch faithfully on CN are their superhero programs. Initially, this was just their Jusice League show, but they took it off the air just before the season finale was to air, and are holding off on it until closer to when the next season is ready. Grrr. So, to fill my superhero fix until Justice League returns in the summer (and the new Batman animated series starts up in the fall) I've been watching Teen Titans, a show I initially hated by am quickly coming around on.

The problem with Titans is that its style can be off-putting to folks like me who've been drawn into superhero cartoons by the 90's Batman and Superman cartoons, and their successor Justice League. Instead of the dark, realist style of the Batman cartoons, we're treated to a show which very intentionally echos kiddie-anime style. The character and scenary designs are simple and exaggerated. It focuses a lot of kid-stuff interaction between the teen superheros. Its all brightly colored with distinct swaths of color. Most of all it incorporates what is called "Super-D" animation. The "D" being short for deformation. Basically, it describes a style of animation where the laws of physics are routinely ignored for very little reason. We're not talking about Bugs Bunny breaking the law of physics, either. More like people's heads growing huge when they are angry, becoming childlike when they are crushing on someone, or other such deformaties. Esentially, the character emotions are expressed on screen physically. Its something I hate about most kiddie anime. It just pulls me out of the story instead of illustrating.

Still, something works about it. It takes the Japanese techniques and reinvents them for an American audience. It really revels in the Super-D stuff. Usually, its just used as a gag in anime, but Teen Titans very expressly uses it to convey emotion and character sentiment. Instead of a gimmick, it feels stylized. It plays off the character relationships.

Indeed, the show really is into character relationships. While aimed squarely at kids, there is a lot of mature stuff going on just beneath the surface. It also made good use of the lesser known characters they chose for the show. Instead of the original Teen Tians, which were a bunch of kid-versions of major superheros, they went with what I'm told is an 80's incarnation of the team. Although mainstay Robin is the anchor of the group, the remaining Titans are unfamiliar to average fans like me who don't read comic books. This allowed them to really establish the relationships without worrying about expectations or having the adult versions overshadow the Titans. A couple kiddie-versions have snuck into episodes, but they exist on their own. They are not their fathers children (or their hero's sidekick). They even took one of the goofiest heros in DC's books, Speedy, (the junior marksman sidekick to the Robin Hood-esque Green Arrow) and made something of him. The core Titans have easily identified motivations for interacting with each other. They are patient enough and confident enough to keep up with this. These are very fully formed characters.

Moreover, the stories are more than the usual villian of the week fare these shows usually have. Oh sure, it has the obligatory rogues gallery, but the team has a genuine arch-enemy. He may not factor into every story, but he's there. They're really respecting the comic book background, too, which I respect, while not being beholden to it, which I appreciate. Thus, they are adding a layer of understanding without adding a layer of difficulty.

All told, I'm pretty impressed by a show I had quickly written off. Its fun, action-packed, and quite enjoyable. And despite the Super-D stuff and kid friendly coloring, it still can look very, very, very cool. Its not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it.


Eventually not about Britney Spears

So, I can't get that orchestral riff from that new Britney Spears song out of my head. (Oh, and don't worry, this is eventually not a post about Britney) That one that gets repeated throughout the song. Its very catchy, since its not like I watch MTV so I had to pick this up from music being played in restaurants or stores, news stories about her, or the occassional few seconds flipping past MTV. Still, its telling that this is ALL I know about the song. While I'm not a fan, I can easily sing the chorus and a few verses of "Baby, One More Time" and the chours of "Opps..." Her more recent stuff, though, has catchy hooks but little else. I know the line "I'm a Slave 4 U" but thats all from that song. Not even words from this new song. Guess she's turning out to be another Debbie Gibson instead of another Madonna. Though she certainly has a way with self-promotion.

Anyway, in the course of the media saturation that enabled me to know that orchestral riff I have caught bits and pieces of her video for the song. She's obviously getting a lot more sexual and there are these scenes of her writhing about wearing some shear, sequined number that had the effect of her looking nude and shimmering. Eh. I'm clearly not the target audience for this, but it reminds me that there aren't images like that which I'm the target audience for. I'd been thinking about this anyone because I've bizarrely started getting Victoria's Secret catalogs. I know a lot of men intentionally get these, but I'm pretty much the wrong guy for that.

That's one of the weird things about growing up a fat admirer. I couldn't turn on MTV and see some cute SSBBW in some slinky number bopping to the music. I couldn't conive my way into possessing a lingere catalog with some size 26's models. It would be realistically impossible for me to satisfy a curiousity for porn. As a result, I think I've grown up with a very different attitude towards sex and sexual attraction than most guys. But, while I think I've gotten the better out of all of this, I know a lot of FA's who seem to have ended up pretty screwed up by this.

For me, this all meant that I grew up without having my sexuality defined for me. As I discovered being an FA, I was able to find what I liked about that. I wasn't just being told to be obsessed about breasts. Indeed, what I am is fairly ambivalent about them. Not like I dislike them, they just aren't something that really motivates me in terms of physical attraction. I was able to discover what I liked all on my own. Its not even just about specific physical aspects I like, but even the activities of sex. I was never told what to like, how to like it, what to expect. These are things men learn from mainstream pornography, but I never watched that. Even now, I'm not sure I've ever seen a proper porn film. Enlightened though I may be, I won't pretend I don't like to view sexually suggestive images, but what I like hasn't been dictated to me.

I'm also really impressed with what has popped up with internet fat "porn" sites in the last few years. What I see is two different approaches. People making ordinary porn with fat models, and people making some unique for the fat community. The latter is my clear preference. A lot of it isn't even porn in any reasonable manner, since many models never post nude. So why is that popular? Well, I think its because its filling a gap. People who like thin women take for granted that they will see countless images of attractive thin women all day. Just open a newspaper, turn on the TV, look at the K-Mart flyer. Its a given. It isn't porn, either, but it plays a part in sexuality nonetheless. FA's don't get that. We get little bits here and there. We get to watch trashy talk shows in the hopes that their might be a fat guest today. We get the occassional guest spot by designated fat actress of the moment. (currently Lindsay Hollister, recently seen on L&O:SVU) We get the even more occassional fat regular character, often cast with an incredible shrinking actress. And forget about seeing any "skin". The best you'll get is some woman on Jerry Springer whose shirt rides up when she inevitably starts pounding on some other fat woman who stole her man.

I have to think this really screws a lot of guys up. Its all those things "normal" people take for granted that really makes the impact. The ordinary images of what you find sexually attractive. I think some guys respond by obsessing over what images the see. They fixate on them in an unhealthy way. Others, turn to mainstream porn to fill the gap. I worry about those guys the most. Aside from how restricting it is for guys who are into thin women, the way mainstream porn treats fat women is beyond disgusting. It makes their ordinary debasement of women look downright civilized. Fat women are treated like a freak show, dehumanized to an unprecidented extreme. And that's what is teaching some of these men how to be an FA.

So, I really think these "ordinary" images of fat women can have a positive influence. I know some women who have sites like that, and I know they do it for themselves more than for anyone who may be watching. Its a way of celebrating their bodies, their sexualty, on their terms. Its not about mimicing mainstream porn or mainstream images. Its finding something of our own. What's important is that it remains expansive and doesn't just develop its own restrictions on what is allowed to be sexually attractive. I'm hopeful that it will mean more FA's will grow up and not be quite as screwed up as they could be in a culture which has blacked out images they are attracted to. And of course, that more fat women can be allowed to celebrate their bodies and beauty as they see fit. If it all works, we can develop something in the fat community that's really better. But, that might be overly optimistic of me, and I might be seeing what I'd like to see. Well, a guy can hope, right?