Here's all the stuff I tried to post in December when the Blogging programs weren't working for me. I'd try and end up with blank posts. So I back-logged them and now that Blogger is working for me again, here they are.
12/08/2005 - All but done with the semester! WooHoo!!
12/09/2005 - "The Straight Dude's Guide to 'Brokeback Mountain'"
posted here in it's entirety from: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10342237/
The straight dude's guide to "Brokeback"
Our intrepid gay columnist has sage advice for his straight brethren
By Dave White
Updated: 7:26 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2005
You are a heterosexual man. And you have no personal beef with gay people. You're educated and fairly socially liberal and occasionally listen to NPR and you don't like to see anyone bashed or discriminated against. You're no homophobe. You're proud of yourself.
But your girlfriend/wife/common-law/female or whoever loves that adorable Jake Gyllenhaal has already stated her intentions. When it's her turn to pick the Saturday night date-movie, you're seeing "Brokeback Mountain."
"But I am a heterosexual man," you''' thinking, "very, very, very, very straight." And you're kind of freaking out as the release date quickly approaches, and even the expression "release date" is making you kind of jittery. You're hoping to remind your female life partner that, while you feel gay people are very wonderful, colorful, witty additions to the human population and that Ellen sure is fun to watch dance in the credit card commercial and that Tom Hanks really deserved that Academy Award for whatever that movie was where he died at the end, that you are very, very, very, very straight and that it should exempt you from seeing Adorable Jake... um... do "it" with Heath Ledger. You really don't even want to know what "it" entails because you've lived this long without finding out. You're thinking the words "red-blooded," as in "I am a red-blooded American male, etc," don't sound so retro anymore.
And yet, you're still going to see it whether you like it or not. This necessarily presents a dilemma: how to make her happy and endure your first gay-themed movie where guys actually make out on a very big screen right in front of your face? And that's where I come in. I'm a red-blooded American male homosexual movie critic who's already seen "Brokeback Mountain." And I could just tell you how great the film is, that it's really powerful and moving and all that, but that isn't what you want to hear. So I have some viewing tips for you, my straight brothers. I promise I'm only here to help...
1. Accept the fact that this is all your fault in the first place. You were the one who was all excited to take your ladyfriend to "Jarhead" anyway and when you got there and saw that it consisted of lot of AJ (how this article will refer to Adorable Jake from here on) running around all sweaty, muscular and shirtless in the desert, doing a sexy dance wearing nothing but a Santa Claus cap over his "area" and then simulating a big gay orgy with his fellow grunts, you were like, "When does the killing start in this movie?" while your woman thought, "Oh yes, more Santa Dancing please." You brought it on yourself.
2. Realize now that you have to shut up. You kind of have no idea how important it is for you to shut up. But it's crucial. I was recently at a press screening for another movie and I overheard four guys in the theater lobby talking about "Brokeback." They were resolute in their refusal to go see it and they couldn't stop loudly one-upping each other about how they had no interest, were not "curious," and were, in the words of the loudest guy in the group, "straight as that wall over there." Oh, the wall with poster for the Big Gay Cowboy Movie on it? That straight wall? Well here's something that everyone else now knows but that guy: he's probably gay. Being silent marks you as too cool to care about how other men see you. It means you're comfortable and not freaked by your own naked shadow. Did Steve McQueen go around squawking about how straight-as-a-wall he was? No, he didn't. He was too busy being stoic and manly.
3. The good news - there's less than one minute of making out. It's about 130 minutes long and 129 of them are about Men Not Having Sex. So yes, maybe it will be the longest almost-60 seconds of your life, but there it is. Less than one minute. In fact, it's 129 minutes of really intense longing and sadness and unabashedly weepy, doomed love story. In a very real way that's a lot more porny than any of the man-on-man canoodling that made it past the editing room. But if you're going to be a big sissy about it then you can go get her that Diet Coke and jumbo popcorn during the first major sex scene. And no plugging your ears and singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb," either. All singing is inherently gay, is why. Plus you'll be in a movie theater and some big bruiser gay guy might kick your butt. Then you'll feel even more emasculated.
4. Remember that it's a western. And the script was adapted by none other than Total Dude Larry McMurtry. That guy is the coolest western writer in the country. He wrote "Lonesome Dove." You love "Lonesome Dove." In fact, the only problem with remembering that it's a western is having to ignore the fact that most westerns are about 1000 percent gay. If you think I'm making that up, just go watch "Red River" again.
5. They're tortured and you get to feel sorry for them. Just like in that Tom Hanks movie, these gay guys get kicked around a lot. It's set in the 1960s and the characters played by Heath and AJ don't even know they're gay. They think they're just regular straight guys who suddenly find themselves all turned on by each other and, honestly, don't even really understand why they're awash in yucky, hypnotic love feelings. Actually wait... you know what? Don't think about that too much. Better if you just forget about the "why" of it all and start rooting for these underdogs. Pretend they're like Sean Astin in "Rudy."
6. Anne Hathaway, who plays AJ's wife, gets topless. The End. I think it's fair to report this and here's why: as a gay man, the only reason I even agreed to sit through the really stupid remake of "The Longest Yard" was because one of my friends told me you get to see the wrestler Goldberg in the shower. In one scene. That's it. I sat through the whole thing for one scene. In that respect, my hetero pals, we are all brothers deep inside... it's just a different brand of naked flesh that ignites our prurience.
7. And finally, it's just your turn. Really, it is, and you know it. Imagine how many thousands of hetero love stories gay people sit through in their lives. So you kind of owe us. Now get out there and watch those cowboys make out.
Dave White is the film critic for Movies.com and has a not-all-that-gay blog at www.livejournal.com/users/djmrswhite.
Â© 2005 MSNBC Interactive
I am most amused... I saw this movie last weekend, and while it is almost completely wrong, wrong, wrong... Matt MacFayden was really hot as Darcy, and Keira wasn't as bad as I thought she'd be. This is what happens when I go in with expectations that couldn't be lower, I am usually pleasantly surprised. I thought Matt put in some subtle little looks on Darcy's part when Elizabeth's back was turned that were very telling and a good addition to the smouldering that Colin gave us. It was an interesting interpretation of Darcy at least. And of course, the script comes near to butchering the story... And I don't know what the costumers were thinking. The dress that Bingley's sister is wearing at their ball has straps just slightly wider than spaghetti straps - that can't be right. The women don't even have corsets on for half the movie, and at least half of the time they do, they are the wrong corsets... And there's a line where one of the girls is complaining that the corset being tightened is painful... again... It wasn't Keira this time, but for pity's sake! And there are some distinctly Bronte-esque scenes. And the last scene, while it had me grinning like a mad fool, was total invention of the script writers... But miracle of miracles, Zinzi saw it with us and she *loved* it! Anyone who knows the kinds of movies she usually has that reaction to knows just how amazing that is! 'Cause usually she'd have to be tied down and her eyes would have to be pried open to get her to watch a traditionally romantic movie, let alone something based on one of Jane's novels, but she really liked this, and was even asking me questions about what was going on during certain scenes cause she really wanted to know... Which is something that the filmmakers should have done better! There are parts where I know if I didn't know the story so well, I wouldn't have a clue what was going on, and the dialog is several scenes was unintelligible. On to the amusing article!
The importance of being Darcy
Matthew MacFayden has a tough job filling Colin Firth's smoldering shoes
By Mary Beth Ellis
Updated: 10:24 a.m. ET Nov. 11, 2005
I was speaking to an older colleague about the latest essay I was writing; I informed her it concerned a new movie based on "Pride and Prejudice," which she last read at approximately the same time the Earth was first cooling.
And first words out of her mouth were: "Oh! Mr. Darcy!"
Yes, Mr. Darcy. Thanks loads, Jane Austen, for ruining generations of perfectly good women with your ballgowns and your rolling barouches and your Mr. Darcy. Many are the ladies who wait in vain for their own personal, portable Darcy, complete with estate in Derbyshire.
The number has increased since 1995, when Colin Firth took on the role for a BBC miniseries. Colin was Action Figure Darcy. He fences! He swims! He bathes! Naked! He gives and fixes and scowls and rides his horse and just in general Firths all over the place, and we are much the better for it.
He also stares, a lot. There is a great deal of staring on the part of Darcy, mostly at Elizabeth Bennet, who occasionally stares back, which in the Regency era I suppose was the equivalent of text messaging.
A difficult act to follow
Primarily, what sets Colin apart from all other Darcys is his hair. It truly is wonderful hair. The man rides thither and yon - sometimes yon twice in the same scene - and not once does he suffer hathead.
You kind of get the feeling that Darcy, in college, was not a frat boy. He wasn't showing up at your doorstep with Game Cube and a 12-pack of Natural Light and calling it a romantic evening. Darcy would at least change out of the ball cap he had been wearing for the past eight consecutive days first. He's a difficult act to follow.
But now the Lord has now bestowed upon us a new incarnation of Darcy, now played by Matthew MacFayden, which' good luck, Matt. Sometimes actors simply define roles; I cannot imagine Professor Higgins without Rex Harrison, Harold Hill without Robert Preston, or, of course, Larry Gigli without Ben Affleck. So has Colin's stare enamored any number of Austen fans.
It's all in the smolder, you see. For in today's culture, there is little time to smolder; the next episode of "The Apprentice" is roaring down the pike, or the plane is circling the airport yet again, or our cell phone is insistently informing us, via a tinny version of "La Bamba," that our best friend is currently standing 10 feet away - where are we? I don't think modern society loves Elizabeth and Darcy as much as we covet their spare time. House parties would last up to six weeks at a time in the 1880s. Who, outside of Paris Hilton, has that much alcohol on hand?
Among his other fine attributes, Colin Firth's Darcy possesses the ability to selectively bilocate. It really is quite extraordinary; one moment he's brooding on horseback, the next his face is floating to the forefront of Elizabeth's mirror or carriage window, issuing dark, repetitive, and sonorous pronouncements about how very icky he finds her family. "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you - but your mother is horrid and will have to stay in the basement. Dad needs to go too, and I seriously hate your sisters. And how attached are you, really, to the family dog?"
Darcy also maintains quite the respectable crib, and, it's safe to imagine, the most pimped-out carriages available. The driveway alone could serve as a landing strip for the space shuttle. And the pond - all proper estates require a pond. All I have is a sad puddle of warm beer beneath the refrigerator.
And you just know that Darcy gets into all the best clubs, too. He really is the ultimate date. There would be no standing at the hostess station, light-up seating alert device limply in hand for Darcy. No, he walks into Friday's, and he sits right down!
Shall we dance?
Impressive, too, is this whole business of dancing. I welcome any new adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," Firthed or un-Firthed, so long as the dancing is done properly. People in Regency England didn't dance quite the way we do. There was, for example, precious little grinding. Smoke machines were rarely used. I doubt lasers made much of an appearance. On the other hand - fortunate generation! - everyone was spared the Electric Slide.
Physical contact between unmarried men and women was pretty much limited to a lot of bowing and fan fluttering. In dancing there was a great deal of twirling, which - and I say this as a square dancer from way back - is a lot harder than it sounds. I've thrown off the rotation of the planet with a poorly directed alamand left. But Colin manages this admirably, and with a remarkably small amount of dorkiness. He even skips in a manly manner.
Darcy, however, may not be well suited for the long haul. Once all the smoldering is done - what is there to burn after, really? A really excellent pot roast on Michaelmas, or whatever in the world people yearned for once plights were trothed? I mean, Pemberly is quite the hizzy, but how many chandeliers does one person need?
And is he really the best judge of character? Look at his friends: He hangs out with Wickham, who is the leading candidate as a spokesman for Rohypnol, and the overly smiley Bingley, who never met a pile of dog poop he didn't like. "Colin-as-Darcy," I would say - for I'm sure Colin Firth prefers to be addressed as nothing but - "Colin-as-Darcy, you may stay for as long as you like, but your friends are only allowed inside when I'm off at Pilates class."
However, given the bilocation and the preference for pond-swimming, I suppose I could settle in for a nice life of horses and twirling. An 80-year-old Colin Firth is still far preferable to a 27-year-old Kevin Federline.
Freelance writer Mary Beth Ellis runs http://www.blondechampagne.com/, from whence she leads a merry chase, or plights her troth, or whatever.
© 2005 MSNBC Interactive
After working really hard on my Cinxia sweater (pattern can be found here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall05/PATTcinxia.html ) for weeks and weeks I found today that it is undoubtedly going to look like crap. I don't know if I made a size too big or what, although I'm making the size according to my exact bust size. And my yarn is the *exact* same gauge as the one the pattern writer used... so I don't get it. I'm almost done with the collar, so I could try it on easily while it was still on the needles... It's not that the fabric is too bulky. It's that there's too much of it in the wrong places. The back of the sweater looks like it's a bed jacket, very loose, almost like a gathered skirt, with no shape at all (I know what you might say, that it was decreased wrong, but I was very careful and counted stitches the whole way at every step and sometimes in between. That is definitely not the issue). The front might look okay after it's blocked, but I can tell there is no hope for the back of it. Which sucks 'cause I was really hoping that it would look like the one pictured at knitty... I might try to make the next size down to see if that was the problem at some point in the future, but for now I have a lot of ripping to do and I'll just move on to something else.
12/13/2005 - Done with exams, thank goodness! I also got my second archaeology paper back from Dr. White. She gave me an 83. I do not think it deserved an 83. Her comments on it indicated that she only seemed to have a problem with one sentence, claiming that it was, in fact, not a sentence. Actually, it is a sentence. I don't write incomplete sentences in academic writing... I even have a hard time managing it in e-mails. Plus, Word would have picked up an incomplete sentence and I would have fixed it. So it is not an incomplete sentence. She also expressed that she would have liked to see me explain "cultural history method" more fully. Personally, I think we're beyond that, but whatever. Other than that, her comments said that it was "very good, but difficult to understand." This is one of the lowest grades I've *ever* gotten on a paper, let alone a paper in college. I admit it was not my best paper, but it did not deserve an 83. An 87 maybe, if one is being particularly nitpicky, but not an 83. I take it as further evidence that Dr. White doesn't like me. Every time I ask her a question, her face takes on an expression like she just tasted or smelled something nasty.
If that weren't enough, when I turned in my exam, there were two stacks of papers facedown in front of her on her desk of approximately the same height. I couldn't tell which one were the exams, so I asked, "Which are the exams?" with a smile. She rolled her eyes, snatched my test out of my hand and with a small disgusted noise, put it on the correct pile. I blinked and left the room. I may have slammed the door (I was the second to last to finish and the other person was handing her the test when I did that, so I didn't bother anyone but her). Her behavior was entirely uncalled for. I'm at a loss as to what I did that so offended her this semester. It's very true that she told me around midterms that she wanted me to participate more in class discussions and that I didn't really do that because I hadn't a thing to say, but honestly? Where's the professionalism on her part? So if I get a B in her class, I put it entirely on her because in any other professor's standards, I've given A work or near enough to it all semester.
I'm lucky that this is only the second prof that has been this unprofessional toward me. The first one was Dr. David Underwood, professor of Humanities. He was untenured and let go a semester after I had his class, I think it was because our entire class (and probably his other classes too) wrote very long complaints about him during the instructor evaluation. We were all very vocal about it, since he was not in the room while we were writing them and they went straight to the Dean's office for review, reminding each other of shitty things he had done, not missing a thing. But he was unprofessional with the entire class (although I do think I got a B in there specifically because he didn't like me). He was one of those sleazy kinds of guys who would flirt with the blonde sorority girls. I e-mailed him asking if he could let me know what grade he had given me on our class journal project and he never e-mailed me back. All other grades indicated that I should have had a solid A and the journal grade was supposed to be based on completion, not content, and it was complete, so I don't know what could have happened other than he gave me a B because he didn't like me or I was very blatant about my disgust for him. And since the only grade that prof's are prohibited by the school to give by e-mail are final exam grades, he had no legitimate reason not to e-mail me. To put it simply, he sucked.
I am *so* over all the bs at USF! Thank G-d this semester is over! ::sighs:: Now, on to preparing for the holidays!
OMG! Joe Redner has just publicly announced to the Tampa community that he's gay and that that's why he's suing the county in Federal court for discrimination. He said that no one can prove that he is and no one can prove that he isn't, but that the reason that his previous suit over the County Commission prohibiting the recognition and funding of Gay Pride events was thrown out of court was that because the prohibition did not directly impact him... which is bs if you ask me... but since he's publicly announced this, the suit can't be thrown out for that reason again... So it's entirely possible and (knowing him) probable that he's just saying this so he can sue, although he says that he isn't lying about it because that would perjury. One might point out that he owns at least three all female strip clubs in Hillsborough County along with others in NYC and Las Vegas... Not to mention, this guy is like a hometown version of Hefner. Despite that, I still love this guy just cause he's such a thorn in a lot of conservative politicians' sides down here, and would have voted for him to get a City Council seat the last several times he's tried for it if I could have (unfortunately, I'm not a resident of the city). For more on that, see my post from earlier this year on this case.
In reaction, Rhonda Storms, the leading bigot on the Commission, said that the reason they can and should prohibit public money and authorities from supporting Pride events is because "[gays] are not a legally protected minority." Well, Rhonda, the Jews weren't protected by law in Germany either, but that sure as hell didn't make the Holocaust okay. (I know Jon Stewert has said that we really need to stop jumping to the Hitler/Holocaust analogy because it demeans the evilness of Hitler and the seriousness of the Holocaust, but it's the first analogy that pops into my head and one that is readily recognized by the most people. Sorry, Jon.)
In other news, there is a group of people trying to get Gay/Straight Alliances (a GSA) banned from high schools in Hillsborough County. They have petitioned the School Board to take care of that. The School Board however has put together a commission to study non-academic clubs at all high schools cause it doesn't want to get sued. Pretty much, it's looking like if they ban the GSAs, they will be banning the Chess Club, Star Trek Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and all the rest too. I don't think that they will. I hope that they won't. If the Blake High School GSA is still as large and active as it was the year I left, they'll probably have representatives, at least, show up at the January School Board meeting, where the Board will be reviewing the commission's findings. I know Equality Florida and the local GLSEN people will be there.
The parents that are protesting it probably don't even know what a GSA is... They say that they don't want their minor children participating in a GSA and think no minor children should be in a club that focuses on sex. Well, I'll have them know that sex has nothing to do with it. It's about charity events, peer counseling, and awareness programs within the school to educate the student body that there really is no difference between gay and straight high school students and people in general, and most importantly, there is no reason to harass or make fun of students who are different. We had to fight for it at Blake, despite the school being affectionately known by some as "Bi High" and that students from other high schools at sporting events and the like would often ask students from Blake, "So, you go to Blake? Does that mean you're gay?" The principal did everything he could to block the GSA from forming, up to and including intimidating the faculty against sponsoring the club, and that I know is a fact because a faculty member admitted that to me. Finally, in my senior year, the efforts of Bryan (aka "Big Gay Bryan," the president) and Jorel (the VP and a total hottie) paid off and we found a sponsor that wasn't intimidated by our principal and we had at least 45 people at our inaugural meeting. Even in the 2000/2001 yearbook it said, "The GSA is not as new as some people would like to think." I don't remember ever talking about sex in that club. We didn't even take a census of which students were gay, which were bi, which were straight, and which were questioning, but we were supportive if it came up in the course of our usual activities. As far as I remember, the big thing that year was getting teachers to participate in our "Safe Place" campaign, which meant that they would put stickers in their front classroom windows next to the door to show students being bullied or harassed in the halls could feel safe about taking refuge in their classrooms. Now, that might sound like an obvious thing, something all teachers would want to be a part of, but it's not. We worked hard and only got a few out of dozens of teachers to post the stickers. We also had a number of members participate in the Tampa AIDS Walk that year. The year after I left, when I was a Freshman in college, the GSA at Blake grew to such an extent that they had to hold meetings in the cafeteria because there were no classrooms large enough to fit everyone who wanted to be a part of it.
12/14/2005 - Heard that Colin Farrell is in rehab for exhaustion and dependency on prescription drugs. Poor darling. He needs to sleep more. He's said before that he has had chronic insomnia since he was a child, it was only a matter of time before it caught up to him. He also works way *too* much and knows it. His publicist has released info on how the addiction came about. He injured his back several months ago and was prescribed pain killers for it and has become dependent. At least he was responsible enough to catch himself fairly early and didn't let it go on for years. In somewhat related news, 30 Seconds to Mars has had to cancel some of their show dates because Jared has injured his back. Poor darling... Probably climbed one too many towers or something...