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Another Edition of “What More Do You Need?”

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Our previous installments have covered the vaccination “controversy” and the “birther conspiracy” (which is sadly making a comeback because of an idiot’s inability to speak in front of crowds), this edition concerns climate change.

I’ve never been a major skeptic of climate change. I’ll admit that up front so that any conservative readers with no patience can feel free to just hit the comment button right now. The science always seemed to be convincing in the sense that it was certainly happening. How that became controversial is kind of hard for me to understand. Numbers don’t lie, but the accusations that the people compiling the numbers were lying was certainly worth inspection but with no evidence pointing to the existence of a worldwide conspiracy of scientists I never really doubted it.

Yes, Al Gore’s movie is full of errors. For instance, he claims that global warming caused Katrina to be a category five hurricane when it hit New Orleans, when in fact Katrina was only a 3. The flooding had nothing to do with Climate change and more about the rampant corruption in New Orleans regarding the maintenance of the flood levies. However the studies shown in Al Gore’s movie wasn’t really up for debate. There was about as much of a debate about Climate change in the global scientific community as there was about evolution, or gravity. Yet the topic for some reason was politicized, with Conservative congress members calling it junk science, Conservative pundits claiming that some sort of conspiracy must exist because as we all know, in the 70s they thought the world was cooling.

The problem for me was that none of these people were scientists. Rush Limbaugh is not someone I would listen to regarding climatology, Glenn Beck isn’t someone I would listen too ever, and I’m not really sure if O’Reilly ever commented on it (I only watch him when he has a guest I’m interested in…though I hear his Lincoln book is good). When an actual scientist raised questions of bias or flat out fraud in the study I was interested.

Professor Richard Muller of Physics at Berkeley University was that scientist. Concerned over the allegations he sought to disprove climate change through a review of the evidence, in part, by conservative super-contributors the Kochs. The Koch brothers being oil billionaires and supporters of the Republican party, were hoping that a scientist with skeptical concerns about climate change would confirm that nothing they were doing was harming the environment. Republicans even invited him to speak to the committee before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology last Spring.

What they were expecting was not what they got. The scientific method is, according to the philosopher Husserl, the greatest development of the Western world. It’s cold, objective, rational, and most of all its conclusions are irrefutable (excepting for human/mechanical error).

You start off with a hypothesis, an idea that can be—and this is important—tested. Develop a test, perform the test, collect the data, build a theory. Stronger theories are those that have been tested and confirmed multiple times (see evolution or gravity). When someone like Professor Muller, a skeptic, comes around with the theory that the data confirming climate change is skewed, biased, or fraudelent; we have an idea of what is hypothesis was: that the Earth isn’t warming as reported.

Yet his data showed otherwise. So in conclusion I must ask to the skeptics of climate change, how is it that a scientist who was previously a skeptic looked at evidence and drew the same conclusion that other groups have in the past? He even concedes in the Wall Street Journal oped piece that the previous science was done as carefully as his group conducted their research. In other words his experiment aligned itself with all of the other experiments previously done on the subject. If this doesn’t settle it, then please tell me what will.

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Categories: current events, expose, science

Recycling (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 229-246)

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment

This is one time when I think that I will agree with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, recycling is a bad thing when it comes to plots. Once things are resolved they should be just that, resolved. Dredging up the past for the sake of convenience is not only boring but it also reminds you of all of the bad things from before. When we yearn for the past we are romanticizing it, forgetting the bad and only remembering the good.

For instance, in the last novel it took almost 300 pages to get to some actual tension. The meeting of the evil vampires. Looking back in my memory it would seem as though it was a highlight of an otherwise wearisome book. That doesn’t mean that I want to relive the same shit from the past, because unromantically I remember that it was shitty. Unfortunately fate is a fickle mistress that likes to mess with you just because she can.

Before we get to that last week I had a criticism of Bella. It’s pretty normal of me and this blog, but I mentioned how Bella is pretty dumb for wondering why Jacob hadn’t called her when she was pretty explicit about not returning his affections and in fact never going to return his affections. Well if only I had turned the page last week, “He was taking my advice and not waste any more time on someone who couldn’t return his feelings.”

You get one point there Bella Swan, but the debt you’re running is going to take forever to even up. Moving on.

Bella, upset about Jacob not calling lies to her father and decides to go and look for the meadow at the top of the forest herself. I suppose that her character could have grown, but if the experienced Jacob couldn’t find the place it’s pretty doubtful that the ignorant clumsy Bella could find it on her own. Except that her clumsiness isn’t expressed once in the whole trip. Remember when Edward had to carry her because she couldn’t make it without falling down? Yeah, me too.

Miraculously, she makes it just fine locating the meadow herself. It’s been a year and it seems that nothing has changed. There is even a dark figure who steps out of the woods as she enters it herself. Who could it be?

Laurent!’ I cried in surprised pleasure.”

We remember Laurent from the last book…and we’re at the recycling. This is only book 2 of a series and there is roughly no reason to reintroduce a character that played no major role in the previous book. Sure he was part of the evil coven but he wasn’t the evil one, that was James. Laurent had given the impression that he was going to convert to the vegetarianism of the Cullens going so far as even slap one of those apple stickers on his car (that’s a joke for faithful readers with good memories). So why bring him back? It’s lazy and cheap at this point. It’s as bad as the fact that every iteration of Star Wars has to revisit Tatooine, it’s a desert planet and it’s not that interesting (they even say it in the first movie).

What’s more puzzling is that Bella’s reaction isn’t one of mild fear or even hesitance but pleasure. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. She’s so deluded that seeing a vampire, even an evil one, reminds her of her dear sweet Edward. It’s so incredibly stupid. Visiting the place where they had their first kiss is also stupid, but it’s heart broken stupid which is forgiveable. It’s important to note that this is a reaction, she doesn’t have time to think, ‘oh it’s Laurent and I shouldn’t be scared but rather happy to see him because he reminds me of Edward for some reason.’ It’s the first thing she thinks of, it’s her impression upon first image. That’s pretty messed up.

The message here ladies is this: if a group of people try and kill you and your boyfriend saves you by murdering one them, but later you meet one of the survivors you should be happy because that person reminds you of your boyfriend.

But wait there’s more. Seeing Laurent sends Bella into some kind of nostalgia. Laurent apparently was a convert moving to Alaska to live with another vegetarian family up there, this memory forces her to think about the Cullens: “The other family like…but I couldn’t let myself think the name. Later it occurs again but this time she allows herself to think it “I’d begun to picture him, on the rare occasions that I thought of him at all, with the same golden eyes that the…Cullens-I forced the name out, wincing–had.”

Both of these are internal monologues, and she winces at them? She’s not talking to anyone and the thoughts of a person don’t change much if you don’t use their name. What is she trying to do, not summon them? And who thinks occasionally of a friend of the person that tried to kill them? Idiot.

What’s worse is that Laurent doesn’t just look the same, but exactly the same. Meaning that he looks at Bella like she’s food, Laurent hadn’t changed, he met up with Victoria who is going to be upset, “about me killing you.”

So Laurent, the person who thought that the Cullens had it good, actually lived in Alaska with the other vegetarians, is now suddenly an evil vampire once again. I get that sometimes people don’t change, actually it’s most of the time, but these two people put an entire country between them and somehow Laurent can’t help but run into her. Why not bring us a new character or have Victoria be the one who returns. Laurent is there at her behest, why bring in a middle man. It’s not like stealth seems to be his modus operandi, if the Cullens were there he would have been found and interrogated or just straight up murdered.

Just as Laurent is about to eat her, out comes the saving hand of the divine. A wolf so large and dire that it was the creature being mistaken for the bear in the woods. Laurent is afraid of it, and for once we actually get a good scene because Bella admits that she doesn’t know what the hell is going on. She wants to know why Laurent is afraid, I mean they’re wolves but he’s a vampire. He should be able to annihilate them. Her questions make sense, her anxiety makes sense but the wolves don’t seem to care about her at all. The trouble is that the situation presented is better than the writing of it. Bella is just too whiny and too enthralled with the voice of Edward in her head to make it work. Which is odd because the voice in her head has to be a memory, Edward’s telepathy doesn’t work on her, but somehow the memory is able to give new information for new, completely unique situations. If the voice never appeared the scene would have been good.

I should mention that there are five of them, and how many people were getting approached by the La Push gang (A French Rapper if I’ve ever hear of one*)? Two (Jacob and Embry), plus the three original members. We know where this is going.

Subtlety cannot be made with a hammer.

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*Not my joke, but a commenter on the wordpress version of this blog made it.

How To Protest

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

My extremely fledgling political party last week threw its support behind the Occupy Wall Street protests, but we may have to retract that support if a few of the following demands aren’t met. We will always support the message but the protests aren’t doing anything or going anywhere, and largely this is the failure of the protestors themselves. It’s all related to a criticism that is often leveled at the military. The criticism is that the military is always preparing to fight the last war. For example, Vietnam was such a quagmire because the people in charge thought we were fighting the Korean War, a war with clearly defined battle lines and one in which the winner of the most battles wins the war; Iraq now was planned on being like Desert Storm. See what I mean, each time a failure to understand the proper context of the battle ground and a realization of who the enemy is/was caused a systemic failure of the war’s conduct.

This is only different in that there are no guns. Well there’s some guns, but we’ll get to that in a sec. The protestors are protesting what exactly? I don’t mean why, but against what are they fighting? It’s unclear. Wall Street isn’t where decisions were made, but I guess it’s symbolic. Still though it reeks of ignorance. Every once in a while I’ll get a facebook post where someone decides that they are going to start a boycott of a particular gasoline company, you probably know what I am talking about. The message is that no one should buy gas at a Sunoco/Mobile/BP/Etc. station for a week (or sometimes one day). The thinking is that the station will have to lower it’s prices to get people to buy their gas and then the other stations would have to do so as well and BANG the price of gas will drop. This post (which will get you blocked from my facebook page by the way) ignores several factors: first off, the station manager has very little control over the price of gas. He does exert some flexibility in the way of a dime or so but that’s really it. More importantly, the price of gas isn’t determined by a simple supply and demand economics. The price of oil is based on futures, the price of gas is thus influenced by that and by production. This is, at least the excuse, given when the price of gas shot up a dollar over the Libyan Revolution even though the US doesn’t receive any of its oil from Libya. So protesting the day traders, the grunts of wall street doesn’t make a lot of sense. Don’t protest the barista at Starbucks because of the price of coffee.

Demand 1: Pick a reasonable target and stick to it. By “reasonable” I mean pick something that is going to change. These 1% people aren’t going to turn over their money because you want it. For instance the surtax on the wealthy in New York is going to expire soon, so you NYC protestors ought to start raising a stink about that. Remember little victories give your movement not only morale but also legitimacy.

You have a problem that is a lot larger than just your protest as well. One enemy that you have is the conservative media. Yes, I know they are hypocrites for supporting the TEA party who allegedly* believed the exact same thing as you, but that’s not going to change. Yes, they are hypocrites–agreed? Let’s move on. The problem with them and with every movement is that change is difficult. There is nothing more troublesome than to refine an already established machine. As people fight hardest when they think they are going to lose what they have. In order to do this, weapons will be deployed and one of the most important ones your opponents have the media.

I know, the media has largely been able to convince the rest of the country that there is some liberal agenda that controls the news. It’s however, a lie. Conservative radio dominates AM, Fox News is the number one cable news station by a wide margin. One thing they don’t like is you. Understanding this is greatly important because they will use every misspelled sign, every arrest, every act of vandalism, to discredit the protest. Yes, they’ve ignored those very things in the TEA party but we already covered the hypocrisy, and yes, if you brought a gun they would scream terrorism even though they kept their mouth shut when their group did it. We already covered that.

Not to say that the liberal media, or the objective media is helping either. While they seem to be largely sympathetic to you, they are inadvertently hurting by describing the “air of friendliness” and “how everyone is being so nice” etc. It gives your protest the sense that it is a party. This needs to stop for the previous two reasons.

Demand 2: Put down the fucking drums and get angry!

People need to understand that you aren’t a bunch of rich college kids on vacation. You have a purpose and a message. Figure that out and get going. Furthermore, start organizing. Take the only good lesson we can get from fascism: organization is key. Go through your protest and start controlling who talks to the press, take down every misspelled sign, and every sign with vulgarities on them.

You don’t have to manicure someone to talk to a news reporter just use simple common sense. Ask yourself, is this person likely to be taken seriously? If that sort of hypothetical is too complicated in such a large group use simple formulae. I’ll give you a couple: dred locks=no talk, hemp clothing=no talk, more than three patches on a jacket=no talk. It’s easy. No I understand that this might be offensive to ideas of self-expression and it is. But needs must when the devil arrives and if you want to be taken seriously as to your message you have to eliminate the needless trivialities that the idiot general public likes to focus on.

Continuing on that idea. Remember the police officer telling you to do something is doing his job just the same as the barista telling you you can’t use the bathroom without a purchase. Most cops are decent people following the law, and if, say, a bunch of cops are telling you not to walk on the brooklyn bridge because of traffic issues, listen to them. Remember what I just said, every arrest makes you look bad. Yes, you have a right to peaceful assembly but not to forestall traffic or destroy property. The cops aren’t being fascists when they arrest you for doing that: they’re being police officers. Sure they may have orders to start enforcing every small pointless law in order to disrupt the protest, but the person doing the actual arresting isn’t in charge. Be polite, and follow their orders. As long as they aren’t themselves violating the law you can both co exist quite nicely. Most of you won’t listen to that, you have a preconceived notion of us vs. them and the police are them. It’s not the case though, they are in the 99% and given the fact that the GOP has decided to demonize public employees they probably have more sympathy then you realize.

Demand 3: Don’t break the law.

Finally, if you find a hostile reporter or counter protest or whatever…just ignore them. I know it might be hard to not want to get on television with today’s celebrity obsessed media but seriously if your words are just going to be twisted don’t talk to them. Pull an Anthony Weiner (not like that), and roll your eyes when they try and push an obvious false dilemma on you or force you to admit a straw man. The counter protestors, just let them be. If they want to brag about how shitty their lives are but they don’t blame wall street, fine. Whatever, you aren’t going to convince them anyway. Accept it, because they are still in the 99% anyway. You aren’t going to convince them of anything.

Demand 4: Control communications.

It’s the best thing you can do. Image is everything when you already have substance. Find well spoken individuals and make them your press liasons. You might also want to start petitions, written petitions (the ones that mean something), for new laws or whatever you want.

Good luck.

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*I say “allegedly” because I completely doubt it. Their big rally before the last election gave audience to the “birther” movement basically legitimizing it. The TEA Party is anti-Obama, not anything else.

Categories: current events, politics Tags:

Narcissism (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 225-228)

October 11, 2011 2 comments

“Jacob didn’t call.”

Jake not calling is a big deal, but I wonder why it is for Bella. I say it’s a big deal because we know that he is infatuated with Bella from last chapter and since they have been spending so much time together him not calling is odd. It’s especially odd since he told her that he would call, and the sickness that everyone had seemed to pass over in a day. Could Bella be showing signs of humanity in her narcissistic worldview? Perhaps. We should note that this is the first sign of actual concern for another human being that she has. It’s entirely altruistic, concerned with the other person without referring it back to herself or how her life would be affected.

Bella calls a couple of times and is not able to get through. She then has her dad call Harry Clearwater, friend of Billy’s, to find out what is going on. From this circular route, which is a reasonable way of going about things I suppose, we find out three things: 1) Harry has been in the hospital for some kind of heart thing. 2) The phone lines have been messed up on the Reservation so that’s why Bella hasn’t been able to get through. 3) Jacob has mononucleosis.

Number 2, seems like a lame story but we must remember that this is the next day. The phones being down could just be a coincidence although phone companies do tend to put up a recording informing of the problem. The fact that Jacob has mono (or is claimed to have mono), explains some of his symptoms. I’ve saved the first thing for last, Harry’s heart problem because of the reaction Bella has to it:

Charlie was too worried about Harry. That was clearly the more important issue–it wouldn’t be right to bug him with my lesser concerns.”

This leads us to a discussion about one of the main problems with this book, and the last one. That of artificial tension between characters. Tension ought to arise from natural personality conflicts, or competing mutual desires ala Thomas Hobbes. For instance we understand that tension between Mike and Jacob at the movies last chapter because they both, for some reason, want Bella. It makes sense, it’s identifiable, etc. The problem with this series thus far is that we know that there is tension between two characters because we are told there is tension, without any evidence for it. Furthermore, Bella’s frequent impatience or anger at her father is utterly fictional. We can picture her rolling her eyes at her dad’s concern for his friend, but why? The “lesser concern” of hers is just that: it’s a lesser concern. Mononucleosis, isn’t treatable and just goes away on its own.

I should know, I had it my second year of college. Harry’s heart problem is potentially fatal, and Bella being the selfish narcissist that she is shows impatience at her father for being more concerned with the person who could die. This is very similar to Bella hiding Edward from her father in the first book. It didn’t make any sense for her to do it, Charlie spoke of nothing bad about the Cullens going so far as to admire Carlisle and his family. Yet Bella thought it of some importance to hide her boyfriend from him. The conflict with Lauren is the same way, it comes out of the same place that the character of Lauren comes from: nowhere. However we are told that Lauren is a bitch and are supposed to read the story as though she is one. If Bella didn’t like Harry for some reason it would make some sense or if Jacob’s health was in the same danger as his it would be the same thing.

Bella does some web research on Mono, finds out the usual stuff and is aghast when she discovers that it could last a month. Yeah, that’s possible, but a bit on the rare side. A couple weeks is usually the case. She’s suspicious though, thinking that Jacob didn’t act sick until he was sick on the phone. Maybe…

She forgets the situation with Mike. Jacob was smart, he used Mike’s sickness to play up his inherent weakness as a mate. With that in mind we might understand that if Jacob had symptoms he wouldn’t have told Bella about them because it would completely scupper any game he was building on Bella. She could, I suppose, plead ignorance of this sort of behavior but it seems that she should at least be aware of it as a possibility.

A week passes, and we are thankfully spared the details of the passage of time. However, we are treated to the dependency that Bella has on other people to be around. Her nightmares have returned, she wakes up screaming, gets shortness of breath all of the time. I’m beginning to think that she has a medical issue herself. Some kind of heart arrhythmia along with sleep apnea would be my amateur diagnosis.

The week is up and she decides she’s going to call. She gets through to Billy, finally, who explains that Jacob didn’t have mono but some other virus. Billy also explains that Jake is better he’s just gone for the day with some of his friends: “Jacob was better, but not well enough to call me. He was out with friends. I was sitting home, missing him more every hour. I was lonely, worried, bored…perforated–and now also desolate as I realized that the week apart had not had the same effect on him.”

First off, how is one “bored” and then “perforated.” Those two words aren’t related in any bit. The ellipses that connects them indicates thought, the narrator has to think of the word they want and the previous word must have something to do with it. If perforated is a metaphor for “empty” or “hollow” then you have to use those words because “perforated” doesn’t mean the same thing. Unless she feels “holy.*” I’m also not buying her use of the word “desolate” here. “Desolate” is like a desert or a forest after a raging fire has just passed through. People can’t feel desolate, but they can feel isolated or solitary which is what I think she meant.

Finally, the whole point of that couple of sentences is to show that Bella is hurt by Jacob not calling once he was better. Well guess what sweetie, you brought that on yourself. Last chapter Jacob confessed his crush, Bella blew him off, Jacob pressed, and Bella told him that “you shouldn’t waste it (his time) on me,” that she was never going to change her mind, etc. Jacob has moved on but now Bella feels insulted because Jake did exactly as she said he ought to? Yep this chick is definitely worth having around.

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*I know, it was lame.

We Support the Rest of US

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

The Founder’s Party supports the 99% protests in NY, Boston, LA, Philadelphia, and everywhere else the protest decides to crop up. The reason: The Founder’s Party is realistic. We understand that if you are reading this entry you are in the 99%, and more importantly you are most likely going to stay there. Not be down or pessimistic, but practically speaking you aren’t going to strike it big and the best the average American is going to do is live and die in the same economic strata they were born into. The Founder’s Party is admittedly self interested, and if a group aligns itself with our self interest we will support that. To do otherwise is foolishness.

The Founder’s Party believes in Adam Smith’s theory of Capitalism, that progressive taxes are necessary for the maintenance of the population’s ability to be educated and the general goodwill of our Republic. We also believe that if a company does business in this country it ought to pay taxes in this country no matter where it’s banks may be located. We follow the principle of Machiavelli in keeping the public rich but the private individual to poor to buy government. Under our government we will not permit individuals to become a Medici, Hearst, or Rockefeller; wielding the type of power that places them beyond the reach of the law.

The Founder’s Party opposes tax shelters. It also opposes tax subsidies for successful businesses instead believing that government money should be spent on research and propping up new emergent businesses. We understand history, that such revolutionary ideas like the internet wouldn’t have occurred without the infrastructure built with the aid of the federal government. Sure the market is great for developments within industry but new industries aren’t founded on their own. They need help, and the Founder’s Party is willing to take a gamble on new industries.

We aren’t Socialists, but we do believe in Socializing some aspects of society. The challenge we offer to those 1%, is that if you are so patriotic why don’t you help the rest of the country out? While we are non-religious we do support the Christian principle of helping the poor, something that seems even religiously Christian politics seems to be opposed to.

These are strictly superficial economic policies. Until the Founder’s Party gets an economist, or I start reading some economic books, I can’t be more specific. Also, until we learn of some hidden agenda in the “Occupy” Protests we support them but offer this piece of advice: That a crowd is useless without a head, for without a leader there is no one that can speak for you. Someone for whom questions and answers can be directed. More importantly, if you become successful who will negotiate? A multitude needs a leader as much as a body needs a head.

Categories: current events, politics

Guilt (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 201-224)

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The thing about guilt is that it is largely artificial. There’s no innate sense of guilt. That bad feeling that we have when we do something wrong is based entirely on our upbringing. It begins as a feeling of regret from being punished, then it’s anticipatory of punishment, and then it becomes largely a matter of ethical teaching. Regardless of where it comes from and what form it eventually takes, guilt is the feeling that is supposed to make you change your behavior. If you guilty about something, you aren’t supposed to want to do it again. The word “guilt” is also one that frequently appears in this chapter yet seems to have actually no bearing on anything that happens.

The beginning of the chapter is indicative of how bad a person Bella Swan truly is. Now, another blogger doing roughly the same thing as I (only she’s going the much saner route and doing one chapter per entry instead of the longer and more wearisome as I am), has repeatedly made the claim that Bella is a “Mary Sue” for Stephanie Meyer. A “Mary Sue” is a character that is a stand in for the author, what the author does is place greatly exaggerated versions of the themselves in a story thus living out their fantasies. I agree…sometimes, this is not one of those times.

You can’t be a “Mary Sue” when you have such a low opinion of yourself, “…to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.”

Bella likens her broken self to a moon whose planet was desolated (she means “destroyed” or “annihilated”–a desolated planet would still exist) and continues to circle the gravitational free fall that all moons are in. I’ll give her credit for one thing: she at least looked up the fact that it would have to “ignore the laws of gravity.” If we take this simile on it’s own we are left with the fact that Bella looks at herself not as a thing with its own self worth, but as a thing that can only exist in reference to something else which is greater than it. Every satellite needs something to orbit, it is that which ontologically defines a satellite. Bella is saying that she is not a person, or a being; but something whose only worth is determined by that which she is around. Nice role model eh?

Another point before I move on, the simile would actually work much better if she said something like, “I was like a planet drifting through space having lost a star for which to anchor it.”* This would preserve not only a sense of self worth but also would more accurately reflect the feeling of drifting through her life that she has told us about.

…back to the guilt thing.

Jacob and Bella have been hanging out a lot. So much that she is getting decent at riding a bike, also that she is becoming aware that Jacob might have a crush on her. Really Bella? No shit, that was apparent in the three brief scenes with the two of you from the last book. In fact, if your just picking this up now, you are basically telling us that everything you told us about Jacob and everything you told Edward about Jacob was a lie.

Jacob asks Bella on a date-ish thing and Bella turns him down. In her words, “I saw a chance and took it…” She makes up a ridiculous claim that she is going to a movie with her high school friends as a way of breaking the rhythm between them. It’s a bit cruel to lie like that, but I suppose it’s understandable. Then she invites Jacob along with them (keeping in mind there is no “them” yet)!? WTF as they say on the internets. She wants to break the constant hanging around with Jacob but then invites him along? It doesn’t make sense–I guess we are past the “making sense” thing with this character though.

Bella invites Mike, who is always willing to hold that torch for her, then sends him on the errand of inviting everyone in the highs school that matters. Note that Bella doesn’t do this herself, she doesn’t ask a single person other than Mike but has her lap dog do it for her. At some point a 17 year old boy is going to tell her to fuck off, especially one that isn’t as attractive as she says she is.** Some of the people are busy, some are not.

What’s more important is that Lauren and Jessica are out to sabotage the movie experience. Jessica is still understandably mad at Bella. Lauren, “Lauren got to Tyler and Conner before Mike could, so those two were also busy.

They were busy, it could be on their own, not part of a conspiracy but it probably is. More importantly, who the hell is Lauren? Lauren has no reason to hate Bella, just does…because we are told she hates Bella and we are supposed to hate her ourselves. It would be nice if just once we were shown why we should hate something, or even like something, or feel anything.

Adding to our bad writing seminar is this little gem. Bella finds out in a phone call that Angela is sick and her and her boyfriend aren’t coming. Some kind of stomach flu. Three paragraphs later, “Ang is sick…she and Ben aren’t coming.” Only one time is necessary, thanks Steph. This time though, we can blame the editor.

So now only Jake and Mike are coming. Bella, is not excited but she tries to muster some enthusiasm, “with grim sarcasm.” One of those words doesn’t fit with the other two, it doesn’t matter which one, it won’t work with the others.

They get to the movie with Mike and Jake eyeballing each other the whole time. Mike gets sick with presumably the same sickness as Angela and Ben begins throwing up. Jake is delighted, because his rival has now been relegated to the position of pathetic sniveling wreck of a person, a shell of where a man used to be. That’s not entirely inaccurate, it’s actually a sign that Jacob is human delighting in the misery of his opponent. He’s nice about it though, he does take Mike to the bathroom. It’s rather nice, but it’s clearly a victory march back to Bella.

This is where he makes his move. Bella shoots him down, because…actually we never really get a reason. Fortunately for her Jacob won’t give up, this lets her put another guy on the back burner until Dreamy McDreamboat comes back. The best thing so far is that we’ve only heard him mentioned a couple of times. The less of him the better, if only we could get rid of her too.

Mike is done throwing up, and the three decide that it is a good time to leave. On the way out Jacob stops and thinks about the move, walks back to the counter, “Could I have a popcorn bucket please?”

It’s a good thought, Bella explains that the girl behind the counter was looking at them, saw the situation and didn’t want to clean it up so moved them out of there. They got the bucket.

Bull. Shit.

I worked in a movie theater for over four years, and while I didn’t like sweeping up vomit it was part of the job. What wasn’t part of the job was cleaning up the outside where they were almost out of. Furthermore, the person behind the counter doesn’t clean up the floor, the usher does that. Thirdly, he won’t get the bucket. Ever.

The bucket is how the theater keeps inventory. Popcorn, drinks, etc. are inventoried by the packages they are sold in. An 8 dollar bucket of popcorn costs about a nickel to make, the popcorn itself is basically worthless. A worker who is giving up that paper bucket, when there are garbage bags available, is basically giving herself a nightmare at closing.

They go home. Everything goes to shit for no reason. Mike is sick, Bella gets sick, and Jacob feels off. It amounts to nothing at all, and as a convenient plot device it doesn’t make any sense. The only thing we know is that Jacob doesn’t have the same thing as the other two, of course we know what it is he has, Lycanthropy.

At this point it’s not even a surprise anymore, but it’s probably going to get drawn out over a hundred or more pages because these books need to be 500 long, for some reason.***

____________________
*It’s cheesy, but I’m not a professional fiction writer. 

**Remember in this world the prettier you are the better you are as a person…I guess this world and the world of Toddlers and Tiaras.

***I’m blaming JK Rowling for this one.

October 1st

October 1, 2011 Leave a comment

The beginning of October usually marks nothing particular. It’s just another month, with three months left in the semester. Possibly the wiccans get all excited because Halloween is approaching and they think it’s some kind of witch festival (Samhein was originally a harvest festival), but for the most part October is nothing.

For me, though, October 1st marked the end of a bet: “”As to the deal. Let’s just lay the ground floor down, I thought about it last night and realized that I don’t want any wiggle room plus there’s a little bit of unfairness in it. As I understand it the bet, or whatever, hinges on the United States going to war with Iran by the end of September. If they do, then I lost and have to admit that the President knew about and personally controlled the gun running operation known as “Fast and Furious” in Mexico. If you lose, you stop emailing me about it? No, that’s not fair, if you lose then you have to admit that you were wrong in an email to me about this whole conspiracy web that somehow links the gun operation to the president (I won’t repost the email but I will paraphrase it for my blog).”

One of the biggest problems with arguing with pseudo-science conspiracy theorists is that they are notoriously difficult to pin down. Each conspiracy theory is almost entirely unique they have a shared genera but individuals tend to spout their own specific theories. It’s really a case of “one-upmanship” they can’t tolerate being second place, so they add their own twist and then let the smugness and pretension flow from within. The other aspect of their slipperiness is that no single event ever happens on their own, it’s all interrelated. Which is evidenced by the fact that this person “Nick” seemed to somehow tie together the failed ATF operation with a looming war between the US and Iran. I had to be specific, ultra specific.

One of the defining aspects of the conspiracy set (as well as the pseudo science, and mysticism–basically anything you find in the “New Age” category at the book store) is that it’s un-recreatable. It’s an important aspect to History, Science, anything. Two people ought to be able to look at the information and draw the same conclusion. Right now several labs with the capabilities are retesting the CERN faster than light results. It’s the process that is important. Without the screaming or the rolling of the eyes, no two piles of “facts” put forth from a conspiracist generate the same conclusion. I backed “Nick” into a corner because not only did I know he was wrong, but also that he needed to see it as well. Forcing a prediction out of the supposed “facts” of his conspiracy would level the playing field. Objective evidence doesn’t work, it cannot. They simply deny it. I had an email exchange that directed me to explain the collapse of the WTC Towers without referring to the internal collapse of the floors creating a piledriving effect, more commonly known as “pancaking.” This would be like arguing with a Creationist who wants you to explain why there are no transition fossils but won’t let you present the Archaeopteryx, Velociraptor, or Homo Erectus.

If, as he claimed, I was the naive fool for not seeing it, than it ought to be predictive. It’s fact not theory (using the non-scientific uses of the words). However these facts are unique. They not only explain historical events but show that there is a guiding hand with a clear purpose. The conspiracists all claim to know the purpose so they should see what is happening next. Which is why I forced the prediction.

Thus October 1st has come and gone, no war with Iran. Not even a drone strike. Nothing. I’m still waiting for the email, but I doubt it will come.