Hit or Miss

Entries from Jan 2001

heromachine.com

heromachine.com. Forget the StorToopers, this is much cooler.

Since USA TODAY doesn’t archive their newbits, here’s an excerpt from the site mention today…

But when he created an online “HeroMachine” that generates made-to-order characters, complete with customized costumes and fighting gear, there’s one accessory he didn’t count on users asking for: more cleavage.

“Exaggeration is part of the genre, but it’s always bugged me,” says Hebert, 31, of Georgetown, Texas. “You’re supposed to be this athletic figure; how would you do all that if you had these breasts flopping around in the wind?”

So, like a true superhero, Hebert, a former tech support guy for the likes of Dell and 3M, just said no. “I’m not going to have ‘Superboobs’ here. It’s just a personal point of honor.”

All day I’ve been intriqued by the idea of a superhero with “Super Boobs.” What would she use them for? Would she shoot laser beams from them and destroy asteroids hurtling towards Earth? Would she use them to knock over run-away bank thieves?

No. I think she would use them to feed the impoverished children of Third World countries. What I haven’t decided yet is if she would do that with 2 large breasts, or a multitude of smaller breasts (kind of like the alien from Total Recall). Or would she just hook herself up to a breast pump to harvest her powerfully nutritious mother nectar?

And was she born with these breasts? Did they have magical powers from birth or did those abilities develop when she hit puberty? Were her breasts bitten one day by a radioactive cow? Or is she like Batman, who has no super powers of his own and relies upon special gadgets. Does she wear a customized Water Bra, outfitted to provide perfectly-heated baby formula?

Oh, yeah. If I were a superhero, I would be The Flamer.

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Superbowl XXXV

Superbowl XXXV. I’m not really a sports fan. The only reason I can fathom to watch the Superbowl is the halftime show and the commercials. Both let me down tonight.

I thought it was an ad parody all the way until the end of the commercial, but no — George Foreman has actually introduced iGrills. And I was looking forward to seeing my beloved *NSync, but the half time show was a dull mishmash of random singers (Britney Spears and Mary J. Blige?) screaming at the top of their lungs while a hugh crowd thrashed about on the football field. Was Britney really wearing a sock on her arm? And where were the silly floats and synchronized streamer dancers?

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More programming…

The Blogger, XML, PHP tutorial I wrote has been picked up by xml.com and hotscripts.com.

I made a few additions to it today, including a version with a search function.

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Money is the root of all confusion.

I talked to my folks today and got badgered again by my father because I haven’t set up any kind of retirement fund yet. All that money stuff confuses me. I’m glad I get my apartment/utilities and meal plan for free with my job, so the only bill I ever have to pay is for my car insurance every 6 months. And I started paying back my student loan two months ago. Otherwise, all my money has been sitting in my savings account.

I asked a few people around on campus about those Roth IRA things, but they were as clueless as me. Someone said he heard you could set them up online. Anyone got any advice for me?

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Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark. Against all expectations, I actually got to see Dancer in the Dark on the big screen tonight as part of the campus film series (the film not surprisingly never came to Kirksville’s family 3-screen theatre during its summer release).

What an amazing movie. I’d already fallen in love with the soundtrack (available for download from selmasongs.com) and have been listening to it almost daily for months, and now I see how the music fits the plot. Suffice to say, I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to the songs for a while because I am still reeling in sorrow about the sad fate that Bjork’s character met and the noble sacrifice she made for her son. As a life long lover of the musical theatre, I totally empathized with her character — it’s strange, but my greatest fear for a long time has been that I would either go blind or deaf and then be unable to once more perform on stage again.

I don’t think I’ve wept so openly at a film since 1996 at — don’t laugh — Grisham’s A Time to Kill (when that shot rang out on the courthouse steps at the end of the film, I burst into tears and my friends had to help carry me out of the movie theatre).

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The Mole

The Mole. The problem with TiVo is that I always watch what it records several days later and then it seems pointless to write blog entries about what I’ve seen. That’s why I haven’t written anything about The Mole earlier.

I resisted all that Survivor crap this summer (though I admit I saw the last 2 episodes), but I’m absolutely drawn into The Mole. The idea that one of the contestants is a plant is very appealing to my love of mystery. Combine that with the exotic locales, secret missions, and cheesy spy music, and I’m fascinated by the show.

The American Mole is just the latest in a series of internation editions. Check out the last episode of the Belgian version for a description of the unveiling of their Mole. The site also has some great sound clips of the various countries’ cool theme music.

Didn’t see the first 3 episodes? Catch up via Mighty Big TV recaps.

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How do I follow up that last post?

I feel kind of awkward now and don’t really now how to proceed with my weblog.

Somehow, blogging links to women who wake up in body bags or guys shooting nails through their head or missing W’s from the White House keyboards just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

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In which Matt writes about sex.

Shortly after coming out, some of the early writers I read and held dear in my budding gay heart included Andrew Sullivan and Michelangelo Signorile. As a child of the South and the recipient of lifelong white male privilege, no matter how hard I try to think of myself as a liberal, I’ve never moved beyond being a closet Republican. The assimilationist tactics and strategies espoused by Sullivan and Signorile were very attractive to me. Still handicapped by the internalized homophobia which I have yet to shake off, the idea of trying to normalize the gay community and show mainstream American how “we’re just like you” became my personal mission.

Every statement or move that I made after becoming a member of various Gay student groups was motivated by the desire to project a respectable image of the “gay community.” I placed my personal life on hold and became a “professional queer,” focusing the majority of my final papers in various classes on GLBT topics and trying to educate peers. I also lost most of my sense of humor, which was replaced by a rabid sense of paralyzing political correctiveness.

Oh yeah, I also never grew up and got a sex life. Sure, I dated Jeff for a couple of months, but our relationship never really progressed (my fault) past heavy petting and at the end I wasn’t even up for that.

Then I moved to rural Missouri, to work at a university radically unprepared to face the emergence of homosexuality in the public consciousness, where queer students have no institutional support and only 3 or 4 out faculty/staff to turn to. My efforts to broaden students’ horizons ran quickly into a brick wall as I discovered that the largely homogenous student body has no apparent interest in discussing any topics of diversity at all. I’ve had positive interactions with gay students, but there is no real momentum for the student glbt group on campus.

Without being able to fulfill my “mission” here at Truman, I have felt like a hollow person. And any enjoyment I once received from my other passions (web design and musical theatre) has slowly died within as well.

It doesn’t really matter that there are virtually no gay men my age around in the area that I’d want to date because I probably wouldn’t date them even if I had the chance. In my quest to lead the exemplary gay political life, I’ve transformed myself into a enuch and become very afraid of confronting the reality of a sex life for myself.

Now, I realized all this a few months ago, but it wasn’t until I started taking the Queer Theory class here (thank god for Prof. Doug Steward) that I began to have some language for what I was stuggling with. We’re reading Michael Warner’s The Trouble with Normal now, and I’m understanding how harmful the assimilationist strategies of the conservative arm of the gay community can be. Through his writing, I can now see the scary irony of taking sex out of the discussion when discussing queer politics. That’s what brings the various constituents of the gay community together and without it there is nothing to hold us together. Warner asks us to reject the shame that dominant culture tries to place on us by discussing and embracing our sexual identities and the sexual acts that shade them. He asks us also to reject what mainstream America has defined as “normal” — scientific study and averages of a norm (like sexual activity) should not then be extended to create a moralistic normative.

I’ve been itching to explore my sexuality and the obvious answer would seem to be a forum like this, which I’ve been using for almost a year and a half and which affords interaction and feedback from readers. But I hesitate. The inclusion of a sexual identity based on some act or wish is something I’ve consciously and unconsciously tried to supress in this blog — I post links to gay stories and link other gay blogs, but I haven’t represented my own base gay feelings. I’m afraid of scaring people off. I’ve become too used to the acceptance I think I must be getting from the straight world. I’m letting the dominant culture shame me into not representing the entire picture of myself.

I’ve toyed around with the idea of creating a secret weblog that I would only invite certain people to see — or creating a new weblog under a secret identity. Neither solution seems appropriate. I think what I must face up to is that if I am going to develop a mature and healthy viewpoint on sexuality and my own sexual identity, I must be willing to discuss it openly and integrate it into my personal conception of myself.

And if certain people don’t want to read this weblog anymore, it’s their problem.

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I hate my reviews of books.

It should be obvious I wasn’t an English major, as I am usually unable to write anything remotely useful or articulate when discussing a novel.

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I owe Dori a review of Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener — her gift to me as my Secret Sturtle. Well, I wish I could say this was an extraordinary read, but I was a bit underwhelmed. But I’m afraid that’s due to my expectations of tone and style based on his long-running series, the beloved Tales of the City. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood to read a serious, brooding mystery. Maupin faces the same obstacles every writer who finishes a reputation-defining series does when trying to write something new (the same obstacles I know J.K. Rowling will face after Harry Potter 7 has come and gone).
I read his previous post-TOTC novel, Maybe the Moon, and was disappointed as well.

In The Night Listener, Maupin plays off of his reputation and adoration as the writer of TOTC through a fictional counterpart, Gabriel Noone. But Maupin makes the fatal mistake of allowing his TOTC universe to cross over through an unexpected, brief, and bizarrely-chosen cameo. It only serves to remind the reader that the light, irrevelant tone of TOTC is missing from this novel.

But I’m glad I read it. Even a disappointing Armistead Maupin novel is better than most of what else I’ve recently read.

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