Gemmy, You’re My Bro!

Scrubs and Psych two of my favorite shows right now.

Both shows feature extremely close friendships between two male protagonists, often dabbling in behavior that seems to defy acceptable dude-code(1)(2) .  While the relationship between J.D. and Turk is certainly entertaining, though, it’s the complimentary relationship between Shawn and Gus that really amuses me.

Shawn is clever and funny, but often short-sighted (oh the irony) and narcissistic.  Gus is the responsible one, and can be stuffy at times, except for any time he sees a good-looking woman, at which point he becomes some goofball rico suave.   But he’s still my favorite. As my hubby says, Gus is one dapper motherfucker, and for some reason, I laugh every time he says “You know that’s right.”  Plus, while extremely impressive,and even enviable, Shawn’s skills of observation would often be useless without Gus’s ability to give them context with his store of practical and book knowledge.  They are peas in a pod.  Bros.

At any rate you may imagine my amusement (and secret pride) when my husband teasingly compared these bromances to my and my best friend’s behavior when we are together.  My best friend and I have “been together” since we were in fourth grade (that’s 23 years, give or take,) we’ve been through a lot, we went to school together, we got high together (we subsequently got in trouble together.)  We’ve had ups and downs, been separated by people and miles, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do for one another.

So without further ado, why my and I bestie have a chick bromance :

We tell each other the harsh truth and don’t take it personally.

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 We can disagree and even “argue…” and then we’re over it.  No drama, no grudges.

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 We’re both married but not much has changed…

BroM257cffdce208890We’re at home in one another’s homes…

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And we probably know one another better than our own spouses.

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We’re not afraid to be stupid together.

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 We respect and even compliment one another’s differences.

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 We’ve always got each other’s back.

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And we know we’ll be friends until we’re old and gray.

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People I’d Have An Affair With (Spring 2015)

I haven’t done one of these in a good while.  2012 to be exact.  Since then, a few new worthies have made their way to “the list,” and while I wouldn’t actually have an affair (as in, cheat on the hubs) with all of the people on these lists, the lists are still great fun to make, especially when you factor in cartoon characters, “unlikely crushes,” and sexy “old” men.  So, with only a little of my standard long-winded introductions and/or explanations, I shall unveil the lucky inductees onto this year’s list.

As some of my regular readers may remember, I am somewhat of a TV binge viewer.  I think Netflix is the shit.  Never again will I willingly subject myself to regular cable or network TV.  I barely have patience for the 15 second commercials on YouTube or Hulu now, and when I had to watch the third season of The Walking Dead on “regular” TV, I about died of boredom between commercials, and if the episode was a slow one, I ended up feeling cheated out of an hour of my life.

Anyway, one of my last TV series addictions was Sherlock.  I was hesitant to watch it at first; I don’t even really know why except that maybe I assumed it would be like every other mystery/procedural crime drama.  It wasn’t.  And I spent the rest of the series alternately wishing I could put Martin Freeman in my pocket and trying to figure out if Benedict Cumberbatch was hot or weird looking.  I finally decided he’s both.

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He has a curiously long face and narrow jaw area and his eyebrows border on out of control, but he has the clearest blue eyes, and his character’s simultaneously child-like naivety and arrogant insouciance is at least part of his appeal.  Oh, and brains, of course.  Because we’re not shallow here.  So, maybe given that combination of his oddly appealing face (my best friend’s exact words), and his withering intellect and attitude, it’s not so much Benedict Cumberbatch, as it is Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock.

Alright, moving on…

Again, courtesy of my beloved Netflix, I binge-watched the first three seasons of The Killing, and then after greedily awaiting the fourth, I devoured that too.  It was depressing, by the way, especially the last season.  Depressing, but a very good show, and my favorite part of it was Joel Kinnaman’s portrayal of Det. Stephen Holder.  Again, attitude goes along way for me in terms of sexy, and Holder had attitude in spades.  But what was so unique to me about his performance was that I didn’t feel like I was watching a performance.  I even told my husband, it’s like he was a real person, someone I actually might know.  That feeling of familiarity, of “realness” was in everything from how he talked, to how he carried himself, and even to an extent, in his (scripted) character faults.  Plus, he’s sexy as hell.

Photography by Chris Large

I’m not a big fan of ‘staches on guys, but check out that smolder.  And besides, if you need any other reason to like Kinnaman, he’s also the lead in the new Robocop movie, and he’s buddies with Alexander Skarsgard (who also graces one of these lists. )

That’s a whole lot of hotness in one place, people.

Last but not least, is Eric Balfour, especially in Haven.  I say “especially,” because I’m actually fairly new on the Eric Balfour bandwagon in that while he’s been around a while, in movies and TV series alike, with bit parts and recurring characters, he never did much for me until he played Duke Crocker in the supernatural series Haven.  Again, character personality likely has a lot to do with this.  And the longer hair.  (It’s definitely not that goofy little ‘stache.  Haven’t I already mentioned how I feel about ‘staches?  Well, I guess it just depends on the owner of said ‘stache.)

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Anyhow, that concludes the list for today.  Nothing more to see here, people.  (But, Lisa, I’ll expect your list forthwith.)

No Disrespect But…To Be Honest…

A lot of people like to think they know other people, that they’re adept at detecting deception and above being fooled.  I always cringe when people recite that drivel about how people’s eyes move “up and to the right” for the truth and “down and to the left” for a lie, or whatever they say it is.  I remember very clearly when I was in college, one of my psychology professors telling the class that this was patently false.  Directionality of gaze was not so much the issue; rather a person averting their gaze in general, or being unable to look someone else in the eyes, could signify deception.

Then again, it could signify a lot of things; distraction, feelings of inadequacy or shyness, feelings of guilt (unrelated to lying.)  Plus, anyone who’s ever been done dirty by a spouse or best friend could probably tell you it’s completely possible for a person to look you square in the eyes and lie to your face.

Of course, I’m digressing, as usual.  The point is, a lot of the so-called clues to detecting when someone is lying to you, seem, in my opinion, vague and unable to be extrapolated to the majority of people with enough accuracy to be conclusive.  That may read like a mouthful, but all I really mean is that these “tells” don’t occur with enough consistency or reliability to be useful in most situations.  There are too many variables, and unless you are the type of person who likes to take chances with your relationships, you don’t want to accuse someone you care about of lying unless you’re damn sure.

Perfect example;  I’ve seen it mentioned before that people who qualify their statements with remarks like “To tell you the truth,” “Frankly,” and “To be honest,” are actually unconsciously cuing you to the fact that they are about to lie to you.

Am I the only person, then, that regularly uses those expressions…and then proceeds to do exactly that– tell the truth?  I can’t speak for everyone, but when I use that phrase, it usually means that what I’m about to tell you will either seem A) surprising/unexpected coming from me, or B) that what I am about to say is going to be the truth, but perhaps an unpleasant truth.  

Anyway, I’m definitely not disputing that there are often physiological and physical signs present when a person is lying.  However, I think these signs need to be taken in context.  The fact that lie detector tests are not considered reliable or accurate enough to be used in court should be at least some indication that many of these signs of deception are not consistent enough between subjects to be 100% reliable.  I would guess that some indicators are also more accurate than others.  For instance, involuntary reactions like pupil dilation and micro-expressions would likely be a more reliable indicator of deception than a turn of phrase, such as “To tell the truth,” the use of which is subjective depending on the speaker.  (For instance, perhaps that phrase was used frequently throughout the speaker’s childhood by his mother, and thus is a learned mannerism and has no bearing on deception.)

I’m sure there are people out there like Dr. Cal Lightman in Lie to Me* (I think they’re called poker players)and I have great admiration for people with that skill set.  But I doubt there are many of us regular Joes that can do what Cal does.  I’d wager that individually, how effective each of us is as a human lie detector will depend, in one part, on how much we know our subject, and in another part, how observant and aware we are of other people in general.

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Tangential to that topic, I’ve heard it said that people who preface their opinions with “No offense intended,” “No disrespect,” or some similar sentiment, are in fact, about to insult you.

This is another blanket statement with which I disagree.  It may be true that a lot of people use this phrase as a passive aggressive way to take a jab at someone, but–and again, I’ll only speak for myself here– when I say “No disrespect,” it is often when I know my opinion is directly contradictory to the other persons’s, or when there seems to be no way to stand behind my point without seeming combative.  It’s been my experience that some people become almost automatically defensive and even hostile when confronted with an opinion that is very different from their own.  Some people take it as a personal affront.  If you don’t believe me, scroll through your Facebook wall.  I’m sure you’ll eventually find at least one ridiculously hostile argument over politics, religion, sports, or something even less significant.

Anyway, as usual, I’ve sort of taken a short post and gotten way too analytical about it.  Thanks for bearing with me and my rambling.

And if  you don’t like it, No disrespect, But to be Honest...fuck you.  (Just kidding…sort of.)

ARQ’s Modern Solutions to Old Skool Problems

I’m feeling a little grouchy today.  Yes, more than usual.  The day is only half way over but my bullshit-o-meter is full up of toddler attitude and Facebook know-it-alls.  I think I need a nap.  But since that’s not an option at the moment, I’ll drink some old coffee, vape off my e-cig, and try to write something half-way humorous to pull me outta this little funk.

Thus, I give you…  some modern solutions (that are likely safer/more PC) to some old school problems.  No, I’m not talking about boring shit, like my e-cig.  I’m talking about real issues, here.

Like werewolves, for instance. People have been dealing with werewolf infestations since before you could say hypertrichosis.”  Traditionally, the solutions have been a little dangerous…and messy.  Wolfsbane?  Come on, wolves are carnivores!  Piercing the hands of the werewolf with nails?  How...Judeo-Christian.  There are apparently other less violent, lesser known ways of dealing with lycanthropes as well, such as one German method whereby a werewolf is cured by speaking it’s Christian name to it three times.  Well, that’s just a little bit religion-biased, I think.  Not to mention, I’m guessing it’s not so effective, or we might have heard about it more often.  My guess is the first few dudes to yell any name at a werewolf became Scooby snacks in pretty short order.  And as  to silver bullets, who’s rich enough to just have loads of silver lying around???

A much more humane and modern solution the problem would be the use of shock collars– nice, non-lethal, non-biased, non-costly werewolf control.  Simply snap the collar on the alleged shape-shifter while he’s in his human form (this part is very important!), and keep the control with you at all times.

Where else can we apply some more modern solutions to the problems that plagued our ancestors?  I’m glad you asked.  How about poltergeists?

Poltergeists  have traditionally been described as troublesome spirits who, unlike ghosts, haunt a particular person instead of a specific location. (wikipedia)

One theory behind poltergeist disturbances is that they are actually manifestations of emotional distress brought on by an (unwitting) human, most often a child or teenager, and often a female.  In the 1982 film Poltergeist, it is suggested that more than one spirit is responsible for the “haunting” of the Freelings’ home, and that there is one demon in particular who has targeted young Carol Ann in an attempt to gain control over the multitude.

I maintain that in either case, the solution is simple.  Give that little bitch some Lithium!  (I’m sorry, she’s the victim here, too, isn’t she?)  Well, either way, she’ll be too busy twitching in the corner to cause much trouble– the demon can’t use her for anything, and her emotions will be so blunted that any poltergeist “disturbances” will be a thing of the past (along with fine motor control…)

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One more freebie for the day… I might have to consider charging for the rest.  I can’t do everything for you people!  Let’s talk about demon possession.  Think The Omen.  Think Linda Blair in The Exorcist.  Now you could call a priest.  But then you’ll have to pick up the house, hide all the porn, and likely listen to a bunch of literal bible thumping for half the night.  Not to mention the dry-cleaning bill for all that pea-soup vomit, and the structural damage to your home.

The solution is actually so much simpler.  These kids are really nothing more than out-of-control, attention-seeking brats.  And what do we do with out-of-control, attention-seeking brats in America?  Why, we reward them with their own reality TV show or spot on a talk show!  They want attention; let’s give it to them!  They can duke it out with one another on Jerry Springer, or go to “demon” rehab at the Sober House!

And if that doesn’t work , you can always try the Lithium or the shock collar.

Today on Jerry Springer, kids who are inhabited by the devil!

Today on Jerry Springer, kids who are inhabited by the devil!

“She must have been beautiful…”

She must have been beautiful…  At the beginning of the first episode of the French cop drama, Engrenages (it means gears or cogs, but the title is translated to Spiral for US viewing,) a nude young woman is found in a dumpster, her face savagely beaten and mutilated.   Within the first few minutes of the show, when told by one of the investigators that the victim’s face was smashed, the Prosecutor replies, “She must have been beautiful.”

The first time I read this (the show is subtitled,) it gave me pause.  What?  Was something lost in translation, or was this ham-fisted remark somehow considered a normal observation in the context of a foreign investigation?

A few mere minutes later he offers, “She was killed because she was beautiful.  Hence the ferocity.”

I thought…Oooo-kaaay.  That makes a little more sense.  Maybe this is a serial killer and the Prosecutor is familiar with his MO.

But this turns out not to be the case either… and yet people throughout the show continue to remark on the victim’s beauty.  One cop goes to his prostitute informant (who he apparently also likely beds and occasionally scores coke from) to see if she has heard anything that might help identify the victim.

Prostitute: Are you sure she was a prostitute?

Cop: No, she was a nun.

Prostitute:*laughs* You’re right.  If she wasn’t in the game it’s odd.  Especially the mutilation stuff.

So now it has been inferred not only that her beauty somehow precipitated her murder, but that being the victim of a horrific mutilation makes much more sense if you happen to be a working girl.  Having studied violent crime, I will allow that being a prostitute is considered to be a high risk factor in terms of one’s chances of becoming the victim of a violent crime.  There is a real correlation there.

However, in the general public’s view, (and regrettably, sometimes in law enforcement) there is also an implied and sometimes spoken assertion that a sex worker killed because of or during the course of her work somehow deserves her fate.  The fact that the prostitute/informant in this particular show would consider the mutilation of the victim “odd” if she wasn’t a sex worker seems downright inappropriate.  Again, is it simply that something has been lost in the translation from the original French dialogue?  Or maybe it is a calculated tactic by the script writers to infer how many women in “the game” feel, how they view their own self-worth?  Or maybe it’s exactly what it sounds like; an ignorant and flawed assumption that may be indicative a a larger problem, the way people view female victims of violent crimes?

I seem to remember the coroner in the autopsy scene similarly remarking on the savagery of the victim’s injuries and also linking it to her beauty.  He claims the attack to her face was postmortem and methodical.  He also posits that it was done not to hinder identification of the victim (as her hands and fingertips were left undamaged,) but rather out of some sort of spite for alleged beauty.

Again with the beauty?   

And then again, almost exactly halfway through this first episode, the coke snorting cop tells his colleagues that the neighbor claimed a certain person of interest was a “real beauty”, and that he would “let them know” when he saw her.

What?!  Why does this keep coming up?  I’d understand if they had some specific reason to believe in this situation that the victim’s beauty was an emotional catalyst for suspect, IF they had any information that backed up that theory– previous crimes possibly committed by the same offender, evidence collected from crimes scenes, a criminal profile… A person can be driven to fatal violence by many things.  Their victim may be the actual focus of their rage or they may be no more than a convenient surrogate, chosen for reasons that have nothing to do with aesthetics.  Furthermore, the mutilation of the face, especially done postmortem, could also be indicative of the perpetrator’s desire to “erase” the victim’s identity, not from a literal standpoint, but from an emotional perspective.  A person’s face, specifically their eyes, are often considered to be symbolic of their essence, representative of what makes them a real person in the eyes of the perpetrator.

Alas, the episode ends on a sort of cliff hanger, with the crime not yet solved.  I guess I’ll have to watch a few more episodes to determine whether the attitudes expressed towards the female victim in this episode are indicative of the overall flavor of the show.  I hope not. I found the frequent references to the victim’s appearance distracting and irrelevant.  Not to mention completely inappropriate.  Unless it turns out to be relevant to this particular plot line, I think I’d find those sort of repeated remarks too irritatingly misogynistic to continue to watch the show.

cast of Spiral

cast of Spiral

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TV: End of Season Grief

As hubby and I work our way towards the end of yet another much loved television series (at least, the most current season that is available,) I have that familiar feeling, a sort of sadness and disappointment that’s a little like grief.

I know, it sounds silly.  But after a whirlwind journey through the extremely entertaining British comedy-drama, Misfits, I have been mulling over the effect our entertainment can have on us.  If you’ve ever read a really engaging book, (or even better, a series like The Dark Tower novels or Harry Potter), you are likely aware of how you can become transported to another world, and how you can become attached to and love the characters with whom you’ve spent so much time.  I think our television can have a similar effect on us as a good novel.

The original cast of Misfits-- "Kelly, Simon, Alisha, Curtis, and Nathan"

The original cast of Misfits– “Kelly, Simon, Alisha, Curtis, and Nathan”

So, as we began season (series) 4 of Being Human, amidst some seemingly very rapid (and unceremonious) cast changes, I mentioned to my husband the fact that how we view our favorite television programs can actually affect the way they affect us.  

When you watch a particular show on a service like Netflix or Hulu, you can become immersed very quickly.  There is an instant gratification sort of effect.  You don’t have to wait a week for the next episode.  There’s not anxious anticipation, rather a desire to bull through and watch as much as you can (if you’re really into the show.)  If you’re like hubs and I, you’ll watch three or four episodes a night.  You reach the end of a season or series fairly quickly. Consequently, twists in the plot, changes to the cast, and deaths of main characters often seem very abrupt and are a bit of a shock to the system.

Conversely, if you watch a series as it airs on television, obviously it’s going to feel like you spent even longer with the characters…however, if you’re like me, and you get behind on a series, or even just waiting until next week’s episode, sometimes the sense of urgency you feel to see the next episode kinda of gets muted with time. (I went through this when we went without cable for a while; at first I thought I’d just about die if I didn’t see the next episode of True Blood, but after a while I was just like, Meh.)

Still, I think I prefer to be able to watch a series consecutively (thank you, Hulu!)  In addition to having my instant gratification, I never have to wonder “what’s on TV tonight?”  There are less commercials, you can pause for snack or a bathroom break, and rewind when your kid’s screaming (or you have to yell at them for pulling the cat’s tail) and you’ve missed a bit.

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What is your favorite way to watch your favorite shows?  Do you think the way you view your programs effects how they impact you?

Run, Rabbit, Run!

Leporiphobia-  fear of rabbits.  Who would be afraid of rabbits? you may ask.

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

House of 1000 Corpses- for victims, these two sure are creepy

For your entertainment, I present, some of the scariest bunnies of all time.

The Killer Rabbit of CaerbannogMonty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Need I say more?

"Run away! Run away!"

“Run away! Run away!”

The rabbit from the hatTwilight Zone: the Movie (1983)

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

oh.my.word. Put it back! Put it back!

Frank the Bunny RabbitDonnie Darko (2001)

The mysterious vision that appears to Donnie to warn him of the end of the world…

"Why are you wearing that human suit?"

“Why are you wearing that human suit?”

Mysterious Rabbit Family– Inland Empire (2006)

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Original Footage from Rabbits a 2002 David Lynch project

Creepy Not-White rabbit– Starfish Hotel (2006)

The rabbit is a reference to Lewis Carroll‘s “White Rabbit,” and leads the character to an underground brothel called Wonderland.

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The Acid Rabbit- Misfits (2012)

Born of a freak lightening storm and a bad acid trip, the rabbit stalks people with a golf club.  The most frightening aspect of him is his dynamic and reflective eyes.

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So, in conclusion… Who would be afraid of rabbits?  Me. I would.

 

Edit (2/11-2014): I don’t remember where this one came from but it definitely belongs on this list:

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