Archive for the ‘DoNotWant’ Category

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DoNotWant: Nancy Drew.

February 15, 2009

I remember Nancy Drew quite fondly from my childhood.  A series of gripping tales following a brilliant young detective as she pursued intriguing and frequently dangerous cases.  Invariably she would end up getting kidnapped, and would surreptitiously contact either the police or her dear ol’ dad (or, after the debut of Ned Nickerson, dear ol’ boyfriend) who would show up and save the day, after which the mystery would be lain out neatly and the perpetrators (usually a duo or trio of angry men) would be brought to justice.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was my favorite series for a large portion of my childhood.  With that in mind, I went into this movie in the hopes that it would at least live up to the standards of the book series.

Nope.

It ceased to look promising almost from the start.  Nancy Drew, famous young adult detective, has been mysteriously de-aged to 15.  Okay, no big deal; maybe she was doing work before the start of the series.  She puts  herself into mortal peril alternately chasing and running from a couple of thugs.  When she finally catches them, she… bribes them with a pastry.

Seriously.  Whenever Nancy can’t get something she wants, she bribes someone with one of Hannah Gruen’s absolutely FANTASTIC homemade pastries and gets whatever she needs.  The implication here is that Hannah is the only modern source of old-fashioned pastry, and like all the other old-fashioned things Nancy loves (clothes, phones, birthday invitations), it is FAR superior to any modern thing.  Yuh-huh.  Moving on.

Who should show up next but… Ned Nickerson!  That’s right; the guy that Nancy meets for the first time in Book #7 is now her teenage crush.  I can let this one side; I mean, for all I know the continuity of Nancy Drew is about as stable as that of most comic books.  I haven’t read past the original series, so I’m not really qualified to say.

Anyway, in the books their romance was pretty straight forward.  “I think you’re cute, you think I’m cute, let’s date!”  No such luck in the movie.  They obviously have crushes on each other, but it takes the intervention of a presumptious twelve-year-old to get them to notice.

Speaking of which: high point in the movie there.  Corky was basically the only enjoyable character, being the only character who broke the mold.  He’s a pudgy, flirtatious doofus who managed to get himself transferred to high school because there “wasn’t any action in junior high”.

And speaking of characters, rumor has it that Bess and George appear somewhere in this movie.  That would have been awesome, because these two are undoubtedly my favorite characters from the books.  Bess is a fun-loving, somewhat overweight, plucky young lass who is frequently seen fretting about her figure – not a message they wanted to send to the audience?  George, by contrast, is an athletic character who more than once has pwned the bad guys with her judo skillz.  She was the “Strong Female Character” before the archetype was cool.

But we don’t get these characters.  Instead, we get a couple of shallow, uber-conformist teenagers whom I’ve never even heard of and who are continually trying to get Nancy to “act normal” (and quit hanging out with Corky, with no success whatsoever).  Speaking of “normal”, the word is used and overused throughout the movie, much like a large anvil: Nancy’s father doesn’t approve of her sleuthing, so he wants her to be a “normal teenager”.  Everyone at the school Nancy goes to is “normal”.  The entire movie is about Nancy trying, and failing, to be “normal” – but of course it’s better that way.

Don’t get me wrong; I love spreading the message that weird people are cool, too.  The problem is that Nancy only barely fits the definition of “weird”.  She still wears makeup and uber-popular hairstyles.  The only things that set her apart are her love of detective work and her passion for old-fashioned things – and since the movie is set during the height of the old-fashion popularity revolution, the attempt to pass that off as “weird” just looks stupid.

Now let me take a moment to talk about CPR.

You do NOT use CPR on someone when they are choking.  You do NOT perform CPR on someone’s stomach.  CPR is to be used ONLY to restart a stopped heart.  For choking, you perform the Heimlich maneuver.  Shame on you, Nancy.  You should know better.

Anyway, this movie was epic failure from beginning to end (with, as I mentioned, the small exception of Corky).  Do Not Want.

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DoNotWant: Borked Internetz!

January 18, 2009

Unfortunately, that’s what I’ve got.  The Internet on the computer I’ve been using has gone kaput, preventing me from making my daily blog posts.  I’ve gotten ahold of another computer just to let everybody know that (1) I’m not dead and (2) I haven’t abandoned iApprove.

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DoNotWant: Extreme Grass Loss in Animal Crossing.

January 13, 2009

Houston, we have a problem.

It comes in the form of grass.  Specifically, the grass that covers the ground of our towns in Animal Crossing: City Folk — or rather, fails to cover.

City Folk was designed with an interesting feature: the grass is destructible.  Any time you walk over a patch of grass, then save and quit the game, a certain amount of damage is recorded to that patch of grass.  The idea behind this was that over time, grass would wear down, creating natural pathways wherever you walked.  Avoid walking in those places, and the grass will regenerate, so you don’t have to worry about your town going bald.

At least, not if you’re a single player playing only once a day.

For the rest of us, who can’t do all our playing all at once and/or actually SHARE the game with other people, our towns are losing their grass in a matter of weeks.  And not just the path grass.  Our entire towns are going bald, as certain features of the game require us to run over the entire thing to take advantage of them.

Great, huh?

The players of Animal Crossing aren’t taking this lying down.  (Well, some of them are, but we call them “weenies”.)  They have a complaint thread on the Club Nintendo message board and a petition to get the problem fixed.  If those don’t work, we’ll be sending in our game copies for full refunds.  Because seriously, I’m not taking this rubbish.

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DoNotWant: Attitudes of Failure.

January 11, 2009

Failure is not something that bothers me.  Sure, I’d rather not fail, but it’s my general philosophy that if you do your best and end up failing anyway, there’s no point in being too upset about it.  That’s just the forces of nature for you.

What really irks me is when you don’t even try.

It seems to me that this is where the average person ends up.  Try to talk to them about anything that seems to be a problem (the environment, toxic cosmetics, consumerism – just pick something) and they’ll listen to you, nodding occasionally, and at the end shrug and say “Oh, well; what can you do?”

The problem isn’t in the question.  If it were sincere, I would be quite pleased with this individual.  But it isn’t a sincere question.  It’s a brush-off.  When someone asks “what can you do?” what they really mean is “well, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Even more frustrating is that the kind of people who are going to ask this question are frequently those in the greatest positions to help.  Perhaps they work for an offending company, or perhaps they regularly purchase the products that contribute to the problem.  Being in this position means that they have a great deal of power that they could use to change things.  Unfortunately, it also means that they’ll probably be less willing to make waves and risk losing these things.  Why speak out about your company’s toxic products and risk losing your job?  Why go out of your way to buy higher-price locally grown or fair-trade products?

So many people have it in their heads that their comfort or convenience should always come before other problems.  If they percieve a risk associated with trying to make a difference, they just won’t do it.  Oh, sure, they’ll do the little things; the easy things, like recycling their soda cans or buying low-output cars.  But get into any zone that requires them to give up something familiar to them, and oh well, what can you do?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and talk about politics for a moment.  Specifically, about President-elect Barack Obama.  I’m not going to tell you what I think of his politics, because that’s entirely irrelevant to this entry and I’m not sure where he stands on some issues.  But take a look at this man.  Listen to the things he’s said.

Here was a man who was at the bottom of the food chain.  Shuffled about for most of his childhood, never had a very good source of income, that sort of thing.  Now first we have his mother and grandmother.  Neither of them were very well-equipped to raise the future President of the United States.  They could have, like so many people in poor conditions, settled for getting by, pushing the kid through school and then turning him loose in the hopes he’d get somewhere.  Instead, they put forth the effort and raised a bright, mature and quite motivated individual.

Now we come to Obama himself.  I remember stories of his early Presidential lobbying.  Due to his limited political experience and short resources, he had a great deal of trouble finding supporters; he had to resort to going house-to-house in the hopes of obtaining donations to put toward better publicity.

This guy didn’t have to run for President.  He really didn’t.  As a legislator and later senator, he was already taking huge strides in encouraging changes.  Sure, being President would give him more influence, but take a moment to look at this from the perspective of a citizen.  Running for President is a monumental task.  You’ve already gotten this far, and you’ve worked your butt off to do it.  If you want to make it to President, you’re going to have to pull off an enormous campaign, travel the country, insult other politicians (the only real fun part) and generally shoot the moon.

Well, he shot it, and he shot it with all the tenacity of a tracker hound.

Despite the monumental work involved in becoming President, though, it could still be argued that he really didn’t risk anything.  I mean, the worst that could happen is that he’d fail and have to settle for a smaller position, right?  Yeah.  No biggie.  Even doing what he did – getting up and actually expressing the viewpoint of someone who had been on the bottom – wasn’t all that scary.

Okay, how about refusing public funding for the general election?  (Or, in layman’s terms, giving up free money.)  True, Obama was getting a considerable amount of funding privately, possibly more than what public financing would have fetched him.  Or maybe – on a serious out-on-the-limb guess that may make me look like a total idiot – he did it as a way of showing the American populace that yeah, he does actually care where the government is spending your tax dollars.

I don’t know for sure.  What I do know is that he got himself elected President.  And I’m not even asking that you do that.  All I’m asking is that if you see a place where you are helping to support a flawed system, take some risks.  Don’t intentionally cut your own throat, but do try stepping out of your comfort zone and see where it takes you.

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DoNotWant: 7 Lessons Guys Can Learn From Edward Cullen.

January 7, 2009

Someday I’m going to quit looking at this stuff.  Really.  But in the meantime, it is my wont to look at this stuff, then to post about it here.

7 Lessons Guys Can Learn From Edward Cullen (On How To Become Irresistable To Women) is a two-part video on YouTube (well, not so much video as podcast with pictures) about what guys can do to make themselves attractive to the “98%” of women who want a guy just like Edward.  (The other 2%, she says, are either guys, or people who “don’t find that the books are for them”.  In other words, if you’re a woman who likes Twilight, you MUST love Edward.)  It is written by Aileen Santos, who wastes no time setting off alarm bells in my head: first by providing a URL to her website, ShyGirlGuide.com, then by admitting that she is a HUGE Twilight fan.

(The reason her URL alarms me is that, simply by the URL text, it indicates that most of the people she knows are bashful teenage girls – just the sort of people who would like Twilight.  This means that her earlier assertion – that since 98% of the girls she knows want a guy like Edward, 98% of all girls must want a guy like Edward – is based on the analysis of a single demographic, and therefore can not be reliably applied to every woman on Earth.)

Next, she talks about why she made this video.  Partially for girls (who apparently need to be told what it is that they like about Edward), but mainly for guys whose girlfriends are completely twitterpated over Twilight and wish to get their attention back.  (The correct way to do this, apparently, is not to dump the moron, but to make sweeping changes to yourself so that you fit in with her fantasy of what a man should be like.)

“You’ll be able to use these techniques,” says Aileen, “so that the eternal love that your girlfriend is giving to Edward right now will be redirected to you.”  I’m sorry, but spending most of your time raving about how gorgeous and perfect and wonderful someone is does not constitute eternal love.  At best, it is a phase; lust, infatuation, excitement.  It’s the kind of love that passes.  True love – or “eternal love”, as Aileen puts it – takes time to build up, lasts for years, and is not conditional on the behavior of the person whom you love.

Let’s move on to her lessons.  I admit, some of them describe behaviors that I would, indeed, appreciate in a man.  (Lessons #1, #2, #5, and #7, in particular.)  But some of them do NOT.  In fact, many of them are the polar opposite of what I really want in a man.  Let’s take a look at those:

Lesson #3: Be man enough to show her that you’ll protect her – really protect her – even at your own expense.  Put her best interests before your own.

While I am, to degree, interested in a man who can protect me, my relationship with a man is also not contingent on his ability to do this.  I require that he be competent enough to take care of himself, and to provide certain basics for our family, and yes, I may like him to stand up for me on occasion.  But I would also like him to have faith that I can protect myself, and while I wouldn’t want him going out of his way to prevent my best interests from being actualized, I would rather he stick to a more “supportive” degree and let me do my own dirty work.

The rest of this lesson is actually true.  Yes, we are impressed by guys with mad skillz, but we would rather that you refrain from showing them off needlessly.  I will be much more impressed with a man who uses his amazing technical knowledge to fix the car engine than one who builds interesting but fundamentally useless gadgets.

Lesson #4: Be man enough to take charge of your relationship, including your sexual boundaries.

“For a lot of women,” says Aileen, “it’s such a relief to have a male romantic character taking charge of every aspect of their romantic relationship.”  That’s bullcrap.  Yes, I do want my potential spouse to take initiative now and again.  It would be really dull for me to make all the cues, and it would leave me questioning his actual interest in me.  But what I really want is a man who is willing to compromise: who will express what he wants in the relationship, but will also take into account the things I want before making any major decisions.

A note on Lesson #5: Although I agree wholeheartedly with this one, I really feel that it contradicts both #4 on several levels.  How the heck are you supposed to take charge when you’re compromising all the time?

Lesson #6: The Biggest Secret Of All About Women: Women DREAM about being loved like Bella.  They want to be the most important thing in a man’s life – “to be so important, in fact, that she is his reason for living.”

What can I say about this except “wrong”?  Yes, I want to be loved.  I want to be an important part of a man’s life.  I do not want him to be so hung up on me that he couldn’t go on without me should we lose each other.  I want to enhance his life, not to dominate it.

However, I would definitely love the man’s family to view me with the same respect with which the Cullens view Bella: no matter what their opinion of me may be, I’d like them to appreciate that their son/brother loves me and take that into account when we spend time together.  So, yeah: Edward’s Family, you’re doin’ it right.

Strangely, this lesson ends with a summary that is completely irrelevant to everything that was said, but which I wholeheartedly agree with: Be the kind of man whose love is so consistent that the woman you love can always trust how important she is to you.

A note on #7: Knowing what she wants is good.  Knowing her best interests is good.  Knowing when to let go is good.  But please, please PLEASE ask her before you make decisions regarding these things.  If you feel that you need to let go, talk it over with her.  See if she agrees, and if not, what you can do to reach a solution.  (There are, of course, exceptions, particularly if she becomes needy/posessive.  But that’s not about her best interests, that’s about yours, which are something you should always take into account.  Treat her well, yes.  But never sacrifice your welfare for a woman’s petty desires.)

You may argue, of course, that I really cannot speak for all women, and that since I don’t care for Twilight I must belong to the “2%” who are different.  You may also be right.  But ask yourself this, guys: would you rather give yourself a complete overhaul to meet the shallow demands of 98% of the female population (still an inaccurately huge number, mind) or hold out for someone with a little more realistic taste in men?  (Unfortunately, you still have to be deep.  We’re not getting any prettier.)

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DoNotWant: Absurd repetition of a single word.

January 6, 2009

I’z elaborate nao.  What I mean is, someone will be telling me about an experience they’ve had, and they’ll want to emphasize how long they spend doing something.  So they’ll repeat a single word, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

Yes.  Just like that.  Seriously.

I don’t know why.  It holds up a conversation, wastes both time and breath, and is really, really annoying.

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DoNotWant: Twilight Fangirls.

December 19, 2008

So, you may have noticed that I seem to be on a bit of an environmentalist kick. Which is utterly fascinating for me, but probably not that interesting for you. So I decided to come back to your regularly scheduled random topic.

The point of discussion for today is a huge risk to intellectuals everywhere: Twilight fangirls.

Believe it or not, people who do not enjoy the book Twilight have been attacked by its fangirls – on more than one occasion. Ranging from a simple verbal assault to being stabbed in the eye, honest intellectuals are at serious risk from these individuals.

What the blazes persuades these girls to act this way? I honestly couldn’t say. Maybe they’re PMSing, or maybe they’re just jerks. Maybe the only people who like Twilight are complete idiot craptards, just the sort of people who are likely to think that it’s acceptable to assault someone based on their literary tastes. Or maybe there’s some kind of subliminal programming in the books, forcing readers to join the Squealing Cult of Stephenie Meyer Fans.

Either way, if you or anyone you know is an anti-Twilighter, know that extreme caution must be exercised when dealing with these individuals. And if you are a Twilight fan who has recently assaulted someone for their failure to appreciate your taste in literature, you owe them one devil of an apology.