Saturday, December 31, 2005

Old acquaintance

The impending newness of the year drags me, shamefaced, to my poor neglected blog. I could say that I've been busy getting festy in the festive season, which would be true insofar as I have spent as much time as possible garnishing myself with brandy cream. Unfortunately, that means that I've not had a single new thought. Or a thought about an old thought, my more usual MO. So instead, here is a roundup of things which I will blog about most wittily and perspicaciously as soon as I emerge from my month-long carbohydrate induced stupor.

  1. Steve Fuller's The Intellectual, which my mother sent me for my birthday six months ago which I got around to reading yesterday as part of the Great Thesis Procrastination Project 2005 (new manifesto pending). Fuller is recently in the spotlight for deposing in defense of teaching intelligent design in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which is another story altogether. I can't decide exactly how ballistic I'm going to go about the book. Possibly very, with lashings of withering sarcasm. Or maybe just straight-up outrage, with no sarcasm. Watch this space. But in passing, even though I said I wasn't actually going to blog about this yet, the inside flap notes about Fuller on the very sexified matte dustjacket (with spot varnish coffee cup, hem hem) say that he is a "trainee multi-media public intellectual", which I take it is supposed to be a cute witticism designed to endear the professor to us. Whatever. But dude, seriously? Is that website part of the witticism about being a trainee? Christ. My eyes are still bleeding from the wood-effect wallpaper. Ahem. Much more cerebral put-downs to come.

  2. The new Nespresso coffeemaker that Christmas put into the kitchen. Have I sold out? The jury is not yet in. But damn, the coffee is fine. Perhaps I am biased by the stupid yet evocatively delicious names the coffee capsules have, like Arpeggio and Livanto. But more on that later when I am fit to make a joke.

  3. World politics. What the fucking fuck? Generally I am more scared of anyone speaking in the ludicrously earnest and bloody annoying "activist" register than I am of anything they're objecting to. But that was before I worked out that I am living in 1936 Berlin.

  4. Expatriatism. I'm having an identity crisis. I find my accent becoming strident suddenly. What does it mean? (Possibly a wholly-owned subsidiary of aforementioned Great Procrastination Project).

I promise to have some thoughts. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stuff I Don't Get, Part Forty-Two

I don't get perfume commercials. The reason that I don't get perfume commercials has something to do with my love of commercials. Especially since the advent of "freeview" pseudo-cable in the UK, there really is nothing good on free-to-air television. Except the commercials. Certain of the advertising artists out there have truly mastered the art of the evocative. Bunnies lining their burrows for the John Lewis spring sale. Robins alighting over the crisp sheets waving in the wind, for the fabric softener you'll put on sheets that are never going to wave in the wind. An older couple smile goofily and disarmingly at one another over the picnic-bedecked bonnet of their car, in some mountains somewhere, for pensioners' car insurance for cars that never leave the garage. But you're there. In a second, you're in the mountains, you're feeling sheets dried in the breeze against your cheek, you're the Honda grooving in the carpark, you're the bunny whiffling its nose and you swear you smell just-mown hay. Wait. Did I say smell?

You'd think, wouldn't you, that this would make the matter of advertising a perfume, a smell, ferchrissakes, a walk in the park for these people. I mean, that's what smells do, right? They put one in mind of something. They conjure something. They evoke something.

Wait while I don my perfume-advertising-hack hat. Let me see ... I need to conjure something light, and floral. Tada! I conjure ... a chick in a clingy outfit with come-hither eyes! Genius! How about something darker, more patchouli-based? Don't blink. You'll miss it. Or, for your quel avant-garde unisex scents, a chick and a guy come-hithering together. Or really kick ass with lots of semi-naked chicks and guys!

I love fragrances. I'd buy twice as many if the advertisements worked with the associations that came with the smell instead of the ones that supposedly accompany the chick with the fan blowing her hair whom I'm supposed to want to be like. But hey. It's Christmas. And it could be worse.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The path to villainy

As I was saying, The Dark Side is manipulating my weak[ened] soul. I have a certain job at a certain academic journal. The irony of this is not often lost on me, given the almost farcical reliance of my entire future upon the decisions made by persons just like myself at certain other journals. But I digress.

In my job, I get unsolicited emails from persons not unlike myself offering to write pieces for the journal. (Let's call it Journal Y). Since anything unsolicited is subject to your usual sadistic blind peer-review process, I generally accept these offers unless they are utterly insane. Which is actually more often than you might suppose, but I digress again.

Some time ago, I accepted one of these offers from a guy, call him Thorn. As in, in my side. Thorn wrote his piece and then proceeded to install himself at number one with a bullet on my all-time shitlist. Thorn has writen me umpty-ump emails about this one measly piece for Journal Y. He requires that I acknowledge his emails within a single working day, or I will receive a second email letting me know that I have not yet acknowledged his first email. Since the day his piece was received, he has emailed me on average once every ten days to check on its progress. We should note that the standard appearance rate in a hot-shit journal is about 2 years. Journal Y is not a hot-shit journal, but the point is, Thorn is crazy. And he's making me want to kill him very creatively. But wait, I haven't got to the supervillain part yet.

Finally the damn thing is accepted, signed bloody sealed and delivered. My plan was to shoehorn it into the very next available issue, no matter what the Higher Ups had to say, and then skulk off home to dab iodine gingerly on my chronic thorn-wounds.

But, I'm sure you see it coming, the kind of tipping-point event designed to convert frumpy secretaries into vessels of evil is upon us. Today, I received another email from Thorn informing me that (1) he'd like an update on the progress of his piece, (2) he'd like to write another piece for Journal Y on subject Z.

Xtin dons supervillain catsuit

BwaHAHAHAHAha! You are never writing a piece for this journal again, my poor deluded little friend! You have choked yourself on your own carcinogenic annoyingness! You may now kiss my shiny black latex ass before I cram my six-inch stiletto boot-heel down your scrawny sanctimonious throat!

fade to black

Oh, this is terrible. And I will never know if I hate him because he's an idiot, or because my piece for Journal Q is overdue.


Silence has prevailed on my tiny little outpost of the blogosphere due to some virus colonising my digestive system. Cruel and bloody unusual.

But it did remind me of the childhood wonders of AstroBoy, and his ass-launched machine weaponry. According to AstroBoy Online, the guns are "technically in his hips". Whatever you say, boys, but you might want to have a word with the boys over at, who are calling them his butt-guns.

As a kid, I was always impressed by the spectacular pragmatism of the butt-gun. Astro could grab the girl, lauch for safety with his rocket feet, and still kick the bad guy's, uh, ass. How rational is that? I could never get those crazy superheroes who hung around to get whipped by the sociopathic bad dude and his poisoned green vapour when they always had some seriously hardcore fast-travel method. Sure, squash The Big Bad like a bug, but get away first. Unless you have a cool destiny-linked deathwish or something, of course.

I have my suspicions lately that I am shaping up to be the sociopathic bad dude fuelled by bitterness and the kind of narcissism that leads to the development of devilish world-dominating technologies and attracts henchmen prepared to wear matching outfits. I'll take mine with a cold dish of misunderstood.