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 29, 2005

My Stupid Sweet Sixteen, Part II

This week the MTV suckudrama "My Super Sweet Sixteen" featured a family of insane people. Literally. They didn't say that, but you could totally tell by how they were acting.

First of all, this girl who was getting the party thrown for her was named Jacqueline, which was the name of one of the girls the first week of the show, specifically the one who was a 16-year-old executive. But this Jacqueline (we'll call her "Jackie" to save me having to type "Jacqueline" like I did last week...what a nightmare that was) was not a rich girl with loving parents who threw an all-expenses paid blowout at the Hard Rock. This was the Jackie with the insane parents that probably, all things considered, don't even know what love is. They should get Foreigner to give her the number of that girl that showed Lou Gramm.* You may call that harsh and judgemental, but listen up:

I started watching this about halfway through, so admittedly I did not get the whole picture. But unless all the loving and normal family moments were in the first 10 minutes of heavily edited footage, I'm going to just judge them and feel good about it. Jackie is the girl whose picture is in the dictionary under "children of insane, spiteful, divorced (and rich) parents". She is insecure, tossed around by her emotions from minute-to-minute (she keeps flipping between the party being the "best party ever" and "totally ruined". Some persepctive is too much to ask for, I guess), constantly wanting approval, and myopic in dangerous ways that will cause her to drive boyfriends away in truckloads over the next few years. Also, she drives a combine to school. I'm sorry, that has nothing to do with anything. Carry on as if nothing had happened.

First of all, I see her handing out invitations to people from her school, which judging from week one and two is apparently some sort of sweet-sixteen party ritual I had no knowledge of. Jackie is inviting/snubbing people totally out of spite. She isn't even putting any thought into this, it's all about pure emotion. That's going to become the theme of the episode. She invites this guy she thinks is "totally cute" named Chad, and if Chad is "totally cute", I'm going back to high school, because bald current me, even when I look like I'm on crack, is way cuter than Chad. Way cuter. I'm Joey fricking McEntyre compared to him. He's got this huge nose and a flip hairstyle, for pete's sake. Let me repeat that so you get it: This is a dude with a flip hairstyle. A flip haristyle he got from wearing baseball caps. It's like a bowl cut where the barber died in between putting the bowl on and the cut itself. Now don't get me wrong, I like the guy. MTV follows him around Target as he buys a present for Jackie, whom he barely knows. He picks up all this crap that means nothing, which is cool because that's totally what I would have done if I were he. Also, Chad has been told that Jackie has a crush on him, but he totally just wants attention from MTV and not Jackie, so he totally plans to get out of that party before insane Jackie can form any sort of long standing attachment to him. Chad settles on a CD that he would like, and buys it for her. Attaboy.

Jackie tries on a dress and comes up with a ball gown. It looks good on her, but it would look good on most girls. And some guys. I suppose I find it hard to compliment Jackie outright because I don't like her. This is what MTV does -- makes you hate real people you otherwise wouldn't know. Wonderful.

Well, the party happens, and Jackie's dad is 45 minutes late ("totally ruining" the party) in bringing her date/pseudo-boyfriend/spikey-haired doormat, and she cries and cries and says that her dad "always ruins" "everything". His face is blurred out, which means he didn't want it shown, which means he either feels guilty or is an a-hole. No mention is made of why she has to enter the party with her non-boyfriend, and it seems pretty silly to not have a contingency plan when your fate is in the hands of an insane daddy. Of course, Jackie could be exaggerating again. But anyway, I would have just dumped the formality at this point and joined my party, but then again, I'm not a loopy 16-year-old girl. And I thank God every day for that.

After she comes in with Spikey, the party really gets going. Her mom has a few drinks and starts doing totally inappropriate things like dancing with her friends and organizing belching contests. When Chad arrives, she seeks him out, yells "SO THIS IS THE FAMOUS CHAD"(notice: not in bold, in all caps because it really happened), and proceeds to whisk him off to the dance floor, probably pinching his bum on the way. It's possible that mom thinks she's either a) cool; or, b) charming. What she is is c) drunk and needy. It was the saddest thing I saw, until the fact that Jackie didn't seem to care. It seemed like this sort of thing happened all the time to her. Yikes.

I don't want to mention the three "streakers" that painted pro-jackie stuff on their bodies and crashed the party because they weren't invited. They thought they were too punk rock for the party, but after they leave ball-gown Jackie chases them down outside, gives them big hugs, and invites them in. This is all so confusing. MTV was setting this up to be the thing that "totally ruins" things. Stupid editing. They're cold out there, so they accept.

All in all, this episode was about half as good as the first one, which I suppose is to be expected from MTV.

* Sorry so obscure, but my roommate listened to "I Wanna Know What Love is" about a million times our freshman year at CUW, so it's burned into my brain as if with a hot iron of some kind. I reference it when I can to hopefully get it out of there someday. (Actually, it's my favorite Foreigner song. "Gonna take a little time...")

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Metrosexual truncated

So judging by the fact that nobody has asked me about this, there is no interest whatsoever in where I stand on this whole "metrosexual" thing. As far as I can tell, that term is like, so last year. However, I never got to tell you if I am one or not, and what I think it all means. That's what nobody pays me for. But I do it anyway. Understand? Bad.

Anyway, the first introduction to the term came in this Stacy Pressman column on It's actually a poorly designed word for what she's describing. There's nothing "sexual" about it, and while urban areas may have more of them, "metro" doesn't really have anything to do with it. It sounds cool, so it became part of the vernacular. These men don't really fantasize about cities and their suburbs (as far as we know), they just use products and services on themselves (after paying ludicrous sums of cash for them) that women traditionally use, presumably in a misguided effort to feel more confident. Here's (for those of you who can't click on that link above, you fingerless freaks) the definition Pressman started her column with:

metrosexual (MET.roh.sek.shoo.ul) n. A dandyish narcissist in love with not only himself, but also his urban lifestyle; a straight man who is in touch with his feminine side.

To cultural observers, the most telling thing about a metrosexual is his love for himself and his lifestyle. I gotta say, that's a pretty good call, as far as I can tell. It's nothing other than misplaced self-esteem -- placing it in products rather than, well, other things. But what about the metrosexual lifestyle inspires such love and devotion? I mean, why is it a trendy thing to be a metrosexual who likes hair products and monoxodil and gayesque shirts* and and not, say, a metrosexual who just likes riding public transportation to and from "hot spots". Or maybe it's all part of it, the allure of "metro". Or maybe they look better, smell better, dress better, go to better places, eat better foods, and buy better skin care products, all of which makes them better people than others. Is that what this is about? A giant campaign to be individually hip? I'm just thinking out loud (if you're reading this aloud, that is) here.

I am wholeheartedly against Metrosexualism (again, not metrosexuality, because it's idealogical and not sexual), and try desperately not to practice it in my daily life. But I am also not a "manly man", as our culture defines it. I am neither one, nor in-between the two. I just don't have the characteristics of either. Here's a duo-list that explains what I mean:


  • hate fashion and fashion statements
  • hate haircuts (I mean, have you seen my lack thereof? Plus the talking to people -- uggh.)
  • hate buying clothes
  • holy crap, I hate shopping of any kind.
  • hate the ordeal of shaving
  • hate the idea of buying clothes to look cool
  • hate cologne or anything that isn't smell-neutral (oh man do I ever)
  • hate seeing men who like any of these things, especially the products in the hair. And it's not because I'm "just jealous", it's because I have the sense that you're trying way too hard in a competition that makes you ultimately unhappy -- the competition to look better. I think, "how empty is your life that you have time to do that?"

  • Never hunted
  • Hate putting crap together using directions and power tools
  • Hate work in general (red flag for you potential love interests out there. whoops, sorry, honey)
*one of said metrosexual shirts my brother-in-law (who is not, as far as I can tell, a metrosexual -- but you indeed never know) bought me for Christmas, which I wore to a New Years party and was told by my wife and several other people who are way more together about such things than I that it looked good. This event probably caused me to write this thing you're reading now. But really, you should see the collar on this thing. Like I said -- nice shirt, Pete, if you're reading this -- but I feel like I'm in some sort of costume when I'm wearing it. Jill affection for it will probably cause it to go in the rotation, though.

So, this doesn't make any sense, but I'm going to just post this as is and finish it later. I think it's going to be really good. I just have too much other stuff to write about right now, good and bad.
Massive restructuring at work. Hoogah.

yeah, umkay.

In an extremely quick move that I had no idea could even happen, the powers at work are moving me from the room in which I've always been into a different and less convenient room about 1/3 the size. My next move is into subbasement B, I think. I hope they let me keep my stapler. I can't explain it here, but this whole thing is just another example of how people I've never met are influencing my life in a negative fashion just because they are higher in the management chain of the company in which I choose to work.

There are others here that will be more mad than I, because now they will have to do real work more of the time. Me? As you can see by this post's timestamp, I will find a way to pass the time in non-work-related ways regardless of where they move me. This move also will keep me from doing the one job I hate here, so that's worth a move into a closet.

Of course, the way this place goes, they could be going in another direction. I don't care, I just wish they'd stop coming into my room with tape measures and bothering me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Oscinator

Well, they've finally done it. Not only will the Oscars (TM) get most of the awards wrong, they forgot to nominate the Best Picture of the year. I'm not going to tell you what that is, because you should know. This is why I'm not a movie critic. Every year I'd have to write a letter tot he Academy of my peers and chastise them for being wrong. Of course, it's all a matter of opinion. So then why are we having awards?

Ray. Flipping Ray. Instead of Eternal Sunshine? Aaaagh! This is as bad as when Titanic won. Or when Shakespeare in Love beat Saving Private Ryan. No, this is worse. If I were a critic, I would go on an old-school Terminator-style rampage on the Academy. Somebody would pay for these shenanigans.

It's official: The Oscars are officially the Grammys.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Employee of the Year, 2004

Hey, this morning a funny thing happened, but I didn't realize it until this afternoon. A salesman said to me as I walked past him, "there goes employee of the year". I laughed, because I thought he was kidding with me and just saying whatever. He says stuff like that sometimes, i.e., instead of "hi" he will say "soitenly" like Curly from the Three Stooges. So I thought he had just come up with a new way to say hi.

But then this afternoon one of the phone people is talking to the warehouse lady as I go back there to do stuff, and the phone girl referrs to "people who win awards and don't show up to receive them." Still no clue that she's talking about me. She says something to the effect of how she would like an award someday, and eventually it comes out that at the annual staff party I won the employee of the year award for my department. Of course nobody told me this. I guess in a department of 6, when you've been there 3 1/2 years, you have a good chance of being given awards. I'm just glad they didn't give it to a carbon rod or something.

Repentance and More Alias

I am sorry if my prediction of a Green Bay - Tennessee Super Bowl led you to make any bad bets. If its any consolation, you shouldn't be betting anyway and this is God's way of telling you that. Actually, it's only my way of telling you that. I failed. I'll do better next year.

Ok, I'm now 4 episodes into Season 3 of Alias, and when you watch them all in a row like that, you realize just how fast the show moves. I am referring specifically to the fact that in like 50 episodes or so the show has radically reinvented itself 4 times, and minorly reinvented itself about 20 more times. When the show started, it was:

1) about unknown and very physically fit Jennifer Garner as Syd, whose fiance' was killed by the leader (Arvin Sloane) of the spy organization she worked for, which she thought was part of the CIA but figured out it wasn't. She and her father (whom she barely knew) were working as double agents in this organization (the now long-forgotten SD6) for the CIA. Her handler (literally -- j/k) was Michael Vaughn.

this lasted about 10 episodes, with Syd going on missions for SD6 and doing countermissions for the CIA and fighting Anna from K-Directorate and being really stylish all of the time. And then Quentin Tarantino showed up, and:

2) SD6's parent company, known as the Alliance of 12, plays a larger role in things as Sloane obsesses about his wife and a 500-year-old inventor (Rambaldi). The main opponent of the Alliance is now The Man (the idea well ran a little dry on that one), Alexasandr Kasineau (sp?), and his gang of really well-funded thugs such as baby-faced Brit-punk Sark. Syd still goes on missions and counter-missions, but she finds out her mom is still alive. Also, her friend Will goes from being an intrepid reporter to a torture victim who knows Syd's secret identity.

This lasted until the end of Season one, where all the loose ends of the season are tied up, and the Red Rambaldi Water Ball kills Vaughn and Syd's mom shows up and shoots her and Syd's dad gets Will away from the torture and the whole thing has this end-of-the-first-season-of- Twin-Peaks-let's-throw-every-cliffhanger-we-can-think-of-in-there. Anyway, the next year it's all about:

3) Syd's evil hot Mom who killed a bunch of CIA agents in the past turns herself in to the CIA and reconnects with Syd and Dad. They fight SD6 for a while together, with Mom in custody.

Then the big re-invention happens, as:

4) Sloane dissolves the Alliance and SD6 and allies with the former Organization headed by The Man (who, as it seems to turn out, was Syd's evil Mom). So now Syd and all her former "good" SD6 cohorts now work in the CIA office and chase Sloane around the globe looking for things by Rambaldi. Oh, and Syd's best friend Francie is an evil doppelganger, a bit borrowed from a thousand other shows, and one that just never ends (ugh).

Finally, at the end of Season Two, all the plot ends are tied up, and we get the biggest reinvention of all: Syd falls asleep for two years and wakes up in Hong Kong to find Sloane married and her Dad in jail looking like Osama Bin Smallmouth. So Season 3 is about 2 things so far: Syd trying to find out what happened to her; and, the CIA fighting a brutal organization filled with more of those evil former Russian KGB guys known as "The Covenant." But I'm sure by episode 10 The Covenant will be forgotten and Sloane will be a woman. Or something.

My point is, when you watch the shows in rapid succession you get a good idea of how ridiculous things are and how the show manipulates you constantly into thinking that one thing is true when really the exact opposite is. The entire reason the bad guys existed in seasons 1-2 was to find and assemble Rambaldi artifacts. Let's see: several characters and many more extras died because the bad guys wanted these artifacts. The CIA thought they would constitute some sort of doomsday device when assembled. After all the CIA's work and Syd's double-agent victories, the bad guys still manage to get their hands on all the Rambaldi artifacts. And when they assemble them, we learn at the beginning of season 3 that they just gave a message of "peace". When you have a few months in between season to stew, this may be ok. But if you watch it all in a row you get the sinking feeling that you have been duped, and that they are probably duping you again right now as we speak. The Rambaldi thing was merely one example of the tendency the show has to pull the rug out from under the audience. Littler rug-pullings happen every week.

That's why the show sucks, although I do love it.