Friday, February 17, 2012

We can't ALL be the center of universe

The rules of the Internet are fairly simple:

  1. My opinions are right, and the things I like are the best.
  2. There will be no argument in this matter.
  3. If there is argument, you are wrong, stupid, fat, and if at all possible, a racist.
To clarify, the "I" is each person on the internet, as they speak the rules.

Likely you can see the problem here.

Earlier this week, it was brought to my attention by John Moe, public radio mogul and man responsible for more awesome twitter hashtag games than Baskin-Robbins is for flavors of ice cream, that Rosie O'Donnell had admitted on her new chat show that she was afraid of little people. John's daughter is a little person, so his reaction was somewhat similar to The Wife's reaction when someone asks if The Kid is "retarded":

He passed a number of comments about Rosie's reaction, wishing he could come up with a real zinger, but deciding it wasn't worth it.

I don't have any little people relatives, but I'm not gonna turn down a chance to skewer Rosie...

Now that's a DAMN good line.  Plays on the fact that she's got way too big an ego and views everyone as beneath her, as well as the obvious fat joke.

Rosie must have thought so, cause she retweeted it.

And so started the responses.  My personal favorite:

I didn't figure out until just now that she meant "Paisan".

Now, I know, jumping right to pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes is just reaching for the low-hanging fruit, and you will likely notice reading this, I am in NO position to comment.  But I am truly amazed at what passes for acceptable discourse today.

I got a couple of those "I don't care what the conversation is about, I want to talk about what *I* want to talk about" ones as well:

That's right up there with "Magnets: how the *&(% do they work?!?" right there.

One person replied with a simple "Rosie is a GIANT" to which I calmly responded, "That was...kinda my point".  And once she realized we were in agreement (rolleyes) apologized to me.

So that was fun, and I actually got a couple new followers out of it.

Cut to today.  Comics fan, professional journalist, MDA spokesman and damn fine cosplayer Jill Pantozzi ran her review of Kevin Smith's new reality show Comic Book Men earlier in the week.  In it, she followed up on her previous article's points that the show had no female viewpoint, and as such served to reinforce the stereotype that there are no women in comics fandom.

(I hasten to add that when she wrote that in the aforementioned first article, the number of response that ran to "Of COURSE there's no women in it; it's called Comic Book MEN...duh!" was truly disheartening.)

She did not care for the show.  She found it something that would not attract new people to comics.  I mean, Ice Truckers and Pawn Stars aren't exactly making people line up to get into those industries, but at least they're made to seem interesting. But her review was reasoned, not vindictive or scathing about the show or anyone on it, and could be boiled down to the classic line

“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”
Which was said, according to the internet, by either Abraham Lincoln, Dorothy Parker, or Tharko, king of Neptune
 The cast of the show, who do a podcast together, found out about the review today, through a third party.  I have no evidence they READ the review,  but I think we can all agree that the fourth rule of the Internet is "I don't need to have read or seen what you're talking about to have an opinion on it"


So in short, a little saltier than the Rosie fans.

When Jill reposted that missive, I was pretty sure that Bryan and Walt were gonna get SouthWested for sure.  And said so.

Which only meant that I started getting hit with as many verbal brickbats as Jill.

Now the part that's interesting, is we can now compare the tweets that came in defense of Kevin Smith and his friends and creations (which are possibly one and the same) to the ones from Rosie's supporters.

Rosie's fans were split between messages that supported Rosie and telling her to ignore the haters, and inoffensive statements to me that I was rude, wrong, or just plain mean.  The tweets from Kevin's folks all but ignored the comments, and went straight for personal attacks.

Rosie's commenters attempted to explain, justify or spin Rosie's comments, some calling her brave for sharing such a revelation.  They hadn't all SEEN the clip, but at least they took what they knew about it and tried to figure what an inherently nice person COULD have meant when they said they saw little people as if they were children.  Kevin's folks made no attempt to defend the show, nor to read the review.  Indeed, many began writing the review in their heads, versions that had personal attacks on Walt and Bryan, and began discussing THAT review.

The show, IMHO, suffered from mission creep.  It was originally supposed to be a reality show about a comic store, with a varied cast of people working there (and in disclosure, Jill actually auditioned to be on the show)  There WAS a woman in the pilot, but she was edited out entirely.  The show has basically a video version of the Tell Em Steve-Dave podcast.  Same cast, same topics, and all told, not too much about the running of a comic store.  Which is fine; if it does well, that's a good thing.  Kevin has a lot of fans, myself included, and it's something at least a little different on TV.  But if you meet someone who doesn't like it, especially someone who can explain why with words, your response should not be #KissMyAssYouBitterWannabeJournalist.

I honestly think Bryan was just trying to stay "in character" as a guy's guy kind of comic fan; after all, he does play Steve-Dave in the Askewniverse movies.

Only one problem.

Steve-Dave's an asshole.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whoa, Black Betty, Amaranth, Whoa, Black Betty, Amaranth...

The wife has to avoid gluten in her diet, as it plays no small amount of havoc with her digestion, and shortly afterwards, the atmosphere in her immediate area.  She's done very well with it, mostly as a result of making most of her own bread with the breadmaker I picked up at an outrageous discount for her. Also helpful is the fact that the health food industry has latched onto "Gluten-free" as the new buzzword.  So lots of people are buying gluten-free products now, under the mistaken impression that they are somehow healthier.  In fact, it has no measureable benefits, save for anyone who has to actively avoid the compound for medical and olfactory reasons. The trend has a hidden benefit for those who do, however; the increase in demand has made the number of products skyrocket, and driven down the price.  Any opportunity to benefit from the gullibility of the public is a plus.

One of the surprises we found in our quest for alternatives is the grain quinoa (Keen-wa).  It comes from South America, and has massive amounts of protein, something grains don't usually have, not to mention enough fiber to clean out a politician.  It cooks exactly like rice, has a great nutty flavor, and can be used in any way you use rice - soup, chili, salads, you name it.  It's good enough that picky me has made it part of my diet.

So a while back, The Wife hears about another grain, amaranth, and bought a bag. According to the package, it cooks like rice as well - add water, simmer and wait. I found it in the pantry and since I was cooking anyway, I figured I'd toss on another pot and cook it up to see what we got.

There are no words for the horror we received.

First off, quinoa absorbs the water ably and swells up three or four times its size, much like the Grinch's heart.  The amaranth did not expand at all, even after letting it cook longer than suggested.  Instead, it exuded what can only be described as mucous, similar to the defensive slime discharge of the hagfish. Quinoa remains light and fluffy after boiling, the amaranth formed a viscous slab at the bottom of the pan, and no amount of stirring would break it up into anything smaller than silly putty-like clumps about the size of a baby's fist.  Dropped into the storage container with an audible thud, they flowed back together into one mass, like the lead character in the videogame Loco Roco, but less quickly, and not nearly as cutely.  The resulting congealed mass looked exactly like the jelly-like seed and water material used to spread on chia-sculptures. 

The smell was unobtrusive, pretty much smelling like...boiled wheat.  As opposed to, say, cous-cous, which is slightly processed  I, already being a very squeamish eater and having a serious issue with textures, could not bear to look at it for extended periods, let alone put it in my mouth.  The Wife, braver than I, tasted it and declared it palatable.  So it was saved, and is now taking up residence in the refrigerator. 

Now, there's every possiblity that I Did It Wrong.  I researched it, and it's not supposed to be rinsed, as quinoa is, so I didn't.  The bag described the cooking process as I related it - boil in water and simmer, so THAT ain't it.  It's possible the bag we had was old, and a bit stale, and perhaps a fresh batch would not react as same.  But unless someone can present serious evidence of why I should give this stuff a second try, it's going in the "no" column, along with using rice flour to bread fried chicken and using agave nectar for anything other than making tequila.