Saturday, September 21, 2002

Television and Politics and Stuff

Commenting on politics is always an exercise in pointlessness (no one really gives a fuck what another person thinks on this matters) so I won't go deep today, but here are a few things:

The only real justification for attacking Iraq is bacause GWB and Co. said they would. There are nations that do more to support terrorism that Iraq, nations that are more dangerous to the US than Iraq, and nations that are more in the way of the National Security that Iraq. Every possible rationale for attacking Iraq leads one to the conclusion that we really should be attacking Saudi Arabia.

Watching President Bush stumble over the 'fool me once' thing is the funniest thing I have ever seen in the 'Freezing Up on Camera' category. Sometimes, you can actually hear the hamster wheel squeaking away. The look on his face as he forgot the allegory was worth the price of admission alone. What would it take for the American public to realize our nation is led by a functional moron? And even if they did discover it, would anyone really give a fuck?

I hope Fox gets the "American Candidate" program off the ground. I believe that their candidate will win, and we will truly prove that we are a nation of media whores, and that the only currency in the land is fame and publicity. The tantalizing possibility that Fox Entertainment will end up with a candidate that Fox News can't stand is so delicious that I almost piddle myself with excitement.

Thus ends the foray into politics. In other equally important news, I watched Firefly last night, and I have to say that the best thing about the show is that it has some promise. The episode last night would have made a nice stand-alone piece, but as the pilot didn't give us enough info. People who have been watching the Firefly saga say that the pilot got moved off to mid-season, as it was too talky. As a point of comparison, it was much better than what appears to be the final nail in the Star Trek coffin: Enterprise. It's amazing that Brannon and Braga have managed to take a once-proud franchise and run it into the ground, with each show successively worse than the next, and likewise the movies. I suspect Nemesis and Enterprise will be the last two things from the Trekverse we'll ever see.

The season opener of Enterprise was just awful. The thing about Enterprise was that it was supposed to return Trek to it's roots, to a more dangerous and primitive universe, more Kirk's than Janeway's. Daring adventures of bravado and courage, always under the gun, in a dangerous new frontier. So, what does the braintrust do as their first big theme of the retro show? They muck around with Time Travel, one of the many plot devices that made Voyager the unwatchable filth that it is. Time Travel is the least compelling big theme ever in the Trekverse, and yet the waterheads at Paramount stick with it, because I guess there is some sort of employment program for hack sci-fi writers or something. Unless Enterprise gets good soon, I suspect the Whedonverse will eclipse the Trekverse as the most-favored future milieu. (I was never into Farscape or Babylon 5, so I can't comment on their future universes. They just seemed so damn cheesy.)

That about wraps it up. For now.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Well, a few words about various things.....

It occurs to me that the kind folks at blogspot have not (as far as I can tell) given me any way to measure if anyone is ever visiting this damn thing. So if I am pissing the Urine of Truth into the Hurricane of Life, or conversely if my Golden Light is illuminating the Dark Shadows of the World, I'll never know. Yeah, I see their pay-for web stats tracker, but I'm not gonna pay. Ah, well.

Anyway, some other bookkeeping stuff. What exactly is suckful? And who is Jet Powers? Suckful is my domain name, attached to SuckfuldotCom, the world's least updated website. Originally, SdC was going to be my personal blog, but I never got around to keeping it up. So you can go visit SdC if you like, but one day, when I get around to it, it will re-direct here. Jet Powers is a silly online name I conjured for myself from the board game Axis and Allies. I think it sounds rakishly comic-book heroic, but most everyone else thinks it's dumb.

Anyway, the final thing I'll say about SdB (SuckfuldotBlog) is that the content will vary from bits of fiction, to my ever-so trenchant observations about the modern world, to the sorts of random musings that most everyone posts. FWIW, the inagural post of SdB is about 62.7% fact and 28.1% fiction. The other 9.2% is BHTA, a preservative to enhance flavor.

I feel like I might already be up against the wall here, as I have, by the second day, gone to writing about what I am going to write instead of just writing. We'll see. My stated goal in life is to be paid for words, and so the only way to get better is to write often and ignorantly. Which is a great approach to writing, but a lousy approach to brain surgery.
Drunk and Stoned in the Dark (mostly fiction)

So, a guy goes home for about a week, say. And in this week many things will happen. The centerpiece is his father's wedding to a nice woman (she's a secretary at the local church where the guy grew up). The guy, being around 30 years old is not entirely pressed by this, because this nice woman is well, a nice woman.

It all goes off without a hitch, a surprising number of people show up for the wedding, the reception is nice, and as this guy's father (being almost 60, but his bride being around 40) is getting into the limo to be whisked off to the airport, he leans in and whispers to this guy, our protagonist, that it's still possible for the guy to get a new sibling.

Well, if you were this guy, wouldn't you go have a drink or four? Maybe he (the father) was kidding, maybe not.

And if your cousins of roughly the same age want to go out after the reception and keep the party going, well that's ok, too. After a while though, some of the younger cousins who treated you like a deity when you were younger (and the cool 20 something cousin to their turbulent teen selves), ask you where it all went wrong. How your life came to be in the state it is in? Well, the guy might reply that he wasn't quite sure, and try to change the subject, but he also might not be able to shut down the inquiry, as he has made the mistake of many perceptive people, in that he discounts the ability of others to also be perceptive. So these young whippersnappers know you better than you think, and their tongues are loosened by familiarity and drink, and they posit that it all changed around five years ago, when perhaps things started to spin at a rate that was not untirely conducive to stability in the personal mental orbit.

Which is whatever, as they say. Let's not even go into the fact the some of the kind of distantly related girl-cousins are all grown up, let's just not go there. Well, ok, in the guy's defense, she is a second cousin, once removed. His father's father's sister's son's daughter's daughter. It wouldn't have been a total West Virginian kind of situation. Ok, I confess: he may have threw a very vague and oblique hook (the 'not that it matters what I think about your attractiveness' variety, where the correct response is something along the lines of 'of course it matters') and she either missed it or ignored it, and so there. Happy?

So then well, the next day the guy goes off to spend a few days over at an old friend's house. This guy's friend, she just had a baby. Well, okay, it's not exactly a baby, being three months old short of it's second birthday, but the guy doesn't get back home to the Pacific Northwest as often as he should, nor does he keep in touch as much as he should. The guy might be a bit of a social misfit, for the sake of this discussion, and suffers frequent lapses in staying in touch with the old gang.

Well, the girl is married to a nice guy. Really. She was kind of messed up for a while, as the daughters of strict Catholics tend to be sometimes. Sometimes they turn to the drink and the drugs, but still wrestle with the whole Catholic guilt thing in a way that maybe this guy has always found charming. No, not charming. Sexy. Erotic. Hot. It turns out this guy is strangely turned on (although 'turned on strangely' might be more accurate) by emotionally damaged women.

(The guy will not get too deep into reflexive psychoanalysis, but it must be noted that the guy here, his mother, is a bit nuts. Which is one of the reason why his parent's marriage didn't work out, which leads to the remarriage of the father to the nice church secretary 'lo these many years later. The fact that the delicious irony of the previous week involves a girl who isn't entirely unlike his own mother and his father's marriage is not lost on the guy, let's say, because he tends to overthink things, and has read far too much on the subject of psychology and psychiatry and such.)

But anyway, the emotionally fragile acquaintance he is going to visit is married to a nice man, whom the guy is meeting for the first time. He (the protagonist of our little tableau) meets the husband for the first time, and the guy can't help but notice a few things about the other guy:

  • Hopeless bookworm
  • Shy, quiet, but given over to sarcasm and jokiness often
  • Kind, gentle, affectionate towards the girl, almost paternal
  • Smart, but in a weird accessible way
  • About 6 feet tall with gray eyes and brown hair

And our guy, our hero, can't help but think that these things tend to describe himself as well. In fact, he is troubled by the fact that he can find precious little to differentiate himself from this husband. Taste in music, political ideology, philosophy of life. Even drinks the same sorts of snob-label brands of beer.

So, after a few bong hits, the people with the baby are pretty tired (as parents of children tend to be), and retire to bed, leaving our hero a little stoned but also pretty awake, and left to his own thoughts while lying on the futon in the upstairs guest room.

While lying there, he can't help but wonder exactly at what point he got shunted aside onto the friend track, and now this girl, his 'friend' (and it's funny how that word can cut like a razor and sting as if alcohol were liberally applied to that cut) is married to, for all intents and purposes, his doppelganger.

So, yeah, that gets to him a bit, because he remembers a time a few years ago, when he would have liked to break out of the friend box, and he can't help but draw a reasonable conclusion that this should all be his, his rambunctious child, his home on the wooded lot, his Taurus in the carport (well no, but maybe a 300 M or something).

And then he thinks about why he couldn't break out of the box: his best friend was in the process of treating her very badly through a tortuously long and emotionally damaging (to both of them; let's not make her out to be a paragon of wonder and virtue, fer chrissakes) relationship involving drugs, drink, infidelity, abortions, and so on. When that thing all went to hell, the friends got divided up, and he ended up on the side of the old high-school friend, and not the girl. This guy was also sleepwalking though a relationship of his own, but he knows now as he knew then, he would have dropped it in a heartbeat for a shot at the brass ring. (A short time thereafter, he discovered that feeling was more than mutual, and at least she had had the decency to make the transition short and quick; and after a short period of morose depression he actually felt free and clear.) So, she drifted away, and about two years later (which was almost three years ago), she married this Colin fellow and a year after that squirted out a lovely daughter, which they named Isabelle (which just to drive the final spike in, the name our hero would have named his own daughter).

So, drunk and stoned in the darkness, our hero pondered these events, before drifting off to sleep. In two days, he could fly back home, and get away from these reminders of the past, and maybe the sting in his soul would be a little less sharp when he was a thousand miles away from his father, his mother, his sexy cousins, the girl who reminded him of his mother, her husband which reminded him of himself, and the daughter with the name he had chosen.

That leaves one day, and really, how hard can one day be, even with the sort of discomfort churning in his mind?

Well, there are a few other things the guy remembers that next day. Ever have one of those dreams that needs no analysis? Our hero had a dream about her. They (he and the girl) were back in the old house they shared after college, only he was with the girl, and the best friend was not there or something.

The dream triggers other thoughts upon awakening. He remembers eating his liver whenever his old friend would talk about what an absolute tiger the girl was in bed. And following the liver, he would then eat his spleen when this old friend would describe how she gave head at the drop of a hat, and that she was really, really good at it. You'd think it wouldn't matter, but this guy, our protagonist, gets obsessed about it the very next morning, and so it goes that on top of the warm nostalgia of a missed romance, the cold envy of his double living a version of his life that he wouldn't mind having (except for the car, and some of the furniture, come to think of it), he now has the white-hot horns.

Motherhood gave her the hips and breasts she never had as the scrawny, befreckled girl, all elbows and knees and eyes and lips that entranced him before. Where she had been a girl back in the old days, she was a woman in these new days. Wearing a tank top and shorts, she does laundry, bending low over the dryer, and.....Well, our hero is so wanting and not having at the moment. Even her hands look sexy, small and soft, and thinking of her hands.....

At that moment, when his central nervous system is flooded and short-circuited on lust, guilt, Oedipality, love, anger, jealousy, betrayal, hope, and despair, at that moment, at that very moment, in the laundry room, under the pale yellow light of the incandescent wall fixture, surrounded by clothes, baskets, mops, detergents, and dryer sheets, in a room full of the fake aroma of the outdoors mixed with baby vomit, in the blink of an eye, that guy, our hero, might just decide to make some changes in his life, to go forth and get his act together.

It could happen, you know.