Nine Reasons I Still Haven’t Quit WoW

It’s been a long, long week and all I want to is kick back with a cup of tea and kill something. My poor little neglected mage is making big soulful eyes at me and I cave, log in, and… and now what?

Okay, so… admittedly, my Warlords of Draenor enthusiasm faded with the speed of a raid boss nerf after every .1 patch update. And we started out so well! New world, check. New enemies, check. Housing, oh my god, finally, check. New pets, check. (What? There’s no such thing as too many pets.) And then the honeymoon stage ended and I was faced with the terrible reality of relationships and MMOs alike: bae ain’t what it used to be.

Maybe it’s not you, Blizzard, maybe it’s me. After all, I’ve been playing since BC. I’ve seen the best of times. I’ve seen the worst of times. You had me go from “What the hell, pandas?!” to “Fuck yeah, pandas!”, and we had such great times, but… times change. People change. Games change. You know what, maybe it’s you after all.

1. I’m more emotionally attached to my characters than is healthy.

Toons are people, too! Somehow, over the years, they accumulated so much personality it’s kind of hard to believe I wasn’t put in a mental institution yet. Or on an RP server. (No, seriously, why don’t I RP? Oh, right, no one can deal with my humour. Or my troll priest’s Jamaican accent.) They all have their own idiosyncrasies and background stories and fanfiction and funny little quirks, not to mention the heavily varied contents of their inventory. (So. Much. Stuff. I still carry around some quest items from long-forgotten and now non-existent BC era quests that my noob self was just too stupid to complete.) Like, my Human mage is very much the hero type, while my Forsaken warlock has a bit of a mischievous streak and is absolutely devoted to her little felhunter. (What? Felhunters are cute, shut up.) Then there’s the Nightelf boomkin who is trying to unify society’s pressure on Elves to look sexy and feminine with her love for RAW MOONFIRE POWER which only comes in the shape of a big fat owl with antlers (it’s a tough life).

…yeah, I may have a problem.

2. Dora the Explorer Syndrome

There are roughly 27 GB worth of screenshots on my hard drive. No matter the content, Blizzard always makes good landscapes. I’m a WoW landscape nerd. I’m also into discovering shit. I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys running literally around continents. The first thing I did when Cataclysm was announced was a last screenshot tour through my belovéd Azeroth. It was then that I discovered – dun dun DUUUUNNN – the original Quel’Thalas which got scratched and replaced by Eversong Forest in BC. You can’t go there anymore because since Cata there’s an invisible wall because gods forbid you see the three and a half Nightelves ruins. Okay, so it was a little anti-climatic in hindsight, but hey, I discovered something! Also, where they put Uldum now, pre-Cata there used to be a tiny Tauren village with a gigantic peace pipe. Also, did you know that at a certain point in Pandaria there’s a flying ghost turtle just chilling and if you wave at it, it’s accompanying you for a bit? Also also, if you go to Outlands Nagrand and fly up just over Throne of the Elements, there is a hut containing a troll woman and lots of children. And bubbling soup cauldrons. Dun dun DUUUUUNNN!

Also also also, there’s something weird going on in Stratholme.

3. Who’s gonna feed all my widdle pets?!

I can’t have pets in real life. So to (over-) compensate I own over 700 pets in WoW. I can’t help it! They’re so cute! They have big eyes and big paws and cute deadly fangs! I’m still waiting for Blizzard to install a cuddle feature because goddamnit! You can’t just give me a cutie like this and then tell me I can’t hug it:

WoWScrnShot_100115_201952

I may or may not have been caught hugging my screen more times than I’m comfortable admitting.

Look at it! It’s a corgi made of lava! Isn’t this the cutest thing to ever drag it’s fiery butt across the floor?

And I feel bad for them, because there’s so many of them I always feel like I’m neglecting one or the other. I also have clear favourites. I’m such a bad pet mom. Luckily they don’t actually need feeding.

4. There’s always something to do… even if it’s ridiculously work-intensive.

It’s not like there is literally nothing to do in WoD. You can grind rep for about a dozen factions. You can earn the achievement that allows you to use your long neglected flying mounts again. You can be all about your base (all about that base, ’bout that base, more missions! I’m all about that base, ’bout that base, more buildings!) and optimize everything and command your subordinates around all commander-y. You can earn what feels like 752 achievements in dungeons and raids alone. However, everything takes time. So much time. So much damn time I can see people debating with themselves whether or not to quit their jobs and move into a hovel near a coffee shop for the free wifi so they can do alllll those things that theoretically could be done.

What am I doing? Waiting for pet battle quests that I like doing so I can buy moar pets! Oh, and fishing. Lots o’ fishing.

5. Bring on the NPCs!

Not only am I too emotionally involved with my own characters, I’m also too into NPCs. I love Our Lady of the Forsaken and if anything happens to her in the upcoming expansion a rather large delivery of very smelly lutefisk may or may not materialise outside of Blizzard HQ. Better yet, in their air conditioning vents. I’m even more into Jaina since she snapped and went crazy on the Horde’s asses in Dalaran. I will absolutely never forgive Blizzard for moving Tirion Fordring and his horse out of Plaguelands, I liked visiting the guy on his little defunct farm! Then there’s all my furry panda friends in Halfhill, yes, I still go there. Sometimes I even do daily quests for them because well, we have so much history! Yes, I’ll water your fields. Yes, even though it is literally raining right now. And it has literally rained yesterday. For old times sake. (Also, there’s a guy called Gai Lan and I just found out that that’s actually a kind of broccoli. I may or may not have laughed for five minutes straight.)

6. “Stuck with you”

Okay, admittedly not a great reason to keep a relationship going, but… we’ve been together so long now, WoW and me! Like… we got the same phone number, all the same friends, the same address, you know, it’s just what happens when you’re together a really long time, the fire just slowly fizzles out, not least because the mage fire skill tree has a long history of getting nerfed and it’s supremely annoying each time. Like, what am I supposed to do, spec frost or – shudder – arcane?! Thankfully, with the higher gear towards the end of each expansion the problem usually drifts away on its own, but still.

7. World Events

I don’t care if I’ve done Brewfest a thousand times in my lifetime. I don’t even care that they removed virtually all the drinking quests (though they were fun, fuck you, P-12 rating!) and the only beer you get to pelt the attacking Dark Iron clan with is now alcohol free. I’ll be there every day, delivering kegs for tokens just so I can buy a grill. Or a flag. Or… sigh… a pet. You bet I’ll be flying around on a broomstick come Hallow’s End with my little Feline Familiar by my side, landing only to wade ankle deep through the candy buckets. I’ll be there next Winter Veil in my garish sweater singing traditional Winter Veil songs while wearing fuzzy warm socks and a winter hat and placing cushions all over Iron Forge so I have somewhere comfy to sit while I own my fellow players with my unbeatable little racing car. I mean, how do you spend your holidays?

8. The concept of it all

World of Warcraft is generally an amalgam of Earth’s most popular myths, taking bits and pieces from all over the world and mashing them up into entirely new things. For example, Night Elves are a mix of Chinese culture and the mythological amazons, Humans and Forsaken are general Central European, while Dwarves are a fun mix of Scottish and Norse culture. Likewise, some expansions are more on the nose about their origins. Northrend is very clearly inspired by Scandinavian and Canadian landscapes, and Scandinavian and Norse mythology. Pandaria is inspired by a number of Asian landscapes and mythologies, and some references are more obvious than others. And Blizzard just goes and ties them all together by the narratives of the Old Gods, the Titans, and the almost weekly demon invasions. I think this is part of what makes the game so great, the fact that you have something familiar and recognizable, but also something new. Humans generally like to hear the same story told over and over again only differently (think of romcoms or superhero movies, it’s the same damn thing with different names and different misunderstandings, but essentially it’s always the same), and Blizzard has a knack for that.

9. How else would I spend my weekends? Going outside? Among people?!

The flame wars in the trade chat are already more social interaction than I need or want. And you expect me to brace the same endless tirades in the real world? Where I’m required to wear pants or any article of clothing?! And were problems are not solved by wanton destruction of mine enemies?! Sounds like hell to me. In that case, I might as well play Diablo.

And that’s my own, personal, totally not biased reasons for still spending too much time playing this stupid time-consuming game. What are your excuses?

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Nine Reasons I Thought About Quitting WoW

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person of the 21st century in possession of moderate fortune must be in want of a game that allows them to kill stuff. I, too, am fallen prey to the world of PC games, and there is one that always has me coming back for more: World of Warcraft.

But even though I’ve willingly been in thrall to this game for the better part of a decade now, it has me going round the bend at times. My relationship with WoW is a lot like those slightly dysfunctional on again, off again relationships of sitcoms: It’s the best expansion ever! It’s the worst expansion ever! There’s nothing to do! There’s so much to do! I love it! I hate it!I want to marry it! I want to hack my computer to pieces!

Ahem. Anyway, since I’m in a bit of a WoW rut again (and because I feel like this blog needs a new lil’ feature anyway) I thought I’d do a list of my personal, totally not biased reasons for coming thiiiiis close to quitting the thing entirely.

1. EES

What I like to call End of Expansion Syndrome. At the end of every expansion you usually hit a point where there’s just nothing to do for you. All the story lines have been completed, all raids have been raided, all the loot has been farmed, technically you could still run heroic but your guild somehow disappeared to this other server called Real Life and it’s just no fun without them, because raid browser? Nah. Sure, you can still grind rep, or farm ALL the gold, or become an achievement whore, or run through old content, or level alts, or… but somehow you’re just not feeling it. Maybe you’re just supersaturated. Maybe there is something to this Real Life thing. Whatever the case, you’re ready for something new. Only the next expansion will take For.E.Ver. to finally arrive. And who knows how good that will be. So you sigh, close the game, and try something else for a bit, all the while ranting all over the internet that WoW just lost its touch.

2. Sometimes WoW just raids your motivation to death

If there is one thing you can always do in WoW, it’s raiding. Now, I’m not a big raider anymore. My raid heyday was way back when in Lichking and Cataclysm. Because raiding isn’t fun without a guild, and my guild somehow acquired social lives (they still won’t tell me where that dropped). And the guilds you only join for the express purpose of raiding, they’re usually those super raiderinos who are really uptight about the whole thing. (Or maybe that’s just my rotten luck, but I’m never joining a raid guild again, ever, as long as I live and my server breathes… or something.)

Aaaanyway, coming back from that tangent… Yes, you can always raid, even during EES, but that’s precisely the problem, because suddenly there is nothing to do but raiding. At any other point during the expansion you can log on, check your mail, do a little quest, and log off after an hour so you can still get some sleep to go to your boring job that pays your monthly WoW fee. However, when there’s nothing to do but raid, which takes considerably longer than an hour, even if you’re running for the fiftieth time… okay, if I get home by this time I can log on, say, half an hour later, but the raid starts at X time, and actually I wanted something fancier for dinner than Red Bull and leftover chips, but it’s my turn to take out the trash, so that leaves me approximately 24 min. until starting time, and… But what if Legolaslol (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) is late again, and we’ll have no way of knowing whether he comes five minutes later or an hour later, actually, maybe that leaves me enough time to order pizza, but what if we start before the delivery arrives, I can’t just answer the door in the middle of the boss fight, though I mean, maybe they could handle forty seconds without me, but wait, if we finish by 11 pm I can still order pizza then, but actually I should be in bed because I have to get up at 6 am…

And if you only raid on weekends, what do you do the rest of the week? Level alts? Get them gear? So they can raid? Eeeehhh…

3. Everything is too hard… or too easy

Over time it’s become abundantly clear that Blizzard doesn’t have a balance spec. Either you get epics, mounts, quests, and raids thrown at you until you cry for mercy, or you have to break your back, sell your soul, your grandmas soul, and toil away well into the small hours of the morning just to get a tiny little smidgen closer to… get gear so you can run heroic dungeons. Which then last four hours because suddenly you actually need a plan to defeat the first boss that’s a little more sophisticated than “hit the thing until it stops moving”. On one side you find yourself pampered and growing lazy, longing for a bit of challenge because damn, are you bored. On the other you feel an overwhelming urge to bite apart your keyboard. Whatever the case, however, history showed us that people bitched about it. Which brings us to our next point…

4. People

It is a widely known fact that people ruin everything. Be it the kind of crazy raid guild that expects you to be available every day 5 pm to midnight, or just the idiots swarming the Trade channel, sometimes you just have enough of the social aspect of the MMO and yearn for the loving embrace of something a little more quiet, a little more solitary, and a little more peaceful, like, dunno, Diablo. So you retire to a quiet life on your Halfhill farm or your WoD garrison, where you lock yourself in your mage tower and refuse to see anyone. You might even go so far as to exploit a software glitch to put a big sign on the outer wall saying, “Keep Out, Humans Orcs I Don’t Care What You Are, Stay OUT!”

Not that I ever toyed with the idea or anything…

5. Lore

Lore is nice, lore is great, lore brings the game to life. Lore is also the most confusing shit ever, and not even the people writing it always have their facts straight, as evidenced by a little dwarf in a red shirt in Ironforge.

WoW, of course, has a lot of lore. There’s so much history in this entire thing you can read all the books and still need the Wiki page to somewhat stay on top of things. And woe betide you if you don’t, because when that happens it’s gonna fuck you up. Sometimes lore happens and suddenly the game is different. Blink, and Garrosh is your boss. Blink, and all the orcs are like, “Trolls go home!” Blink, and the old Tauren is dead. Blink, and Magni Bronzebeard is now a fashionable statue. Blink, and Theramore’s gone. Blink, and Jaina’s finally snapped. Blink, and there’s intrigue and treachery and murder and natural catastrophe (though that’s really rare and usually in some way or another dragon-related) and you sorta just missed it and now you’re just standing there like “Whuh? When did that happen? Who and what now?” And with your half-knowledge you stumble through your quests at the verge of tears because you want to know what’s going on but you know you can never read all those books because some of them? Are not all that well-written. And if you’re a literature buff, that will drive you batty. Exhibit A keeps typing.

6. You took away my dailies?!, or The Boredom of the Leisure Class

One of my main irks with Warlords of Draenor is the pitiable lack of daily quests. Ah, those were the days when you had a dozen factions, each providing you with a set of five or six dailies to complete, and you’d grind so hard your rep and gold would shoot right through the screen! But alas, no more. Now quest NPCs be like, kill those mofos over there until I say stop. Yeah, okay, you can collect some items, too. No, those are enough. No really, I’d rather you off some more orcish twits. Oh, you want some variety? Okay, go kill some Arakkoa mofos. Yeah, kill the entire world, I don’t care. Here’s your 1500 rep and a tip. Don’t spend it all at once.

No, you know, actually I’d rather be back in Pandaria flying on a kite watering fields even though 1) throwing pitchers of water from high up seems a very ineffective method of watering anything, 2) it rained last week, yesterday, and it’s literally raining right now. But that’s still more fun than breaking out the calculator and computing how many of every type of mob I have to kill to get a 100% on the progress bar.

7. The hell did you do to my Azeroth?!, or The Emotional Turmoil Of Change

I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t like change. Some update changed something in my e-mail inbox recently and I almost screamed. So I’ll just come right out and say that I was not thrilled when Cataclysm was announced. You’re just going to destroy my world?! Rip apart my beloved Ashenvale?! Change all the start zones?! Destroy the dam in Loch Modan?! Flood Menethil?! How could youuuuuu!

So after the initial shock I did the sensitive thing: I took my mount and did a great screenshot tour through old Azeroth before it was changed forever. And when Cataclysm rolled around, well, I wasn’t happy, but I acclimatised. Slowly. Over time. I mean, I still cried every time I entered Ashenvale. Or the Barrens. Or Stormwind where the park used to be. Or…. But by the time EES hit I had had a lot of sessions with a very capable bereavement specialist who now enjoys a nice and quiet life on the Maldives, and I had gotten used to everything.

I’ll never forgive Blizzard for putting me through all this, though. You’re toying with my emotions here, man!

8. My other fandom just released an MMO

Sometimes, you have a nice, stable long-term relationship with a nice, reliable person, bit rough around the edges but hey, who’s perfect? You have your routines, you know each others’ quirks, you’re comfortable with each other. But then, one warm summer evening you’re at a friend’s party and someone enters the room. Tall. Dark. Handsome. And he whispers… “I have a spaceship.”

And it’s a whirlwind romance of new and exciting things and you’re floating on a pink cloud thinking, this is the best ever, nothing else will ever compare, I’m never going back.

This is more or less what happened to me when SWTOR happened. Oh my stars and garters, it was like an exhilarating but forbidden affair. It lasted about as long as one, too. I mean, I love Star Wars. I love spaceships. I love bounty hunters. Now there’s someone offering me a galaxy far, far away that contains all my heart’s spacey desires. It just happened! It was just that one time (for a stretch of a few months)! But it meant nothing to me, I swear!

9. The Real Life server called

This is actually a legit reason to quit any game: Suddenly, there’s stuff to do, and it can’t be solved with pyroblasts. There are not many things that can’t be solved with a good pyroblast, so you know this is serious. Maybe you got a job. Maybe you got a family. Maybe you ran out of money. In my case, I was finishing a degree programme and decided, as much fun as it was to kill stuff, I really should do something with my life. Something more productive. Something that ensure I will be able to pay the monthly fees in the future. And thus, with tears in my eyes (not really) I hung my mage’s staff on a wall (figuratively speaking), hugged all my pets (okay, I actually did that), and rode forth into the sunset, through the portal and rejoined the magical kingdom of Real World. The quests really sucked. Graphics were okay. Bit grey, though.

And that’s why, at diverse dates, I almost quit my beloved game for good. And if you want to know why I still haven’t you need to stay tuned, this may become a regular blog thing. Cheers.

The Bloody Chamber and the Bloody Ridiculousness of It All

So we discussed the Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber in a class I had. For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s basically a turn-of-the-century (from 19th to 20th in case that wasn’t clear) retelling of the Perrault’s Bluebeard fairy tale (Charles Perrault, 1697, the story itself is a lot older and the older versions have a lot more female agency) only from the perspective of the wife, who is a seventeen year old girl trying to escape the poverty she lives in with her widowed mother by marrying an insanely rich and perverted Marquis who plans to kill her like his other wives. Go look it up, but only read it if you have a strong stomach.

Anyway, I really just need to vent, because I also have to write a paper on this and I keep coming back to the class discussion. This is going to be about gender studies, so if you don’t like gender studies a) screw you, b) bye.

The discussion was interesting, albeit not from a literary point of view but from a psychological one. I mean… people were going on and on about how the seventeen year old working class narrator didn’t marry the Marquis for love and called her a gold-digger and an adulteress because the young piano tuner was nice to her and she noticed he was pretty. But no-one, absolutely nobody, lost a single word about how the middle-aged serial killer Marquis didn’t marry her for love either, but to make her his next murder victim. I mean, perspective, please! And that got me thinking. I mean, I get the criticism that this is a first person narrator and first person narration is always unreliable, even if nothing points to the narrator lying, but let me get this straight: A very young girl living in poverty, trying to earn a meagre living as a pianist, wants to escape poverty by way of marriage – not that she actively pursues that because she doesn’t, it just so happens – so she and her mother will be taken care of financially, and everyone calls her names and goes on about how “weeeeell she didn’t marry for luuurrrve”; but a guy about fifty who wants to marry a teenager so he can fuck her and then behead her, we go “Welp!”

I mean, come the hell on! Are we really this desensitised to male violence that we basically shrug and call it Tuesday? Is this just something we expect now? Are we really not going to talk about a guy who marries one woman after the other just so he can torture and kill them in horrible ways, and who sets his latest wife a trap just so he has a reason to kill her too because she ‘disobeyed’ him by discovering his murderous little secret? Are we just going to ignore all this in favour of calling a teenage girl a gold-digger and worse? Oh, we are? Well, fuck all y’all, that’s what’s wrong with the world!

And then there was that special case of a dude in the back who was like, well, if the Marquis had only found the perfect wife he would have stopped killing, basically he was torturing himself, to which, thankfully, the entire class decided this was taking things a step too far. I think sometimes the most scandalous thing a man today can do is to respect a woman’s choices. Like, seriously, no one cares if a man murders women, but I’m sure everyone would be writing paper upon paper about a male fictional character who is just a decent human being. But then they’d probably call him effeminate or emasculated (like the narrator’s second husband, the nice music-loving but blind piano tuner) or just plain boring.

It’s bad enough that in the story the entire castle staff and the village know what’s going on, because killing wives and women is sort of a family tradition apparently, and everyone’s just sort of okay with that. Takes the narrator’s mother to put a stop to this. And you know how? She got a phone call. One single phone call from her daughter that wasn’t even about “Hey, I just found hubby’s former wives”. Actually, that phone call was before all that. And mom rushes in like a maternal avenger and just shoots the bastard without a single word. One woman, one bullet, all it took to end a few centuries worth of murderous terror. I’d actually be interested in hearing the mother’s side of the story. Now that’s the kind of motherhood I could get behind.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of other different aspects to this story but I can’t be arsed to discuss them here, I already have a full formal analysis to write, so don’t come in here with “Oh, but you’re missing the point of the story”, because I’m not, I’m just standing on one of them and I’ll move on to the others when I’m good and ready. Just really, really needed to get that off my chest before I can go back to working. Peace.

Sappily Ever After

Happily ever after” falls into the same category as “Forbidden Love” and that category is called Tropes That Shouldn’t Exist.

Now I was a pretty dumb kid, but even I didn’t believe in fairy tales. I’ve never known any kid that believes this Happily Ever After bullshit, but I have seen grown ass women refusing to eat anything at a restaurant, much less anything that could be considered messy, because their One True Love might walk into the door and will never become their much coveted husband if he catches her with pasta on her chin. No, really, this happened. Kids are stupid about a lot of basic things but at least they’re not completely delusional.

You want to know what happens after the marriage? Snow White gets seven dwarves of her own, Cindarella has someone else to do the cleaning and is bored out of her skull, and Sleeping Beauty, weeeell, do we want to go with the Perrault version here, because no. The princes are out hunting all day or entertaining their mistresses. Meanwhile, the Fairy Godmother is having a spa day and can’t be bothered about absolutely anything.

I mean, what’s the deal with fairy tales anyway? Folk tales, now those I can get behind. Tales of strong-willed men and women outwitting demons and spirits and talking animals, that’s something useful. Stories that give you a laundry list to marriage? Not so much. How to score a prince: a) be royalty yourself and wait for your arranged marriage, or b) be the most beautiful girl in all the kingdom and having a really unusual shoe size helps, too. No thanks, I liked the story about a girl outwitting the devil to save her sisters from hell better somehow.

And it doesn’t stop there. From teenagehood onwards I was bombarded by a vast of rom-coms that rivalled Ren fairs in ridiculousness and Brechtian theatre in level of grotesque, and I’m not even going to go into an analysis from a feminist point of view here because that would take too goddamned long.

I mean seriously, who the hell writes this shit and why did most of the female friends I had lap that stuff up like manna from the heavens? So guy meets hot chick. Absurd non-conflict that everyone takes way too seriously happens that prolongs the plot to ninety minutes until they finally kiss and make up and get married. When an honest five minute talk could have saved us all the bullshit. (Looking at you, teenage rom-coms and every film with Meg Ryan ever.)

And then there’s The Big Misunderstanding that inevitably happens about the middle of the film so we spend the rest of the film “worrying” if they’re going to get together after all (spoiler: yes, they will, they always do, why is that even a question?). The Big Misunderstanding is usually one protagonist overhearing or seeing something waaaaayyy out of context. Now what do they do? Do they follow up with the romantic partner? Do they talk to their partner, be like “Hey, I heard [insert controversial half-heard thing that makes me think you’re a WHORE/ASSHOLE!], do you know what they were talking about?”? Nope. It’s an Olympic-grade jump to conclusions, a big argument during which one side has no idea what the hell is happening, a complete refusal of having a good old-fashioned healthy talk (really, rom-coms are not exactly sending a good message about the importance of communication in relationships), and in the end they still end up together, usually through no effort of their own, but because one of their goofy sidekicks friends steps in at the last moment to resolve this and more or less beg the intended breeding couple to engage in make up sex already.

It’s even worse when they throw in “Forbidden Lurve” for good measure. I  most cases the love isn’t so much forbidden as slightly frowned upon. So one of you is rich and the other isn’t, big deal. Your relationship isn’t worth much if you throw it away at the slightest hint of trouble, I mean what are you gonna do if you have kids and you want to tear your hair out with tiredness from all the sleepless nights? Stop being wimps, stand up to your douchey parents and do something useful. (Looking at you, The Notebook.)

Also, relationships. Just once I’d like to see a portrayal of a realistic relationship. You know, the time after they fell in love. When they find out humans are humans and not prince/ss substitutes. And when they find out that maybe they should have gotten to know each other better before jumping into this entire marriage thing. And then come up with an actual solution. But they don’t do that, instead they try a “twist” (an oooooh look at this twist, are you looking, isn’t it just so twisty! kind of twist) by doing a rom-com with an older couple. Which somehow makes the entire genre even more asinine because aren’t people in their fifties and over supposed to know better? And know when it’s time for a divorce because one of you is a douchebag and the other’s an idiot? (Looking at you, Hope Springs.)

Bonus points if they throw fantasy elements into the mix. “We can’t be together because of X thing!” someone proclaims. To which I reply, “Then stop doing X thing.” – “I CAN’T STOP DOING X THING BECAUSE OF REASONS!” Usually the script forgot to give them a reason. I mean hell, if you’re a vampire just rob a blood bank, George Hamilton figured that one out in the 70s. If you’re something other than a vampire I’m pretty sure you can work around that somehow. One honest talk and a bit of preparation, that’s all it takes! Or just don’t fuck humans, find someone of your own species, you weirdo. (Looking at you, every fantasy film with a romantic element ever.)

Also, they suck. Rom-coms suck. They’re badly written, the characters are flatter than a sheet of paper, the dialogue is bullshit, even kindergarten kids have more believable conflicts and heartaches, the resolutions are lazy, the setting is somehow always New York and the actors are just not that good.

So what do we learn from this? Well, this lil’ princess here is going to keep feeding the tower-guarding dragon scraps from her plate until it’s tame enough to fly her away to a film set where women have better things to do than ensnaring a maaayyyuuun. Preferably a place with more wifi and less stupid princes. So done with castles #sodone #cantbebothered #independent #grownwoman.

Dr. Bodyissues, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Love Handles

So because an interesting conversation happened this week on this post I thought maybe we could talk about this some more. So come along, girls of the internet, we’re gonna talk about our bodies and our less-than-stellar self esteem. All ages welcome, you can still be one of the girls even if you’re 116. Shall we? Okay, I’ll start. Be prepared for personal stuff.

So I’m the first person to admit that I do not in any way fit the current Western beauty standard. Actually, I’m the first person to admit that I’m not pretty and ain’t no one gonna tell me otherwise. And please don’t you start with “Oh no, surely you’re pretty!” (not a single picture of me to prove it either way, ha!) or, worse, “You’re pretty on the inside”. Because while I do possess an enviable liver those platitudes ain’t got an ounce of truth in them. I’m fishing for truth, not compliments. I’ve had this face and this body for a quarter of a century, I know what the hell I look like. In fact, I just found out I look frighteningly like Molly Ringwald. More like the uglier sister of Molly Ringwald, but nonetheless. I hate Molly Ringwald. I’m going to stop dying my hair read because of Molly Ringwald. Molly Ringwald can go suck it.

Aaaanyway, I’m not an SI swimsuit model and I’m never gonna be. I’m short, for one. I’m so pale if I stand in front of a wall naked I’ll be invisible. I also have this really odd face where everything just sort of looks wrong, thrown together without much care, like something went wrong on the assembly line. I’m not overweight (yet, I hope not, but I come from a long-lived, healthy, but overweight family) but I’m never going to be skinny. I have some ambivalent feelings about my body, I have good days and bad days. On good days I’m like, “Damn, guuurrl, look at you looking like a pre-Raphaelite painting!” On bad days I’m like, I’mma crawl into a hole and die. My body is old-fashioned. As in, it thinks it’s still the Ice Age. I gain fat like ain’t no thing, I could totally survive a famine. I also have some decent muscle, you just can’t see any of it. I got thighs that could choke a bear. Count on me to drag you out of a burning car. I can lift people 15 kg heavier than me. 15 kg of groceries to carry around a couple blocks? No problem, see you in ten. I can drag a 20 kg steel-frame bicycle up and down a couple flights of stairs. Hell, I’ll race you on that 20 kg steel-frame bike. Need help moving, I schlepp your boxes all day long. In other words, I’m a pretty strong ass mofo. I think that should count for something, you know, what I can do with this body instead of how it looks.

Society says: nope. Who cares how useful you can be if you don’t have a six pack, endless legs, perky titties, and a laundry list of other crap I can’t be bothered to type out.

And then they be like, do this to lose weight and do this for make-up, and here’s this season’s trends, oh and by the way, love yourself just the way you are. Because we’re totally not sending you mixed messages right now.

Sooo I can love myself the way I am as soon as I’m the way you want me to be, which is never, because there’s always something wrong? I’m so confused.

I struggled with my body image when I was younger, I mean, I guess we all have. Hell, I still do. The only people who ever called me beautiful were my parents, my senile great-aunt, and my current boyfriend (and like, that’s sort of their job, right?). My mom wasn’t any help when I was growing up, though. Somewhere around age ten she started telling me to stop eating so many sweets or else I would end up “looking like me” (meaning herself, mom was slender in her youth but gained tremendously as she got older (I’m not dissing my mom here, she’s amazing, shut up)). Like all moms she just meant well, I guess, but this just shows how very aware she was of how much looks matter in the world we live in. And how early I had to start being aware. Like I didn’t notice it so much with Barbie dolls, because shit, it’s a doll, ain’t no one gonna look like a plastic doll (this was before the internet exploded with weirdos who actually do look like dolls, ah, the age of innocence) and I always sort of wondered where her internal organs were, like if she was real she wouldn’t survive. And those feet, man. I did notice how princesses in fairy tales were always the fucking prettiest in all the country even though no one seemed to be doing evaluative field research on the matter, and who had all the personality of a street lamp (I still wanted to be one, because princesses grow up to be queens and queen means power!) and I did notice the millions of diets trending on the covers of mom’s magazines.

Twelve years of school bullying didn’t exactly make it easier to board the self acceptance train. One of my nicknames was a Viennese slang word for “ugly person”. Let’s just say if you want to take a sledgehammer to someone’s self-esteem, a decade of name calling is a very good tactic. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words grind away at your brain. (Take that, platitude slingers!) Add to that the usual impending teenage angst about being good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, bullying bitch-ass teachers who can’t do their fucking jobs, why can’t I be like the other girls, no one will ever love meeee, and you got yourself your own circle of hell, self-image-wise.*

Now I could have tried to make something of myself, learn how to dress right, buy all the right brands (with all the money my parents didn’t have), lose weight, learn to do make-up, but I was like, nah. Too much work. And they’re just gonna mock my efforts to fit in anyway, so fuck the lot of ’em, and thus I spent my first twenty years in jeans and giant t-shirts. Basically my tactic was letting sarcasm rule every fibre of my being. “You’re ugly!” – “You don’t say! Are you always that smart?” This also coincided with my “I’m not like other girls” phase (admit it, we all go through that one). Basically I made not fitting in a point of pride. And despite all that, I still had half a handful of friends. Girl friends made fun of me for being so mannish, and guy friends tried to get me to set them up with my cute friends, but hey, can’t have everything.

So as you can see I had a glorious start into female adulthood. Sometime after high school I actually lost some weight and put in some effort, only to slack and gain it back again. Did any of that make me better liked or more socially apt? Nope.

I mean, I’m human. I want attention. I want validation. I want someone to look at me like I’m the only person in the world that matters. I’m selfish and insecure and I want someone to solve this for me. But placing this responsibility on someone else is a real problem.

You know what did help me? Having some damned confidence. You know how you get that? Well, it’s a bit like taking the ring to Mordor. Minus the Elves that help you at every step. And minus Sam. And plus a billion annoying gollums. And more orcs than you can shake a shiny sword at. That you don’t have because budget cuts.

And you’re not even halfway out of the Shire yet.

Okay, first, sport.

No, actually first, growing up and getting over myself. No really, it gets better with age. Gonna be a boss ass bitch by 90.

Okay, so sport. Despite being a pudgy asthmatic with fucking knee issues I’ve always been top of the class in sport. I wasn’t one of them bitches sitting on the bench because I may or may not get my period within the next two weeks-ish. Two years ago I took up sports again and never looked back. I know it’s a cliché, but if you struggle with your body, do sport, it actually works. Anything, doesn’t matter. Even if it’s just a walk in the park. Even if it’s just vigorous sex. Actually, especially if it’s vigorous sex. I think we’re having so much trouble accepting our bodies because we’re drilled since infancy to make it look pleasing to others and use it to please others, and never really get a chance to think about what our bodies can do for ourselves. So do something for yourself and get yourself some endorphins. And being able to brag about muscles is pretty neat too, it makes people afraid.

Second, being aware that everything is lying to us. Everything. Always. All damn day long. Especially people who want to sell us shit. So I don’t look like the girl on the magazine. The girl on the magazine doesn’t look like the girl on the magazine, because she’s been airbrushed to high hell. With magazines and TV ads and ads in general I like to play a game of Spot The ‘Shop. It’s really obvious once you’ve trained your eyes. No fancy high class expensive anything is gonna make me look like that, unless we’re talking about like glasses or a helmet that projects a hologram image unto my entire body and makes me look like someone else. Now available: the new Scarlett Johansson expansion pack with three different hair colours!

… actually that sounds like an awesome idea. Wear leggings all day and still look like you’re at the Oscar’s. Patenting this idea!

Third, simple bloody-mindedness. I have bad days. I trash-talk myself and I’m sure you do too. I pinch my fat, or squeeze the area where my ample DD bosoms should be, and actually start to think about the possibility of ironing my cellulite and the wrinkles around my eyes, because god dammit! And then I’m like, fuck it all, and eat ice cream while watching funny moments from one of the million model casting shows on Youtube. And, okay, I admit, sometimes I get really mean while doing so, all like “Haha, skinny bitches, everyone wants to fuck you but no one will give you ice cream! See this ice cream? Seeee this delicious ice cream I’m eating? You can’t haz!” Because trash-talking other women is also an integral part of our fucked up social programming, but that’s a topic for another time.

(Seriously though, if you were to make me choose between modelling and ice cream I’d be like, bring on the insulin, I’m gonna need it.)

After consuming hundreds of tutorials I actually can dress like an adult now. I can also do some basic make-up and I’m not upgrading that skill because ain’t nobody got time for that. I said in the beginning I’m not pretty and I don’t want to be because pretty is not enough, I want to be drop-dead gorgeous. Only without putting in any effort. And that’s where confidence comes in, the next best thing to hologram glasses. I want to be confident or at least make people think I am. This little hobbit barely made it to Bree and is aggressive about her looks, can’t decide it that’s a good thing yet. Like, my face is gonna be good enough for you or I’mma rearrange yours. Like, comment on my body and I’m going to make you feel two inches tall because I know how to make someone feel worthless, I learned from the best. Like, bitch please, I’m fabulous.

Basically, I want people to be too afraid of my wrath to judge me. That’s as good as being beautiful in my book.

Thankfully I live in a country where people would rather suffocate than talk to a stranger, so no one comments on anyone they don’t know well, ever. So if someone says you look nice, be wary, they probably want a favour. The downside of this little titbit of social trivia is of course, as soon as people know you well, they start doling out advice (i.e. telling you everything that’s wrong with you) like cheap pens at election campaigns. Like, mom and her wear this, not that, do your hair like that, use this product. Like, best friends and their endless “You need to [insert fashion whatever for which time nobody ain’t got]”. Like, even Boyfriend has in the past commented on my cellulite. Yeah, you don’t wanna know what I commented on in retaliation. Not even I have so many stretch marks on my legs.

Makes it kinda hard to accept genuine compliments, though. First of all, you never know if a compliment is genuine. What if someone’s pulling a Regina George on you? And compliments always come out wrong. A friend says to me, “Wow, you look really nice today!” and my mind immediately goes to “And how do I look usually, Steve Buscemi with a side of Miss Piggy?!”

I mean, recently I made it a point to not give two flying fucks about anyone’s opinion on my looks, not even the positive ones. Yes, it’s a radical step, but it’s like a cleanse, you know, ridding yourself of all the other voices telling you what you are and what you are not and just focussing on your own. Especially men. I never give another thought to the opinions of men.** Might sound misandrist, but Foucault would tell you they’re the enforcers of the system. Do not perpetuate the system. Ha, I knew I could use that old slut and his Panopticism for something one day!

Of course this also means disregarding the opinions of women on your own body because according to the theory of Panopticism we have all been subconsciously trained since birth to judge ourselves and each other and keep each other in line. That’s why we gossip about other women and tear them and ourselves apart. That’s why we’re being back-stabbing bitches sometimes.

…dammit, Michel, you were right about everything.

So leaving dead French people aside for a moment, what can you do? Know what I do? I listen to my damn self. Do I think I look good today? Do I think my eyebrows are on point? Is my brain playing Uptown Funk when I walk past the mirror? And if not, how can I rise in my own opinion? I’m the one person who sees my body the most, so my feelings on it should be the most important.

And that’s basically the point of this long-ass post. You do you. It’s your damn body. Do something for yourself. Or don’t listen to me, whatever. Have a Star Wars reference, that makes everything better.

 

 

*Actually, now that I think about it I’m no longer surprised that I was severely depressed until like two years ago. Shit’s real, man.

**There is reported evidence that some men will literally fuck a picnic table, or a park bench, or a toaster, or an air mattress. Yeah. Doesn’t that make it sound like being deemed fuckable by a man is a lot like being deemed eatable by a bear, given the right level of desperation they’ll eat anything?

They Looked Like Nice Little Old Ladies But They Were Actually…

So for the past few weeks there were people ringing my doorbell in the early morning (as evidenced in posts here and here) and I never opened because, like hell am I going to open the door for strangers when I’m home alone.

But then I thought, what if they’re debt collectors? What if they’re just making sure they have the right address? What if they break down my door and take all our stuff because they have the wrong address and I never corrected them?! (Don’t laugh, that happened, the family had to buy all their own stuff back at auction, their stuff that the state effectively stole.) Okay, admittedly, I have a habit for paranoia.

But nevertheless. What if they just sell magazine subscriptions? I can just say no thanks! What if they sell anything else? I can say no thanks! What if they’re from house management? I can say it was the neighbours!

So I sat myself down and told myself, the next time they ring I’ll open and see what I’ll see.

Today was that day. The doorbell rang. I check through the door viewer and sure enough, it’s them. Two little old ladies, still decked out in their winter gear with trademark huge old lady handbags. I have a day off, so I yell “Just a moment!” while I struggle into some clothes and hunt for my keys.

I open the door, just a smidgen, ask them to identify. They hand me a piece of paper.

It’s not a note of debt.

It’s not a subscription.

It’s not even a business card.

I look at it and my face falls. How do I react now? It don’t feel right being rude to old ladies, so I play along.

“We’d like to invite you…”

I smile and nod.

“…this is the most important day…”

I smile and nod and brace myself.

“… the day that Jesus died…”

Whoomp, there it is.

“…the death of Jesus is the most important event…”

They hand me a pamphlet and sure enough, it’s the Watchtower. They want me to come to their Easter gathering.

When I was younger I used to have my fun with Jehova’s Witnesses, telling them we’re a family of Satanists, that we’re looking for willing sacrifice, sometimes I’d just act possessed. But I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m a grown woman (say it with me like Beyonce: groooown woman), the only Watchtower I want anything to do with is this Jimi Hendrix song, and I feel sorry for these poor lonely people ensnared in a cult that gives them the sense of community and purpose missing in their lives.

So I’m being nice. I thank them. I tell them I read the Bible four times already (What? It’s true. Know your enemy and all.). They say they’d be glad if I came to their meeting. I tell them I’ll think about it and bid them goodbye, wish them a nice day. I think the three of us already know I won’t be going. We’re screwing each other in good understanding.

But what can I do? I’m not even a Christian and I have no intention of ever being one. I have intention of being a researcher. Science is my religion substitute. If anything, I was getting ready to prepare a libation to Ostara, Ishtar, Astarte and all their related incarnations for Easter. I mean, it’s Easter. Even if you have no knowledge of historical linguistics you should be able to see how those names are related. They all go back to an Indogermanic word meaning dawn. That’s why the sun rises in the East, it literally means ‘hey, dawn’s that way’. It’s literally older than Jesus.

(You may also have noticed the absence of bunnies and eggs at the crucifixion. That’s because they have nothing to do with it but are in fact tokens of much older feasts. Eggs have always been associated with fertility and March and April is the mating season for hares (you may have heard the phrase ‘mad as a march hare’, they’re mad because they’re horny), which is why they’re also considered symbols for fertility. Which is why they’re associated with traditional spring festivals all over Europe. Pretty powerful symbolism too, seeing as it has survived the switch to a completely different religion.)

So that’s the mystery of the doorbell ringers solved and you learned another little titbit about etymology! Now how’s that for a twist?

“I have a bad feeling about this”

Since you asked so nicely, this is basically my first thought, every day, and then all day long. Wake up: I have a bad feeling about this. Get up and faceplant into floor: I have a bad feeling about this. Look out window: I have a bad feeling about all this snow. Check on bikes on balcony: I have a bad feeling about thi…. oh, motherfucker, the covers have come off again?! Venture out into snow: I’d have a bad feeling about this if I could still feel my toes.

Hm? Oh, you wanna know what movie this is from? Um. It’s Mean Girls, duh! Get the hell out!

Seriously, though, it’s Star Wars. They say it in every Star Wars movie ever made and even in the Clone Wars series. It’s the running gag of the galaxy.

Anyway, can we talk about Star Wars? Not the fact that I keep misspelling these two simple words on a frequent basis (the dyslexia is strong with this one), but just how much I love the old trilogy (or rather, the old old trilogy, because we’ll be getting a new new one soon) even though I also kinda don’t?

I mean, Leia. Leia is just not getting the fanbase love she deserves. Look at this chick, twenty years old, member of the Galactic senate, diplomat, steals the Death Star blueprints, loads them onto R2D2, sends the little robot off in an escape pod just seconds after her ship gets taken over by – dun dun DUN – the bad guys, one of them being her dad. And she actually shoots at them. And then gets sassy with all of them. This princess doesn’t fuck around.

I also really like her relationship with Han. That’s the kind of romance I can watch, two people engaged in a snarky death match until the guy stops being a dick and the commencing make-out session gets interrupted by a clueless robot. And then the girl disguises herself as a bounty hunter and goes to rescue her boy. It’s just so sweet. And then in the end when he gets all jealous because he thinks she’s in love with Luke when really she just found out she’s his sister? Does he make a scene? Does he hint that he’ll drop the rebellion like a hot potato because he might not ‘get the girl’? Nope. He keeps right on, to the end. And only when things have calmed down does he talk to her about it, all calm-like, saying he won’t make a fuss or be in her way if she wants to be with Luke instead. And then the look of absolute relief when she tells him Luke’s her brother! Han’s cute (for a scruff-looking nerf-herder), can we get more Hans in here? I’m missing drama-free men in film.

Even though they’re very on-the-nose archetypes, all characters in the old movies are surprisingly well-rounded. Like, you look at our dynamic trio and you’re willing to believe that this is how people actually are. They’re more than just stock characters and the movies take some real time between all the fight scenes to develop them further. This is something I missed in the prequels, which was more on the CGI and merchandising side of things. Who are those people? What’s their motivation? Do we ever get to know them? Not really, they had to make an entire animated series to get to that, because weird CGI mounts, unbelievable and unbelievably clichéd Forbidden Love Romance sub-plot, and Commander Grievous grievances were apparently more important.

From a feminist perspective, Leia is a dream come true in 1977. She is the driving force behind the entire movie trilogy. Everything starts with her. She’s the spy, not one of the guys. She steals the plans, not one of the guys. She loads them into R2D2 and tells him (it? I feel weird about gendering robots, especially so clearly unsexed ones, am I the only one?) to go find Kenobi, a quest that gets Luke, our supposed Chosen One Hero, as well as Han The Love Interest And His Sidekick involved in the first place. In Return of the Jedi, Yoda even says that should Luke fail, there would be “another [hope]”, which, since both Skywalker children were considered a threat by the Emperor (as told by Obi Wan) is pretty clearly Leia. (Yes, I know there’s some geeks out there who think this is a set-up to Episode VII, but please, tell me how that’s possible if not even the prequels were in the works at that time.)

Also from a feminist perspective, Leia is a bit of a nightmare, too, at least in New Hope, because while she is a senator, a diplomat, a spy, determined in her mission, strong-willed enough not to rat out the rebels under mindprobe, and a bunch of other awesome stuff, she also lets the men in the movie do everything else. She can’t do much of anything about the Empire except gathering information, but the old crock Kenobi can for some reason. She can’t escape the Death Star, that’s what her half-wit brother (come on, he is acting a bit stupid all throughout A New Hope), the walking carpet and the loud-mouthed smuggler are for, and they only succeed because that was Tarkin’s evil plan all along. Granted, she does use a gun when you hand her one and tries to save her rescuers via garbage chute (where, interestingly, they then all have to be saved by cute comic relief robots).

And later in the movies she rescues Han, only to end up in that infamous outfit. I’m going to call it the Hutt killer outfit, just to remind people that Leia strangled Jabba with her own chain. Hutts are pretty hard to kill. Just a quick reminder.

Given the circumstances of the 1970s, the women’s movement, women characters in film of the time, and all that, she’s a great character. Forty years later though, you’d think they could have taken it farther. Her character develops splendidly in the Star Wars books and comics, at one point even she even learns how to use the force herself. And in light of this, it’s really such a disappointment to meet her mom in the prequels, because Amidala is not even really there. She’s basically a walking wardrobe and an incubator, with little to know discernible characteristics besides crying. Aright, there is one fight scene where all she does is get her shirt ripped to a crop top, aaaand that’s it, really, what else does she do in the three movies? She’s all right in the Clone Wars series, where she actually has some sort of personality. Then again, in the series even Anakin has suddenly developed into an actual character, not just the Fallen Chosen One stereotype, which has been overused since Paradise Lost.

All of this has me reeeeaally unenthusiastic for the upcoming trilogy. You might even say I have a bad feeling about it. If they’re following the Star Wars formula of “only one woman with a speaking role per movie” my only hope rests on whoever they have cooked up (my guess is it’s Han and Leia’s daughter). But let’s not get our hopes up. Okay, okay, I’ll shelve the puns for now, but I’ll have you know they usually bring all the nerds to the yard.

Here’s to hoping (Ha! Okay, that was the last one, I swear.) the movies won’t be as bad as that ridiculous trailer with the absolutely absurd lightsaber, but knowing George Who Sold His Soul To Mammon And The Mouse it will probably be the train wreck of the galaxy. Ah, well. Do we at least get spaceships and cute robots? Cute robots make everything better.

Rant Day! Things that Pissed me Off, Jan 17-23

Long ass rants ahead in which I, among other things, declare myself part of Generation Y Bother? and generally give up on life. If you want something shorter and sweeter, head over to last week’s rant.

Item 1: So Boyfriend starts this huge discussion with me, yakety-yak, and about how we need like a robot copy of me and then I say maybe I should just clone myself and then he’s like, but if there’s a second one of you with exactly the same thoughts and feelings and shit it’s going to be awful, because you’ll both want the same things and you’ll both hate the same things, and I’m like, yeah, that’s awesome, okay so we need to go shopping so Grad Student 2 can have the same clothes and stuff, but like I’m already my own best friend and my awesomeness doubled is surely a gift to mankind, and he’s like, you’re much too optimistic (you keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means) and every person is unique and wants to be unique so you’d really hate your second self, and I’m like, bullshit, we’d just touch each other’s boobs all day long and eat pancakes every day and I could get so much work done if there was two of me, and he just shakes his head like I’m so stupid, because he takes light-hearted discussions about hypotheticals too damned seriously.

Item 2: Once in a while, I like to try new recipes. And this presents problems because like hell am I going to drive around the city for one stupid ingredient that you can only get at a specialist shop or, hell, not at all because wrong country. If it ain’t in the grocery store, it ain’t getting cooked, simple as that. So I browse through cooking blogs and come across something that looks interesting, and there’s one thing I hate about those blogs, they show you all those awesome pictures first and then after endless scrolling and exclamations of “I can haz recipe pls?!” you finally get to the important part and then you can close the tab because you don’t have or can’t get half the ingredients. Like, can’t you give me the important part first and then show off your mad foodie photography skills? Here’s how I see most ingredients lists: 1 cup don’t have, 1/2 cup don’t have either, 2 tbsp nope don’t have that either, 1 tsp okay I have that, 1 cup where the hell am I gonna get that? 1 1/2 cup is that even legal here?, 1 tbsp what the hell is that even?, and a pinch of salt. I have salt. At least I have salt. I can work with salt.

Item 3: Bitch, don’t kill my vibe. Seriously, I was feeling well today, I mean, apart from probably developing stomach ulcers due to stress, my stomach really hurts, but I was kinda happy so stop being a dick to me, dammit! This addressed to the entire freaking world.

Item 4: So everyone in my country is going crazy because a young journalist student ranted about unpaid internships on her blog. Thing is: She ain’t never lied. Why should young people work for free? Why do big name companies have “no money” to pay anyone? Why do they only take in three interns a year? Why is it so hard to find an internship at all, and then get a bit of a living wage because after all you’re working full time there? And because we live in the country that we live in, everyone is losing their fucking minds. And then we have the apologists come in full force all like “Your own fault for choosing this” like, yeah, who the hell needs journalists and free press? “Well, don’t work for free, then, duh.” Yeah, because there’s like oodles of paid internships. “Get a job, then, duh.” Yeah, because there’s like oodles of jobs that will take you on without any work experience. “Oh, it’s worse in America, you have to pay for uni there”. Yeah, and in other parts of the world you get shot if you want to go to school at all, and? Just because it’s worse somewhere else doesn’t mean everything is peachy keen here. Isn’t the whole point of standards that they’re supposed to be high instead of below ground level? You know, so things can get better? Thing is, bosses around here are fucking delusional, even if you did all your unpaid internships, it’s never fucking enough experience to get a halfway decent job. There’s always something fatally wrong, like, oh, you don’t have five years experience, oh you’re too old at 25 years of age, oh you wasted too much time getting a university degree, oh you didn’t go to business school. And then there’s the old fucks who’re like, “Typical young people, don’t know shit but always running their mouths!” Yeaaaah, guess where we learnt that from, because you were so totally different when you spent your twenties in the park smoking pot and telling your hippie friends how you’ll do everything oh so differently than your parent’s generation. Now you too run a big company that exploits the younger crowd. “Well, when I was young, I worked and studied and lived on my own!” Yeah, and you did all this in a time of completely free uni, masses of benefits courtesy by the state, and when the equivalent of 200 Euros could actually keep you fed, clothed and with a roof over your head. Nowadays you can’t even get a room in a shared flat for 200. And then you voted all the benefits out of existence, let the banks just go haywire, fucked up the economy and expect the next generation to clean up your mess, because we’re apparently your future. You old shits fucked it up for us and now you complain that we want to get paid for actual work? Hey, at least this isn’t late 18th c. France, or we’d have a revolution up in here.

(And if that girl and people like her were 19th c. factory workers instead of 21st c. students, they’d get lauded as heroes for standing up to the “capitalist pigs” and “the man”. But as it is, students are just hailed as ungrateful loudmouths who should pull themselves up by their bootstraps, which would be easy if we had any goddamn boots.)

Item 5: By the looks of it, I’ll probably have my master’s thesis finished before I’ll find a supervisor. Staff shortage!

Ooooohhh! If anyone needs me, I’ll be jumping off a bridge getting real drunk in the angry dome!

On Spoilers (contains spoilers for EVERYTHING)

And if I say everything, I mean everything, so if you are a sissy-panty sensitive soul and want to read or watch anything again ever, do not read this post.

Actually, make that a general rule about my posts, because I’m sick of being considerate of sissy-panty sensitive souls.

I’m probably painting a great big target on my chest with this post, but whatever. Go be sensitive somewhere else.

So I live with a man who’s allergic to spoilers. Like, having half a meltdown if he accidentally stumbles across something. Like, doing the Luke No when he saw the other players’ companions in SWTOR and he did not know that was going to happen and how was he going to play his class now that he knew what was going to happen, no, it’s not true, that’s impossible, nooooo! (Spoiler: Luke No is superior to Vader No. Oh yes, I went there, eat that, prequel lovers.)

So the moment he likes something, be it book, movie, or show, I immediately google EVERYTHING about it for future blackmailing reference while twirling my moustache like the evil supervillain that I am (spoiler: Bilbo survives. OMG, I know, right? (Head Dwarf In Charge does not, by the way. Nor do his nephews, and it was done in the most stupid and unnecessary way possible, I mean the book was just much better.)). It actually works. All I have to do to get my way is saying “Do [insert]/don’t do [insert], or I’ll tell you the end of [thing]”. I mean, it results in a wailing cry of “How can you do that, you’re so mean”, but it gets the job done.

Boyfriend is getting on my nerves something fierce about the whole Hobbit situation. He still hasn’t read the book and every little mention of it triggers an outcry of absolute whiny agony. I mean, it’s a 300 page children’s book from 1937 and I’ve read it a good five times since I was a kid. Like, what innovative never-before-seen thing do you think is going to happen in a 300 page children’s book? Spoiler: The Elven Mary Sue is not actually in it. Neither is the stupid albino orc who is not actually an orc. Bolg is in it, and he’s a goblin. And originally he does not get beaten by Head Dwarf but by Beorn who by the way does not get dropped by eagles like an aircraft bomb, and also he carries Thorin’s half-dead body and Fili and Kili’s full dead bodies from the battlefield. Also, they fucked up the message that the greed for riches will destroy you in the end. But no one here cares about the book but me, right? Typical.

Also also, if something has existed for longer than you have, spoilers do not apply. That’s like your parents making a “No, I am your father” joke and you’re all like “Oh my god, dad, spoilers!” Lame, dude. That joke was funnier before you existed anyway.

You could say, in the undying words of Spider Jerusalem, that I don’t give two tugs of a dead dog’s cock about “spoilers”. If I somehow stumble across a Random Plot Point before I know it there will be a one second of “OMG, really, that happens?” before a fifty second onslaught of “How? Why? By whom? With whom? What’s the reaction? What happens next? Must read! Must see! Must. Google!”

Because in my opinion, if you can no longer like a piece of media because you know Insert Random Plot Point, if you only enjoy X thing for that microscopically short burst of adrenaline which by this point is probably the only thing in your miserable existence that actually makes you feel alive… you don’t deserve it. You do not deserve it. Tell me, can you even watch a movie twice, read a book for the second time? There is more to stories than just the ending! There is so much more to every single item of media. There is so much to enjoy and you are missing all of it because you focus on irrelevant things.

It doesn’t even deserve the name. Something is not spoiled just because you know something about it.

Okay, maybe it’s because I’m poor and I research the entire plot of everything before I can decide if it is worth spending money on, but knowing the outline does not prevent me from enjoying the Random Media Thing. If I know the story that doesn’t mean I know all the details. I know the What, I don’t know the How, and let’s face it, the How is way more interesting. If I do know the details, I focus on something else, something I didn’t pay attention to the first time around, for example (with a movie) cinematography, directing, sets, horrible acting, play a round of can-I-make-out-the-green-screen. For books, I love to read through them again and again to see if the author was dropping hints that eventually led to Random Plot Point that I overlooked. To see if things happening in the beginning or the middle make more sense now that I know what’s happening. And I can do all that if I know from the very beginning what is going to happen!

And, okay, maybe it’s also because I’ve read too much in my life and watched way too much TV, or maybe everything today is so damned formulaic it makes me want to scream, or maybe I’m some kind of fucking wizard, but most of the time… I already know what’s happening. Sometimes I can tell you what’s going to happen in a film just by looking at the poster, or what a book is about by looking at the cover image (the old saying of not judging a book by its cover does not apply in the age of focus groups and market research). Few things surprise me. And if they do surprise me, that lasts for all of two seconds before I want details.

Maybe it’s because I busted my ass getting an English degree (and I’m still busting) and nobody,  absolutely no one was interested whether you finished your reading list or not; books were discussed in class whether you had read them or not. If you’d walked up to any prof with a complaint about “SPOILERS!!!” you’d be laughed out of the room. Or encouraged to change your major to something more appropriate for your sensitive needs, like, dunno, accounting. Business or economics, maybe (“X stock is on the rise!” – “OMG, boss, spoilers!” – “…the fuck?”)

And maaaaybeeee because of my degree I pay more attention to the HOW and WHY of a media than the WHAT. Because the WHAT is limited. Everything has been done to death already and twists can be seen coming a mile away. So you can only look at HOW and WHY things are done, how those tired old stories are told, how they are renewed and used in a different way, how tropes are used, how well-known points are twisted etc., etc. Fun enough for me!

Basically, I think people are being much too sensitive on the topic of spoilers. So you know who dies, who gives a fuck? So you know who is the bad guy, or makes out with whom, or who is related to whom. You don’t know how that happened, or what consequences there will be as result of that particular thing happening. You don’t know how other characters will react once they know what you know. You don’t know how, if at all, this will affect the plot. You know practically nothing, what are you so upset about?

I know it’s kind of a starving-children-in-Africa argument, but please, for the love of any deity you care for, get a real problem. And if one of you decides to get cute and try to spoiler stuff I like, well, to that I say, bring it on! Come at me, sibling thing!

And the spoilers-for-everything in the title? Yeah, spoiler: I lied. That’s the great thing about spoilers. You never know whether or not I’m telling you the truth until you read it the fuck yourself anyway. It’s like Russian roulette with facts. Doesn’t that tickle your sense of adventure?

No? Well, you’re one boring-ass hobbit!