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F you, K-E diet

While catching up on Cracked posts the other day, I came across one poking fun at insane weight loss methods. One of these is something known as the K-E diet, where rich idiots use a feeding tube in order to lose weight.

Despite the linked story being a few years old, I became angry. Seriously, fuck these K-E dieters in the peehole with a rusty drill bit. I’ve had nasogastric (NG) tubes for legitimate medical reasons, and they’re awful. Why in the hell would some yuppie douchebag voluntarily use one for vanity purposes?! In my case, NG tubes were used to suck out my various digestive liquids and food remnants before and after surgeries. The results left in the collection tank behind my hospital bed looked like a cappuccino. (Enjoy your next Starbucks trip, fuckers.) The experience was unpleasant enough that when I saw Iron Man a few months later, I flipped Tony Stark the bird when he yanked his tiny tube out after waking up in a cave. Suck it up, rich boy. I had close to a half-inch pipe jammed up my schnoz.

Every time I hear about fad diets, I usually roll my eyes. But this K-E shit drove me to rage instead. The fact that these people can afford a super-expensive procedure but somehow can’t do something as simple as eating better or going to the damned gym grinds my gears. With their bank accounts, they can hire chefs and go to those posh gyms that don’t even stink like Swamp Thing’s socks. Sure, we can just laugh at them pissing their money away on an unsafe diet, but like I said: I’ve been on the business end of an NG tube more than once, and it’s no laughing matter. Someone should swap out these fucknuts’ nutrient packets with a colostomy bag.

Burning out

I missed my usual Monday post a few weeks ago. Technically, you could almost count this post as a “miss,” too. It’s a symptom of an ongoing problem that has come to a head.

Lately, I really don’t have anything to write about. Some might say that was the case even when I do write; I’m not exactly eloquently expressing the human condition on this blog. My posts are more like crayon scrawlings on a Five Guys wrapper. Anyway, the fact remains that I’ve been having some severe writers’ block, and much to my chagrin, most of the time when I finally dredge up something to write about…it ends up being something I already posted years ago! We’re not talking about expounding on a previous subject; I mean that I completely forgot that I had already written about it, and nearly posted the same bullshit twice.

I’m even starting to burn out on my Green Lantern blog; there’s always new comic releases to cover there, so running out of stuff to write about is never an issue. But the stories just aren’t as good as my old favorites (nothing ever is), even though some of the new stuff is fun to read. Plus, even though the current books aren’t as buried in events and massive crossovers as they were up until about a year ago, there’s still too many long-running arcs and tales that don’t end in the main books. I know that’s how modern comics work, but it’s still rather boring and annoying to me.

Maybe I just need a break. The last time this happened, I got rid of my blog entirely; that’s what I constantly refer to as the “old blog.” The hiatus only lasted about four months, though, and then I launched Text and Violence. (Granted, this blog has a different focus than my old one, which was more of a catchall.) I wouldn’t do the same again, as I’m very comfortable with how the blog runs and all that. I’d still leave it up and running, it’s just that posts may be few and far between over the next few months.

Comments?

The car dream

I don’t often remember my dreams; well, I do recall them upon waking, but they vanish from memory shortly after that. There’s a few here and there that have made an indelible impression upon my memory, but I’m not going to talk about today. Instead, we’re going to look at something a bit more commonplace.

Some of my dreams have recurring elements, and none more so than the car. It’s never a specific vehicle, per se, but more the behaviors of the car. No matter what else is going on in the dream, if I’m driving a car, the brakes never work correctly, nor does the gas pedal if I’m trying to reverse direction.

For example, I had a dream the other night where I was driving down a country road or something, and I couldn’t stop the car with the brakes. The car slowed, but wouldn’t stop. I was literally standing and stomping on the brake pedal in a futile effort to halt the vehicle. Later on, the car got turned around somehow, and I was stuck going in reverse. Brakes again did not work, so I was trying to carefully rev the engine forward to arrest my backward motion. It was dark and rainy, and the wheels were skidding a little, but I still couldn’t get any solid traction. This time I wasn’t going very fast; in fact, I was going down a narrow gravel path between log cabins or something, and people were wandering outside asking me what was wrong.

While most of these vehicular escapades are just sections in a larger dreamscape (that is, the dreams usually cut from the car part to something else entirely), not all of them end well.

One time, both myself and the car crashed through a guard rail in reverse and flew off a bridge, smacking into the waters below. Blackout, woke up, wondering what was going on. Another time, the steering wheel was broken off, so I had vise grips on the steering column and was attempting to weave through traffic that way as the car accelerated. Eventualy, I smashed into an overpass support pylon, but the whole thing happened in slow motion. And after the car crumpled, I was standing outside of the car, watching it happen as well as the events that preceded it; I think that sequence might have been a metaphor for the last conscious moments before death or something.

But I’m not a dream expert. Any oneiromancers out there want to tell me just what the hell this means?

Rolling my eyes at the arts

After skipping last Monday because I just couldn’t think of anything to write, here’s another block of grumbling somewhat related to my last entry.

I’m beginning to get sick of “the arts,” which is a very unpopular opinion, especially in this day and age. Believe it or not, my belief has nothing to do with my own failings in the art world. Instead, I place the blame squarely upon the World Wide Web.

At first, our globe-spanning public network was great for artistic pursuits. Instead of making a painting or sculpture or film and hoping you could get it shown at a local gallery, and then hoping that people would actually come by to view and enjoy it, the Internet in general (and the Web in particular) meant that millions of people could check out your artwork with a few mouse clicks.

But, as with many things on the Web these days, people quickly ruined it. Sure, the flood of absolutely godawful art was inevitable, but that’s hardly the problem. (Though if you’re ever going to browse art community sites like deviantArt, for the love of all you consider holy, leave the mature content filter on.) I suppose that the “geek chic” culture and the arts go hand-in-hand, but when the former became more popular, its denizens subconsciously became the same as those who tormented them during their adolescence. Self-proclaimed artists put themselves on pedestals, and indulged their narcissism. Those who disagreed were disparaged just as the artists themselves were years ago.

Social media especially has resurrected and reinforced the artsy stereotype of being aloof, “cultured,” and holier-than-thou. I suspect that’s because the art is no longer important: the social aspect is. Sure, there’s a celebration of art deeper down…but only if you fall within that specific social circle. That is the antithesis of what art is really supposed to be! Rather than enjoying art in all of its forms, groups seem to be more apt to look down their nose at “normal” folk while smirking over whatever new bohemian crapsody they’re promoting.

Beyond the more “traditional” arts, this behavior extends to more modern artistic pursuits and even media coverage. For example, far too many video game journalists have become “video game hipsters,” ostensibly to keep pace with the rise of “indie” developers. (Both groups have even adopted the hipster fashion sense. It’s weird.) Critical analysis has largely been replaced with snark and arrogance.

On the other side of the coin, art has become very much profit driven. A considerable number of artists on the Web, be they comic illustrators, parody shirt shops, or craftmakers, don’t even care about the art itself; they just want to make money. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but don’t puff yourself up as an “artist” when your primary function is that of a business.

I’m sure that there’s enclaves were this disgraceful behavior does not exist, where artists humbly continue to make art for its own sake. But I haven’t come across anything like that in quite some time. (It probably doesn’t help that I live in a town loaded with snooty artsy types.) I’ve actually heard selfies described as modern art, so I’m not holding out much hope.

Community deorganizer

By the conventional wisdom, I’m into all manner of things considered “nerdy” or “geeky” or whatever the cultural adjective du jour is. But, I generally cannot stand their associated fandoms and communities at large. The Internet has only made rabid fanboyism worse, despite also serving to bring fans together. Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about complaints and even death threats towards creators of comics, games, and other media due to some miniscule belief or alteration. Those few make fans as a whole look like terrible people, and I can’t fault the rest of the world’s misconception of nerds and geeks as a result. These communities and fandoms bring out the worst in people, and I stopped visiting most message boards many years ago for this exact reason. There’s maybe one or two left that I still visit, and even one of those may soon get the axe.

Beyond the extreme stuff, even the more commonplace and accepted geek community behaviors are starting to get my goat. For example, I’m tired of every fandom’s news/blog sites having become 90% snark with 10% actual news content thrown in seemingly as an afterthought. I know they’re just trying to get page hits and act holier-than-thou as part of the “geek chic” culture, but I don’t care. I want useful information and to discuss my hobbies with like-minded individuals who actually enjoy them, not deal with all of that hipster snobbery.

Furthermore, stereotypical fans seem to be rapidly becoming typical fans, and that annoys the shit out of me. I’ve written at length on this blog about how stereotypical fans of anything are irritating, and I’d wager that most other people feel the same way. (Especially towards those who don’t goddamned bathe.) For crying out loud, just look at the constant bitching and complaining about the upcoming Batman/Superman movie. We’ve seen nothing but a few test shots and logo, yet nerds just won’t stop whining like it’s the worst thing on Earth. Their complaints have zero merit, not to mention being hypocritical as similar comic book films seem to automatically get a pass. The fact that it’s Ben Affleck (who’s not a terrible actor) and Superman (who is a very trendy target) is enough for these dorks. At least wait until a trailer, or you know, the actual movie is released. Then you might have a leg to stand on. And even if the movie sucks…who cares? It’s just a movie. Get on with your lives.

Let me tell you another story. I help out at my local comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day. Now, it’s a given that an insanely busy day like that — easily the busiest day of the year — is going to draw every type of fan out of the woodwork. The highlight of the day is that we get a lot of older fans bringing their kids to the comics shop, often for the first time. They offer nothing but wild-eyed enthusiasm, and they don’t give a shit about which character or publisher is better. Y’know, the way it should be for all of us.

But, in too many cases than should exist, it was like a real-life message board in there. This year, it never got to the point where people were loudly arguing with each other over trivial comic book bullshit (though it has happened before!), but I saw every stereotype on display. It wasn’t too hot or humid of a day, but it got a little stinky in there. Later on, when I was explaining where manga was located, I used the common Americanized pronunciation “mang-ga” instead of the original Japanese “mon-ga.” Right after I got the word out…a thirtysomething fanboy immediately piped up to “correct” me, complete with the standard arrogant catchphrase: “Actually, it’s pronounced mon-ga.” It would’ve been annoying, but his voice sounded like a little flute. (Or Jeremy Freedman.) It took a lot of self control not to laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, FCBD was by no means a horrible experience. But these weird fans are seemingly increasing in number. Maybe as I’ve grown older, my tolerance for nerds has just been decreasing. I know I was bad when I was younger, but I also knew when to shut it off, so to speak. Plus, I’ve grown up since then, and thus learned from my mistakes. Some of these people are my age or older; what’s their excuse?

As such, I’ve discovered that I enjoy my hobbies a lot more on my own. Considering that I do not share most of my interests with most of my close friends, this isn’t too much of a leap. Sure, I figured maybe I was at fault at first, given my apparent inability to get along with most normal people. But then I realized that people as a group just tend to argue and complain more than anything else, and with fanboys, it’s multiplied a hundredfold. I no longer consider myself a nerd, or geek, or whatever, and I don’t want any part of their communities. They can all just fuck off.

(Afterword: There is a bright spot amongst all of this. The only fan community I’ve found lately that’s been overwhelmingly positive and accepting is that of Gunpla. Which you wouldn’t expect, as anime fans are just as notorious as comic fans [if not more so] when it comes to bitching and complaining…but that seems to evaporate when it comes to model kits. I don’t understand it, and I’m certainly not used to anything remotely like this during my lifetime, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.)