Welcome back to Internet Meme Monday! What is a meme you say? Well, as I understand it, a meme is similar to a gene, except instead of passing on genetic information it passes on cultural ideas. A meme can take many forms, from a catch phrase to a hand gesture, but the type of memes I’ll be looking at every second Monday of the month are “internet memes”.
On the agenda this month? I use my license to rip off stuff on the internet to rip off all my favorite www.ablogisatreat.com features!
So, today isn’t really a “meme” per se since my friend Jessica’s website www.ablogisatreat.com isn’t exactly a cultural phenomenon on the level of www.hampsterdance.com. But, there are plenty of memeworthy features to be found at ablogisatreat, so today seemed like a good excuse to focus on some of my favorites.
Jessica started blogging on livejournal back in September of 2004. Exactly 11 months later I started blogging (first on blogspot, then myspace). Jessica shifted her blog to a fancy “dot com” website in January of 2008. Exactly 11 months later I shifted my blog to a fancy “dot com” website. So I think the precedent for being a big ol’ copycat was set long before Internet Meme Monday.
Jessica tends to write about whatever strikes her fancy at the time, but she does have a few recurring features, of which I will be focusing on the following (titles are clickable links to Jessica’s tagged posts):
- Some Dude’s Daughter/Some Dude’s Wife books – Jessica examines the inherent sexism in books that insist on definining their titular female characters in terms of the men in their lives.
- Things My Yoga Instructor Said (TMYIS) – Jessica’s yoga instructor says some amazing things that most people probably couldn’t handle on stong acid. Click through, you’ll see.
- Free Bikes – People don’t seem to understand the importance of properly locking their bikes up in public. Jessica has the pictures to prove it.
- Me Made May – Jessica likes to sew, and to blog about it. And I’d bet silver pennies to buttons that those craft blog posts probably still get more hits than my Middle Earth Monday posts.
- Books I Was Pretty Sure I Needed to Own, for Some Reason – Jessica likes books, and sometimes she buys books that she is pretty sure she probably didn’t need to own for any reason.
- Do Ian’s Fingers Smell Like Balls? – Not a recurring feature (at least not one that Jessica continues to write about), this one post currently holds the number one spot in the A Blog is a Treat hall of fame.
- Jessica VS Cosmo – Turns out the inside of Cosmo magazine is just as horrible as the cover that you always see in the grocery store checkout line. Jessica braves the contents (and the shame of actually purchasing the magazine) to bring us a insightful mockery of the most ridiculous parts.
So, with that explanation out of the way, let’s move on to my versions of these classic A Blog is a Treat categories!
The Aviator’s Wife
Here is my cinematic example of one of these titles. It’s an Eric Rohmer film, so I’ll skip the review since I will obviously speak of the film-craft in nothing but superlative terms (the movie is the awesomest!). But I would also like to point to this example as an appropriate (and interesting) use of the “some dude’s wife” title.
The film is about a woman (Anne) in love with a married “aviator” who breaks their affair off when his wife becomes pregnant. The woman’s other whiny boyfriend (François), seeing the aviator leaving Anne’s apartment, is enraged that she is apparently still seeing the Aviator. When he later sees the Aviator with a mystery woman he decides to follow (with the help of an underage girl he randomly meets who is intrigued by his little adventure) them to find out who she is.
The point is, the unnamed “wife” of the Aviator is the catalyst for the mini intrigues of the film, and her anonymity is important in order to preserve not only the mystery of “who is the strange woman with the Aviator?” but also the subtle lack of confidence on Anne’s part as she compares herself (and her inability to win the Aviator’s attention) to the mystery woman.
Of course, I already said all this in Jessica’s comment section, so let’s move on.
TMWIS (Things My Weightlifting Instructor Said)
I’ve been doing “Olympic weightlifting” for the past two and a half years. Olympic lifters snobbily roll their eyes at the mere mention of doing an exercises like bench press or curls. Instead they spend half their time doing two different lifts, the “clean and jerk” and the “snatch” (and the other half of their time doing squats of course). Because of the unfortunately named core lifts (in addition to the importance of “tightness” and “deep” squats), my weightlifting coach has been known to say some pretty ridiculous things:
- “You caught that pretty deep, but you need to be careful…you were standing on your balls when you started to come out of the bottom position.”
- “Nice, that was really deep and really tight and those are two really good things!”
- “you might as well use the rubbers if you are going to do that much”
- “That was really quick getting it up, but you need to start working on finishing that Jerk behind your ears.”
- “Nice snatch Vanessa!”
- “Nice jerk Isley!”
At no point during any of these utterances did he realize what he had said either.
I was going to skip Jessica’s “free bike” feature…until I realized that I actually own my own free bike:
Though, the Wal Mart origin, two flat tires, rusted chain and non-working brakes seem to have kept it safe in that spot for the last year or so…
Me Made Last October
I’m not a sewer, in fact I only bought my first needle and thread last year when I wanted to learn how to bind books. But, I do have one “hand sewed” outfit to my credit, last year’s Halloween costume:
The shirt a plain black hot topic thing that I somehow got from Sleepy Dave back at Stephenson. I simply cut the sleeves off and sewed the fishnet tights on instead. Of course, it turned out to be a real hassle to sew two elastic fabrics of different diameters together, but I managed to solve that by stretching both around a carton of oatmeal while I hand stitched them.
I photoshopped the “anti daystar” logo and then printed it on iron on paper. This was also when I realized that I thought “iron-on” paper was magical stuff that will transfer your printer ink to your tshirt. Instead it is just plastic paper that you melt on to you shirt. So after I made a second larger patch to cover up the sloppily cut out first patch that I had melted on to my shirt, I was done!
Like the Indians, I used every part of my materials, so my necklace was made from the lacey top of the fishnet tights with hot glue, spikes and an old pewter dragon I got at renfest. Which, speaking of renfest, that was where I got my spiked bracers 12 years ago (Only because, as I continue to claim, I needed something to wear for my vomit infestation live show).
The pants were just pants (and the pant chains were from a hardware store)…unfortunately I was unable to find my me-made-pleather-assless-chaps.
Games I Was Pretty Sure I Needed to Own, for Some Reason!
Since my “game shelf” is bigger than my “book shelf” I figured this would be an appropriate variation on the A Blog is a Treat original. I mean, I play a lot of games, and have gotten most of my friends to play too. Hell, even that “Isley talked me into playing ASL” group I started on facebook has 8 members (plus 3 who were too embarrassed to add it). But even with all that game playing, I still probably own more games than I really need. Here are some of the more embarrassing purchases:
The Lord of the Rings Trivia Game
Apparently the other 10 Lord of the Rings Games I owned weren’t enough, I needed to buy this trivia game that I was almost guaranteed to never get to play. I guess there was that one time Amy was in town, but aside from that one play, I still have no idea how to get this one to the table.
Dungeon Twister + 5 expansions
No, it’s not some S&M version of Twister, it’s the brain burning tactical game of getting a bunch of fantasy characters through a shifting dungeon maze. It’s awesome, and one of my favorite games. I also seem to be the only person who actually enjoys playing it. What’s the best thing to do in a situation like that? Buy 5 more expansions of course! And I hear the new set has solitaire rules…
Aces and Eights Role Playing Game
As someone who has seen Red River more times than he can count (ok, fine, probably only 5-10, but still, I love that movie), when I found out that there was a role playing game that actually let you role play your own cattle drive I bought it on the spot! Also included are rules for panning for gold, waiting for the stagecoach, playing poker (not real poker, rules for PRETENDING to play poker), and ranching. Really. I don’t see what is wrong with all this, but I suspect the problem is going to lie in finding others that are as excited as I am to start rolling on a cattle dehydration table.
Where Eagles Dare
So I already have the epic monster game The Devil’s Cauldron which recreates the Northern Operation Market Garden battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen at painstaking 600 meter to the hex accuracy. When you lay out all the maps for the full game the playing surface is over 8 feet by 4 feet. Pretty ridiculous, but in theory playable.
Well, now I have preordered the second part to the game, Where Eagles Dare, which recreates the drive of the XXX corps to relieve the paratroopers. Fully assembled with the TDC map, the final footprint of the game is now over 20 feet long.
Do I see any way the full campaign will ever get played? No, but come on, how can I not own this game??? (somebody…talk me out of this…please…)
Do Isley’s Fingers Smell Like Balls?
Not really, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that my balls probably smell like fingers.
Isley VS Renaissance Magazine
My initial plan was to do “Isley VS Metal Maniacs”. However, not only does that magazine not seem to be in stores anymore, all the other metal magazines were just full of bands that I’d never heard of, so I couldn’t think of anything that was all that funny to say about them.
That’s when I stumbled across this little gem:
Now, it’s no secret that I will partake in the odd Renaissance Fair now and then, and the parts of me that weren’t mortified to actually bring this magazine up to the register and pay for it were really kind of hyped to read it. I mean, the cover was practically screaming all kinds of enticing things at me:
And really, who am I kidding, as everyone knows, I am totally all gay for harps and shit (sigh…oh harp player at KC Ren Fest 1999 that I kept asking to play minor key songs…you are the one that got away):
Thus I opened the magazine eagerly looking forward to being transported once more to an olden time and place. A mist cloaked land of mystery, lure and…
Wench Boobs! One page in and we’ve already got hoots! Which, you know, fine, you can’t throw a cat at a Ren Fest without hitting a pair of Wench Boobs. Though I do take issue with this new Ren Fest trend of bringing pirates into the mix. I say keep the pirates to Pirate Fest! Which actually reminds me of an awesome story from last year’s Ren Fest. I was in the (surprisingly spacious and clean) bathrooms and two dudes entered and had the following conversation:
Dude 1 – This is ok, but man, I’m hyped for Pirate Fest this year!
Dude 2 – Oh yeah? Is that fun?
Dude 1 – Doooood! It’s like 3 days of no shirts, no women and tons of drunken debauchery!
Dude 2 – I don’t know man, that sounds kind of gay.
And to be fair, it really did sound pretty gay. Or, at the very least, it sounded like a typical night back at the Scholarship Halls.
We don’t see any more hoots till page 18:
So, right off the bat we’re looking at a much classier magazine than Cosmo. I bet the Hoot to page ratio for Cosmo is at least 1:1. Another thing you never see in Cosmo is classy poetry about doing Dragons:
I’m not misreading that am I? She totally just got done doing that dragon right?
I also saw the following intriguing headline:
I didn’t read the rest of the article out of fear. It doesn’t run in the family, but I still worry that someday, especially in these hard times, I’ll be unable to resist the siren call of The Society for Creative Anachronism. It is my dark destiny, but that doesn’t mean I should just give up and accept it without a fight. However, it is a little worrying that they are actively recruiting in these hard times. I’ll have to remain ever wary, ever vigilant!
Next up was an article on how to create a “Chamarre”, which, according to the diagram was apparently some Renaissance precursor to a Slanket:
I know I said I don’t sew, but, I’m pretty sure I could make one of those.
After that was the recurring monthly feature: “The Rennie Home”. Basically you get to see what a house full of unicorn snow globes and shitty paintings of tigers fighting dragons looks like. It was still an interesting peek into how the other side lives though. For instance, did you know that Rennie children are also assigned gender specific interests at an early age? However, instead of Barbies and G.I. Joes, it’s Faeries and Motherfucking Dragons:
I know they are the experts and all, but I’m not sure the parents know what a “faerie” is. That looks like a Paladin to me…possibly half-elf but that would be pushing it.
Remember that Charms, Amulets and Talismans article advertised on the front that I conjectured (hoped) would be all about sex? Well I was partly right, there were a fair amount of fertility charms listed, but this was my favorite:
I mean, do they realize what a gold mine they are sitting on if they would just start putting out shirts or something with the “touch wud” slogan on it? They would at least be able to finally break into that untapped frat boy demographic that seems to have always eluded them.
Having made it halfway through the magazine, I was ready for some more Wench Boobs. Which, the Oklahoma City FULL COLOR section did not disappoint…or did it?:
Waaait a minute, you aren’t tricking me…those are just knees aren’t they?! Or someone’s ass? Either way, impressive trick photo, but I’m not buying it.
The Oklahoma City section wasn’t just full of uncomfortable looking Wench Boobs, it was also full of pictures of dudes like this guy:
I know this isn’t very nice, but can you imagine anyone it would be more horrifying to be stuck in a broken elevator with?
Towards the end of the magazine was a long listing of the various Renaissance Festivals (or Faires as they call them) around the country. It was interesting to see that they all had a specific weapon policy ranging from the Georgia Renaissance Festival’s policy of “must be sheathed and peace-tied, no axes, broadswords or spears” (though though don’t specifically say no “motherfucking great swords” so I assume that would be ok) to Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival’s policy of “no restrictions other than local law”. With no women at pirate fest I guess there is nothing for the pirates to fight over.
Finally there was the Crossword puzzle. It looked decent until I started scanning the clues and came across this:
Damnit…ANACHRONISM ALERT! Seriously, everything is going along nice and “ye olde” and then, wham, I have to think about batteries. I mean, even if the answer was like AAA or something, you could have had the clue be: “19. Joseph of Aramathea’s final words”. I just hope a crossword editor somewhere lost their job for that one. Also, sadly, 5 down was only 3 letters, not 5. Wasted opportunity.
All in all, it actually wasn’t all that bad of a magazine. The historical articles were pretty decent really, and aside from a few silly bits, I realized I was far too eager to peruse its pages. Oh well, maybe those SCA recruiters will have an easier job of it than I think.
I’ll leave you with one final ad from the back cover:
It’s an Internet Meme within an Internet Meme Monday post! Nested Memes! Oh noooos…dividebyzeroheadasplode!