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TV
I've stopped watching How I Met Your Mother. I started watching it this week, but it was offensive (I actually said, "Fat jokes are not funny," out loud), it wasn't funny, and I think they've lost their way in terms of storytelling, which is only going to get worse now that they've been renewed for yet another season.

I'm now three episodes behind on SPN and two on Leverage. I'm just not willing to give up time I'm spending doing other things to watch them. (Also, I've been having trouble keeping up with my weights, which is what I was doing while watching TV. I'm changing to Sunday-Tuesday-Friday, and hoping that helps.) I'm caught up on Mercy and Castle (only because it apparently wasn't on this week), and I never get caught up on Friday Night Lights until Saturday or Sunday anyway.

I'm a Nielsen family this week, and they're really not going to have a good picture of my viewing habits given that there's no place to write in stuff watched online. Their loss! I'd forgotten that they send you money when you agree to keep a TV diary, so at least there's that. (It's actually making me even less inclined to watch the Super Bowl than I already was, just so I don't add to the ratings.)

Music - The Best Blog
If you have any interest in either music or good writing, you should be reading Sarahindie (feed: [livejournal.com profile] sarahindiedtcom). For the sake of full disclosure, I have to admit that I am slightly biased in this recommendation; Sarah is one of my favorite people in the whole world. But you don't just have to take my word for it! I told a friend he should read it because he would totally disagree with her but enjoy the writing. Last weekend, he said he's been reading some of it, and I was absolutely right: he disagrees with her but likes the writing.

Bandom - Fall Out Boy
I've taken to reading Alternative Press when I'm in Barnes & Noble. I read their 2009 wrap-up issue and was very confused that FOB wasn't on their list of bands on permanent hiatus. I'm actually also confused by people's annoyance at Pete. He said, "would you rather me lie to you through a publicist?" and my thought was that people would probably rather his band weren't over, but barring that, I'd rather he just straight up say whatever it is he has to say (which he eventually did). Vague blog entries are annoying. (My favorite thing to come out of all of this was this post from Pete which I scrolled past on my friends page and just assumed was a [livejournal.com profile] daily_patrick post.) I will admit to being teary-eyed, but I was also excessively cranky and headachy, all of which I think has more to do with not getting enough sleep than anything going on with FOB.

The discussion in the comments to [livejournal.com profile] eleanor_lavish's post about this said that this is what Pete always does: draw fire to himself to protect his band. (Personally, I think this seems like a bad idea when you're already struggling with depression, but it's his life. Also, bunny: Pete the masochist. Eventually someone figures it out and takes him on so he has a safe, sane, consensual outlet for it, which makes him a little more stable in public.) At least a couple of people in the post said they were annoyed with Patrick. Me too! At least Andy and Joe both stepped up and took some of the heat/stood up for Pete. Interesting, though, that Patrick's now referring to his album as a "solo project," which he refused to do before. (My theory was that "solo project" makes it sound like there's a band to go back to and he knew there wasn't.)

Aside: Weight Loss Culture, Spencer, and New!Patrick
I have to admit that while Patrick's video is freakin' adorable, I'm not into new!Patrick. I've actually had a really hard time reading comments talking about how hot he is now. "Now," of course, meaning "now that he's lost weight." Then there's my own personal thoughts on his attractiveness: this guy could be any guy; that guy looked like he might be interesting. I have the same feeling about Spencer; I like hot baby dyke Spencer a lot better than I like lost some weight, wears boy clothes Spencer. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that I'm a lesbian; of course I'm not into the guys who just look like guys. The second is that I feel guilty for this because liking who they were doesn't acknowledge who they are now. (This second one is where I fail at objectification, which is, I suppose, a win for my critical feminist brain.)

Bandom - Empires
If you haven't yet, I recommend spending the $2 to buy Empires' new single and its b-side. The single is "Damn Things Over," which I really like despite its punctuation issues. The b-side is "I Know You Know" (video of the live version), which is close to surpassing "Spit the Dark" as my favorite Empires song.

A lot of people (read: four) I know have seen them on this tour. I feel totally left out, but [livejournal.com profile] schuyler concert called me and [livejournal.com profile] siryn99 uploaded video, which helps! Someday Empires will make it to my part of California.

Bandom - Other
Speaking of bands that make it to my part of California, are Never Shout Never, Hey Monday, The Cab, Every Avenue, and The Summer Set worth seeing? They're on the AP Tour, which means they're going to be in Chico, which means I could go for not very much money and a very short drive. It is a Thursday, which makes me less inclined, both because it would mean skipping dance and because it would mean being up late, but I could handle that if it were worth it.

Bandom - Cobra Starship
The fact that I really like Cobra Starship is an unpopular fannish opinion in my corner of fandom, so I don't talk about them as much as I otherwise might. I love their music, and I find Gabe totally fascinating. I'm also new to them so I'm not invested in a way that means the things that have made my friends be done with them don't bother me (much; Gabe being a jerk to one of my friends directly gets the angry face: >:( ).

But let's talk about Gabe being fascinating. I know fandom has this whole image of him as being a wild, drunken party boy, which I suppose he's earned, but following him on Twitter has given me this whole other image of him. Where is the emo!Gabe fic? Because, seriously, he is not necessarily cheerful: "i feel like i'm losing my fucking mind. but for real. and i'm sure not sleeping is not helping. eventually the medicine stops workin." (source) "i went out tonight with all my best friends... .i dont even know how to have fun anymore... i'm just always looking to get into a fight. :/" (source) "not to get all emo, but what's worse: getting disappointed, or being a disappointment?" (source)

And where's the discussion and/or fic about how he's actually really, really smart? "As Gabe Saporta awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect" (source) is possibly my most favorite status update ever. I'm sure he got interesting replies from people who didn't get it. (It's a riff on Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and Gabe was in Vienna at the time.)

And then sometimes he's adorable. He and Bianca (his girlfriend) did a video for Elle that is the cutest thing ever. I kind of wish I had something more substantive to say about it, but that's pretty much exhausted my thoughts about it. I would be happy to flail with you in the comments if you have more to say.

Bandom - A Brief Critical Look at Cobra Starship's Central Narrative
I keep meaning to do the actual research to make sure my impression is right and then make a real post about this, but I've been meaning to do that for a month and haven't yet, so you get just the brief, unresearched version.

I'm fascinated by the way the central narrative of Cobra Starship's promo materials seems to be increasingly heteronormative. By that I mean that I've seen a lot of older promo photos wherein Gabe is leaning on any or all members of his band; newer promo photos seem to put Gabe and Victoria front and center as a unit. Intentionally or not, Gabe and Victoria both play this up, him in interviews and her on Twitter. (My impression of them is that he's doing it intentionally as part of a marketing strategy and she's doing it either unintentionally or intentionally as a way to get people to talk about her.) The music press is also involved; the photo that accompanied AP's blurb naming Victoria keytarist of the year for 2009 is a picture of the two of them on stage. On the one hand, I like this; they're my OTP of the moment. On the other hand, I find this deeply problematic. I know that Cobra has been deliberately mainstreaming their image, and I'm sure this is part of it. The problem is that influence doesn't just go one way. Even as they fit themselves into a heterosexual norm, they reflect that norm back into the mainstream, and to a larger audience the bigger they get.

What's interesting about Cobra doing this is that they actually haven't done away with the homoerotic angle to the band; they've just pushed it into the background. The homoeroticism is being carried by Alex and Ryland (the band's official announcement of their "Hot Mess" remixes EP, which includes the Suave Suarez On Pleasure Ryland Remix said, "Alex and Ryland even give it their own spin and the title they chose outta give those fanfic writers some...inspiration!") or, more often, Nate and Alex. The sensible part of my brain thinks that they had to choose someone, and Alex and Ryland thought it would be weird for it to be the two of them. The fan fic is the center of the universe part of my brain thinks they chose that because Alex thinks he'll get to top more in fic if he's with Nate. (Considering the way the taller guy always tops thing has seeped into western fandom from anime fandom, that might actually be the way Nate/Alex fic goes.)

JoBros Meet Nicole Kidman
Probably any of you likely to care have already seen this picture, but even if you're not into the JoBros, you might find Nicole blatantly checking out Kevin amusing.
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Like so many other fannish types, I went to see Moulin Rouge on its opening night. The comedy in the movie is wonderful. It's extremely funny and full of sexual innuendo, just my kind of thing. The drama is not so wonderful.

Christian and Satine are a cliche, and a boring one at that. We know the story by now, and Baz Luhrman hasn't done anything new to the dramatic elements, other than throw song lyrics into every conversation.

In fact, crediting the movie entirely to Baz Luhrman is misleading. The plot is painfully unoriginal. He uses song lyrics as dialogue. He steals from everywhere. Satine says of Christian, "The boy is infatuated with me," a line straight out of To Die For. Her costume in one scene of their rehearsal is a copy of Queen Amidala's formalwear from The Phantom Menace.

As the movie opens, Baz spins the camera around his lush sets and well-trained dancers, then overlays it with music in such a way that you're never quite sure what you're seeing or hearing. It's as if he heard a bunch of songs on the radio and wanted to put images with them.

The strongest moments in Moulin Rouge are, as I said, the comic ones. The opening scene has an unconscious Argentinian crashing through Christian's cieling, closely followed by a midget with a lisp in a nun's costume. Some of the best scenes are those in which Zidler and the Duke seduce each other with words and song in Satine's name, even going so far as to sing "Like a Virgin" at one point.

I still don't understand the appeal Ewan McGregor holds for so many people. As Christian, he is excruciatingly ordinary. Christians are a dime a dozen in any piece about the period. He is the male dull spot in the bright array of characters who are far too colorful to be real.

Nicole Kidman's Satine is the female dull spot. Satine is too much Nicole and not enough Satine. I've seen her do nearly everything she does as Satine as herself in various interviews in the last month. The way she says, "A real actress," from inside a circle of cancan dancers is pure Suzanne Stone Maretto, her character in To Die For. Nicole is at her best when she's strong, as she is when she informs Christian that love is not enough in the real world. Unfortunately, Satine spends much of the movie coughing up blood and being a giggly schoolgirl.

For all the fuss about the chemistry between Nicole and Ewan, I had a very hard time believing that Satine and Christian were so deeply in love. Only when they appear onstage as the Hindu courtesan and the penniless sitar player can I believe it.

The same effect is even more pronounced in Satine. She is always acting, except when she's onstage. She proclaims her wish to be "a real actress" onstage. She first faints onstage. She tells Christian she loves him onstage. She dies onstage. It's made me very cynical towards Nicole herself. Nicole is an actress, and she's been in the public spotlight for a long time. Do you really think she didn't know what Oprah was going to ask her? Do you really think she hadn't thought about how she was going to answer? According to Entertainment Weekly, she's winning in the court of public opinion regarding her divorce from Tom. Do you really think that's accidental?

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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