Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blame The Vain

Once again, nothing too interesting to say. I should feel ashamed at putting this drivel out into the ether, but honestly, I don't give a shit. No one has to read it.

 Part of the reason I don't have much to say is I've been dealing with a rather gooey sinus cold throughout the weekend. It was a weird one. No headache or that overall crappy feeling one gets when one gets a cold, but a sore throat, an irritating cough, and a fairly significant amount of mucus. Lots of fun, and the upshot is I haven't had much going through my brain but "Damn, this sucks, I wish it would leave me alone" since Saturday morning.

 So, there was an overall feeling of being off throughout the weekend and pretty much until this morning. Coincidentally, all I've had to deal with today is the residual snot. I'm sure there's some sort of physiological connection therein, but I don't have sufficient Latin to suss it out properly. Plus, I feel a weird vibe at work, but that's probably just random noise.

 I did finish an entertaining book. It was called The Martian Emperor, the second in the "Chronological Man" series by stage magician Andrew Mayne. The first book was The Monster In The Mist, and of the two, I think I enjoyed it more. I can't put my finger on why, exactly. Perhaps it's my current antipathy to serial fiction, or at least the current strain of it. I dislike having to buy multiple books to get one story. The rest is usually static and filler and badly crafted romantic subplots.

But beyond that, both are cracking good steampunk adventures, and I approach the steampunk genre with much trepidation. I love the idea, but the execution leaves me pretty cold until fairly recently. I recently put away K.W. Jeter's Infernal Devices, a seminal work for the style. I liked it. Every time it started to drag, Jeter threw a new quirk. Plus, it had a terrier in it, and I've got a weakness for terriers these days.

 As for the "Chronological Man" stories, the idea is great and the execution is solid. The story moves along at a crisp pace and Mayne's character's have depth and humanity without being overloaded with emo, boo-hoo plot tricks. The titular "Chronological Man", known as Mr. Smith, as a very Whovian quirkiness with a touch of Holmesian detachment. Indeed, Smith has been called a combination of The Doctor, Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark, but I really don't think he has much in common with Iron Man apart from the talent for gadgetry. Smith is a much bigger nerd, and doesn't have Tony's suave and calm.

 There's something otherworldly about Smith, but his character has more in common with David Tennant's Doctor than, say, Tom Baker's or Sylvester McCoy's or even Matt Smith's. There's another character he reminds me of, but I can't put my finger on it. His assistant, Miss April Malone is a very nice rendition of the plucky, turn-of-the-century adventuress bucking against the restrictive gender norms of the day. She's sharp, fearless, and bold, and I like her.

 I don't much care for the romantic subplot and think it's very rushed, but I don't much care for romance in general. Some would say it's because of my own issues with romantic love, but I can't help that. It's not badly done and the couple works well together. Nevertheless, it felt rushed to me and the unresolved tension has been stretched out over another book, and that don't suit me.

 Nevertheless, Mayne's written a pair of very fun pieces of sharp, smart and funny steampunk. There's the obligatory appearances by historical characters and they all work, more or less, better than most. As I said, for the most part, I've been sorely disappointed in the steampunk I've previously read, especially William Gibson's The Difference Engine (but I've never liked any of his stuff). The "Chronological Man" series suits me down to the ground, and if someone were to ask, I'd certainly recommend both. Read 'em in order, though. Mayne's got a lot of books for .99 cents on if that your sort of bag.

 Other strokes. I'm sure we've all heard by now about the video of Mitt Romney shit-talking the "47%" that Mother Jones posted yesterday morning. Now, I'm not going into just why it's was such a ball-slappingly stupid thing to say, both factually incorrect and a douchebag thing to say. It a nutshell, claiming that the same number of folks who aren't required to pay federal income tax are the exact same percentage of people who will unfailingly vote for Obama despite everything else concerning them is so wrong on every level, quite frankly, words fail me.

 I mean, really, how dumb do you have to be to think every single person who does not have to pay into the federal income tax is living on welfare and votes solid Democrat. This is a guy who simply does not know anyone who isn't making an obnoxious amount of money doing probably nothing constructive or karmically decent. I'm not going to explain why. This is a good run-down on why if you're genuinely curious.

 Thing is, though, I don't know if this is going to run off many folks who were planning on voting for Romney. Now, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of folks fired up about voting for the bastard, and most people who'll pull the lever for him are more voting against Obama. I have no problem with this. I vote against rather than for in these situations myself. I voted against George W. Bush both times and I'm perfectly content to vote against that smirking plutocratic asshole this year. Frankly, I don't see a time in the near future when I won't vote against Republicans. I'm serious, y'all, I just cannot abide that nonsense.

 Anyhow, I don't see this running those folks off. It might galvanize some 2008 voters who'd otherwise find an excuse to be too busy come Election Day. I doubt it'll motivate too many folks who can't be arsed to vote in the first place, and I doubt it'll do much to change the minds of Leftist Purity types who'll either not vote a'tall or vote for Jill Stein. Most of your self-described libertarians and/or conservatives have been arguing this hateful, dumbass shit for as long as I've been paying attention, anyway. They don't give a shit that nearly half the population either isn't making enough money to pay those taxes or is rich enough to bullshit their way out of having to do so.

 Nor do I see this as losing the election definitively for Romney. There's plenty of time between now and then for this to both fade from memory or for Obama to have something turn sour on him, which this Libya business just might. Still, I find it incredible anyone who's running for president would actually say something that rock stupid regardless of his audience. I also find it terrifying that so many of folks think he was speaking truth to power.

 In related news, I spent a few hours the other night perusing this. It filled with fear and loathing. The Internet is wasted on some people.

 Dwight Yoakam has a new record out. It's called 3 Pairs, and it's a heavy dose of that '60s AM pop he's fascinated with and that makes up as much of his sound as Bakersfield honky tonk and '80s L.A. cowpunk. I'll probably get it when my eMusic account reloads, the samples are pretty decent. Dwight's a pretty consistent producer, and he's one of my favorite artists yet I've never seen him live nor have I ever interviewed him. Go figure.

 Sometime during the weekend, the girlfriend and I passed our one-year anniversary. That's a pretty stunning achievement for me, as I've never been involved with anyone for this amount of unbroken time. I'm honestly not sure what to think about it all, honestly. I'm glad she's here for me, regardless. She's definitely made me a better human being.

 Well, that's about that.

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