log (2001/08/31 to 2001/09/06)

older log
newer log


site news

How about them:
Thursday, September 6, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Riffling through the referer logs again. Warm greetings to the readers who found this page by searching for "sexy lawn mowers" or "extra marital activities for granny" (we're on page 4 of the latter at the moment; some people are thorough!).

Greetings also to those coming via DumbMonkey, from which we surfed to the very wonderful TonyPierce.com, which is all enigmatic and artistic and stuff. It's not at all clear how to get to everything; just like Real Life.

Meme o' the Day: 'shippers. These are people who have an interest in, or ego invested in, or a positive fetish for, the idea of (generally romantic and/or sexual) relationships between characters in fictional worlds, generally ongoing television-type fictional worlds. I first came across the notion in the context of the X-Files, where the 'shippers have been dreaming about Mulder and Scully since long before the show itself gave any but the most intangible evidence. Now I find that there are 'shippers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer land also. And of course Xena.

To qualify as a 'shipper meme, a TV relationship has to be non-obvious (you don't get to be a 'shipper by getting all teary-eyed about, say, a fictional married couple), but not utterly outside the fictional world either. People who write "slash" fan-fiction about homoerotic relationship between Kirk and Spock probably don't count as 'shippers.

Sometimes relationships that 'shippers dream about actually ("actually") ripen. Then we get to wonder if it was because of the fan interest, or if it was planned all along, or would have been written in even if the fans weren't talking about it. All sorts of thought-fodder here about the tension between the actual and the fictional, ego-investment in entertainment objects, the (im)purity of art, and so on.

The Longevity Meme.

Another place that syndicates us. RSS Rules OK.

Blind link 'o the day: quite nicely done!

According to a followup article, some of the charges against the parents that I mentioned yesterday are based on the presence of alcohol and underage people at the party, rather than the stripper. That's a little better; unlike nudity, booze is actually bad for you. Still,

The Wiens are due in Town Court on Sept. 13. They face up to a year in the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla if convicted of the misdemeanor charges.

What's more harmful to the welfare of a minor: seeing a naked lady dancing (and maybe even touching one!), or having your parents taken away for a year?

Speaking of sex, in my continuing scholarly study of Images of the Erotic in Mainstream Entertainment, I rented "Eyes Wide Shut" over the weekend. Despite all the froofraw when it first came out, it's not really erotica (let alone pornography) itself; it's partly about the erotic, but there's little or nothing in it that's directly designed to arouse.

kidman cruise kubrick

There are two plots twined together in the film: one about sexual interest, fidelity, curiosity, mid-life crises (although it's hard to buy Tom Cruise, whose hairless chest and boyish face make him look a perpetual fourteen, as the Daddy of a seven-year-old); and one "clique of incredibly rich people who do strange things in secret places, and woe betide the ordinary mortal who accidentally gets involved" one.

Both seem slightly overdone, perhaps due to my usual inability to be shocked and amazed by the discovery that people like sex. Would Cruise's character really undergo a Huge Life Crisis because his wife admits that, years ago, she had a sexual fantasy about a man she saw in a restaurant? Would a bunch of Incredibly Rich People really go to extreme lengths to hide the fact that masked orgies occur? I mean, didn't People Magazine do a piece about orgies the other year? What's the enormous secret?

The orgy scenes are annoying. To keep the R rating, Kubrick had to hide any actual sex. He did this so blatantly that I can only guess he was actively drawing our attention to the censorship; the opaque clothed people placed between the camera and everything but the feet and heads of the coupling couples are so obtrusive and so obviously placed there just for that. And the censorship does hurt the impact of the scenes; Cruise is seeing things that disturb and fascinate him, but we aren't allowed to see them.

The film has some great humorous episodes; the first "Transvestites and the Costumer's Daughter" scene could be Marx Brothers. The whole thing, dark parts and sexy parts and funny parts, is visually and aurally very well done; considered as a sensual object, it's Very Nice.

The last minute of the film puzzles me deeply. It's a dialogue, or actually a pair of monologues, by the Kidman and Cruise characters, in which they basically say "some strange things happened, but now they're all over and we're back in the normal world, and isn't it nice we love each other". Coulda been from a Barney episode. I'm not sure if Kubrick is kidding here, or if he's really trying to put across some painfully bland moral, or if I'm just missing something.

The King's English: at one point the Cruise character reads a newspaper headline "Ex Beauty Queen in Hotel Drugs Overdose". I raised my eyebrows at that: "drugs overdose" is British English; the New York Post or Daily News (which is what the paper was supposed to be) would say "drug overdose". The credits validated my eyebrows; the picture was made in Britain.

And, since I was watching it on DVD, I got to watch interviews with the actors and stuff, and be surprised by Kidman's accent; she sounds utterly American in the film, and utterly Aussie in the interview. "Hahd to expline", she says, wrinkling her nose in a completely British Empire way. How do actors learn to suppress, to overlay, all that instinctive stuff in front of the camera?

Wednesday, September 5, 2001  permanent URL for this entry

Whew! Here I am finally back from vacation. If you haven't already, browse through the Second Anniversay Issue of the log, fill in the poll, and so on. Today, I'm somewhat feeling the effects of having been up until 3am last night (this morning) building railroads in the south of England. More on that later.

A few followups on things wondered about while on vacation: Carlton Plummer the watercolorist does show up on a few pages on the Web; hard to judge the actual degree of world fame from them, though. I found just one page about David Lee's Mushroom Castle, but at least it has a picture; that's the very house about which I wrote (pity it's so grainy, and doesn't include the elvish garage). Various people confirmed that that Devo guy does indeed write the Rug Rats music, and Debra Hyde points out that the B-52's did the theme for "Rocko's Modern Life".

annuit coeptis

There are as expected various pages about the Great Seal of the United States and its Masonic connections. See for instance GreatSeal.com, which covers the subject pretty thoroughly; here's a page about all the thirteens, and an excerpt from the Paul Foster Case pamphlet I bought in Maine.

Oppose Expanded Government Secrecy!

To accomplish the crucial role of exposing government misdeeds, most major news outlets often base stories on classified information. A recent example of such a story is the government bungling of the Wen Ho Lee case. If this provision becomes law however, reporters that rely on leaks of classified information to expose government misconduct could be compelled by subpoena to reveal the source of the leak, or go to prison if they refuse.

Right here at home, the parents of a local football player were arrested for allowing a stripper to perform in their home, at a party for the team. They

were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child, both misdemeanors. They were released without bail. They are due in New Castle Town Court on Sept. 13.

This is just so wrong. The varsity high school football team is hardly made up of "children", and while having a stripper at the party may or may not be in bad taste (depending on your particular brand of feminism and opinion of naked bodies) it's hardly "endangering the welfare" of anyone. Idiots.

From The Daily Illuminator, news of a really really big chunk of rock way out in space. Bigger than any other known chunk of rock not classified as, say, a moon.

Google wants everything that was ever posted to Usenet! Everything. And good for them, I say.

Talented naughty-story writer Nicholas Urfe has a weblog. Good reading so far. (Now if someone will nudge Mark Aster...)

From Metafilter, yet more evidence that the DMCA is Bad.

"Under the DMCA, a corporation contacts an ISP to let them know that a site that they host is violating their copyright," explains Knauer. "To protect ourselves from threat of lawsuit, we have to shut down the Web site, whether we think the claim is valid or not."

So, you ask, why was I up until the wee hours building railroads in the south of England? Because I walked by the bargain bin at the local Babbage's over the weekend, and obtained:

  • A copy of Dungeon Keeper (the original; of course I already have Dungeon Keeper II), which is pretty cool if a little quirky and old-fashioned (and it doesn't have "My Pet Dungeon" mode, so the little daughter isn't interested), for like five bucks,
  • A copy of SimCity (the original, not 2000 or 3000), in the "Enhanced for CD-ROM" version (ooooh, CD-ROM!), for also like five bucks (I haven't tried it yet; dunno if it'll even run in Wind9x, but it has high nostalgia value), and
  • A copy of Railroad Tycoon II for like ten bucks.

The latter of which kept me up until all hours. It was lots of fun! I ran a railroad in the south of England (Birmingham, Oxford, London, Maidstone) from 1847 to 1900, easily winning the tutorial scenario by ending up with over a million dollars (one million dollars!!). Twenty-odd trains chugging hither and yon carrying milk and iron and coal and steel and wool and goods and passengers and mail and... Well anyway it was fun.

(Oh, and all that stuff in the Anniversay Issue about how I write all this stuff for myself? Don't believe a word of it! I write so that you'll write me back and tell me how clever I am. So get to it!)


earlier entries