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On On Subcultures

Related: The "It's okay to not like things, but don't be a dick about it" song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI
also related: Don't Yuck my Yum by Ze Frank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knro0i2JH44 "Like I'd rather be joined in unhappiness than confronted with happiness I can't be part of."

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm 0

On This Article About Thomas Barrow Is Bananas

As a queer lady (and a writer), I completely sympathise with Richard Kramer's painfully mixed feelings about Gay Characters. Because: positive role models are important! But: human complexity includes negative aspects, too! (Cardboard cutouts are not relateable, no matter how "positive" they are.) There are aspects of LGBT people's experience that are painful and sad and difficult, alongside the default pain and sadness and difficulty of being a human on planet Earth. And some of those aspects are well-known and have been done to death on TV and in movies, and some of them are so rarely seen that they feel almost secret.

I stopped watching Downton Abbey some time during season two because every single time Branson made a reference to Irish history, all I could hear was Julian Fellowes saying "HI, I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IRISH HISTORY AND I DON'T CARE ENOUGH TO DO RESEARCH!" But I kept track of Thomas's storyline through recaps and YouTube, because Thomas was the only character who I really cared about -- the only one who had the potential to be something new, for television. Something I hadn't seen before. He's not there yet, but maybe in season four? ...Well, I live in hope. "It's not against the law to hope!"

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm 2

On The Maypole Song

@MovieTheaterIntifada Back in the days before the soundtrack was officially available (except in a fan-released edition that had a teeny-tiny run and might as well have been made out of unicorn hair for all the chance I had of getting my hands on it), I made a makeshift soundtrack of my own by holding a dictaphone tape recorder up to the speakers of the TV while the (rented) VHS tape was playing. I cherished that casette for many years. In fact, I still own it.

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm 0

On "Yep, it's... it's wine."

True story: During my teens and early twenties, my parents used to publish a wine guide, which meant they had to host many, many, MANY wine tastings, usually in hired rooms but sometimes in our house. I helped them out, as one does, which involved transcribing hand-written notes by the tasters, opening bottles before tastings, and pouring out the contents of the spit-buckets afterwards.

As a result, I know rather a lot about wine (though it's been a while, so my knowledge is pretty out of date by now). I can uncork a wine bottle with ease and grace and I have opinions about corkscrews.* I know what AC and IGT and DOC stand for! I know about phylloxera and fining and terroirs! I know why the "year that's not the current one" isn't always a good sign!

But I cannot stand the taste of wine. Even the smell of strong red wine makes me nauseous. So all my knowledge and expertise is wasted. :(

(On the other hand, during the latter part of this period, having a source of free high-quality wine every summer made me very popular with those of my friends who didn't share my aversion. Silver lining!)

* The ranking goes like this: waiter's friend (versatile! cheap! easy to use! looks cool!) > wing corkscrew (kinda clunky, but durable and does the job, plus it looks like a dude raising his arms in joy, which is nice) > lever model Screwpull (expensive, but essential if you have to open a ton of bottles in a short time and don't want to kill your wrists) > regular corkscrew (meh) >>>>>>>>>> ordinary Screwpull (flimsy, overpriced, easy to use wrong, tends to split the corks if you're not really careful)

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm 0

On Ask Someone Who Recently Traveled Around Ireland

I'm always a bit nonplussed when people expect Irish food to be bad. (What do they think we are, English?*) Then I remind myself that Irish food was uniformly horrible until the 1990s or so, when a bunch of Irish people who actually CARED about food and didn't think of it as something you shoved into yourself to keep from dying got into restaurant management, and gourmet food retail, and artisan food production, and small-scale-high-quality farming, and there was a slow but dramatic revolution in the overall quality of Irish food. So that now it is a lot easier than it has ever been to eat well and with pleasure in Ireland.

I have to echo the observation from other Irish people that some of these questions seem really weird. Note to American readers: IRISH PEOPLE ARE SECRETLY BORING. And not that different from you. Though our butter is genuinely so much better than yours that we feel sorry for you whenever the subject comes up.

*j/k I love the English and their food full of raisins and flour! Om nom nom saffron buns.

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm 1

On High School Things

Did anyone ever manage to figure out what the lyrics to "Jeremy" were? And if they did... HOW?!

Also: oh, Dawson's Creek! Never have I been more addicted to a show that I hated on almost every level! I say "almost" because it had Michelle Williams in it, and Michelle Williams, then as now, is the kind of actress who can transcend her material. But, wow. What was it about Dawson's Creek that made me never miss an episode, even while I was muttering "Christ this is terrible, SHUT UP DAWSON oh God he's talking about movies again KILL ME NOW" every single week? It is a mystery!

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm 6

On War Horse: An Illustrated Review

@Nicole Sauvage@twitter According to the good folks at measuringworth.com, 30 guineas in 1914 is roughly equivalent to either £2,360 or £9,300 in modern UK money, depending on whether you look at the consumer price index or the average earnings index. I think the average earnings index is a more realistic measure to use for a horse. The higher price works out to about $14,000 in modern American money. Not cheap! That horse was an investment.

Posted on January 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm 1