This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Alias Season II is turning into an annoyance with this whole evil Francie thing. It's still good though.

I have a problem blogging when I'm not in total solitude. I need a fortress.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


You'll be happy to know that the tech showed up at 10, but my supervisor called in.

And Dan Davis (thank you, Dan) pointed out to me something about Alias I had noticed but had neglected to mention: The actor playing Jack Bristow has the smallest mouth in the history of ever. It's like he's a different species of human or something. And the girl who's supposed to be his daughter has this huge mouth. Is Jack not Syd's father? They've hinted that SLoane mght be...Or am I overthinking this? Is this in Season Three?

Since I can't figure out how to do a blogroll yet, here are some of the blogs I read:

This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropolgy and Economics -- more interesting than it sounds.

Wonkette -- Liberal snarky insider DC blog. Almost too snooty (and hateful of Conservatism) for me, but they always come up with something interesting. It's mostly a collection of links to news stories on the web.

Touchstone Blog -- Christianity and the Media, mostly.

Get Religion -- Based upon the quote, "The Press just doesn't get Religion."

Witting Shire -- Eastern Orthodox Husband-Wife team comment on things.

Dr. John Mark Reynolds -- Proponent of Intelligent Design Theory.

D! Magazine Frontburner -- Dallas Media Insiders, giving inside info on Dallas. It's fun if you live here.

Bob Sturm Blog -- Dallas radio host on my favorite station, 1310 the Ticket, he's sportsy.

I think it's interesting, this Blog revolution that's going on. There is literally no better place to get information than from a responsible, intelligent blogger. Counter-intuitive to the conventional wisdom that says that if it's on the 'net, it must be suspect. I'd take what these people write far more seriously than your average newspaper reporter. There's bad reporting going on everywhere. Blogs are a way to combat this. It's as if the world woke up and learned how to think critically about things they were being fed. First talk-radio (although those people also do their fair share of spoon-feeding and manipulation), and now blogs. We will be free of Big Media's machinations very soon. Maybe.

Mark Cuban has also noted that blogs give celebrities the chance to respond to things more quickly and wide-rangingly than say, a publicist would. Oh, were that this would be the end of publicists...I can dream, can't I?

Where are these people?

First things first: At my "other" job, or my "main" 9-5 job, morale is at an all-time low, so I hear from the old-timers. I see evidence of this in the way people interact with each other, and it's making it a chore to come here every day. The President of the company recently made a decision that makes my life a whole lot worse. It also will make our customers' lives worse. Someday I will explain this all to you, but today my concern is that a guy in my department has called in the last two days. This would not be a problem, but we are in full "labor-saving" mode as it is, and short-staffed and all that jazz. It's ridiculous. So, he's not here yet today and his shift starts at 9. It's 9:16 or so right now. Not only that, but my supervisor is supposed to be here at 9 and he isn't here. So I'm looking at having to do the jobs of myself and several other people at 10am when the store opens.

Low morale = increase in people calling in sick.
increase in people calling in sick = increase in other people calling in sick so they don't have to deal with this crap.

Yet again my life is aversely affected by the decisions of somebody who I've never even met. But it's only a problem if I have a bad attitude and let it bother me, right? We create our own reality, right?

I find it hard to fake an attitude for even 2 minutes. I don't have the time for it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My Stupid Sweet Sixteen

In their continuing quest to dominate the female 10-15 demographic, MTV has come up with a brand-new show called, "My Super Sweet Sixteen". It's a reality show where they follow the events leading up to a Sweet Sixteen party (which apparently is a special birthday party thrown when you're 16, if you're a girl. Seems a little antiquated to me, like Debutante Balls and Job Security. Anyway, if you're scoring at home, this makes 13, 16, 18, and 21 all "special" birthdays) , and all the reality-based "drama" involved in its planning and execution. It's just yet another rehash of the MTV Reality concept that started with The Real World and migrated to other shows like Road Rules, Made, The Osbournes, The Newlyweds (Nick & Jessica), The Skanky Newlyweds (Dave & Carmen), The Ashlee Simspon Show, Brandy has a Baby, Rich Girls, Making the Band, The Assistant, One Bad Trip, Pimp My Ride, Dismissed, Boiling Points, Jackass, Date My Mom, to some extent Laguna Beach and Cribs, and pretty much anything else that comes across the airwaves from those MTV psychos. The premiere of this new show was last night (1.18.05), and I watched it and giggled. It may have no socially redeeming value, but it's an interesting surface sociological study of the American Teeny Bopper in 2005.

Let's set this up for you: 2 ridiculously rich girls somwhere in Southern Cali (an assumption on my part -- I'm right) are turning 16 at approximately the same time, and their respective overrich families are throwing them a joint "Sweet 16" party at a Hard Rock Cafe (maximum cap. 400) somewhere. Since it's impossible to get to know someone in 23 minutes of heavily-edited footage, we'll say that MTV sets them up as the spoiled, witchy blonde (Lauren) and the goofy, nice, easygoing, and mature brunette (Jacqueline). Lauren is, for reality-tv purposes, mostly dead weight. She only has one really great moment (and I'll get to that later), and the rest of the time she just rolls her eyes a lot and looks mean. That's probably MTV's editing. Jacquline is clearly the brains of the outfit, and it is she who takes control early on (seemingly without Lauren even realizing it) and brings the whole idea to fruition.

A word about Jacqueline: She's mature for 16, and almost disturbingly so. As they walk through the Hard Rock a week before the party, she's giving interior decorating directions to people (i.e. "Ok, I want this cordoned off here"). She likes to wear collared shirts because they're "nice and clean-cut". She's like a 25-year-old professional in a teenage girl's body. I wonder where that comes from -- she must have good parents, or creepy overproper ones.

They go through yearbooks from their high school to decide which people to invite. Lauren complains that Jacqueline "gets along with everybody". This will come up later. So they decide on like 400 people to invite and they have invitations made (that look like they're about the size of a paperback book). At school, they hand them out to the selected people, and you can tell that it's kind of a status symbol to be on "the List" for the party. You see the uncool kids mock them, and some of the kids cheer when they get them, and overall it's one of those things that makes you glad you're not in High School in Southern Cali right now.

Cut to Lauren on the phone with her dad (in the car -- isn't that illegal? Would we have to bust all of Southern Cali if it were?) talking about the music they are going to have at this party. Instead of a DJ, or a local band, the first thing out of Lauren's mouth is, "I hear Christina Aguilera's in town -- she'd be good." She then says that she has the number of Jessica Simpson's publicist (how in the hell did a 16-year-old girl get that?), but that she left it somewhere. Then someone mentions "Dashboard" and they scream in glee, which I take to mean, "Dashboard Confessional", which is another reason why emo is at its heart just for teenage girls (who have all these emotions and not enough brains to deal with them all). Later, Lauren says that Beyonce' will do it, but only if they give her a half a mill, which she deems "ridiculous". Lauren has four fingers pointing back at her.

In the creepiest line of the entire show, one of the moms of the girls says that she doesn't know how the whole music situation will be resolved but that the girls' dads "Don't like taking no for an answer", so she's sure everything will be fine. She says this as if it were a positive attribute, and without a hint of irony. That's how you get rich, people -- by not taking no for an answer, even though it's a perfectly good answer in most circumstances all things considered. I don't even want to know how they got that reputation among their families. I just know that one of the failures of capitalism is it rewards people who bully other people into doing things or buying things. Today's date-rapists are tomorrow's business leaders. Yikes.

They settle on a band I've never heard of, but they seem happy with the choice.

Even though they have closets full of dresses, the girls decide to shop for new ones because it's a "special" party. Lauren mentions she has a "black belt" in shopping, which i'm sure will be appreciated by her future husband. She also shows us her Girl Scout uniform with the "shopping" patch on it. It's got a Gucci handbag on it. I'm kidding. But what I'm not kidding about it the girls and their glam moms and numerous hangers-on trying on dresses. Jacqueline is funny as she shoots down a bunch of dresses and very nearly picks a horrendous one because it has a collar on it (she does like the collar) and a bow in the back. She ends up with your standard black slut dress, and when Lauren picks one just like it, you can cut the tension in the air with a knife, or even your open hand. You don't need a black belt in shopping to know that this is a major faux pas. But Lauren really likes this dress, and in the end they seem to agree that it's no big deal. Maybe sometime down the road when one steals the other's boyfriend it will come up, but not now. These girls are so mature.

So lots of people are calling Jacqueline, trying to get the names of boyfriends/girlfriend/cousins/stoners they barely know on "The List" for the party. Lauren says that they all call Jacqueline because she's more likely to say yes. As they get ready on the day of the party (Jacqueline does a daily morning run, which is another indication of that creepy maturity. Even cross country runners do not have a daily morning run), people are still calling her to get on that list. Later on they show some Freshman girls in their prom dresses trying to crash the party, but being shuffled off to the side because they don't have a Golden Name. It's really sad, that these girls are all dressed up but have no place to go. It's obviously just a mistake, they will tell themselves, and probably hate Lauren and Jacqueline forever. This is probably good for them.

As Lauren gets her hair done in anticipation for the party (she wears a nice pink dress as this is happening, even when she shaves her legs...she has some sort of image-disorder where she can't let anyone see her in functional clothes, only in fashionable ones. She's sick), she tells her dad to find her shoes. This is her big moment, the moment that defines who Lauren is. It's not that she asks her dad if he can please find her shoes, it's that this coversation (approximated from what I remember) happens:
Lauren: Dad, i need the shoes, the black ones.
Dad: You need them?
Lauren: Well, I'm not going to go barefoot.
Dad: Where are they?
Lauren: (whining) I don't know where they are. I lost them.
Dad: How am I supposed to find them?
Lauren: I need them, and I'm getting my hair done.
Dad: (pauses 5 seconds to contemplate how he, this businessman who "won't take no for an answer", became totally whipped by his own daughter to the point where she can order him around like her butler and he'll do it and not ground her butt, which is what a real parent would do.) Ok.

But seriously, you didn't see how she looked at him. It was like, "we both know you're going to do this for me, so just do it." Never mind the fact that she was the one who lost her shoes in the first place. Do you see what being overrich has done to this family? She's spoiled like milk that sits out too long. She stinks, and everyone can smell it but Daddy. Maybe when they watch this he'll be able to smell it and will ground her until she's 18, or send her to a nunnery. Do they still have those? If so, they probably can't force you to stay. Anyway, the sad part is most of the teenagers watching this think that Lauren is like sooooo cool and can't wait to try that line of BS out on their own cowtowing weak-butt parents.

A revelation came to me last night: Hicks don't care that they're hicks, and rich girls don't care that they're spoiled.

"To get into this party, you have to have your name on the list, so you'd better bring an I.D. You also need 10 bucks, which is not going to pad the rich's coffers, it's going to "breast cancer" so that the rich can feel less guilty about throwing this useless party. Also, prepare to be frisked for weapons by cops and bouncers. And don't mind that the place is filled to nearly twice the maximum capacity (apparently nearly 700 showed up, many whom the Two didn't even know) with stoner moshers." -- (What the invitations should have said, without the parenthetical statement)

The girls get to the party late (Lauren says: Fashionably Late, because she's a slave to it) and the aforementioned 700 are there partying it up. The party lasts until 12:30am, and some of the stuff that happened is: The band sucked but the kids seemed to like it; a mosh-pit formed; fights broke out; Pauly Shore showed up and got paid (unclear if it was by Mom and Dad or by MTV), which the Jacqueline thought was really cool; a girl we never met before told Pauly that she "loved all his movies", and was immediately tazered and carted off to jail for suspicion of taking LSD under the Patriot Act (I'm kidding about that last part. She really did say it, though); Jacqueline tried to break up the mosh pit and was punched in the face, according to her; Lauren's mom personally threw a struggling kid out by applying a hammerlock on him; Lauren's dad got into a fight with a different kid, which Lauren disapproved of; Jacqueline complained about all the "stoner dudes" there; Lauren whined that she "just wanted to go home".

After the party, Jacqueline was hyped and wanted another one, and Lauren looked like she just wanted to go to sleep. Jaqueline thanked the Police Officers on duty for "keeping the peace", which was her one last creepily mature act, especially considering they didn't do such a great job, judging by the last paragraph. But maybe they were called in special after the "stoner dudes" took over (love that visual picture).

I can't wait for next week, when a white trash family throws a Sweet Sixteen party, and the girl is worried about what her mom might do. Also, there will be more creepy Spy vs. Spy commericals, and more info on that second season of The Ashlee Simpson Show, which is subtitled "Damage Control".

You should really try to learn when I'm kidding, so I don't have to tell you every time. Ok, the lies are in bold.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I've been remembering weird things of the past lately. It's frustrating, because I want to write the memoirs of my high school and college days (because everyone wants to do this when they get to a certain age. Everyone wants to believe the experience of their youth was somehow both universal and special), and these memories are just coming to me and then they are gone. Poof. The only one I can think of now is the time I was playing football in my front yard with a couple of my friends.* I would have been about 10. The thing I remember is me trying to tackle one of my friends, and not being able to get him, and then me sticking my leg out, and him tripping over it (with a thud I still remember) and going flying through the air. He had been running at full speed. All my friends were like, whoa. I was, in some small way, cool to them because I did that. Kids are so messed up. How'd I ever make it out of that phase?

Most of the memories that come back to me are the humilating ones. It's probably no wonder they get out of my brain so fast. I was a nerd, and the defining moments in my life are the ones that tell me I wasn't cool. I still want to be cool, but I cannot. Most nerds come to terms with this and embrace their nerdiness by at least the time they get out of college, if not in High School. But I was always an uneasy nerd. I was smart, but not really nerd smart. I had some of the same interests as nerds (not that nerds are a monolithic group in regards to their interests. My nerdy friends were so different at times it appeared the only thing that held them together was a sense of community and a the bizarre high school clique system that everyone simultaneously decried and assumed), but I had other interests as well.

By the time I was a senior, the nerds were nerds pretty much in name only, because when you get to that age everyone's getting ready for college and realizes the cliques of High School are passing away quickly. At least people without their heads in their A---es (read: girls who like prom too much or guys who are not getting ready for college but getting ready for Frats) realize this. The shared experience of being in the same class overwhelmed whatever differences people thought they may have had. It's a cool thing, and it's why Seniors appear so much more mature than Freshman and Sophomores. At least this happened at my school in '89-90. The nerds in my class became just another social group that happened to hang out together. Many of them had hot girlfriends (not me -- which is either a long story or a short story, and the long story's really really long and the short story makes me look bad), other friends outside the "group", and were successful in all sorts of ways.

I'm still friends with just about all of them, those nerds. Cool nerds.**

*"Football" being a generic, family-friendly term for the game which was known in my area/era as "Schmeer the Queer". It literally did not occur to me until at least age 25 what the game's name was implying. In this game, one person had the football, and the others would try and tackle him, at which point he would give up the ball, and then that guy would be tackled, and so on ad infinitum or ad injrium.

** Coined by a defensive tackle/punter named Kelly Ray in 1989 in Miss B's classroom, referring to my friend, the one who got married in a kilt. Kelly, for his part, was later seen living out of his car after his parents kicked him out of the house. He also sat next to me in my college Sociology class, where we proceeded to make fun of the guy in front of us' young son, who came to class and sat down and had a little plumber's crack exposed every day. Eventually, he dropped the class or just stopped showing up. See? My memoirs would be fun.