Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mr F, Chair Pioneer.

Fantasy Author Vanna Smythe is the latest author to get in on ... 

READERS: watch for your favorite blogs to feature the above badge; any blog with that badge will at some point between 11/23 and 12/24 be giving you a free (e)book from the author -- sometimes on more than one day!

WRITERS!  The Merry Christmas, etc., Of Doom, begins on 11/23, and all the details are here.  If you're not already signed up, leave a comment as to what days you'd like, after reviewing the details (Which are: post about holiday stuff, have the badge up, give away one of your books.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"All blues go together. That's a rule." (I Get Paid For Doing This.)

This is what I am wearing today:

That serious expression is not because I'm working on anything particularly important (I never am) but because I was trying to focus the camera and avoid any kind of unflattering photo, which is very difficult to do when you look unflattering, as I do.

(I've given up on trying to look good in pictures.  To look good in pictures I would have to look good in real life, and I do not.  I look, in real life, about like you would expect a 43-year-old guy to look if that 43-year-old guy was someone who this morning ate leftover pizza for breakfast and whose biggest goal in life in October was to find "Candy Corn Oreos."  In a word, I look "unflattering.")

(I also never did get those Candy Corn Oreos, either.  I am now like that guy who roamed the earth, carrying a lantern, looking for an honest man.  Diostehenes? Was that his name? Is that a name? I think it was him.)

(It was Diogenes.  I just checked.  So I am like Diogenes, if instead of "honest man" you substitute "Candy Corn Oreos" and instead of "lantern" you substitute "cold pizza" and instead of "wandering the world" you substitute "mostly sitting motionless.")

Anyway, I am wearing that tie today because tonight the Buffalo Bills play on "national" TV in a game that doesn't matter much but technically speaking the Bills still could make the playoffs if every other team in the NFL suffered some sort of catastrophic loss of personnel, like they were all spirited away in a rapture that took only NFL players that are good, leaving just the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Jacksonville Jaguars to play out the season.

(So I am not going to watch the game; I will likely be watching the rest of Brave on DVD with Mr Bunches and sometimes Mr F, who pops in and out of those things.)

And in wearing that tie, I have come to realize that (A) My staff does not think the tie goes with my blue shirt and darker-blue pants and (B) My staff is not shy about telling me that.

In discussing this matter because we honestly really don't have anything more important to do, I gave the Rule of Matching that I give to Sweetie whenever I get the boys dressed, too, which is:

"A given color matches all other shades of that given color."

Which is: Blue matches all other blues, red matches all other reds, and black and white match anything.

That's the rules.

I didn't make them up.  I don't know who did -- Diogenes, probably -- but those are the Rules I live by and much like the Rules for How Much Things Should Cost, my rules make sense and are easy to live by whereas the rules that everyone else thinks exist and should be followed are stupid.

To settle this debate, I googled "How To Match A Tie," and the number one result is a site called "The Art of Manliness," which has a ridiculously lengthy article on how to match a tie to things, and that article includes such ridiculously stupid things as these actual quotes:

"Match your tie to your clothing, not your clothing to your tie."

WHICH IS JUST STUPID. That is not advice.  Advice is not "take the question and rephrase it."  

Q: How can I eat healthier?
A: Match your food to your health, not your health to your food.

See what I mean?  Then Art Of Ridiculousness goes on to say:

Coordinating your tie, dress shirt, and suit isn’t rocket science.  All it requires is a basic understanding of proportion, pattern, and color which can be used to build an interchangeable wardrobe.  Start with easy to match shirts and suits–then add a range of flexible neckties that accent and enhance the outfits you put together.

About which: "a basic understanding of proportion, pattern and color?" That IS rocket science.  If I had a basic understanding of those things, I would not need to Google "How to match a tie."

The site then goes on to discuss "The Art of Matching," so while Matching is not a science (or at least not a rocket science) it is an art, and the first part of the Artistry is a discussion of "Necktie proportion" which I skipped over entirely because I don't care but I did see this gem:

If you find yourself shopping for ties and need a quick way to measure the width, pull out a dollar bill.  If the tie is close to Washington’s nose, you’re safe. 

There's a picture that goes with it:

In case you are not clear on what a dollar bill looks like.  That made me wonder: am I required to carry a tape measure with me when I shop for ties? And also it made me wonder: Who shops for ties?  Not me.  I can't remember the last time I shopped for a tie.  Most of my ties are hand-me-downs from my dad or ties people have bought me, so really I should forward this article to Sweetie and remind her to either carry a tape measure or a dollar bill with her when she shops for ties because Sweetie is probably woefully unprepared and might find herself needing to measure a tie... quickly... with no idea how to do that.

Then the site moves on to "Color" of the tie and starts with this helpful bit:

There is not a perfect answer to which color goes best with any given outfit.  

 I've been using that to tell my staff they're wrong and strongly hinting that they ought to go get some work done but then distracting them by telling them what people in England use as a mnemonic device to remember the colors of the spectrum.

(They say "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain." They don't know who "Roy G. Biv." is.  Fair enough. I don't know who Richard of York is.)

After telling me not to worry about the color of the tie, which is how I interpreted that sentence, Art Of Men or whatever goes on to immediately say:

Two factors that determine the right color for a man include the message he is trying to signal and the color combination that works best with the natural colors of his complexion.

The message I am trying to signal today is "The Bills are playing a football game tonight." MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  I am also trying to send, as a secondary message "I do not want to have to worry about what colors work best with my complexion."

This is another actual quote:

Men with light colored hair and fair skin have low contrast and should stick with pastel and monochromatic color combinations.  Men with dark hair and light skin are high contrast and will look best selecting color combinations which have clearly defined lines between them.  If you have dark hair and medium to dark colored skin, you can pull off both low and high contrast tie and shirt/suit combinations.  Your difficulty in this case will be separating acceptable suit/shirt/tie combinations from great looking suit/shirt/tie combinations.  It’s a small distinction, and one best made by taking the clothing in your wardrobe and experimenting with various shades.

WHAT?  I tried three times to read that whole paragraph and each time my mind just slid away from it like butter off a knife; I am completely unable to read that paragraph.  If you handed me that paragraph and said "read it or everybody in the world dies in 1 minute," I would feel really really bad for humanity and try to read it but end up losing focus and thinking about Oreos again.  That's why I can't worry about my "complexion," whatever that is: I can't even focus long enough to read about what a complexion is.

Apparently you also have to worry about how colors within the necktie work with each other, so now I have that to lose sleep about, too: Are my neckties combative within their own boundaries? Look, I already cannot match a tie to a shirt.  Now I have to match a tie to a tie? Isn't that the manufacturer's job? DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING MYSELF? We can put a man on the moon but I need a three page article to decide if my tie's colors complement each other?

Here is a sample of something the site says "Matches okay."

Specifically, from top to bottom those are "okay" to "best."

I would not have matched any of them.  But I would have worn a blue tie with any of them.  Maybe I'd have done the middle. I don't know.

Here is where I gave up on the site:  When it used the word "foulard."

I don't know what that word means.  I looked it up.  Wikipedia says it is:

a lightweight fabric, either twill or plain-woven, made of silk or a mix of silk and cotton. Foulards usually have a small printed design of various colors. Foulard can also refer by metonymy to articles of clothing, such as scarves and neckties, made from this fabric.

 So now, to match a tie to clothing, you need to have a background in literary criticism, because how many people know what a metonymy is?

(I do, but just barely and I get it confused with synechdoche, but the fact that I remember them at all, let alone that one or the other of them is used in "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock" is amazing to me and should be amazing to you.)

In closing: I am going to eat my lunch.  My lunch that, sadly, has no Candy Cane Oreos in it.


Have you signed up for...

READERS: watch for your favorite blogs to feature the above badge; any blog with that badge will at some point between 11/23 and 12/24 be giving you a free (e)book from the author -- sometimes on more than one day!

WRITERS!  The Merry Christmas, etc., Of Doom, begins on 11/23, and all the details are here.  If you're not already signed up, leave a comment as to what days you'd like, after reviewing the details (Which are: post about holiday stuff, have the badge up, give away one of your books.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Mr Bunches is watching.

Mr Bunches knows how to work our computer really well, by now, well enough that he can cruise around on Youtube and watch a variety of videos.  

Well enough that I and Sweetie, as parents, can learn just how many videos there are on Youtube that feature people swearing.  What's up with that, people? Do you really swear that much in everyday life around your kids, at birthday parties? Because that is messed up
Someone, probably my mom, once told me that people swear only because they can't think of another word to say, and so swearing proves they are unintelligent.  Ever since then, I have tried not to swear, to the point where one day I mentioned that a lawyer I knew was "kind of a dick" and everyone reacted as if I'd just lit myself on fire in protest.
"I've never heard you swear," said one guy.

Which isn't to say I don't swear.  I swear a lot but I confine it to what I am saying about you as I drive behind you on the road.  That gets it out of my system.

(Mom also said that Jesus said in the Bible not to call people fools, which was a rare instance of religious instruction from Mom who otherwise was not what you would call overtly religious, but ever since then I've worried that if I call someone a fool I'll go to Hell and so I don't.)

The point is: the lessons we learn when we are young can stay with us forever, especially if you are in impressionable young boy like Mr Bunches, so we don't let him watch all those videos you people post of yourselves getting drunk and falling into the backyard pool while swearing at the pinata.  Keep it to yourself.

What we do let him watch is this:

That is, as you have read, Prueba y verdad, a toy commercial Mr Bunches especially likes to watch.  I have watched it with him, sitting behind him in a state of extreme bafflement as I try to figure out what is going on.

Of course, with my extensive background in speaking Spanish, stemming from not one but two years of high school classes under the stern tutelage of Senora Blaschke--

--the highlight of which was that we had to put on a skit in class, pairing up to present a dialogue done in entirely in Spanish; my partner, Mike, and I, did El Medroso Senor Gill y las ranas, which translates to "The Fearsome Mr. Gill and the frogs," a skit about our science teacher making us dissect frogs.  It's too bad we can't put that on Youtube, but Youtube didn't exist back then.  Video recorders barely existed back then; this was 10th grade, so I was about 15, so it was 1984, so VCRs were those massive things that needed to be wheeled around on carts by the A/V club, hooked up by 75 wires to the TV perched on a precarious angle on top of the cart, and the teachers could never figure out how to work the VCR, punching buttons and changing channels and  punching more buttons until finally we just got assigned take-home essay tests.--

(It's not much better today.  Why are there special channels for DVD players and satellite? Why doesn't my TV know what I want to do, or ask me? When I plug something into my computer, it tells me what I plugged in and gives me options for dealing with it.  The same with my phone.  My phone is smarter than my TV.)

(And my phone is smarter than my 10th grade teachers.)

With that kind of background in Spanish, I know that verdad means truth, or maybe true.  So I can guess that prueba means "dare?"

Having looked it up, though, it actually means test, which makes the game a version of Truth or Dare? but a particularly creepy one, because it involves a disembodied hand with a gangrenous finger pointing at you to make you... swing on a vine like Tarzan?  That's the dare?

I looked the game up and that's exactly what it is,  which I kind of find disappointing.  I like to think that Mr Bunches, who doesn't know what "Truth or Dare" is and doesn't always, at age 6, know what's real and what's not, might imagine that the hand is real and that it has the magic power of making people do things, which I would think would creep him out and scare him, but it doesn't.  He's okay with the Green Hand Of Death pointing its scary finger at people to make them act crazy.  He loves that.

But do you know what scares him?

Bee Movie.

That's for real:  Bee Movie:

scares Mr Bunches.  It scares him during the courtroom scene when Barry Bee brings a bear in to show people why they shouldn't put honey in bear-shaped jars, and it scares him at other times, too, like the scene where Barry and the woman who is Renee Zellweger only that's not her name in the movie get on the plane to fly to California to get the roses from the Parade Of Roses before the Rose Bowl, because Barry's lawsuit against the human race has resulted in bees no longer having to work for honey and so no plants are being pollinated and everything's dying.

That's the plot of Bee Movie: A bee sues humans, wins, and then has to fly to California to bring roses back to New York in order to save the ecology.  As a science lesson, it is less than accurate. 

But that's not the point.  The point is that there's a scene where Barry is in the cockpit of the plane (probably because this is before 9/11 when a bee could still visit the cockpit) and the pilots try to swat him and get scared, which is improbable because this is AFTER humans have lost a lawsuit to bees and in doing so have become aware that bees are (a) sentient and (b) litigious and (c) don't like to sting people, but apparently the pilot missed that whole memo, and the pilot fights Barry and gets knocked out (long story involving a minivacuum which they apparently keep in cockpits), and THAT scene scares Mr Bunches so much that he has to watch it standing in the hallway outside his room.

But a disembodied crawling hand that makes you act weird?  That's just funny.

The Merry Christmas To All (e)Book A Day Traveling Blogathon (of Doom!)

BEGINS ON NOVEMBER 23RD!  And there are still slots open:

READERS: watch for your favorite blogs to feature the above badge; any blog with that badge will at some point between 11/23 and 12/24 be giving you a free (e)book from the author -- sometimes on more than one day!

WRITERS!  The Merry Christmas, etc., Of Doom, begins on 11/23, and all the details are here.  If you're not already signed up, leave a comment as to what days you'd like, after reviewing the details (Which are: post about holiday stuff, have the badge up, give away one of your books.)


11/26 and 12/10 and 12/17:  Andrew Leon, author of The House On the Corner and Shadow Spinner.

11/28, (and 12/5, 12/12, and 12/19):  Tony Laplume, author of Monorama.

11/30: PT Dilloway,  Author of "A Hero's Journey."

12/3:  Cindy Borgne, author of "Vallar"

12/4:  Michael Offutt, author of the trilogy "A Crisis of Two Worlds"

12/22: Vanna Smythe, author of "Protector: Anniversary of the Veil, Book One."

Cosmetic surgery?

People have wildly varying views on cosmetic surgery-- sometimes wildly varying in their own minds, like my own.

 I mean, I always was against cosmetic surgery but then I began to think about things that you might not like about yourself but which you can't fix on your own, and I started to wonder whether cosmetic surgery to fix those things isn't okay after all?

We can all agree, I think, that cosmetic surgery to fix something that's a problem -- like getting breast reduction to avoid back pains, for example -- is okay, but then I started thinking about things like, say, my chin.

I don't like my chin. I don't like the way it's all flabby and saggy and deflated and all, and I'm not sure what I can do about it, other than get used to it, because when I tried some "chin exercises" for a while they didn't do anything, and how do you lose weight on your CHIN? I can't do chin jogging, for Pete's sake.

That's when I started thinking cosmetic surgery isn't all bad: After all, I wear nice clothes and get a haircut and work out to try to look good, and all of that is changing my physical appearance, so while cosmetic surgery is a big step, it's the next step, isn't it?

Anyway, I started thinking all that because I happened across this Cosmetic Surgery Thailand site that talked about doing face lifts and hair implants and botox and the like, and I can see where people would decide to go and improve the things they can't fix on their own.