Friday, August 30, 2013


Sex Nerd Sandra

Sandra Daugherty is a sex-positive, super funny, super energetic podcaster who work(s/ed?) at the Pleasure Chest, an adult store in LA. There's over a hundred episodes, so I started about 7 episodes in with a roundtable discussion podcast with her coworkers at the Pleasure Chest, talking about their job, the people who come in, toy safety, and all manner of interesting discussion. Sandra takes great care in making sure the show stays entirely non-judgmental and safe but keeps the conversation really interesting and funny. Definitely putting it on tap for future commuting.

Mike Detective

A sort of spin-off of Comedy Bang! Bang!, Mike Detective (Unlicensed and Uninsured Private Eye) is a fantastic send-up of old school noir and radio dramas. His quest to save his client, Stephanie Client(voiced by the single best voice actor ever goddammit, Grey DeLisle), and her sister from the evil clutches of Kelsey Grammer is maybe the funniest thing I've ever listened to. The humor slides somewhere between the super-referential Community and the satirical absurdism of Police Squad or The Naked Gun. Unfortunately, there's only one 'season' of it, but it's a great, quick listen.

Welcome to Night Vale

Imagine, if you will, a quiet, unassuming town full of mystery, magic, and horror. This town, of course, has public access radio where the news is reported. This town is Night Vale. The premise is basically NPR meets the Twilight Zone and it's pretty funny. A calm, relaxing voice reports on the goings-on of the town of Night Vale, with the arrival of the handsome scientist Carlos whom we love and hate in equal measure as he turns his eye to the mysteries of the town. Basically, everything is done perfectly, both to its benefit and its detriment. The announcer, voiced by Cecil Baldwin, hits the public radio voice so perfectly that it becomes remarkably easy to tune out and ignore even if you really want to listen (which you do). It's hard to listen to while commuting because I just want to fall asleep, as I move into a sine wave of paying attention and cracking up and then zoning out and ignoring it entirely.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today in Rape Culture Not Existing

CNN guest jokes Chelsea Manning will get ‘good practice’ being a woman in prison

Hahaha. Ha.

There's so much terrible here, let's go ahead and dissect it.

  1. Joking about rape! That's the easiest terrible. Fun fact about joking about rape: context doesn't matter! It's never okay! Yes, even that most hilarious of topics, prison rape, is not okay to joke about. Shocking.
  2. The idea that you get good practice being a woman by being raped. Holy crap, guy. That's your concept of what women are for, huh? I can't even.
  3. The pervasive transphobic attitude that this is an action that should be particularly applied to a transgender woman (who, of course, is never referred to as a woman in this awful piece).
The truth is this: he's not wrong. Unfortunately, LGBT inmates are 15 times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted in prison. 67% of LGBT inmates are raped or assaulted. 67%! That's not fucking funny. That's a symptom of a larger problem.

So here's a link to Just Detention International, an organization dedicated to fighting prison rape in all its forms. It's not an acceptable threat. It's not corrective behavior. It's terrible and it needs to stop.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Only Post About Big Bang Theory I Will Ever Make

I've never enjoyed Big Bang Theory a whole lot. It has its moments, and when it actually does real nerd humor, not just humor about nerds, it does it pretty well. The premise just never held any promise, though. Four nerd stereotypes, broadly drawn and with very little real personality beyond NEEEERD and the ditzy blonde neighbor have adventures + a will they/won't they between lead nerd and ditzy neighbor. I don't think it was ever gonna work for me.

However, as it's been encroaching on my periphery, I've found that as the show has gone on, it has actually gotten quite a bit better. The core nerds haven't really evolved at all, they're still the same broad nerd caricatures. But what they did do was kind of ditch the "nerds can't get laid" part and added real female characters who, incredibly, are way better written than the core cast.  In particular, Amy Farrah Fowler, as a character, provides such a great humanizing romantic foil for the ever-obnoxious Sheldon Cooper and manages to hit a lot of the same notes as Sheldon while genuinely seeming like a real person. I'm thoroughly impressed by it actually. Their subplot provides a much better hook to the show than the Leonard/Penny cliche stuff, in much the same way that Robin and Barney recentered How I Met Your Mother and made it a much more interesting show.

Basically, Big Bang Theory was saved, in my mind, by decently written female characters. Holy crap.

Also, it amuses the hell out of me that the only person on the show who is a real scientist who does real science with a real PhD is Dr. Mayim Bialik.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Re: Skyler White

A while back I posted my own little defense of Skyler White from Breaking Bad, which happens to be the most popular post I've ever made in terms of pageviews on account of terrible people searching terrible search terms.

Anyhow, at the end I asserted that the perception of Skyler isn't necessarily the fault of Vince Gilligan but rather the viewing audience being terrible and that she's actually pretty darn sympathetic from an objective POV. At the time, I wasn't sure if I should say that. Maybe I just wanted to be sympathetic to her and the show actually treats her as terrible as its audience and that Vince Gilligan is complicit in making her the villian.

Well, I recently found a quote from him saying this:

We’ve been at events and had all our actors up onstage, and people ask Anna Gunn, “Why is your character such a bitch?” And with the risk of painting with too broad a brush, I think the people who have these issues with the wives being too bitchy on Breaking Bad are misogynists, plain and simple. I like Skyler a little less now that she’s succumbed to Walt’s machinations, but in the early days she was the voice of morality on the show. She was the one telling him, “You can’t cook crystal meth.” She’s got a tough job being married to this asshole. And this, by the way, is why I should avoid the Internet at all costs. People are griping about Skyler White being too much of a killjoy to her meth-cooking, murdering husband? She’s telling him not to be a murderer and a guy who cooks drugs for kids. How could you have a problem with that?

So, uh...basically, Vince Gilligan, fuck yeah. I love you man. I love your show. Thank you.

Friday, August 23, 2013

I hate you, Sigmund.

Last night I had a dream. In this dream, I was sitting in a classroom, I believe taking a history class. The professor sprung a test upon us- the topic? Battlestar Galactica. I knew I was ready and prepared to answer the questions. They were easy and one by one I scribbled down my answers. But the more I answered, the sloppier my writing got and he was going faster and faster, finally, he finished, but my page looked like nonsense. So I decided to get a fresh sheet of paper and recopy my answers more legibly. As I flipped past page after page of filled paper, I finally found some black pages. My pencil was dull, so I went to a sharpener- the badass superpowerful electric kind, and proceeded to sharpen the pencil. Naturally, as the pencil got sharper and sharper, it turned into a penis. Armed with the turgid instrument, I returned to the task at hand, only to end up with my papers covered in pee. I grew despondent and gave up on ever turning in the test. Fin.

Obviously Correct Analysis:

My subconscious placed me in this setting to highlight my frustration of never leaving school. It chose the test subject of TV(TVTV) as something I find effortless and interesting to only increase my frustration over the course of the dream. My inability to complete the test, even though I knew the answers, demonstrates a constant struggle to finish what is actually extremely easy to me. The transformation of the pencil into a penis suggests a subconscious connection between maleness and knowledge had once been formed, but the ultimate uselessness of this object in the pursuit of it suggests that all penises do is pee on things.

The pee represents pee. Don't pee on your coursework.

The fact that I just corrected a typo of pencil- 'mencil'- is hilarious.


With my long commutes twice a week, I've started listening to podcasts to fill the time. So every so often I'm gonna do an update of what I listen to and a bit of critique of them.

Comedy Bang! Bang!

This is the first podcast I really tried and...I can't say enough good things about it. I could gush for hours on end about how funny it is. The premise is simply that Scott Aukerman hosts a podcast, regularly having B-list celebrities come in to talk and have fun, but often a cast of wacky characters barges in and interrupts the podcast. It's full character improv at that point with Scott and the guest dealing with the character and the show spiraling off into bizarre areas. It is, almost without exception, absurdly hilarious. And, thanks to Scott's sensibilities in trying to be the straight man and keep the show on course without becoming vulgar or terrible, it very rarely strays into problematic areas or, at the very least, rarely strays unchecked. I always love it. It's always great.

Nerd Poker

And then on the other end, we have Nerd Poker.  I was pretty interested in it. Comedians? Playing D&D? In convenient podcast form? Yes please! The first episode was mildly annoying, with constantly having to stop and explain the rules, but it had some good laughs. The (lone) female member of the podcast kept getting talked over but...but maybe it gets better?

Nope. Second episode. There was like pretty much a solid 10 minutes of rape jokes. Nope. NOPE. Unlistenable. Even setting that aside(which is, uh, not really good to set aside) it's just not worth the effort. There are better ways I can use my driving time. Like counting roadkill.

The Alton Browncast

Oh my god. Alton Brown started doing a podcast. I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it. And you know? You know. I think I like it.

I went ahead and skipped to episode 4 so I could hopefully move past the awkward getting used to doing a podcast phase. The guest? Alex Guarnaschelli. I love Alex Guarnaschelli. She's one of my favorite Food Network personalities. Alton starts off with food world news, which is interesting and he comes off as way more opinionated than I'm used to, but I like it. I like having his opinions out there. He talks a little too fast, but I imagine he'll even it out. Then Guarnaschelli comes on and it's just an interesting interview about food and cooking and her aspirations and doing the Iron Chef thing and it's really nice to listen to. I'm not sure there's anywhere else that has good, honest sit-down conversations with the people who do food shows and Alex and Alton have such a great passion for it that I want to listen forever. So happy Alton decided to start doing a podcast. Gonna listen to so much more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Miserable Life of Earl Murchad of Dublin

Not too long ago, I was gifted a copy of Crusader Kings II. This is a ridiculously in-depth game where you play as a ruler of Europe in the Middle Ages. As a ruler, you can be as small as a little Earl in a tiny, crappy part of Finland, or the King of France. You have to deal with court intrigue, war, trade, the Pope, feuding vassals, all the stuff a real ruler of the era would've had to have messed with. You build up your ruler and his dynasty, going through several generation of just trying to improve your family's name and make some mark on history. It's really hard to play and get into. I've barely tried. But it can run really easily on many computers so, hey, I've got nothing better to do. Let's try this. I chose to be Earl Murchad of Dublin, on the eve of the Battle of Hastings, 1066. With just the one county to my name, so begins my quest...

Monday, August 19, 2013

I have issues.

Last night, I sat on the couch, deep in internal turmoil. Sipping a glass of Tang, a stray thought had sent me down a rabbit hole that I couldn't leave until I had exhausted a complete internal audit of every important factor.

For a solid 15 minutes I sat there, growing angrier and angrier at myself for not finding an answer, and more and more exhausted as my mind raced for one.

The stray thought? There has to be a way to connect Leonardo DiCaprio to Kevin Bacon in only two steps.

Oh, three was easy. I found tons of ways to get three! But two! Surely there's a way to get two! There's so many ways to Kevin Bacon and DiCaprio has touched so many people.

15 minutes, sitting in darkness, and finally, with disgust and regret at how long it took me, I happened upon the link. Tom Hanks. Catch Me If You Can and Apollo 13. There was no joy in that revelation, as it was too easy. Too basic.

And that's what it's like to live the emotional trivia roller coaster that is me.