shoebox_dw: (pbs truism)

So yes, in the course of rambling on about Feminism in Watership Down, below, I got a little carried away. Especially does this bug in terms of children's media (which Watership really isn't, but we'll ignore that for now). It's something I've been personally confronting lately, as I rummage around in my Sesame Street-intensive past. Do you realise, fellow Gen-Xers, that the newest DVD sets of the show carry a disclaimer to the effect that "These early episodes of Sesame Street are intended for grown-ups, and may not meet the needs of today's preschoolers"?

Sad, and a little strange - not least because accurate. On the one hand the belief is that children are more sophisticated than ever before; on the other, that they’re fragile flowers whose every input needs monitoring for fear it’ll corrupt the mechanism.You see it reflected in the pages and pages of 'what behaviours is The Mole Sisters teaching my child'-type posts to the TreehouseTV forums, complete with just-saw-it-on-Oprah-so-I-know-it’s-scientific vocabularies. In the Fat Albert movie, which disavows the crude-but-funny 'snaps' that made the show famous in favour of hauling in a little (white) girl to teach the gang proper English. In the attitude of my nephew's pre-K teacher, who reacts to the news that this four-year-old has taught himself to read with 'Well, we need to think about how much he actually comprehends...'

Yes. She really said that. I swear, you just want to grab these people by their PTA-attending pencil necks and hiss, "Look, I spent an entire ruddy childhood watching a trenchcoated Muppet sidling up to innocent kids and asking if they wanted to buy an 'O' – that’s when he wasn’t off stealing the Golden An just for kicks - and somehow I managed to become a fully functional member of society..." [shaking them violently] "DO - YOU - UNDERSTAND?"

…Heh. [ahem]. Well, maybe there is something to be said for social conditioning. I'm not advocating wholesale exposure to disturbing imagery, either; children’s mechanisms can certainly suffer from neglect, and on the whole it’s a Very Good Thing that those closest to them realise that. But you can get carried away with it, is all I am saying. This obsession with socialization, with carefully categorizing every possible influence in the here and now, actively works to stifle any imaginative possibilities for the future. Worse, it gives kids the impression that intelligence, thinking about the answers, is much less important than getting the answers right. If you’re going to ensure the world is laid out exactly as it should be, then where’s the inspiration to think about what could be?

More rantiness under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy caught)

Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

So the other day, charmed and curious, I commented to this post of  [livejournal.com profile] kalquessa 's...and...

Blogging in Shakespearean English, feminism in Watership Down, Pearls Before Swine, Philistine Pollyanna, detective fiction.


OK, self, the moral here? Try not to be so dang memorable next time. Or at least, try it re: favourite bands, or chocolates, or something.

Anyway, elaboration under the cut. )
shoebox_dw: (Default)
Unfortunately, I don't have enough icons to support the current hot meme, which is kind of a shame, because a) it's really cute and fun and b) I have an entire folder of stolen... er... anyway, I have a lot of really nifty icons squirreled away (including a couple that actually involve squirrels) and by the time I get around to upgrading my account the meme will have drifted off.

Thus I gacked this alternate meme from [info]kalquessa. It's not current or hot, but I figure it might be good practice for this whole 'personalised' thing, of which I've been told this journal specifically needs more. I've been concentrating so hard on removing the rambling I really haven't had time to relate the stories of meaningfulness; then again, it was hard enough coming up with sixteen short notes of interest. So this meme works out all the way around, really:

1. The reason Shoedad doesn't show up much (if at all) in these pages is because a) he died just about two years ago, and b) he had voluntarily absented himself from his family - wife, three daughters, three grandchildren, elderly parents - for about a decade before that. I mourn him now not so much as a beloved father but for the potential for same that was lost. *considers* Yeah, someday I may need to write an entire post about this.

2. There is dust all over my keyboard. I hate that. Actually, I hate dust in any form, because it is simoultaneously so revealing of what a sloppy housekeeper I am, and so easy to ignore. "It's just dust," I say to myself. "Am I really going to let a few airborne particles get in the way of genius? Or, for that matter, the new Nero Wolfe DVD?" And the next thing you know, I am the poster child for Save Us From This House. Frustrating.

3. I am the only person I know to have been kicked out of two Canadian Idol fandoms running (for Tyler Hamilton and Kalan Porter, if anybody cares). Basically, for hanging around long after it became clear I didn't fit in, and being unbearably superior about it. Still...the Dr. Phil argument was cruel and unusual provocation. And I don't think the vicious PMs were at all necessary, either.

4. I do kind of worry about this whole Computer Simulation Theory idea from time-to-time, mostly because dammit I'm sure I saw that Zorro episode before the guide says it was made, and it bugs. Then I go tell my trusted friends, and they laugh and heap scorn, and I feel much better. But I still don't like watching the Matrix movies after dark.

Tour continues under the cut... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield rabid moth)
Could you just please, as a small donation to the Save Shoe's Sanity Fund, for the love of Pete just STOP USING THE APOSTROPHE 'S' TO INDICATE THE FREAKING PLURAL, OK?! IT DOES NOT INDICATE THE PLURAL. IT INDICATES THE POSSESSIVE, AND ONLY THE POSSESSIVE.

...The preceding public service announcement was brought to you by a certain discovery within a footnote during the current reread of James Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me, an impassioned critique of American classroom scholarship. Thank you.

shoebox_dw: (pbs aaaaaaahhhhh)
OK, an excellent way to kill any possible writing ambitions you may ever have plus experience shame and regret over any you ever had?

How about exporting an entire - as in 125 posts - LiveJournal over to Wordpress, which has categories along with tags and different formatting that causes posts to go all randomly wonky, so you have to spend a whole weekend going into each and every frelling post to make sure it's organised all nice and neat (it helps if you're a raging perfectionist about this stuff) plus remove the whacky HTML by hand so you end up rereading every paragraph of every post you ever made in your entire online life and oh God I am the most longwinded fatuous pretentious procrastinating no-talent in the HISTORY OF BLOGGING AND PLEASE SOMEBODY JUST MAKE IT STOP...

...kthxbai. [collapses]

shoebox_dw: (gf amazing talents)
Act 1: (Enter the Author, wringing her hands against her lavender voile breast.)

Forsooth, I am sad, for I have lost my iPod Nano. My trusty little blue 2G that has been my companion for lo these many days of toil, lightening the burthen of feeding data into the most unkindest of machines. Without it, my mind is bleak as a desert sun, a plain arid and tempest-toss'd; in vain have I searched for an oasis. (Seriously. When you find yourself trying to remember the names of saltwater taffy flavours because you think 'that'd make a really cool LJ entry!" you know your dependence on modern entertainment media is terminal.)

Act 2:

But soft! What wandering, wavering light is this that shines through my Franz Ferdinand-less gloom? 'Tis Shoemom, waving the card provided by men of finance for just such curing of melancholy - foolish mortals are they, who allow men to satisfy their fondest longings on their account! Prithee, however, Shoemom has seen writ plain my torment, the exquisite pain of deprivation and want (also, the pain in her butt caused by my non-stop attempts to whine in Olde Englishe). I must hie me away to the shoppe where electronic delights flow into mine ears as the cinnamon syrup flows onto a Cinnabun!

Act 3:

...OK, getting bored now. Point of the exercise is that I'm now sitting here gazing fondly at a new silver Nano 3G. I didn't think I'd be this impressed with the new models, 'specially as I've got not much use for video capability. There's gotta be something to be  said for taking a device already perfectly designed for pointless distraction and shamelessly 'upgrading' to add even more pointless distraction. Ooh...pretty album covers! Number of songs on the Playlists menu! Cute pink leather case...

I always feel vaguely dweeby when interacting with Apple tech - like I'm stuck in a perpetual Mr. Dressup episode ("OK, kiddies, see the playlist? Now we're going to draw a picture of you changing the song...")  - but am too chicken to saddle myself with anything more complex. Pointless distraction should not come with a manual of more than ten pages, this is my new motto.

Headphones, on the other hand, are a problem. My ears are small and very narrow, not good candidates at all for the signature iPhones. I had finally found the perfect pair of seriously cool JVC marshmallow-foam earbuds, now vanished into the ether along with the 2G itself - unless my theory of the disappearance is correct, and the cat is now sneaking off into one of those corners only cats know, the better to groove to Rockin' Robin or something. (Geddit? Cats, robin...oh, fine then.)
Anyway, upon stuffing my ears with the new iPhones this evening, I noticed a definite unease in re: the sound quality. [Sigh] Onto the list the JVC buds go...along with the new backup hard drive, and the new fall slacks, and the new handbag, and that Mexx blouse I fell hopelessly in love with on the way home from work this afternoon, and...geez, I'm exhausting myself just imagining the whining required. Maybe I better go distract myself with that video capability after all. Or,
wait, Cinnabuns...mmmmm....
shoebox_dw: (c&h not fair)
The Toronto Transit Commission is on strike. And I am angry.

No, check that - I'm furious. Furious that a bunch of complacently overpaid doofuses can basically throw a tantrum that leaves thousands of their fellow human beings helpless and stranded (and in a not insignificant number of cases, drunk) on downtown streets at Friday midnight.

No, I wasn't one of them; I happen to have a 9-5 weekday job, and no plans that would've taken me into the outskirts. First I heard of a strike I was being shuttled around early-morning service in Shoemom's Kia.

Thing is, though, among TTC riders, I'm in the minority. I know this because the last time there was a major weekday strike I was working shifts at the bookstore. Only a quirk of scheduling meant 28-year-old me wasn't tripping along freakin' Yonge and Dundas at 11pm.

Supposedly, this time 'round the union bosses violated their own promise to give 48-hours' notice of any strike action because they were concerned for the safety of their own in the interval. Uh-huh. If I'm the ticket taker at, say, Runnymede at 9pm Friday night, and I'm hearing this rationale to start kicking people off the trains at midnight (literally - TTC subway and most bus service ordinarily goes offline at 2:30 am, meaning these poor victimised fragments of humanity whom we should all rally behind in a spirit of blue-collar solidarity actually stopped the trains and told people to get off, young, old, handicapped, what-have you, regardless of how rough the neighborhood or how far from their destination)...yeah, the first thing going thru my head as I face that mob is "Ooh, such caring, thoughtful leaders we have!" You betcha.

shoebox_dw: (garfield schweitzer)
Yeah, I know, promised it a week ago - the Friday of the boycott, to be exact. Which I'm sort of peeved RL got real busy just then because that was going to be my fine careless nose-thumbing at the mob. Naturally, it became instead an even more pointless gesture in defiance of a pointless gesture. My only consolation is I probably could never have deliberately come up with irony that perfect.

So. Return with me now, to the mists of...oh, about a week ago...and the following meme post:

Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it. Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, etc. Repost in your own journal if you are so inclined.

I must say, I was really excited about the response to this, inasmuch as I got one. Maybe now that I'm an *ahem* published author and everything (and no, the novelty isn't liable to wear off any time soon) I'll start attracting more curiosity. So long as it's not in the form of lawsuits...

Anyhow, response. I admit it's the one I was kind of expecting when I posted the meme:

The trials of going door-to-door as a Jehovah's Witness!

Ye-eah.

shoebox_dw: (i need a hug)
...Specifically, in the course of trying to create a poll to gauge public reaction to this journal, I managed to:

1) Delete the original poll somehow;

2) In the course of recreating it and reposting the HTML in the original entry, somehow manage to cause LJ to believe that I don't have the rights to view the poll, meaning I have no way of knowing whether one person's responded, or fifty;

and

3) In the course of looking all this up in the FAQ, discover that LJ polls are only open in the first place to registered LJ users. Which not only provides yet another possible reason why the lack of visible response, but gives me reason to believe that I've actually completely cheezed off a substantial portion of the readership.

Or, to put it another way, apparently this entire poll project had a sort of Tower of Babel effect on the gods of Viewer Response, whose job it is to prevent me from ever gauging (at least, on a wide scale) public opinion of my various writing projects, ever.

[sigh] Fine. You win, universe. In conjunction with the gods of Really Lousy Weather, you have reduced me to a state of cabin fever such that not only do I not care about being interesting myself at the moment, my horizons re: the world at large have reduced to the point where their only satisfactory outlet is reading the 'Articles for Deletion' debates on Wikipedia. If things get really bad, I may go see how that discussion of primary-vs.-secondary sources for comic book villans is coming along...
shoebox_dw: (self discovery)
--Er...owing to tech difficulties with the poll that was originally in this entry - as detailed in the next entry up - the poll in question is currently located in the next entry past that. Would it be possible to blame this whole thing on cabin fever, do you think?

The muse works in strange ways. Merely walking home from the subway this evening, for instance, I was moved to present Winter in Southern Ontario, a drama in one act:

Snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow freezing rain snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow rain snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow...

In case it isn't absolutely clear by now, this piece expresses the following deep and resonant theme: I should not be wiping frozen ice crystals off my eyebrows in frelling MARCH, people!

December, yes, I can see that. What is falling out there now - ie., March - is by family tradition 'Charlie Brown snow', a reference to the easily-animated fat little round flakes from the Christmas special...which, do I even have to point out, is all-December, all the time. Not once is March even mentioned, not even in passing. It is times like these that make me think we need a new special: You Lied to Me, Charlie Brown.

Sure, you laugh and tell me to relax and enjoy the cozy time indoors. Well, I have news for you, cupcake: more time indoors @ Shoe Central means more time to spend on this blog. Seeing as how we're ten days into the reinvention project and the only thing we've established so far is  that I need serious help in the Person I Most Want to Be Cooped Up With For a Long Time dept...

...Oh good, I was wondering how we were going to segue into the actual topic of the week. You see, in the course of thinking about ways to be more interesting the other day - or any day - it occurred to me that I hadn't actually stopped and taken inventory of my current level of engaging.
I mean, sure, I'm a middle-ish-aged woman who lives with her mother and two cats (roughly in that order), working as an admin assistant...but there must be something here I can build on. Other than random comedy teams, that is. I think we can all agree that that one is about ready for the Dave Barry gag. ("I hereby sentence you to read three pages of Shoebox blathering on about the subtle-yet-pervasive use of irony by Stiller and Meara." "Nooooooooo!!")

At any rate, this snowy weekend is going to be devoted to finding out, in two parts this time.

Part one has to do with something I've noticed while reading the readership stats on my last couple entries...yes, smart person, that I have a readership in the first place, hardy-har-har. Actually, what I was about to say is that I've discovered I have something of a repeat readership; ie. a small-but-apparently-growing cadre of people who keep coming back for more blather. Of course, thanks to my own smart-Alec tendencies, I have no idea why. Kalan Porter fans, for instance, tend to be a kind patient lot, at least most of them.

Now, right about here is where the people who know me well will be expecting the desperate plea for comments. Well, the good news is I'm not quite that foolish. It does not surprise me in the least that this journal hasn't been a hotbed of lively backchat; despite every effort to figure out why, this is baseline for everything text-based I participate in, from peer reviews in grade nine English onward. I think I must give off some sort of response-repellent field, is my last best guess.

So I've moved on...with the help of another recent discovery: the poll function in LiveJournal. Writing out a full-scale comment may be work, but in my experience very few people can resist the urge to just clik a little button.
With that in mind, I present the first (and if this works out, the last!) butterfly mind Reader Survey. Be bold! Be truthful! Be...uh...maybe just a wee little bit forgiving? And if you do feel like commenting after all, I've enabled the screening thingy again, so feel free to nag away in anonymity.
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy pensive)
So this was going to be a long cranky feet-kicking rant against the Universe at Large, and specifically its sheer unfairness in forcing me to have to live through February again, when you would about figure that thirty-odd years of this would be enough to satisfy any cosmic force's need to ensure I'm aware of my tiny little drab insignificant place in the Wider Splendor, thanks much and all that anyway.

However. Over the weekend [profile] solo_1 actually did read my Bob & Ray opus, and made thotful comments on same to boot. Also, several other friends and relatives took time out of their busy schedules to pat me on the head and murmur comforting phrases I don't actually half deserve...including such gems as "Hey, I start at the Second Cup next week - Discount? Sure."

The capper was this year's choice of Book I Resentfully Yank Off the Shelf for the Thousandth Time Because There's Nothing Better to Read Around Here: Helen [Keller] and Teacher, the definitive biography of the deaf-blind author, lecturer and world-traveller; which is by default also contains an equally fascinating and absorbing parade of American educational, literary and political 'royalty' at the turn of the century.
Confronted with Joseph Lash's serious yet sensitive and sympathetic prose, which incidentally I was not reading in Braille, I was finally forced to toss up my hands and concede that maybe a couple extra days spent waiting for my greatness to be noticed might not be such a harsh deal after all.

('Specially after I found this cool new blog layout that among its other beauties contains an RSS subscription widget. Check it out under 'feed me' on the front page!)
shoebox_dw: (garfield monday)
So I'm sitting here wearing my cashmere sweater.

It's kind of like a Bucket List thing, this sweater purchase. While I have no interest whatsoever in actually seeing the movie - as Roger Ebert put it, wouldn't it be nice if just for once, a movie opened with a white character extolling the virtues of Morgan Freeman? - I have always been kind of sympathetic to the general idea. 

I suppose it involves some misdirected wedding-planning instincts, too; I can't have the poufy ivory dress with the rosebud-embroidered bodice (mental pattern borrowed liberally from Catherine Cookson novels), so the ridiculously expensive sweater is like the prize for growing out of it already. You may not have a man, self, but by God you are a successful, sophisticated woman!

Thus, here I sit in genuine two-ply Jones New York Luxe cashmere knit, v-necked, heather grey with a silver-sequinned neckline. Oh, yes, there are sequins. I'm not quite that grown-up, yet. I did however carefully save the little packet with the extras, instead of tossing them up in the air and squealing with glee, so, y'know, progress. I’m so pleased with myself I’m not even going to tell you how long I waited for it to go on sale, which discount is frankly none of your business anyway…
 
shoebox_dw: (i need a hug)
I’ve decided I want some sympathy. Oh, nothing dramatic; I’m modest that way, and besides, I don’t have the budget for a really spectacular fundraiser. No lawsuits, no Dateline stories, no theme weeks at the UN.

No, all I’m looking for is some simple assurance that it isn’t my fault, I’ve been so badly done by. A few pats on the back, tsk noises optional but most welcome. Favourable relisations/comparisons re: how good you have it. Maybe a touch of awe over how well I cope, considering…
Read more... )

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