Showing posts from February, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

8-bit sound at the Oscars

There've been widespread complaints about the sound at the Oscars on Sunday, as demonstrated here by a clip that happens to also be snarking over whether J-Lo was popping out of her dress or not. The noise has been variously described as 'an echo', 'like Autotune', and 'someone's playing Atari over the entire damn show'.

What you are hearing there is a delayed, frequency-restricted echo of what the presenter is saying, and it comes from someone failing remarkably hard at working the soundboard.

I didn't watch the telecast, but I'm seeing people say that there was more than one microphone on the stage, and I know for a fact that they would have had a bunch out to catch applause from the audience. When you have more than one source feeding audio into an amplification system, and those sources are different distances away from the origin of whatever you're trying to catch, the sound hits them at slightly different times. Sound travels at about …


My landlady has disallowed dogs and cats -- for excellent reasons; I live in a converted Edwardian house, with beautiful restored wooden floors -- so, because I can't live without small furry things to talk to, I have acquired a number of domesticated rats.

Specifically, the number is four. I attempted to only have two rats, but the Fates intervened. The lady I got them from kept only female rats -- keeping only one sex or the other is a good way to make sure you don't unexpectedly have a lot more rats than you intended -- and accidentally got one who turned out to be pregnant. One of the other adopters backed out and she had two extra boys on her hands, and I had a very large cage, and... well. Now I have a matched set of four fancy-colored brothers, white with black hoods.

Have you ever tried to get four small animals into one cage with only two hands? Perhaps if you're running a seedy warehouse on the docks, four rats is not a lot of rats. When you are trying to stuff a…

More things that baffle me: Lana Del Rey

I get a lot of my entertainment news from Gawker. This would be a terrible idea if I did it with, say, world politics, but since the whole point of entertainment news is to publish pictures and opinionated remarks about people who live for pictures and opinionated remarks, I figure it's as good a place as any.

They hate Lana Del Rey. Because apparently other people love Lana Del Rey? i don't get either side. I mean, lying about her lips done is kind of irritating (important life lesson: If you're going to lie about something, lie about something that people can't check by looking at you), but that's not normally enough to make people loathe you to the point of wanting to throw their overpriced lattes at your car.

I have heard several of her songs; I don't like deciding I like or don't like someone before I know what they've done, after all.

"Video Games"

"Blue Jeans"

"Born To Die"

My reaction to all of them can probably bes…

Oh, honey, what happened?

This is a train wreck of the highest order. Seriously, RiRi, does Chris Brown make you stupid or something? While it is not completely out of the question that a guy that once has a problem with controlling his anger could reform, this dude has not even tried. Sweetheart, he has been an enormous public shithead from the moment he was first in the news for hitting you. He was probably an enormous private shithead long before that. He's been tweeting absolute dreck about how he's been wronged by all this and how he can't possibly be a bad person because now he has a Grammy (they can take those back, you know -- just as Milli Vanilli, or what's left of them), and now he's in deep doo-doo over snatching a fan's iPhone so she couldn't post pictures of him on the internet.

That's a goddamn terrible song and I really, really hope it's part of some overarching master plan to ruin Chris Brown's career, because otherwise there's no reason things like…

Presentation counts!

I've seen a lot of actors/musicians, mostly female, lately jumping on the "I was bullied in school!" bandwagon. I have no opinion one way or the other on whether most of them are telling the truth; I haven't bothered to go digging enough to watch their delivery and hear what they say without having all of their quotes filtered through the never-ending sleepover game of Telephone that is the Daily Mail.

I have also seen a lot of people in the comments of all these articles declaring that these stories of high school harassment are obvious bunk. They're willing to buy that Christina Hendricks might have been picked on for not being stick thin, but Megan Fox is clearly just me-too-ing. "Look at her now!" they cry. "And here, here's a yearbook picture from when she was sixteen -- 'not the pretty girl' my left ear, she's gorgeous! Obviously a cry for attention."

And in most cases, they are correct in that the photo they dug up is us…


I know a lot of people like Ke$ha. I kind of understand that; I don't personally like her really big hits at all, but they seem to be good examples of whatever they are.
Pertinent video: "TiK ToK"
It bothers me that people seem to think she's original. She really isn't. She's not writing anything that other people haven't written about before her, and most of her musical structure is either pretty standard electropop or new wave ballad. You don't need to make original music to make good music, and the fact that people think you do irks me about as much as the fact that people have such short memories that this doesn't remind them of anything:
"Your Love Is My Drug"
She's also a good performer, if by "good" you mean "capable of hitting notes and creating pretty much the same spectacle live as she does on video". 
Saturday Night Live, "TiK ToK":
But there is something about her music which really doesn'…

Desperately clinging to what now?

Paris Hilton Desperately Clings to Youth in Video "Drunk Text"

First and foremost: That "song" is goddamn awful. It's a waste of a craptastic generic backbeat. I don't think anyone in the universe would argue with that.

I do, however, wish to throw in my lot with the commenters who raised an objection with the idea that Paris Hilton is desperately clinging to youth. She's 31. Thirty-one is not old. Thirty-one is, in fact, still quite young. What Paris Hilton is desperately clinging to is a public persona that started out kind of hilariously stupid, and has now outlived the joke. She is not funny anymore; she has progressed to pathetic.

Whether Paris Hilton recognizes that is an open question in my mind. In previous interviews, she's shown some evidence of being cognizant of how most people regard her bitchy party-girl image, but also an awareness that the bitchy party-girl thing is what made her a great deal of money. She may or may not be that shal…

On leggings and jeggings

I have been asked for my not-so-humble opinion on jeggings. Frankly, I try not to think about them, in the same way I try not to think about those pajama jeans someone is selling on late-night infomercials. They fall into the category of 'things one wears when one's need to be comfortable trumps one's need to look groomed', along with Uggs, crocs, scrubs and velour tracksuits from Victoria's Secret with the word PINK emblazoned across the ass. There are absolutely occasions when it is appropriate to wear these things -- when you have the flu and need to go get more Tylenol, for instance, or when you are an underappreciated health care worker pulling back-to-back shifts in the ER. I will also accept wearing these things to college classes; I have been an undergraduate myself, and know what it's like when "sleep" slips to fourth or fifth in your list of things to do.

The thing is, all of those are circumstances in which fashion is not a priority. They a…

I don't think I can win

I think I need to call the Planned Parenthood doc again and change my brand of birth control. I haven't been on this particular kind before, and I think the dose is way too heavy. I try to stay on the stuff, active pills only, even if I don't need it for its original intended purpose -- knowing how to get bloodstains out of all kinds of fabric is useful, I just don't want regular practice -- but I'm getting damned tired of feeling like I'm PMSing all the time.

I can't help wondering which option makes me a worse person in the eyes of the zealots. (I'm well aware that the conservatives think I'm a slutty-slut-slut and going to Hell for having the stuff in the first place; that's a given.) Am I betraying womyn-kind for thinking my Naturally Nature-Given Cycle of Natural Nature is a huge pain in the ya-yas and banishing it with chemicals? Or is it total capitulation to the Male Gaze that I'm changing brands because I object to breaking out and eati…

10 things no one ever thinks to tell you about dressing yourself

Fashion and style are not the same thing. Fashion is disposable; it changes with the season. Style can endure for years. There is no such thing as the One True Look. The style you pick is surprisingly irrelevant in most cases, as long as you pick one of the appropriate formality level, and you look like you're making an effort. If you go shopping for clothes and nothing fits you, there's nothing wrong with you. There's something wrong with the clothes. Different brands have different 'fit models' with different shapes, and all of them play insane head games with the size numbers. Change brands and/or stores. The maximum amount of makeup you are allowed to wear to a social function varies directly with the average number of drinks per person over the course of the night, and inversely with the amount of time you think you'll spend crying.Unlimited makeup may be worn to any event presided over by a drag queen.If Lady Gaga is involved, latex prosthetics are also a…

I desperately want her lipstick

While I was rummaging around the internet looking for stuff on Nicki Minaj, I discovered a rather amusing tidbit. Apparently, her career got a huge boost when someone was interviewing Taylor Swift on the radio, and Swift admitted to being really stuck on "Super Bass". They actually got to sing some of it on the air, which amused the hell out of basically everyone, and suddenly Minaj got a ton more radio play.

Taylor Swift, if you have been living in a cave for the past few years, is a country pop star. I ran into her first about the time her second album dropped, when for no good reason I went poking around on her Facebook and Twitter and accidentally discovered she could spell. I'm not normally a fan of country music, but I like some of the country-pop stuff, and some of the country-pop people -- I have a couple of Shawn Colvin CDs, and I appreciate the Dixie Chicks speaking out to assure the rest of the universe we thought Dubya was a drooling idiot too. Swift has had …

Dear Lindsay Lohan

Dear LiLo,

I saw a picture of you on Jezebel the other day. The Jezzies were catty bitches about it, because they're a half-news half-comic commentary site and that's their schtick, but the fact is they're kind of right, and you're starting to look a lot like your mother. That's not good. Your mother is, to put it mildly, a deluded mess of a human being. She is also, necessarily, something like twenty years older than you.

You are five years younger than I am, Lindsay. You should not look a good decade older.

All I can say when I see those photos is, "Oh, Lindsay. You used to be so pretty." And it bothers me that that's the only thing I have to say about it, because it means two things. One is that I don't know anything about you other than what you look like. I really hope that's because your thoughts are too close to the ordinary person's thoughts to be novel and therefore interesting in print, because the other possible reasons for that…

Goddamn It, Lady Gaga's In The News Again

So, Lady Gaga said a thing again and I just have to ask myself why people listen to her? There are people who are just as naked and half as delusional.

Those of you who know me know I have a particular dislike of Lady Gaga, to say the least. Being a sociologist, I hate having knee-jerk reactions to things that I can't explain, so every so often I sit down and try to figure out why that is, exactly. It's like poking at a bruise that keeps reappearing. I just can't quit until I know how the damn thing keeps coming back.

I know a lot of what it isn't. The sexuality doesn't bother me -- I was once a fan of classic Madonna, although I like her more recent stuff less. Nor am I bothered by any of the rampant homoerotic, transsexual, transgender, androgynous, uncanny-valley imagery. I listen to Japanese visual kei, and believe me, nobody does weird, especially gender-bending weird, as well as Japan. It's also, surprisingly, not her music itself; I don't think she&#…

What is IN the water down in the Caribbean?

Every so often, I try to go take a look at who the kids are listening to these days, so I can at least figure out who Jezebel is picking on now. I'm not usually all that impressed, but I wasn't very impressed by what the kids listened to when I was one of them either. I try not to decide I loathe someone and wish they would retire to the complete anonymity of an isolated banana republic somewhere until I've at least heard the thing they got a Grammy for -- mostly I find I'm indifferent, occasionally I really hate someone, and from time to time I actually find I think someone got an award for actual talent.

Prior to today, I knew what a "Nicki Minaj" was almost strictly from reading Go Fug Yourself, where she appears on a regular basis, owing to the fact that she dresses like she needs to be visible from outer space at all times in case her people come back to pick her up ahead of schedule. When the Fug Girls have so much to talk about they forget to call atte…