Yeah, but do they have liner notes, huh? Do they?

Wow, only a day into hols and I’m already… well, as Bertie Wooster might put it, if not actually disgruntled, I am a long way from being gruntled.

See, I’d popped over to check my TV Tropes watchlist earlier and noted an edit on the Seltzer & Friedberg page, which I have spent some while nurturing from bare crumbs into a tasty snarkeriffic treat…

…past tense. The mods had ‘wiped and locked’ the page — basically, removing all individualistic content and replacing with the About.com version — citing concerns over ‘negative’ writing. Or ‘juvenile’, as per a first draft of the replacement text on the talk page.

Which… yeah. OK. Not to start ranting outright here, but S&F were responsible for Epic frelling Movie, ferPetesake. I don’t quite see how society at large is benefited by protecting them from negative feedback. As I pointed out in my huffy talk-page note, that way ultimately lies ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space: Ed Wood’s misunderstood masterpiece.’

Whereupon I wound up with the classic threat to take my Internet and go home, so there! — but on solemn reflection I don’t think it’s worth quite that level of huffy. Still peeved that that much work can be wiped out without my input, though. Granted, the wipe doesn’t necessarily redound onto my particular contributions, but it’s still hard to avoid the personal. Why, thank you, mods, for that lovely acknowledgement of many hours spent working hard to improve your wiki. Thank you so bloody much.

I’m also a bit discouraged to discover that once again, my particular writing talents are the… trapezoidal-or-something… peg in the square hole. At least it’s never dull, trying to find a compromise between reason and snark on the Net.

I may not be current, but I know awesome when I read it.

Popping in to announce another milestone in my ongoing quest to understand what everybody on the Net is talking about: Order of the Stick is the sweetest, funniest, most adorable comic about unholy death and destruction, like, ever in the entire history of stuff.

As you were. I have archives to catch up on.

Maybe I’ll just go hang out at 4chan instead.

Well, here’s a uniquely McLuhan-esque dilemma:

I popped over to the agony booth last night to reread one of their recaps, and ended up following a link into the forum…

…there to find a snarky TVTropes slam against the booth in one member’s sig line.

A little further down, on the thread for the (500) Days of Summer recap — short and scornful version: what the hell was all the hype about? — Albert the sitemaster quoted some fatuous comments from the TVT page for the movie, with the note that ‘This tells you something about the kind of people that contribute to TVTropes!’

Well. It appears I’m the kind of person who contributes — rather heavily at that — to TVTropes. But I’m also the kind of person who thoroughly enjoys the agony booth recaps.

Those of you who’re still hopeful of the Interwebs as a force for grand interpersonal peace and understanding… we’ve had another setback.

LOLpost masquerading as actual content.

OK, so have reached the point in Teh Move where am almost functioning smoothly enough to resume normal existence. Just as soon as I remember what that was. Oh, and find my songbook for tomorrow night’s meeting.

But mostly functioning, yeah. Got (not-song)books tidied away on shelves, always a good sign. Made a big pot of chicken pesto fusili tonight… lunch for the next couple days. It’s amazing, how the single-girl-on-a-budget skills just naturally kick in six years later.

So while I riffle through the last few boxes trying to figure out what to do with the mini Rubik’s cube, I present a LOL that… well, apologies, half of f-list, but this is something that has bugged me right from the first book:

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Social scientists must be very frustrated people.

One more because-it’s-still-vacation-and-I-can link:

The Word Banishment Committee of Lake Superior State University has a message for the technically savvy this year — put down your app and chillax on the tweets, people.

This is not, strictly speaking, news. As can be seen from the comments. People have been irked with the current vocabulary since Jehovah first asked Cain where his brother was. ("God! Like, am I my brother’s keeper, or what, you know?") Frankly — speaking especially as a technophile who resents being demonised just for being up-to-date — most of these people should just chillax.

But it can’t be denied that it’s satisfying to imagine, every now and then, just what would happen if you had sole charge of the English language. For one thing, you would never have to look at another ‘grocer’s apostrope’ as long as you lived, which would significantly reduce chances of at least one mass murder. Just think: a world in which everybody understands that ‘loose’ and ‘lose’ are two different words. Bliss.

I can’t say I disagree with everything on the list, though. ‘Bromance’ is stupid. So is the Obama-mania — we get it already. ‘Chillax’ is, in fact, completely un-necessary.
And (per the comments) I never have quite got the hang of ‘sick’ meaning ‘excellent!’. To paraphrase that great philosopher (and, interestingly enough, contemporary of Max Headroom) Huey Lewis on the general subject of trendy superlatives: while I stay cool as a rule, sometimes, ‘bad’ is bad.

One the other hand… what’s with the hostility for ‘twitter’ and ‘tweet’? I’ve always liked how they perfectly describe their function and its value — a little burst of inconsequential words, exactly like a sparrow’s song. Ditto ‘app’ — an ‘application’ is what you run on full-sized computers. What else are you going to call the handheld version, ‘Fun and/or useful programs sized so you can carry them in your pocket’? And while ‘friend’, in the telecom sense, may be an awkward misuse of the concept… let us all just be grateful ‘buddy’ never caught on big-time, OK?

Personally, as noted, I’m more of a grammar nazi. My list of really annoying buzzwords is small — but mighty; anyone using the phrase ‘Kanye West’ in my hearing is guaranteed an earful.

Seriously, also, people, can we get over the cutesy terms for female anatomy? ‘Vay-jay-jay’ etc? What Britney was showing the world was her — well, I didn’t study the photos closely, but I can guarantee you that was not it. Incidentally, while I find TMZ-speak generally really annoying, I can also guarantee that once you respond with something like ‘laeve britny alone shes workd sooooo hard your all just haterz!!!’ you have — to put it delicately — forfeited the intellectual high ground.

Yours truly the Grand High Authority on All Things Spoken would also like to have a word with you management-consultant types. Can you please stop lecturing me on how I can ‘leverage’ my ‘synergy’ to ‘impact results’ long enough for me to actually do my job?! Thank you.

In return, I resolve to quit starting every sentence with ‘Basically…’, and explaining to you how ‘text’ isn’t a verb, and we’ll all be a lot happier.

I’d award him an Internet, but I have a feeling he already has one.

Sigh. So here it is, the next-to-last evening of my vacation (where have you gone, two blissful weeks, except the bit in bed with the sinus infection, which was still pretty good owing to the Life marathon on Discovery?) and Shoesis, aka the Small Blonde Packing Nazi, has decided to get a two-week jump on relocating.

See, this is a two-bedroom apt, so when I move out, she moves into my room, and Shoemom (who’s been in the living room) into hers. Which only partially explains why I’m sitting here in the living room hemmed in by my furniture and Shoemom’s — including a disassembled queen-size bed — plus two confused cats, while Sis paints up a storm in my ex-place. After which, she and Shoemom assure me, they plan to continue with the musical rooms, the upshot of which should involve me having a place to sleep tonight. Should.

In the event, I figured this would be as good a time as any to make a completely random post. Actually, not quite random — there’s at least a tangential connexion for most of my f-list, and I’m kinda wondering how far it’s spread there. Doctor Who fandom seems to take in the most extraordinary things, I would assume there’s a niche somewhere for this one.

I refer, of course, to what Wiki calls the Max Headroom Broadcast Intrusion Incident… and what the rest of the Net calls The Time That Dude in the Rubber Mask Took Over Chicago, and, Like, Dude.

[ahem] The facts. It’s unlikely Max Headroom has crossed your mind recently, so you might want to have a refresher. For those of you who hate links: mid-80’s C64 graphics. Matt Frewer. New Coke. Right… sorry about that.

OK. So it’s November 1987 in the Windy City, and Max is at his c-c-c-celebrity peak, because they’ve just cancelled his TV show. Not that anybody connected with WGN’s nine o’clock sportscast cares about that — until, right in the midst of the Bears hilights, the picture is replaced by a guy in a rubber Max mask against a corrugated-metal version of his backdrop. He’s waving his hands in the air. No audio, just thirty seconds of silent boogying until the WGN engineers clue in and switch feeds.

Two hours later, PBS station WTTW is showing the Four-era Who ep Horror of Fang Rock… and, uh? Station break? Didn’t realise this was pledge we– AHHHHHHHHH WHAT THE HELL ?!?!

Yep, rubber-mask Max is back, and this time he’s feeling chatty. Since WTTW’s engineers either weren’t as quick or as capable (reports vary), you can catch his entire ninety-second manifesto here. Mildly NSFW. Basically he natters on for awhile like your college roommate at the end of the party, tossing Pepsi cans around and humming the Clutch Cargo theme; then he drops trou and gets spanked with a flyswatter by an accomplice in a dress. And then, the Who ep resumes with the Doctor intoning As far as I can tell, a massive electric shock, he died instantly!

For one of the very, very few times in television history — and the last to this day — somebody had hijacked a major station broadcast. Two of ’em. In one night. Hey, legends have been based on less… well, I can’t think of any offhand, but there have to be some.

As you’d expect, Chicago media and the FCC weren’t feeling much like handing out laurels. Rubber-mask Max faced a $100K fine and a year or so in jail, if caught.

But he never was. In what is possibly the craziest, creepiest detail of the whole crazy, creepy mess, no trace of him or his accomplices was ever found. Not even a boast among the hacker undeground.

The combination of serious tech know-how and daring in the execution — details are sketchy, owing to copycat discouragement, but the necessary equipment would’ve cost thousands and was probably mounted on a nearby skyscraper rooftop — and goofiness in the message, gave the whole a surreal fascination that persists to this day. Who the hell pulls off the hacker coup of a lifetime in order to rag on Chuck Swirsky?

Maybe RM-Max was actually a disgruntled fan, runs one theory I rather like. If you’ll recall, the real show was about a dystopian future in which commercial TV was the All-Powerful and the resistance had to spread the word by… hit-and-run signal hacking. Hmmmmm.

In which I find fresh snark bait in the most unexpected places.

So life hasn’t been all shopping drama and NYTimes. Actually, I’ve spent most of this weekend half-asleep from some random sinus infection, which is even less exciting than it sounds, trust me.

I do not remember where in the morass I found the community, but I have been reading it ever since.

The BSC, for those of you who weren’t young and stupid in the late 80’s-early 90’s, is the Baby-Sitters Club book series. It may be a bit tricky to believe, but at the time the multi-zillion-volume saga of four/six/whatever middle-school BFFs and their babysitting adventures in a Connecticut suburb were as big as Hannah Montana. Movie, ‘Mysteries’ spinoff, special charm bracelet included with the 100th book, everything. Except maybe no sparkly theme lipgloss, although I could be wrong. But definitely no Billy Ray Cyrus.

No, the BSC’s special charm came from its deadly-sincere attempt at realism. These girls were just like you! Well, assuming you lived in upper-middle-class suburbia. And were prone to thinking of Gone With the Wind as a hot date movie, and using words like ‘dibbly!’ and ‘distant!’ to express excitement. And, oh yes, were unquestioning slaves of a pint-sized control freak who was obviously going to grow up to be the gym teacher in a bad British boarding-school comic. Lord, but I did hate Kristy Thomas.

Or more accurately, I hated that I was supposed to love love love her. Plus her ‘imaginative’ little stepsister Karen, who’s surpassed as a Child I’d Like to Clock With a Clue-By-Four only by DW of the Arthur series. The mental CBF was also often brandished at Claudia, who was fun! and funky! in that Very Special 80’s way (think Blossom), thus I was supposed to hold regular pity-parties for her because the world insisted she occasionally face personal responsibility. Because ‘individuality’ is so cute it just excuses itself, yo!

Uh-huh. Over in actual reality, this series could not have been more obviously written as wish-fulfilment for a middle-aged New Jersey woman if it had depicted the BSC leading all the neighborhood kids in a performance of the Fiddler on the Roof songbook…

…oh, wait.

At any rate, good to know I’m not alone – either in disdain for the series itself or ragging on childhood favourites. As it happens, I maintain a little bookshelf of said favourites, and although most of the series have disappeared by now (you can only go so far in life passing Sweet Valley High off as hilariously ironic) I’ve kept one Baby-Sitters book around, just for the nostalgia value…

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