‘Tis the season to be snarky

Public-service announcement: Given that you’re all probably writhing in disappointment that I didn’t catalogue Little House’s hilariously blatant anachronisms in full below, I point out that others have gotten there first, and funnie. Here’s the most excellently ranty essay I’ve read on the subject yet.

Albeit it leaves out the one I especially liked: at the blind school, Mary presents her visiting parents with a (quite obviously modern) layer cake she made all by her little self — "I know it’s lopsided, but then my cakes were always lopsided!" D’awwwwww… um, wait. Just how much sugar, butter and white flour was available to a dirt-poor family on the 1880’s prairie, anyhow? Mary was sixteen when she went to the blind school.
I always figured that for what it cost to subsidise his daughter’s baking career Pa could easily have afforded that addition he never put on his two-room shanty. Carrie & Grace probably cursed those cakes with their dying breaths.

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Otherwise, it’s Sunday, kinda cloudy, and I got nothin’. Except maybe relief that Hallowe’en is over for another year… another sweet, blissful year of not having to watch the neighborhood struggle with fake cobwebs.
Seriously. We are unclear on exactly why this particular decor choice bugs us more than, say, the plastic skeletons with cheery-boutonniere-wearing-tarantulas in their eye sockets; we only know that it does. It may be the sheer laziness of the thing. "Hey, Bob, we just string this-here stuff onto the hedge and whoooo! Looks spooky!"

No. No it does NOT. It looks like you voluntarily decorated your house in huge wads of dryer lint. Dryer lint is not spooky. STOP DOING THAT.

We also feel the need to point out the seasonal nastiness over on ‘realistic’ comic strip For Better or For Worse. We do not currently celebrate the holiday chez Shoe, of course, but this particular strip we see more as perpetrating crimes against childhood generally. Also we just like ragging on FBoFW whenever possible.

Honestly. ‘Honey, I’d like to throw the rest of that candy away now’? On the morning after Hallowe’en? The hell? Not only is Elly confiscating the candy pile before the poor kid’s even got through the good stuff (which, to a kid being confronted with that choice, is all of it, homemade popcorn included), she’s forcing him to admit it’s ‘the right thing to do’?!

Pre-enrollment as Witnesses, great ceremony attended the post-Hallowe’en candy sort chez Shoe — Shoemom even gave us tips on how to rank the pieces, albeit not necessarily helpful ones. ("You’re not gonna eat those brown molasses kisses? We had those when I was a kid! Those are the best ones!")
At any rate, once sorting and trading was over, the brown kisses were handed over to Shoemom en masse after one sample — leading to Dark Suspicions of her motives — and the rest was left to us. If we gorged ourselves right away, we only had ourselves to blame for the consequences; but interestingly enough, we more often saved them. I think we were overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all. Having all the candy you want, to a little kid, is Serious Business.

As is nicely illustrated by little Mikey’s content in the last panel, having learned that in order to keep his goodies he must not only whoof them down like hyenas on the veldt, but lie, cheat and steal to and from trusting family members. "Survival of the fittest… and besides, it’s fun!"

All of which is the longform version of: Elly may have taken off her pointy hat and nose warts, but she’s still in costume.

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Sometimes, Alanis, it really is ironic.

I love this Pearls comic first because, as is so often the case with comic strips one loves, I can relate. So much.


 

Seriously. I have been kicked off two fan forums, chatted on ESPN during the Chicago-Green Bay game, participated in fan fights on TWoP and spent several months cruising the comics blogosphere (remind me to tell you about the ‘Spider-Man doesn’t enrich my mind, thus is a miserable waste of ink!’ crowd someday).  I want somebody to manufacture this thing and sell it on late-night informercials for $19.99. I am assuming it will come with a special FREE! extra-soft banky for edit wars on Wikipedia.

Which leads me to the second reason I love this strip: Because some people actually pored over the second panel and came up with a Magic-Eye style ‘F—‘ . (Just to save you time, it’s in the lower right-hand corner – that’s actually a ‘# rock‘ after panel compression.) Then — this is the part I love more than anything else — they called their papers and made a stink about it. And the papers dutifully wafted it over the masses. Leaving an utterly baffled cartoonist in their wake.

Self-fulfilling self-references are wonderful things.

OK, I can start posting again…

…I’ve caught up on all ten chapters of Ursula Vernon’s Digger. Really, I need to stop discovering wonderful webcomics that’ve been running for years; compulsive archive-reading does not mesh well with the amount of sleep required for coping with fashion vendors. Especially the ones who change their retails on 1500+ units, and – whoopsie! – somehow forget to tell the ticket printers before shipping. There are days, in this job, when you seriously consider the ‘Is everyone else crazy? Or is it just me?’ dilemma. Long before noon.

Anyway, Digger. It is one of those media which naturally lends itself to listing off the goodies – Heroic wombats! Vampire vegetables! Oracular slugs! Metaphorical pigeons! Pirate shrews! – but as you can see, in this case we’d be here for a lot longer than it’d take you to just travel to page one and get hooked.
Because you will. Oh, yes, you will. This thing is almost hypnotically addictive, gorgeous art, literate wit and all. What I love most about it, though, is that every single one of the fantastic elements are so firmly grounded – even the Shadowchild. Vernon is not writing fantasy for the sake of it; nor is she being clever for the same reason. Her characters speak from solid convictions about interesting ideas; their damage – and a lot of it is severe – is nonetheless real, their varying degrees of strength in the face of it no more and no less than natural consequence.

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Meanwhile. This weekend. In a weird way reading Digger has given me some help with my own fiction-writing blockage…Thinking about starting, that’s OK. Even fun. But actually starting…over the last year I’ve realised that the problem is that it’d mean going to a place of total honesty within. And that in turn means confronting some things that – I don’t – really – want to. Mind, I’m not saying I have any baggage on the scale of Vernon’s characters to deal with. I mean, pretty sure there are no shadows of malevolent goddesses on my brain, or anything.

Just…everybody has an Unknown, and mine and self don’t really get along so well. So following Digger and company as they deal with theirs has been a treat in more ways than one. Perhaps that’s part of what I want to write about – why my subconscious is so insistent I get on with this sci-fi story. It’s a vivid reminder that considering reality does not make one mad, no matter how mad the reality may seem; that in fact confronting one’s fears, doing something active about them – while it may or may not make things easier – is one hell of a lot better than just sitting around brooding. In a way, I’ve been just sitting around inside my head since I was a teenager, and it’s high time I got out and explored a bit.

Right then, this is me, doing something. Sitting down and sketching out my ideas – since, as you may have noticed [/self-deprecating sarcasm] I’m one of those anal types that can’t function unless I know where the story’s going from the outset  – and then going back and editing the first few chapters a bit, and then posting them here. And then I have to go on, or I look like an idiot. A pretentious idiot, to boot. And being thought pretentious may be the only thing that bothers me more than being thought crazy.
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Sometimes, you just have to give in to the glee.

It’s not so much that this strip is hilarious (although it is) as that, y’know, Rat in a teeny Edwardian topcoat and topper? Making him look like some sort of wee postmodern HG Wells-esque mad scientist? ADORABLEST FREAKING THING EVER.

(BTW, I should really start crediting my source for these! ThanksĀ jfboyd over on the Pearls LJ comm, subscription to which I highly recommend for your daily dose.)

Yeah, well, mine aren’t insightful, either.

pbs strip

Peering through the cyber-trees, trying to find the forest…

So about midway through the short sabbatical from writing to concentrate on dealing with some other stuff, I check back and realise the cliffhanger’s another oddly prophetic comic strip. I am sort of enjoying how the PBS posts have become markers for these little breaks in the process…it seems so appropriately random…but, uh, everything’s fine, folks. I just thought the strip was amusingly reminiscent of the way train whistles make me feel sometimes. Really.

Anyway, here I am back in the saddle again, ready to supply all your pointless rambling needs! The long-awaited Mythbusters post – look, I’ve been away, humour me for a sec, OK? – is in the pipeline, also another edition of the Occasional Christie. I just need to do a little cranial housekeeping first. Two weeks sans snark outlet has left it seriously cluttered up in here… More

Sometimes, it’s a little scary how much you can relate.

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