Archive for Almost Yogurt

Readers gotta read

And the medium, contra McLuhan, is only dimly connected to the message:

Ah, the wails of anguish. The frenzied wringing of hands. The prophesies of imminent doom.

We’ve heard them before.

“Oh, woe, nobody is reading the good stuff chiseled on stone or engraved in clay any more. It’s all that damned papyrus crap!”

“Oh, woe. Nobody is reading scrolls any more. It’s all that book bindery crap!”

“Oh, woe. Nobody is reading books any more. It’s all that digital book crap!”

Now before some of you — and I know some of you will — chime in with your personal preference for imbibing information only from the well-thumbed pages of your beautiful leather-bound book, whilst sipping a bit of brandy or sherry and inhaling the (likely carcinogenic) dusty smell of ancient paper, well, you read books.

I make the damned things. Or at least I make the combinations of words strung together that make of books something more than a deck of blank, useless pages. (Although I’m sure even blank pages are perfectly good for sniffing the lovely aromas.)

And I don’t give an anorexic ratfuck about how you read what I create, as long as you read it.

I was taught, decades ago, that there’s only one phrase an author likes better than “I read your last book.”

And that is “I bought your last book.”

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You can call me AI

If you thought contemporary [name of medium] was largely written by artificial intelligence, or maybe artificial unintelligence, this should show you how bad things can get when you let the machine do the heavy lifting:

Yeah, you’ve seen wooden characters before.

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We got our own way of walking

Everyone does it just a hair differently, I suspect:

How different people are in their preferences. When I am out walking, I just want the quiet and the ambient sounds. But other people don’t want that; they want the sound of human voices or music. (Not worse, not better, just different.) However, when I’m working out in my house (on the cross-country ski exerciser) I must have music (or at least a news station on the radio, to get caught up on the news) because that is so boring to me that I need something else to think about.

There’s one circumstance in which you could consider if worse: distracted pedestrian strides into a light pole, or into the street.

And when I’m stuck here at my parents’ house alone, it helps to have the tv on (noise) even if I am just half-watching, because it distracts me from the pops and creaks the house makes — which are different from the pops and creaks my own house makes.

All houses have their own pops and creaks. I wonder if anyone has sought to turn this fact into some sort of forensic database.

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To possess the Iron Curry Bowl

Culminating, as it must, with the Battle of the Bollywood Bastards:

Definitely thumbs up.

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Decoration Day

[A reprint from 2004.]

Spring 1868. General John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a support organization founded by veterans for veterans, issues the following as General Order No. 11:

The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

This wasn’t the first Memorial Day, technically; the townspeople of Waterloo, New York had inaugurated just such an observance two years earlier. But General Logan’s call to honor fallen soldiers resounded nationally, and five thousand turned out at Arlington National Cemetery on the thirtieth of May, placing flowers and placards and gifts on the resting places of twenty thousand.

Two years later, General Logan spoke at Arlington, and this is part of what he said:

This Memorial Day, on which we decorate their graves with the tokens of love and affection, is no idle ceremony with us, to pass away an hour; but it brings back to our minds in all their vividness the fearful conflicts of that terrible war in which they fell as victims… Let us, then, all unite in the solemn feelings of the hour, and tender with our flowers the warmest sympathies of our souls! Let us revive our patriotism and love of country by this act, and strengthen our loyalty by the example of the noble dead around us…

I come from a family with strong ties to the military. Both my parents were sailors, and my father had served in the Army before joining the Navy. A brother served in the Navy; a sister took on the duties of a soldier’s wife. But it took me rather a long time to understand the “noble dead”; I knew nothing of death except that it was a scary prospect, and I didn’t see nobility as being part of the package.

The first inkling of what it meant came during Basic Combat Training in 1972. I was eighteen, grossly immature, and generally scared spitless. The guys with the funny hats who dragged us out of bed at 0500, well, they were just an obstacle, to be endured and then to be forgotten.

Except that they knew things. They weren’t scholars issuing position papers from ivory towers; they were men who had Been There, who had faced real enemies, and who had come back to show us pathetic slobs how to face real enemies ourselves. There were things you did, and there were things you did not do, if you expected to come back yourself. And since we were all green as hell and totally lacking in life experience, what we wanted more than anything else was to be able to come back.

So we learned. We fired (just as important, we cleaned) our weapons, we studied simple tactics, we got used to sleeping with the rocks and the ticks, we got to the point where we weren’t as embarrassingly bad as we had been a couple of months earlier. And the NCOs, who up to then had never been satisfied with our performance, pronounced themselves satisfied: we were going to be all right.

Most of us did come back. But some did not, and we found ourselves grieving for them and for their families, because we knew that it could just have easily have been us. Their sacrifice was received and found worthy. Noble, even.

I thought about this during the dedication of the World War II Memorial this week [in 2004], especially when that old soldier Bob Dole explained why it was happening:

What we dedicate today is not a memorial to war. Rather, it is a tribute to the physical and moral courage that makes heroes out of farm and city boys and that inspired Americans in every generation to lay down their lives for people they will never meet, for ideals that make life itself worth living.

I hope, as I slide into old-soldier status myself, that I’ve done my best to live up to those ideals.

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Oh, hunny, no

Pooh to you too.

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Quote of the week

Francis W. Porretto on those people who insist that they are “woke”:

The suggestion that The Woke are sincere about the phantasm of “social justice” runs counter to the available evidence. If there are any in that community who genuinely do care about the persons they supposedly champion — and who are they, specifically? — what are they actually doing about it, other than preening about their superiority to the rest of us? What real-world results, measurable enough to register on some scale of acknowledged significance, can they show us?

The answer is unpleasant: They can show us nothing of the kind. The devolution of Wokeness from a putatively sincere concern with racial and ethnic exclusion, poverty, or other varieties of imagined “oppression,” into a competition for status has made objective gains of the sort others would admire, or at least respect as indications of sincerity, impossible. Today’s Woke are concerned solely with the status their methods can attain for them.

It is a mistake to attribute to The Woke any degree of sincerity or integrity, especially as the “causes” they champion are mere fantasies, without exception.

That middle paragraph reminds me of the inevitability, and the universal applicability, of Gresham’s Law: that which is good will in time be replaced by that which is not so good.

And to remind everyone: “social justice” is to justice what “social disease” is to disease.

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Not for my coffee table

In fact, the top version of this book costs more than my entire house:

Bentley’s celebrating its centenary this month, but rather than launch some dingus special edition, the automaker issued a promise that the all-new Flying Spur will redefine contemporary craftsmanship and luxury when it finally debuts. It’s also offering a limited run of extravagant books illustrating the brand’s history.

While the cheapest of these printed works will set you back £3,000 ($3,837), there will be a “100 Carat Edition” that costs £200,000 ($255,811) per copy. Weighing more than 66 pounds, the book comes laden with 100 carats of diamonds. At over 3 feet wide, and housing gatefolds that can double those dimensions, Bentley proudly proclaims the 800-page monstrosity as the “heaviest book ever produced” for an automotive brand.

Somehow I am minded of the remark Ettore Bugatti is alleged to have made about W. O. Bentley: “[He] makes the fastest trucks in Europe.”

Only seven copies of the hyperexpensive edition will be issued.

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How to spend your jukebox money

The setup:

That morning, I had set out with Cedric (a fellow medical student at Miskatonka State) with the intention of putting to rest a ludicrously backwoods Southern legend. We had set off in a massive horse-carriage, a true leviathan capable of holding twenty souls, which bore the chrome mark of its maker: Chrysler Manufactory, Detroit.

Just the second paragraph in a very long textual mashup which can be explained, though not experienced, in the simple title: H. P. Loveshack.

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Gramsci, shmamci

Everyone on the Right knows whom to blame, and perhaps not surprisingly, they got much of it wrong:

The best conspiracy theories are the ones that are actually true, and this one is. You want a grand conspiracy to destroy Western Civ? Here it is, laid out as openly as Marxist prose can express it, in excruciating detail. If anything, I’m being unfair to Antonio Gramsci. He put it all together in true kommissar style, but these ideas were everywhere on the Left in the early 20th century. In America, for instance, Progressives like John Dewey had been maneuvering to get control of elementary schools since the late 19th century. Progressives just looooove putting their hands on children. Have you noticed?

Every single insane, culture-destroying, gulag-enabling idea the Left has had in the last 200 years, starting with Karl Marx’s sub-Hegelian flatulence itself, can be traced directly back to some fucking egghead. I’ll repeat that: DIRECTLY. You can find their works, and quote them, because this stuff is in every syllabus of every Humanities class of every college in the Western world. The prose is opaque as only PoMo prose can be, but the main ideas are easy enough to decipher …

… I wrote “ideas,” but there’s really only one “idea.” Since The Revolution obviously ain’t gonna happen — it seems even Leftists can acknowledge one tiny aspect of reality, if you give ’em twelve decades and 100 million bodies — the Left’s entire program, top to bottom, stem to stern, is shit-flinging nihilism. Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go — not because it’s Western, but because it’s Civilization.

How do you fight people like that? Give them something they will understand:

If you want to get really, really nasty, of course, you should get out there with the Bernouts and Trustafarians and agitate for the cancellation of student loan debt. Sure, sure, it’ll crash the economy so hard that the Great Depression will feel like a happy ending at an Oriental massage parlor, but that’s going to happen anyway. At least the blue-haired nose-ringers will starve first.

Not that Senator Little White Dove would ever admit the existence, let alone the universality, of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

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All your ace are belong to them

Four of them, specifically, as you already knew:

The Strong Museum of Play announced the 2019 class of World Video Game Hall of Fame, and we’re excited to share that Microsoft Solitaire is one of the inductees. For many people, Solitaire was their introduction to computer games. Since Windows 3.0 came out in 1990, Solitaire has been a featured program on every version of Windows. Over the past 29 years, Microsoft Solitaire has been providing great entertainment to more than 500 million players in every corner of the world, making it a natural fit for the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

“Microsoft Solitaire being inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame makes this a historic day! It’s incredible to think that one of the most played video games in the world got its start in 1990 as a way for Microsoft to teach users how to use a mouse,” says Paul Jensen, Studio Manager for Microsoft Casual Games. “We are humbly honored to have the opportunity to work on a game that has such broad appeal, is localized into 65 languages, and played in over 200 markets around the world, including Antarctica.”

Other inductees this year include Super Mario Kart, Colossal Cave Adventure, and Mortal Kombat. And yes, there’s a physical location for the Museum, in Rochester, New York.

(Via @SwiftOnSecurity.)

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Defending Mary Sue

If you’ve ever imagined a fictional self who, all things considered, might be a tad unrealistic for you — well, be prepared for intrusions by those who would mock you:

We were “talking” about “why do women write Mary Sue fanfiction” (because, Gary Stus notwithstanding, we probably do that more than men do). And I know exactly why:

If I were creating a world and inserting myself into it. (Or if I were a self-insert OC in any existing world), I’d want to be good at stuff. And I’d want to be universally loved. And I’d want to fit in. And yes, I would want attention from whatever handsome man/male pony/whatever other creature of the male persuasion given the AU we ar talking about.) Because isn’t writing self-insert fiction (or fanfiction) really about wish fulfillment, and for a heck of a lot of us, that wish is just to *belong.* And maybe just to *have love* and yeah, maybe that’s sad, but we seek in literature what we don’t get in real life.

(Also see: why I prefer the Albert Campion mysteries BEFORE he marries Lady Amanda…)

But yes: I think portraying any marginally competent woman in fiction as a “Mary Sue” is an overreach, and also perhaps a misunderstanding of the term.

BUT ALSO: snarking about “Mary Sues” and young women’s fanfiction? Just another case of pumpkin-spice-latte hating. Because it is something particularly beloved of the young and female, it becomes an easy target.

I went through this sort of self-examination while I was writing The Sparkle Chronicles, which wound up with an ambivalent but arguably happy ending that was about 135 degrees away from what’d I’d originally envisioned. Think the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes,” which begins with a reunion that doesn’t reunite: she was the apple of his eye, but to her way of thinking, he’s empty (and forgotten) calories. But at that time, I couldn’t make myself write that. And while I poured some serious effort into making the narrator seem a bit less unreliable, the silly bastard fell in love. “Fine. Have it your way,” I said, and that’s the way it came out.

As a rule, I think of myself as being one of the least romantic people on the planet. What distinguishes me from the incels, it appears, is that I know whom to blame. And I keep any wayward wish-fulfillment thoughts on the sunny side of the street, if only because the light is better.

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Dollars 101

A course you will never see in New York or San Francisco:

High school students in Natrona County [Wyoming] are required to complete a financial literacy course in order to graduate.

“The main goal is for students to leave these courses empowered financially,” Natrona County High School Assistant Principal James Catlin told the board.

Catlin said that NC students typically take the course in their junior year.

The course provides skills and information for students to manage themselves financially. That includes lessons on how to plan for a career, how to fill out tax forms, how to prepare a budget, and more.

“It”s a super powerful class, and if you haven’t seen it, you should come around,” Roosevelt Alternative High School Principal Shawna Trujillo said.

It probably should not surprise anyone that Natrona expects students to comply with a dress code:

Something else you won’t see in NYC or SF.

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Still holding out

It might be a little too early to give up on cursive writing just yet:

I like cursive. Can’t say why. Perhaps because I spent so much time learning it, or because it was so difficult to master. That was the fourth grade I think. Or maybe it’s just because it’s a nice change of pace from all the printed text I run into every freaking day, most of which is just garbage (the message, not the printed characters). I mean if someone takes the time to write anything out long hand, I am going to take the time to read it because it sure as hell isn’t going to be some Search Engine Optimized piece of spamula.

I make a point of not looking at my Social Security card, which as a teenager I signed with a hand worthy of a nun. Today, I mourn the loss of Sister Penman.

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Aging toddler

Funny, he doesn’t sound like he’s three years old: Is deathly hallows book sold as part 1 and part 2 anywhere?

Until now:

I’ll keep asking until I get a satisfactory answer

There are exactly two possible answers: “Yes, it is,” or “No, it isn’t.” You might think that either of these would be satisfactory, were it correct.

But for now: is there any reason why this little shit shouldn’t be grounded until his 40th birthday? Other than the fact that his parents will be wanting to kill him, I mean.

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Where have all the dinos gone?

More than just “long time passing,” it seems:

We need to hire this kid to explain everything. Now that he’s thirteen, he’s probably even more brilliant.

(From Digg via Miss Cellania.)

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Two Minutes Like

Some people are just totally motivated, dammit:

Of such are cults made.

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Math is really hard

(8,866,128,975,287,528)3 + (–8,778,405,442,862,239)3 + (–2,736,111,468,807,040)3 = 33.

“So what?” you ask: And here’s why:

One reason to find the answers to these so-called “stubborn numbers” is because mathematicians don’t really like having unsolved equations laying around. Another is that finding solutions like this can play a role in some future attempts to find proofs for k = x3+ y3+ z3 or proofs that use it.

What made 33 “stubborn”? The luck of the draw, mostly. It is now known that if you divide an integer by 9 and get a remainder of 4 of 5, that integer cannot be expressed as the sum of three cubes. Excluding those poor unfortunates, the next-to-last integer to be verified was 33, with the complicated-looking equation up top being the actual solution. It took three weeks of supercomputer cycles to find this solution, which suddenly makes bitcoin mining seem almost whimsically simple.

Anyway, 1 through 99 are almost now accounted for. The last holdout: 42, because of course it is.

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Undressed for success

She’s 21, she’s dressed like she’s 21, and the airline simply will not have it:

Before you ask: she’s wearing a pair of tight-ish orange trousers. It’s not a swimsuit. An acquaintance of mine in London indicates that she’s traveled to and from the UK before, wearing a whole lot less than that. I’m not sure I want to nail that down any further.

Then again, Thomas Cook himself, back in 1841, started providing travel services to temperance-movement supporters in the Midlands, so perhaps there’s something in the company DNA that hasn’t changed much.

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In memory of Royal Payne-Diaz

Roger has had monarchs on his mind:

I woke up on my birthday morning this month thinking about the king in chess. It’s the weakest piece, except for the pawns. It can only move one space at a time, save for castling, which can only take place once a game.

Yet the very point of the game is to capture the king. It led to a melisma of thoughts about how we need to protect the most vulnerable among us. Dreams, and exhaustion, will do that to you.

It’s true. Having the title and having the power are two entirely different things.

Then I thought of all the people who have been dubbed the “king of” some aspect of life. “I’m king of the world,” Jack Dawson (Leo DeCaprio) shouts, not long before he dies in the cold Atlantic in the movie Titanic (1997).

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” said Shakespeare’s Henry IV; he knew that not everyone was impressed by his rule.

And then there’s this:

For those keeping score: Henry IV ascended the throne in 1399 after deposing Richard II.

(Title swiped from the closing credits of Car Talk.)

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Forward to December

So saith Severian:

Ace of Spades’ morning report links to a piece on Taylor Swift’s “political awakening.” Y’all know how much I hate tooting my own horn, but I covered this way back when. Ok, ok, so I mostly just linked that for the picture — never let it be said that I don’t give the people what they want — but seriously, how hard is this to grasp? Swift is now 30, which, since pop tarts age in dog years, means she’s got two generations of younger-hotter-tighter competition coming up behind her. She’s going to hit the wall at Mach 3 no matter what, so since she’s nothing if not a very savvy operator, she’s getting out in front of her inevitable transformation into a “serious artist” (read: BMI above 15). Give it another two years, and she’ll be openly embracing those bisexuality rumors, and by the time she’s 40 she’ll be touring with the Indigo Girls. Sic transit gloria mundi. At least she can keep herself in the spotlight a bit longer by being an obnoxious Leftist (BIRM, I know).

And technically, she’s not 30 until the 13th of December, but that seems like an awfully small nit to pick.

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The nature of an icon

It never, ever just fades away:

It was eight years ago that “Friday” went viral.

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The time has come

Once upon a time, I reviewed Francis W. Porretto’s novel Love in the Time of Cinema:

One perhaps does not expect Mr. Porretto, a specialist in high-tech fantasy, to be dabbling in romance. But this is no mere dabble: as always, his characters are carefully drawn and possessed, not so much of paint-on qualities from the Official Palette, but of human values and frailties, the sort one sees far more on your own block than on [random Netflix offering]. Tim Beaufort, not quite standing in for Porretto himself, is a man from the days when a “man” meant someone with a moral code and wisdom often born of pain; the surprising thing here is not so much that Jana Tyrell (played, inevitably, by Jennifer Lawrence) falls for Tim, but that so few actresses make similar choices in real life.

I mention this because today only, the Ides of March, you can download it for free at Amazon.

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Well, dam

I blame Primus:

Of course, if you think Primus sucks, you’ll really be appalled at Brenda, clearly a spiritual kid sister to Wynona:

There are five books in Reach Around Books’ Season One, starting with Suzy Likes to Look at Balls:

If you’re looking for Put Tony’s Nuts in Your Mouth, you’re on your own.

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First the bad news

Sooner or later, we’re going to have to get off this planet: sometime between a billion years from now (Phil Torres) and a dozen years from now (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) this big blue marble will become unhabitable. But this process has drawbacks of its own:

[Torres] believes that space settlement greatly increases the possibility of the total extinction of all life. Among his reasons is the notion that low probabilities given enough time eventually approach a value of 1. Many omnicidal scenarios involving a disgruntled knave or careless researcher with access to a lot of technology unleashing something unpleasant (like a super-flu or grey goo). Thus increasing the technology level as well as number of people exponentially (as is likely with a Dyson Swarm) will increase the odds that someone will somehow kill everyone and everything. Furthermore, he postulates that in an age of extremely powerful technologies, game theory dictates that these societies would have to kill each other at the first opportunity.

Oh, it gets better, for certain nonstandard values of “better”:

He goes a bit further and states that the biggest problem is the impracticality of having an effective system wide government with light hour, minute, day, year lags. There will be so many different groups that they won’t be controllable, thus chaos will reign and, again, game theory will dictate that they all have to kill each other, for some reason.

Not quite how I recall The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, but probably close enough for government work, considering the general decline in governmental competence since then.

Still, Torres has solutions of a sort:

They mainly involve not letting people colonize space and being ruled by what sure sounds like a global totalitarian surveillance state. But it’s OK because Professor Existential Risk Assessor suggests that it be run by an A.I. (!) He also suggests modifying people through drugs and gene therapy to be more compliant, peaceful and docile.

We’re doomed. And anyway, even if we were to colonize, we couldn’t call it that, because Colonization Is Bad; just ask anyone in Rwanda.

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Blinding ourselves with science

What is the purpose of big-s Science these days? Gerard Van der Leun explains:

[T]he only thing that makes a bigger splash in Science these days than a cure for cancer is some bit of “cutting-edge research” (almost always with the aid of computer modeling) that either warms the globe or disparages religion. To the secular, nothing is sacred. Then again, why should it be? They’re “secular.”

Why? Because it is a central tenet of faith, of pure faith, in the Secular Religion, that traditional Christianity is the “Anti-Darwin” to that faith. Strange when you consider that, in terms of actual dogma and actual acts, Islam is far more hostile to all the core tenets of science, but … it really isn’t very safe to take too close a look at that collection of ergot-derived insights out of the desert. Those adherents are a bit more lethal when it comes to accepting slights on their religion. But then Christianity is the dominant religion of the First World and that’s what we’re discussing here — not which faith is right, but which faith is to be master. It seems that for Science to triumph as the new religion, Christ has to die again — and this time he’s got to stay dead.

Lurking behind the curtain are observations that dare not be noted but which are obvious nonetheless, and they involve otherwise meaningless notions like “fairness.” Now nothing in life is fair, of course; it was never intended to be. But Suzie Cheesecake down the street resents the hell out of the fact that [any random guy] can engage in indiscriminate screwing with seemingly no consequences, while she has to worry about pregnancy and such. Why she blames the Pope for this is anyone’s guess.

There are fundamentalist Christians who hold that everything in the Bible is as the Bible says it is. And there are fundamentalist Scientists … who hold that nothing in the Bible is as it says it is.

My very small puppy in this fight says that there is a lot in Science that lets all of us live longer and better lives while there is a lot in Christianity that lets us live deeper and more meaningful lives.

I don’t look to Christianity to bring me the weather reports for tomorrow. At the same time I don’t look to Science to ever, in its widest dreams, reveal the core of the miracle and mystery of being a conscious entity who has been granted the gift of being able, in my better moments, to witness — even for an inch of time — the wonder of Creation.

I know that there are many zealots of the Secular Faith who will think the less of me for not being “tough minded” enough just to face up to the fact that everything really is “purposeless matter hovering in the dark.” I know that habit of mind well. I wore it like a pre-fab Medal of Honor for many years. Then one day I had had enough of Nothingness and I sent it back.

Today, you are not allowed to suggest any kind of qualitative difference between any random member of the Forbes 400 and a guy in frazzled T-shirt and jeans who takes a dump on the streets of San Francisco. After all, the bucks-up Forbes guy has money, and therefore at some point he must have exploited the Bay Area Crapper; at no point does it matter that the Forbes guy actually refrains from fouling the streets.

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Non-singer and influencer

She does, however, dance:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez comic book

The details:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) will be featured in an upcoming comic book.

The comic book, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis?, will be published by Devil’s Due Comics, and will be released in May.

The comic promises to have the New York congresswoman and the “freshman force” take on “the establishment.” One cover has Ocasio-Cortez standing over a hurt red elephant while a blue donkey nervously looks on in the background.

The Devil’s Due head honcho says he was inspired by this interchange:

And, you know, a Watchmen quote would do it.

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Your dog wants a handkerchief

“Pawkerchief”?

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Only some Northern songs

Let me tell you how it might be:

It’s all too much.

(With thanks to Marc Wielage.)

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All and tsundere

We know to beware the Ides of March, which falls near the middle of the month. Personally, I find the middle of February to be much more stressful:

I kind of wish I could draw better than I can (and had time to sit down and draw tonight) because I was talking on Twitter about how I should just go Full Tsundere for Valentine’s Day (as in: “No! I don’t need love or attention! Leave me alone! Baka!“) because really, tsundere does fit a bit more how I have approached love in my life than anything: that hard shell to protect my squishy interior from being hurt (though with also a side order of being a little oblivious at times when a guy was interested in me, and probably drove him off with that).

But anyway: I threatened to do Tsundere Otter (because of my occasional handle on there of Acerbic Otter, which is an anagram of my actual name) — draw an otter in a Japanese schoolgirl dress (one of those sailor dresses, you know), with her arms folded and a bit of a scowl and muttering something about how Valentine’s Day is “stupid.”

(But yeah, the whole westernized version of the Tsundere Girl: sort of hard and brittle on the outside, but secretly wishing senpai would notice her, and actually kind of soft on the inside, that’s my brand right there. Probably ridiculous for a 50 year old to be that way but whatever.)

But Valentine’s Day is stupid, in that the people who are in a position to celebrate it often as not don’t bother, and the people who are not in a position to celebrate it are made to feel as miserable as possible. Exactly who is supposed to benefit from this sort of thing?

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