Posts tagged with "anecdote" - Faerye Net 2010-01-11T14:42:22+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Music brings people together. Especially acoustic guitar. 2010-01-11T14:42:22+00:00 2010-01-11T14:44:56+00:00 <p><a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> posted <a href="" target="links">this link</a>. Apparently one of the people stuck in the Newark airport during the security-breach scare last week was a guitarist, and he rallied the strangers around him to sing &#8220;Hey Jude&#8221;. It&#8217;s a short video, but it&#8217;s hard to deny its feel-good potency. Partly that&#8217;s the power of the Beatles, but I think it&#8217;s also just people singing together, one person bringing out an instrument and trying to make the situation better.</p> <p>I used to work at&#8230;what did I call it here? Oh yes, <a href="" target="links">Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa</a>. One night I was filling in away from my home Queequeg&#8217;s, at one of the busiest QQs in the district. This store wasn&#8217;t as matey as my usual store, due to size, location, and existence of a drive-through. A few hours into my shift, we got a call from my home store. Did we have power? Why yes, we did. Because they didn&#8217;t. Okay, they&#8217;ll send customers there. Call waiting &#8212; the next furthest store. Did we have power?</p> <p>The power continued to fail across town, as if it were herding all the customers toward us and the biggest Queequeg&#8217;s, the 24-hour behemoth to the West. Customers came in swells. The drive-through Qrewmember reported power had gone out across the street, in all the apartment complexes up the block. Our logo was shining out like a lighthouse of warmth and comfort, and they were coming. Then the phone rang again. The 24-hour store had lost power.</p> <p>I don&#8217;t remember those hours in great detail. I was on the register, trying to serve the mob as quickly and kindly as possible. I know we had a line that filled the entire store, that we ran out of white chocolate sauce, that all the power outlets were taken and people were setting up camp in our lobby until their own power came back on. What I remember most clearly is the spirit that emerged. Usually, if there were five people in front of a customer in line, that customer would get anxious, check his watch, fret and bark a little when he finally got to the front. Now, with fifty people in line, everyone was friendly and understanding. They took normal chocolate instead of white chocolate. They bought the next person in line&#8217;s drink. They left epic tips. And when I tell this story with more brevity &#8212; say, in three sentences or less &#8212; this is the detail I always mention: someone brought a guitar and played quietly in the corner for hours. We turned off the stereo and worked as hard as we could. We made fussy employee drinks for the 24-hour store&#8217;s six chilly Qrewmembers, who had to sit on the sidewalk outside their store, waiting for light. We worked past closing time.</p> <p>No one sang, that I remember, but that dude in the corner with his guitar made it official: that wasn&#8217;t just a Queequeg&#8217;s, that night. That was a community. Music does that, Beatles or no.</p> Geek Social Fallacy Addendum 2009-01-02T13:51:20+00:00 2009-01-02T13:53:23+00:00 <p>The Five Geek Social Fallacies were established in 2003 by this dude named Michael Suileabhain-Wilson, and can be read in detail <a href="" target="links">here</a>. They are as follows, in short form:</p> <blockquote> <p>Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil<br /> Geek Social Fallacy #2: Friends Accept Me As I Am<br /> Geek Social Fallacy #3: Friendship Before All<br /> Geek Social Fallacy #4: Friendship Is Transitive<br /> Geek Social Fallacy #5: Friends Do Everything Together</blockquote></p> <p>My friend RockStar and I have come up with another one (as the author has always said is more than possible) which comes up a lot in our lives. It might be a corollary to #5, rather than a fallacy in its own right:</p> <p><strong>Geek Social Fallacy #6 or #5b</strong>: Friends Like All the Same Things.</p> <p>I definitely am a carrier for this, though my intellectual brain rejects it. Really, people have different tastes and that&#8217;s okay. But when someone I cherish, whose opinion matters to me, dislikes something I love, there is a palpable sting. This is, of course, how this fallacy came to be formulated, for RockStar is a man of strong opinions and discerning tastes, whereas I am a woman of strong opinions and occasionally permissive tastes. There are many things I like that he doesn&#8217;t like, and it helps that we formulated this rule to remind us that it&#8217;s okay for geeks not to geek out over all the same things.</p> <p>Of course, being sarcastic beggars, it doesn&#8217;t exactly play out as:<br /> <blockquote>R: I think [X] is an ultimately shallow and brainless movie.<br /> F: That&#8217;s okay, because friends don&#8217;t have to like all the same things!</blockquote></p> <p>It actually played out:<br /> <blockquote>R: I hate <em>Star Wars</em>.<br /> F: We are no longer friends!</blockquote></p> <p>and subsequently:<br /> <blockquote>R: I think [X] is an ultimately shallow and brainless movie.<br /> F: That&#8217;s okay, because we aren&#8217;t friends.</blockquote></p> <p>But we both understand it as meaning the same as the first example.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve been meaning to tell ye about this Fallacy Addendum for some time, but I was spurred into action this morning by yet another <a href="" target="links">Goodreads</a> update e-mail wherein <a href="" target="links">etmorpi</a> gave a horrible rating to yet another <a href="">Norby</a> book. It&#8217;s okay that etmorpi doesn&#8217;t enjoy the antics of superpowered, whimsical and supremely confident robots made of barrels of nails. Because people are different, their expectations from literature and entertainment differ, and the landscapes of life and mind that affect any one reading of the same work render it utterly distinct from any other. Friendship is about something more lasting than mere aesthetic symmetry: about compassion, support, and overcoming difference in favor of lasting sympathy.</p> <p>Or, in other words: Etmorpi, we are no longer friends!</p> Orycon 30 2008-11-23T21:03:46+00:00 2008-11-24T15:50:56+00:00 <p>So it&#8217;s over, my <a href="" target="links">first con appearance</a> as a writer. I loved it. That&#8217;s even though I was initially terrified that I would be expected to arrive full of wisdom and pithy jewels, and even though my first panel was so poorly attended I considered closing my eyes and trying to levitate to make sure it wasn&#8217;t an anxiety dream. I learned (or sensed) that I am what I&#8217;m expected to be: full of opinions and odd scraps, self-deprecating jokes and nonsense; and that I know more than I realize. All my subsequent panels were well-attended, and even at the first one, I learned something. It&#8217;s an odd thing, a convention panel. It arrives sometime after you do, assembled from audience questions and bits of every person at the front of the room. You go partially to find out what it is you&#8217;re going to say.</p> <p>I met splendid people, and in general, everyone was radically friendly (even by Northwest standards.) I made new friends and bought new books. I haven&#8217;t assimilated everything yet &#8212; that will require time, and quite a bit of sleep.</p> <p>But one thing I think I will remember forever. It&#8217;s both a shining moment and a little bit of a regret. After a panel I was on where my story, <a href="" target="links">&#8220;Burgerdroid&#8221;</a>, was relevant, I was taking the escalator down to the main meeting floor. A woman leaned over the railing and called, &#8220;Felicity! I just wanted to tell you I loved your story.&#8221; I very nearly started running backwards up the escalator. I did not want to miss this. But I decided to err on the side of caution and confined myself to grins and thanks. &#8220;Have you got anything else coming out?&#8221; she said.</p> <p>&#8220;No sci-fi,&#8221; I replied.</p> <p>&#8220;Too bad. It was the most badass story I read all year.&#8221; (this is of course reconstructed. She may have said &#8216;kickass&#8217;, for example, but the emotion of the hearer is unaffected by such details.)</p> <p>I really wanted to find out who she was, but the few times I saw her again, she was deep in conversation, and her nametag was always flipped the wrong way. (If you ever read this, nice woman with long hair and bangs, leave me a comment and introduce yourself.) Maybe I&#8217;ll see her again &#8212; Orycon is a pretty cozy convention, and I hope to return next year. But if I don&#8217;t, I&#8217;ll chalk it up to fate: maybe it&#8217;s a good thing to have an anonymous reader in mind who loved your work and wants you to keep writing.</p> <p>Enough blogging! The page calls. Some nice woman with long hair and bangs is waiting for more stories.</p> "Better because it's true" 2008-07-04T10:48:40+00:00 2008-07-04T10:49:33+00:00 <p>A few months ago, I spent a lot of time hanging around big-box bookstores. I visited the local Borders and B&#38;N daily in hopes of surprising my <a href="" target="links">first published work</a> on its first shelved day. The local Borders was more convivial and boasted more clearance racks of stationery, so I lingered there longer and noticed that there were two major genera of employees. One day, every counter would be occupied by listless, asymmetrically-coiffed young men with pendant chins; the next, by cheery middle-aged women with long hair and an ineffable air of library.</p> <p>It was one of these latter beings, friendly though they seemed, that shocked and distressed me. Standing in line one day, I listened to the woman at the counter chatting about books with the soccer mom before her with such loquacity that it gave you hope for the brick &#8216;n&#8217; mortar bookshop. The customer, recognizing a font of literary enthusiasm when she saw it, asked for recommendations: light, funny reading.</p> <p>The bookseller immediately launched into an elevator-pitch for a book she&#8217;d just read about an eccentric family, &aacute; la <em>Royal Tenenbaums</em>. As the customer obligingly chuckled, she finished, &#8220;I simply loved it, and it&#8217;s a memoir, so it&#8217;s better because it&#8217;s true!&#8221;</p> <p>Gentle reader, I gaped. Perhaps this underlying value statement is more than evident given the publishing world&#8217;s memoir obsession; perhaps you even agree with it on some fundamental level. But for this fictionist, the implicit statement that the same work would be a &#8220;good&#8221; novel and a &#8220;great&#8221; memoir was chilling.</p> <p>Is this true? And if so, why? There may be greater artistry involved in making a truly compelling narrative without breaking the bounds of personal history. But surely that lack of inventive liberty is balanced by the artistry necessary to create such a narrative out of whole cloth. Why is the book not its own achievement, to be judged on its own merits, on the world between its pages?</p> <p>Is the act of reading different if the reader believes the narrative to be reported fact? If the reader were not told until the end whether the book were memoir or novel, would her &#8220;star-rating&#8221; change upon hearing? And if so, what does that mean for our enjoyment of books &#8211; that we use them as artifacts, not just art; that we are unduly influenced by the biography of the author? Or does it simply mean we expect less of memoir?</p> <p>There are plenty of issues raised, many questions around the primacy of memoir in today&#8217;s writing market. Many of them, I hold, would benefit from the attention of fictionists as well as of nonfictionists. But I will stop this ramble here for now, and ask: do you agree with the Borders lady, reader? Is a satisfying, rollicking good read <em>better</em> if it&#8217;s true?</p> Adventures at Readings: Lorrie Moore owes me a pen. 2008-02-16T13:00:52+00:00 2008-06-08T13:51:54+00:00 <p>Since I seem to be making a habit of <a href="" target="links">attending literary readings</a>, I thought I&#8217;d better come up with a snappy (or at least cheesy) title for posts about them.</p> <p>Some time ago, I happened to pick up a free bookmark covered with free reading dates at the <a href="" target="links">Stegner Fellowship</a> office on Stanford campus. Now, since I don&#8217;t have Powell&#8217;s down here to provide me with readings, and since Palo Alto is only a jillion miles away &#8211; which passes for convenient in my life at present &#8211; I popped all those babies right onto my calendar. The first so popped was that of <a href="" target="links">Lorrie</a> <a href="" target="links">Moore</a>.</p> <p>Duly, I chose respectable yet not-overwarm clothing and printed off three views of the Stanford campus map along with a set of <a href="" target="links">directions</a> carefully sanity-checked against same. I set off forty minutes earlier than the map site recommended, and felt sure that such a cushion of time would allow me to navigate the Stanford Maze.</p> <p>The Stanford Maze is an effect of Stanford&#8217;s size and wealth coupled with certain human factors. Not only is the campus huge and laid out with organic whimsy, as the growing wealth of the institution and the ambitions of its managers allowed, but it apparently maintains for itself the illusion of intimacy. I infer this from the fact that all the winding byways of the campus intersect at four-way stops. If you have never attempted to use an all-way stop in California, I do not recommend it&#8212;even if the ways stopping only contain one lane each, which is not always the case at Stanford. This utter inability to remember who has right-of-way is one human factor; another is confident undergrads striding about without looking at cars, often at night in dark clothing (in the day they wear bright cheerful colors, but a few like to wear dark colors at night just to keep the drivers on their toes.) Throw in many cyclists and the occasional activist against turn-signal use, and you still have only the slightest understanding of the Stanford Maze.</p> <p> The final effable ingredient is construction. Also an effect of the Stanford Wealth, this construction is everywhere and detour signs are, to put it generously, few. Thus it was that I squandered 25 of my 40 extra minutes driving back and forth in front of a construction fence which concealed not only the road I needed, but its curbcut, sign and existence. Finally realizing this, I moved on to trying to park and become a dangerous, dark-clothed pedestrian, which took the other 15 minutes, as I couldn&#8217;t find a single non-permit-requiring parking spot. At last I trusted to luck and parked in whatever an &#8220;EA permit&#8221; spot might be.</p><p> At this point I was some distance away from the auditorium, with only three minutes to find it lest I become an embarrassed latecomer mouthing &#8216;sorry&#8217; as I scoot my butt past those in more convenient seats (which would have been extra-mortifying when I found out that <a href="" target="links">Tobias</a> <a href="" target="links">Wolff</a> was doing the introduction. Tobias &#8220;Bullet in the Brain&#8221; freakin&#8217; Wolff.) Luckily, by dint of fast walking and ignoring the cryptic names of buildings on my map in favor of their cross-sectional shape, I managed to squeak in one minute before anyone said anything, if, in all probability, one minute after nominal showtime. I found myself in one of the larger readings I&#8217;ve ever attended, dreadfully thirsty, surrounded by people I didn&#8217;t know and arriving just in the nick of time. This is no way to acquire the secure air of the lone sophisticate, but luckily one of the four people I know at Stanford was there, so I did not have to sit alone and look clever.</p> <p>Lorrie Moore read the first chapter of a novel she has almost completed (I have no idea if it&#8217;s the one she was working on in this <a href="" target="links"><em>Ploughshares</em> interview</a>, but it didn&#8217;t seem to be about hate.) It proved to have a self-deprecating narrator with a distinctive voice (Moore excels at voice) and a fund of odd observations about the world. She had us laughing out loud a great deal. As <a href="" target="links"><em>The Believer</em></a>&#8217;s article on her says, &#8220;Moore&#8217;s hallmark has become the inextricability of humor and pathos, which she explores with rare understanding.&#8221; I look forward to reading the rest of the novel. She has an idiosyncratic reading style; she places emphasis and pauses in very different places than I would expect. I wonder if this means that she &#8216;hears&#8217; those emphases and pauses when she&#8217;s writing, as well? I think it&#8217;s easy to assume that the way you yourself hear sentences is &#8216;normal&#8217;, but in all probability everyone is a little different. The individual ear is probably informed by the <a href="" target="links">literary sponge</a> effect.</p> <p>At any rate, I enjoyed the reading, and utilized my patented Lurking Skills to haunt the author afterwards so I could get my copy of <em>Like Life</eM> signed. I was only the second or so person to approach her in this vein, and she didn&#8217;t have a pen. Luckily, I have a messenger bag instead of a purse, so I whipped it open, noted with amazement that I had <span class="caps">TWO</span> of my preferred rollerballs as well as my fountain pen, and handed her one of the rollerballs. (Not only is the fountain pen all cherished and stuff, but it was loaded with aqua ink <span class="caps">AND I</span> have handed it to two faculty authors in my program only to discover they are left-handed and fountain pens are a hindrance more than a help.) Anyway, she foolishly said this was the type of pen she liked herself, whereupon, flushed with the competence of having 2 of them on me, I offered to abandon it to her. There was, after all, a line forming, books in hand. There is a certain wordy bashfulness common in writers, and in the depths of same we clashed, courtesy upon courtesy, until I told her my name and that she could owe me a pen and dashed away.</p> <p>It&#8217;s not much of a distinction, being owed a pen by a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, but that, and no ticket on your windshield, will get you home happy and warm. That ain&#8217;t bad for any adventure.</p> Jonah Day 2007-07-10T16:49:54+00:00 2008-06-08T11:50:58+00:00 <p><em>My understanding of the term &#8216;Jonah day&#8217; appears at the beginning of <a href=;type=0&#38;sectionid=0" target="links">this blogget.</a></em></p><p>After a short night of sleep, broken by recurrent nightmares of waking late and the persistent impression that my left eye had swollen shut, I woke to find that I had, in fact, managed to disable my alarm and I had, in fact, woken late. I stared at my phone for a few precious minutes, trying to make the numbers mean something else. Then, left eye not swollen shut, but definitely swollen (I&#8217;ve managed to get a mosquito bite on my eye socket), I ran to the shower, and wondered if, since I wasn&#8217;t sure of the existence of shampoo, water, feet or light, I would be safe to drive soon.</p> <p>Panicked hurry and a cup of yogurt fix all ills, and soon I was driving to work, encountering horrendous traffic, <span class="caps">NPR</span> reports cheerfully saying that every highway was backed up and no one knew why, and phone calls from my superiors asking me to pick up extra caramel at a neighbor store.</p> <p>By the time the work day was over, I was excited, truly excited, by the prospect of heading home and napping for hours. <em>bump bump bump</em>, whispered <a href="" target="links">the Poky Puppy</a>. <em><span class="caps">BUMPBUMPBUMPBUMP</span></em>, it reiterated as I neared the freeway onramp. It occured to me that in the vast miasmatic parking lot of the morning commute, I had taken the rightmost lane, not my usual second from the right. I know the potholes of the second lane quite well, but the first lane&#8230;it had gotten me at least once. Could anything have been jarred at those crawling speeds? Would I have noticed this rhythmic vibration at all on the abysmal pavement and genuinely ridged concrete?</p> <p>I chickened out of the freeway and drove to Ryan&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">palatial workplace</a>, where he frowned, nodded, and insisted on using his <a href="" target="links">new gadget</a> rather than the powers of the indoor intertron to find me the nearest mechanic. </p> <p>Paranoia thus seconded, I hastened to the small auto shop, where a very friendly man said the magical words, &#8220;tire separation&#8221;, thus bringing to the top of my mind buried memories and allowing me to realize why the sound and sensation gave me the feeling of a looming leeshore. My tire: <br /><center><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="240" height="192" alt="separating tire" border="0" /></center></a> </p> <p>Right glad am I that I did not compete with these Californian speed demons in their pothole derby with that lurking! The mechanic put my spare on and inflated it, and confessed when pressed that he did have a friend at a nearby tire shop. He refused payment, though I shall have the last laugh when I bring him a frosty beverage one of these days.</p> <p>After the shortest tire store visit ever (and, of course, a not entirely tiny bill), I drove off homewards. I thought it was homewards. I was so proud, because I was navigating&#8230;here in the Silicon Valley!...entirely by <em>feel</em>. The arterial I sought hung ahead on its overpass like a particularly ugly necklace, and I was so pleased with myself. From my first mention of the car problem to Ryan to the moment I drove on four sound tires was less than two hours, and despite the sick yellow tension in the gathering thunderheads, life was falling back into order. I would get home, try to stop the mosquito bite from claiming my eye, and catch some shut-eye. I stared at the red light, an amazingly long red light, then looked around me in incredulous anger as a dump truck rolled softly into my car.</p> <p>What a day. And the storm hasn&#8217;t even started.</p> One of us! One of us! 2007-06-26T22:07:13+00:00 2008-06-08T11:53:49+00:00 <p><em>Names in this story have been changed to protect the silly (writers are seldom innocent).</em></p> <p>Some time last year a gifted non-fiction writer of my acquaintance, Karin, told me she did not understand fiction writers. &#8220;I couldn&#8217;t do that. How do you decide what happens?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;You just do. You find something cool, and have it happen, I guess?&#8221;</P> <p>She shook her head.</p> <p>Last night, I sat at a kitchen island chatting with Elsa, a wild-eyed fictionist like myself. Elsa wiped the blue formica clean as we spoke, the action almost subconscious for a fastidious parent.</p> <p>With the indiscreet clicking and clacking characteristic of dormitory doors, Karin emerged from her room. She looked stunned.</p> <p>&#8220;That surprised to see me?&#8221; I said.</p> <p>&#8220;Are we keeping you up, honey?&#8221; said Elsa.</p> <p>&#8220;I&#8217;m writing&#8230;a story.&#8221; She half-smiled.</p> <p>Elsa and I exchanged glances, then studied the transfigured face of our friend. &#8220;Fiction?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Yes. I never wrote any before. Never.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;You made something up!?&#8221; one of us said, and &#8220;Good for you!&#8221; the other, all at once, as we surged forward to grab Karin&#8217;s hands.</p> <p>The residencies are transformative, remarkable. They are crucibles and comfort. Imagine this change! Imagine the confirmed teller of truths &mdash; or, depending on your philosophy, seeker of them &mdash; turning to fiction. It can happen. After all, I&#8217;m a confirmed confabulator, and I just wrote this.</p> "Hello Mr. Yukkamoto, and welcome back to the Gap!" 2006-11-27T21:43:09+00:00 2008-06-08T12:25:31+00:00 <p>In my capacity as a Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa crew member, I have to comply with certain dress codes. Confusingly, I am neither required nor allowed to have extensive facial tattoos &mdash; however, I am required to tuck in my shirts.</p> <p>In this age of low waistlines, this presents a problem, but as we are allowed to have an auxiliary tucked-in shirt under our primary shirt, not an insoluble one. Knowing my need, friend Grizelda recently gave me a hot tip: the Gap&#8217;s camisoles come in a longer, more tunic-like edition in their Gap Maternity section. Pursuant to this intelligence, I purchased two such garments and paid for them with (yes, I have one, deal) my Gap store credit card.</p> <p>A week later, I was surprised to see the usual Gap e-mail (I opted in so as to scoop the sales) in my inbox, but with a cryptic subject. &#8220;The perfect outfit for your special day!&#8221; What special day? The message made it clear: my&#8230;baby shower. I bought two camisoles and now the Gap thinks I&#8217;m pregnant. I&#8217;ll be interested to see if they swap me back to Gap Women in a few months, or try to sell me baby clothes. </p> <p>There are many futures, and Philip K. Dick is their prophet.</p> Musick hath Charms to sooth a savage Breast 2006-09-14T21:46:41+00:00 2008-06-08T13:20:41+00:00 <p>Here in our house, one of us amuses herself by captioning the <a href="" target="links">small furry inhabitants</a>. Often this goes something like this: </p><p><blockquote>T: Someday, I will defeat you, Old Master! I will master your Ear Fang Grasp Technique and use it to bring the world to heel!<br /> Q: You are confident but foolish, young one! No one can stand against my sleeping wrath!</blockquote></p> <p>Sometimes it is less dramatic, and more like this:</p> <p><blockquote>T: Whatcha doooin&#8217;?<br /> Q: Eating your food. Leave me alone.<br /> T: Will you be my frieeeeend?<br /> Q: No! You smell bad! Learn to wash!</blockquote></p> <p>As you can tell, Qubit is grumpy a lot of late.</p> <p>But today, the dynamic was different, for today there was a soundtrack. I took out my <a href="">hautboy</a> and decided, rather than playing in my messy playspace, to play out on the landing &mdash; if not <em>en plein air</em>, then, optimistically speaking, <em>en demi-plein air</em> (half full air! I kill me.) The response from the felines was immediate. Whilst we of the double reed are more used to being told we sound like snake charmers &mdash; and, indeed, to emulating them in some pieces &mdash; the mammalian audience was fascinated. They paced back and forth looking curiously at the instrument. Each of them in turn climbed a nearby desk and put out the super-tentative &#8216;is it alive?&#8217; paw to touch the bell of the instrument. Neither seemed particularly to trust the sound, but neither was particularly inclined to leave, either.</p> <p>That was while I was warming up and playing exercises. When I broke out my adored Mozart Concerto (K 314), things changed. Soon, Tazendra started circling me and mewing in a desolate tone little befitting a warrior. Just as I was beginning to think the mewing meant something was actually amiss, Qubit charged the kitten and&#8230;started washing her face. For the rest of the oboe practice, Tazendra continued to stare at me in a disturbed manner and occasionally mew plaintively, and Qubit continued to snuggle up against her, wash her reassuringly, and generally act as if she actually liked her. She also wreathed my calves appreciatively.</p> <p>It was simply bizarre. Odder yet, Qubit looked at me longingly after I stopped playing, and haunted the site where the music stand had been until at last she concluded I wasn&#8217;t going to play anymore. At that point, she ran across the room and started a fight with Tazendra. So apparently Qubit likes Mozart to the point of personality change&#8230;. That&#8217;s actually kind of creepy.</p> Bushido Buttcheeks 2005-04-08T10:57:26+00:00 2009-01-02T13:59:27+00:00 <p>I shudder to think what new search phrases I may find on my stats page as a result of this title, but I can&#8217;t live in fear of perverted Googlers.</p> <p>So the other day I saw <em>Seven Samurai</em> for the first time. It was, as promised, quite good. It was an entertaining three and a half hours, contained the only katana-fighting I&#8217;ve ever seen in a movie that seemed realistic, and was exceedingly pretty (except for the girl. Really, they should have cast the girl dressed as a boy (Shino) as the young samurai with the flowers on his clothes (Katsushiro), and vice versa, because Katsushiro was so pretty the soundtrack got all twittery when he was near; of course, maybe only a Japanese woman can make the horrible whine-shriek-sob ululation that Japanese women make in movies and anime when they get upset.). </p><p> However, partway through, as Kakuchiyo (the crazy guy) was bounding through the forest bandit-hunting, the bandit captain and some of his men stood on a low rise. As they turned to go, I snorted. That&#8217;s right, I&#8217;m admitting I make unladylike sounds. For lo, one of the bandit lieutenants was wearing a a helmet, a breastplate&#8230;and nothing else. Okay, a man-thong, but that barely counts. &#8220;Good thing they brought along Bondage Bandit!&#8221; quoth I. </p><p>&#8220;Er, that&#8217;s normal in Japan, honey,&#8221; replied <a href="" target="links">wonko</a>. </p><p>&#8220;Bondage bandits are normal? And yet the panty machines are what gets the press over here?&#8221;</p> <p>He gave me a look, and explained that in Japan, nudity and partial nudity aren&#8217;t such a big deal. &#8220;It&#8217;s not like there were people running around naked all the time when I was there, but if a person forgot his pants, it wasn&#8217;t a big deal.&#8221; (Funny, I always thought if you forgot your pants you didn&#8217;t notice until you got to class. But then, perhaps my dreams have been ineffective at training me for real life.) This inspires me to ask the wonkofam whether it was during or after their sojourn in Japan that <a href="" target="links">etmorpi</a> inexplicably ran about pantsless in the Colonel&#8217;s back yard. Maybe the hidden motive was multiculturalism!</p> <p>At any rate, Ryan&#8217;s point was carried, for no sooner had he explained why no one seemed to be pointing and laughing at this bandit for running around pantsless in a temperate forest with pointy things than our hero slayed the Bondage Bandit and took his armor&#8230;pantlessness included. Kakuchiyo spent the rest of the movie runnin&#8217; about two cheeks to the wind. &#8220;Ack!&#8221; said I.</p><p>&#8220;I totally based Hiro on him,&#8221; said wonko. (Hiro is his character in <a href="" target="links"><em>Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Role-Playing Game</em></a>. Hear that, Internet? Ryan&#8217;s a big geek!) Off my look, he hedged, &#8220;Just the running around high school naked with a sword&#8230;&#8221;</p> <p>While Kakuchiyo&#8217;s bare-bummed exploits do explain a lot about Ryan&#8217;s character &#8211; since they are both volatile, immature and inexplicable samurai-posers, I hardly credit his assertion that the similarity is only skin-deep &#8211; I still am utterly confused by them in general. How can you go into battle with only a piece of twisted cotton between your bottom birthday-suit and the spears, swords and arrows of the ravening horde? Don&#8217;t you get <span class="caps">COLD</span>?</p> <p>The only thing I can conclude is that it adds to the warrior&#8217;s bragging rights &#8212; after all, you must be pretty brave to take on forty bandits in your underwear, especially if it&#8217;s a man-thong. I envision aging samurai swapping stories over cups of sake. &#8220;That Katsushiro&#8230;what a fighter! He took out five ninja sent to assassinate his lord&#8230;with a bamboo spatula!&#8221; &#8220;I heard he did it wearing nothing but a man-thong,&#8221; another grizzled warrior adds, and they all nod in respectful awe. Of course, it&#8217;s Katsushiro, so a one-eyed samurai marked with many scars adds, &#8220;I hear there were flowers on the thong.&#8221;</p>