The Useless Adults — Tropes Thursday

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You ever notice that when you’re a teenager that all adults are just useless and incompetent, save for a few.

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I’ve been binging on Buffy lately, and literally all the adults except for Giles and Buffy’s mom, Joyce, are downright unhelpful, useless, incompetent, or evil/insidious.

And there are many other examples — every single John Hughes movie, any kind of horror plot where teens are involved. Stephen King’s IT, Hocus Pocus, a lot of the Goosebumps stories, Lost Boys, Hook. Or, where teens are heroes — Power Rangers, Animorphs, Ender’s Game. Cartoons — Rugrats, Fairly Odd Parents, South Park — whose sheriff is illiterate, Avatar and Korra (Bumi, am I right?), Spongebob.

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Is this a thing that really appeals to teenagers? Reinforcing that adults are stupid? Or is this something that adults who write these things think will appeal to teenagers. And this is more so on reoccurring themes in a particular author’s work. For instance, incompetent adults, from a teen’s perspective, isn’t something Stephen King writes about all the time. But there is a trend with shows aimed at pre-teens and teenagers such as One Tree Hill, Power Rangers, Animporhs, etc…

But it begs the question, are adults really that stupid and incompetent?

I mean, I look at myself at 15-17 and I was a hormonal, emotional, obnoxious weirdo. Still a weirdo. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. But it is humbling to look back on those times and realize how far I’ve come.

And I don’t think it is a “respecting authority” thing, but showing constantly that adults are useless might reinforce to young people to not trust adults.

We aren’t the end all be all, but seeking wisdom from older folks is important. I call my parents with questions all the time. Like taxes, insurance, medical stuff, etc…

Because they know more about this than I do.

I mean, it does encourage kids to be more independent, which I fully support. But can we get some good role models…

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The Crapsack World — Tropes Thursday

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Bring on the existential dread for this one.

What I’ve read about the crapsack world is that you can only really see how bad it is when taking an outside perspective instead of being directly immersed and in the moment.

And I’ve felt that way all week.

I took a step back and allowed for some introspection, and we truly live in a crapsack world.

On a Macro level, we’re totally outraged about corrupt politicians until one of the Kardashians shows her twat and then everybody forgets. We don’t care about people dying overseas from warfare and starvation. We don’t care about females in the third world, who have real and actual problems arising out of true sexism including being denied education, forced marriage, FGM,… but we are worried about a man having his legs slightly open on the subway so as to not crush his testicles. There are more negative things publicized than positive things because positive things don’t sell. Drug companies would rather treat a disease than cure it, because profit. People being executed for believing differently than someone else.

And I could go on with all the fucked up, large scale things in this world.

But we know they exist.

On a micro level, I’m probably going to be stuck working with a bunch of bitches at a job I moderately like making just enough money to get by for the rest of my life.

And that thought is bleak…

But people are still try to be positive through all this crap. Without a little bit of positivity, we wouldn’t know how shitty everything is. It would just be. Without evil, there wouldn’t be any good. Without dark, no light.

It’s all about perception.

So, through all this, I will try to be positive. Because at the end of the day, that’s all I have to keep this truly cliche soul crushing negativity from overwhelming me.

It’s difficult, though, when those positive things are fleeting. You have to appreciate them for what they are when they happen, but when it changes, move on and try to find that happy thing again.

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The Affably Evil Villain — Tropes Thursday

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So, I’m rewatching Farscape for the millionth time (this time with commentaries) and I have to say one of my favorite villains in Sci Fi history is Scorpius. He fits the trope perfectly — he is very much affably evil. Yes, he put a neural clone of himself in John’s head to get wormhole tech and has pretty much been torturing him and chasing him around for a few years… but, appearances and actions aside, he’s a pretty nice dude. His underlings seem to like him and remain pretty loyal. He rewards them well.

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He also fits into the Magnificent Bastard trope because he is charismatic, he’s got a goal, he’s brilliant, devious and all around a smooth operator.

There’s one scene in the episode where Rigel and D’Argo meet with Scorpius and Braca at this 50’s style alien diner and this bad guy knocks the waitress into Scorpius. And he very politely rights her and gets back to business.

And at the end of it all, he is the lesser evil. His master plan was to acquire a weapon, made from wormholes, to end the evil empire. In his head, his ends justified the ways.

Kind of the same with Lord Voldemort — he is charismatic enough to acquire followers willing to do his bidding. Earlier in his life it was through his charm, and some intimidation, and later in life, it’s mostly intimidation. But, Ralph Fiennes did definitely add some extra umpf, especially as far as this trope goes, to make him seem more affably evil — like his awkward hug with Draco near the end of Deathly Hallows.

I recently watched Luke Cage and there are some awesome villains who embody this trope such as Cottonmouth, played wonderfully by Mahershala Ali.

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Some of my other favorites include Jubal Early from Firefly, Magneto (I love me some Fassbender), Robot Devil from Futurama, all the ones in Buffy, Bill from Kill Bill… and speaking of Tarantino, I love the the hitmen in Pulp Fiction and the brothers in From Dusk til Dawn.

The reason this trope plays so true in my life is most of my “villains” have been affably evil. Especially The Psychological Abuser. You get sucked in and you don’t realized you’re being used or abused. This person was so kind, so well spoken, charismatic — but manipulative and deceptive. For instance, one of the things I did for him — which I didn’t know the full story at the time — was “internet stalk” his ex-wife and get her contact information for him. He told me it was an old friend he want to reconnect with or something — it was all bullshit. It was years later that I found out it was his ex.

And that’s just a cherry on the cake.

So, in sum — I like my villains two dimensional in real life so I know what they are. But in film, books, and television, I like them with much more depth.

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** Tropes play a large part in life; Merriam Webster defines it as something common place or cliche — but life is cliches. This is a series I am starting as a writing exercise to work on my analytical skills and write for fun. It is meant to be comical and informative. Feedback is always welcome!

The Illustration of the Diversity of the Word — Tropes Thursday

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Caution — strong language ahead.

I recently rewatched the Boondock Saints for the millionth time. It’s what happens when you don’t have internet.

And probably my favorite scene is when Rocco, with his six shooter, knocks on the door to assassinate the Russian Mobster, but the Saint’s already did it, with their “stupid fucking rope”

Classic cinema…

But can the word “fuck” really be used as all parts of speech?

I can attest, that in five o’clock traffic… yes. Completely yes.

Or in the kitchen.

Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for an omelette:

“Two fucking eggs, some fucking chives, one fucking knob of fucking butter, and show some fucking PASSION!”

I concur.

I’m not going to lie… for a lady, I can safely say, the “F-Bomb” is my very good friend.

For the longest, though, I didn’t swear in front of my parents.

The first one, I let slip.

And then the torrent unleashed. I guess at that point my family realized I was an adult.

I had one relative, who I’m not particularly fond of, get on to me for saying the “F-Word”

My response:

“Fuck that.”

For the longest time I never said “goddamn”… but I do now. Might have to do with my abdication of religion. It still bother’s S.O.

“Fuck that.”

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** Tropes play a large part in life; Merriam Webster defines it as something common place or cliche — but life is cliches. This is a series I am starting as a writing exercise to work on my analytical skills and write for fun. It is meant to be comical and informative. Feedback is always welcome!

The Nightmare Fuel — Tropes Thursday

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Recently I had a bad dream, which had spawned this idea for Tropes Thursday. The dream was that The Psychological Abuser had come beating on my door with a posse demanding a check he’d written me for about $5000 six years ago. Of course, I’d cashed the thing YEARS ago in my dream, but it’s the fact he showed up at my door demanding money.

I don’t ever really have dreams about ghosts and goulies, but when I do, I sleep with the light on the rest of the night. When I was younger, I was an avid lucid dreamer. When I’d wake up from a nightmare, I’d go back to sleep into the same dream and change the outcome, because I knew I was dreaming, and resolve the dream. I remember I could shake myself out of bad dreams, too. I’d realize I was dreaming and shake myself awake. It was kind of difficult because of sleep paralysis. The dream would change and I’d feel like I had broken my neck and I was trying to shake it back into place or something. Then I’d wake up.

But as I grow older, my nightmares center around anxiety things — running late, forgetting something, running from something, and money.

I still have dreams about running late for the school bus — and haven’t ridden on an actual school bus in 10 years.

But nightmare fuel is different for everyone. I mean, blood, guts, and gore don’t bother me. Well, at least on screen. I have a very sensitive gag reflex, so in person, maybe not so much. Especially if I can smell the blood.

However, demonic shit — I actively avoid watching that sort of thing. I grew up very religious and even when I grew to be an agnostic, I couldn’t shake the belief something else insidious, just outside our periphery, existed. Also, I’ve seen some shit.

When I lived at one of my first off campus residences in undergrad, I was sitting on the back porch, stealing my neighbor’s internet, and saw this black sheet thing floating down the road.

No shit!

I really like to go on walks. I lived in a pretty safe area and when I couldn’t sleep, I’d go out and walk. I lived near campus, so there were always folks around all hours of the night. I had a power line about 20 meters in front of me and the cables stretched across the road. I saw something obscure the light at the top of the electrical pole, go across the lines above the road, and down in the bushes. I didn’t think anything of it until I was walking by the powerlines and saw something lunge at me in my peripheral vision, out of the bushes. I looked and saw nothing, but I hauled ass home.

I recently watched Insidious, which is a movie that gives me chills. I like how well done it is. It doesn’t follow the horror movie cliches and stupidness. It is genre savvy — the family moves houses thinking the house itself is haunted, they call in an expert that actually seems pretty credible, jump scares aren’t randomly inserted — they are artfully built up and purposeful, the music (holy GOD this is scary),

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But… it didn’t give me nightmares.

One move that gives me nightmares, even though I’ve seen it a hundred times and own it, is Event Horizon.

The meat grinder “containment” area. The portal to literal hell, found not by faith, but by scientific inquiry. The eye scream! The creepy as hell distress call.

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It’s funny, how this movie, seemed hokey when originally released is now a cult classic. It is available on Netflix US. Unsure about international. Definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. But if you are sensitive to that kind of thing, don’t watch… or just don’t watch at night.

For me, ideas seem to scare me more than visuals.

For instance, in Donnie Darko, the image of Frank is pretty startling, but the idea that the world is going to end and you are going to die. That would terrify me and definitely transfer over into nightmare form.

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But, I do have to say, my favorite horror movie has to be, hands down, The Shining. Holy crap. The little nuances Kubrick set up to add unease to the audience. Also being trapped in a hotel like that. I mean, yeah, as an introvert I’d be okay for a while. But for five months Jack, Wendy, and Danny are stuck up there.

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I love the Kubrick move a great deal. I really want to read the book, but I hear the book is entirely different from the movie; Kubrick wanted to add more layers and his own twist. I heard King wasn’t very happy about it.

In other media, I purchased Alien: Isolation and I cannot finish it. It’s different when you are watching a film and can’t change the outcome. It’s different when you’re in the middle of a video game and are actively being hunted. What’s so wonderful and scary about this title is that the Alien hunting you has a specially designed AI where instead of following a specific path, it hunts you.

The music in the game adds a whole other level of fear. When the alien is near you, the music crescendos, it makes your skin crawl and gives you chills.

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The first time I encountered the Alien, I ran away, hid in a locker for 20 minutes, then it found me and ate me.

I’ve tried a few more times to complete it, but damn… I have to put it down.

Haven’t had any weird dreams about it, but probably one of the most terrifying forms of media I’ve ever engaged in.

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Other things I’d consider non traditional nightmare fuel are deaths. I remember having a dream about my dad passing away in a car accident. It was so surreal and bizarre — kind of like Jacob’s Ladder. Nothing made sense.

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And it turned out in my dream my dad was still alive.

And in real life too….

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** Tropes play a large part in life; Merriam Webster defines it as something common place or cliche — but life is cliches. This is a series I am starting as a writing exercise to work on my analytical skills and write for fun. It is meant to be comical and informative. Feedback is always welcome!

The Rocket Scientist — Tropes Thursday

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“This ain’t rocket science” I catch myself saying quite a bit.

Whether it’s about driving, adulting, cooking, repairing things, etc…

But is it really?

Or does it trivialize the struggles of others?

There is a learning curve for everything. For instance, some people can set fire to their kitchen when trying to boil water. Some people, I know quite a few, are in their 30’s and can’t/refuse to drive.

Now I’m not one of those people who will coddle you because you’re afraid or whiny. I will throw someone in the proverbial fire to teach them a lesson, if need be. However, I have a great deal of sympathy for folks who are unable to learn something due to a systemic learning delay or PTSD — something medical or inherently psychological. In a way, I feel that those coddled people need to learn the hard lesson and that people these days aren’t party to true adversity.

For those people, hearing “It’s not rocket science.” Is the least of their worries.

Some things are rocket science for me — not because I can’t understand the concept, but because it is overwhelming, daunting, and complicated i.e. taxes… which I still haven’t done and really need to do.

Or dealing with my vehicle. When I had my wonderful and amazing Red 1989 Ford Bronco with typical 1980’s red interior, my dad taught me what everything under the hood did, how to check it, how to fix it, and then some.

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Even though my dad and I replaced all the brake lines, rotors, brake pads, transmission fluid, steering fluid, distributor module, battery, tires, and cleaned the carpet with a toothbrush and Woolite… I still had to part with it. It got to the point where the transmission decided to crap out and that was that.

With my new car and all it’s fancy electrical systems, I’m scared to pop the hood or change my oil. I don’t want to mess it up — rocket science for me.

But having my old Bronco was such a learning experience for me, especially in dealing with vehicles. I learned how the entire power system for a vehicle works including the starter, coil, alternator, etc…

But I digress…

I guess what prompted this trope this week is that I’m still training new people… but they keep making little noob errors. But this morning I had a big error that it explicitly states not to do in our very detailed 15 page procedure document for how to do that job.

And I hate having to be the person to QA their work because a) it puts me into a supervisory position and b) I’m not a supervisor and if they want me to do supervisory work, my salary needs to reflect.

But, our job isn’t rocket science. We have a data system with clear cut instructions on how to operate said system and how to perform our job with scripts on what to say to patients and doctors.

It’s not that hard.

Maybe it’s the learning curve.

I’m convinced anyone can learn to be a rocket scientist if they have enough time and stick-to-it-ness, and resources (seriously… when I took the GRE in 2012, I hadn’t had a math class since 2007. I re-learned algebra, trig, stats, and some calc from Youtube).

There is so much educational material out on the internet to learn from. I know certain universities have their entire course uncatalogued on line. When my mom was in school to become a medical assistant, I knew more medical stuff than she did. The only thing I’d need to learn is the practical things — taking BP, drawing blood, and other vitals.

The heart of the issue — people who cannot learn because of some actual delay and people who refuse to learn.

I haven’t the time for those who refuse to learn life lessons or need to have their hand held.

I guess, in that, I’m an enigma and a contrarian — I make a lot of concessions for people, like myself, who have anxiety issues. Conversely, if I’ve given you time to get over something and you don’t, I’m just gonna push you in the deep end and hope you swim.

The hardest lessons are the best lessons. They get engraved into your being.

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** Tropes play a large part in life; Merriam Webster defines it as something common place or cliche — but life is cliches. This is a series I am starting as a writing exercise to work on my analytical skills and write for fun. It is meant to be comical and informative. Feedback is always welcome!

The Southern Fried Genius — Tropes Thursday

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This is by far one of my favorite tropes.

With this political climate, and the urban disdain  for rural voters, and seeming to think them all uneducated ignorant rednecks, hillbillies, swamp people, etc… You’d be surprised how many folks who live in these rural areas are actually pretty smart.

For instance, my dad has a 10th grade education… but he can add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions in his head, and do proportions and trig in his head as well. He can also read and visualize industrial blueprints and could, theoretically, build a house from scratch by himself, including all the plumbing, electrical, and duct work. My dad, despite his lack of formal education, is one of the smartest people I know. Also, a master bow hunter.

It seems in this day and age, to be considered “smart” you need to have some fantastic college degree, but according to the law of supply and demand, anything that saturates the market has less value. Everyone has a college degree. The new high school diploma is a B.A. or B.S. The new bachelors degree is a masters degree and so forth.

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Now, when speaking with young people who dream of college because they are told by their teachers that the only way to be successful and make money is to go to college and get a degree, I tell them to go to trade school. Become a welder, electrician, HVAC, mechanic.

That’s where the money is — it’s not as glamorous as being a doctor or lawyer, and it’s hard work, but at the end of the day people need welders. People need mechanics and electricians, and plumbers, and carpenters, and seamstresses/tailors.

And to be quite honest, some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, like refinishing furniture, sewing, rewiring something, is what I’ve done with my hands.

I got off on a tangent….

Back to the Southern Fried Genius…

Probably my favorite one is John Crichton from Farscape:

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For folks who have never seen Farscape —  it’s essentially a space opera filmed in Australia with lots of leather which aired on SciFi in the early 2000’s and still holds up. It’s got some of my favorite characters and excellent writing, with goofy comedy.

Also, who can forget Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory:

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And there are tons of real life Southern Fried Geniuses: Mark Twain, Jim Henson, several of the Founding Fathers, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Carter, William Faulkner, MLK, etc…

Also, I’m from the South and boast an IQ of 136, aka, top 1% of people in the world. Not to brag or anything…

I guess what inspired this post is reading how urbanites are attributing the Trump win to rural dumb rednecks, which is not the case. Just because people live differently than you, even though we are cut from the same cloth in the same country with a lot of the same values, doesn’t make them any less smart. Some people are better than others at certain things. People’s life experiences define them, not which equally shitty person they voted for in an election. It’s like, for instance, with Brexit I literally read an opinion piece about how old people shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Seriously.

People have become so insular in their beliefs and anything that falls outside of it is worthy of scorn and contempt.

Look at my dad — on paper, he ain’t winning any awards, but I can call him up and ask him any question about my car, and he will immediately have an answer. I can ask him anything about refinishing furniture, and he’ll have an answer. I can ask him anything about plumbing, he’ll have an answer.

I might turn Tropes Thursday into a thing. Let me know what ya’ll think!

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** Tropes play a large part in life; Merriam Webster defines it as something common place or cliche — but life is cliches. This is a series I am starting as a writing exercise to work on my analytical skills and write for fun. It is meant to be comical and informative. Feedback is always welcome!