Monday, November 28, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Silence the wind, we'll sit and we'll wait
Never knowing the next chapter
Does the prince get his bride?
You tell me this word, I've heard and I've heard
But this time it's different
This time its eating me from inside
And not someone on the news.
This time it's you, this time it's me
It's us
I used to be brought to tears
I used to hate it
But it was fictitious, It was the villain in other stories
But now, we're being attacked
Now it's real, and big, and menacing
Now we wait
What can be done when nothing is certain
What can we think, what can we know
There's a ghost in our future
Haunting each move, stealing our life
Sucking us dry
Nothing but this uncertainty directing our path
Nothing but our love holding this together.
Each roll of the dice brings us closer to the edge
We jump the spaces hand in hand
Hand in hand we'll be
Hand in hand we'll wait
For there is nothing else to do

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Say No to Gaming!

I've been told that despite my otherwise upbeat attitude, I have an aversion to the notion of video gaming. Although I try to sound sincere when telling friends to "have fun" while gaming, I can't help erasing that sound cynicism out of my voice.

So what is with this animosity consuming me? First and most obvious is the natural unhealthiness which gaming brings to ones life. "Over the last few years, video games have been linked to everything from shooting sprees and epileptic fits... . The latest study into the effects of gaming on the brain comes from Japan... . According to Professor Akio Mori, playing games can reduce activity in part of the brain, causing players to get angry and suffer problems concentrating." It can of course be argued that video gaming can increase reaction time (but hey, if you have no activity in your brain, then what point is good reaction time?) and the one I've heard most recently is to increase social experiences. But it indisputable that there is an incredible dark side.

Somehow I think that the general negativity which the media tends to put forth and that we hear all the time is not the real root of my disgust. Part of me, and a hypocritical part no less, hates the stereotype in my mind that I have of gamers. As one article I've read has suggested, a gamer is "a computer fanatic who will do (and spend) anything to have the latest cutting-edge hardware, and is absolutely single-minded in that rabid pursuit of the "best hardware money can buy". The "gamer" will do whatever it takes to get that extra 2 fames-per-second in the latest shooter game, just to have the slightest edge over his opponents (human or virtual)..." I believe the stereotype extends much further than this though. If I was to draw a picture of a 'typical' gamer, I would make the guy slightly overweight (either that or brutally scrawny) with over-baggy black tees or colourful button-up shirts. He'll have long black straggly hair pulled pack in a ponytail and he is twenty-seven, without a job, and living in his parents unfinished basement. Now, I cringe at writing all this because none of the people I know who play video games male or female fall under this category.

This clearly makes me a hypocrite, because my next "Gaming is about as great as having to pluck out my finger nails one by one" point is how stereotypical it is. So while I rant on, ignore the previous point. Most video games are marketed to younger children and teens (remember, it is those with the most expendable income that advertisers which to speak to. The 'whine factor' is one of the most effective ways to sell a product) and are generally played by young males. Yet these video games are "among the most violent and sexist material on the market today... where a player can make his "monsters" (male) pursue and threaten scantily-clad terrified young women". To add to this portrayal of women being the 'weaker sex', we also have another example of how 'sex sells'. From all the video games I have been introduced to, which I will admit is fairly limited, I have noticed a trend. Almost every single female character I have acquainted has had big busts and tiny waists. This would be one thing if the women were wearing turtlenecks and baggy jeans, but instead in each instance, the video game woman is scantily dressed. The feminine is presented as the ideal feminine archetype which is visible too often in media. It is nothing short of a sex-toy portrayal.

Sure, there is a stigma in our culture about gaming which those who don't game see fairly clearly. But I think for a girlfriend there is an even greater distaste for the gaming world. Due to an upcoming sociology project, I picked up November's issue of Maxim and found an interesting article entitled 100 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WOMEN. It was a good attempt on the men's side, considering magazines like Cosmo have these littered all through their mags, and I've heard from men that they're always way too in depth and that getting a guy's attention is just so much easier, but having men put an effort on the other side is kind of nice. But I digress. Point being was that even a Men's magazine concerning "Girls. Sex. Sports. Games." can still understand a key point to a girl's psyche.
76. She hates your Xbox more than she lets on. Blow her off for some gaming and she'll soon stop wasting time on a dork like you.
In the past, I've been blown off for gaming, and I think this is the main reason for the sour taste in my mouth.
I am not going to claim complete ignorance when it comes to gaming. I've played Mortal Combat a few times (and won) as well as a few of those James Bond first person shooting games when Jil and Brad and I used to hang out (I was terrible at that.) Although I could simply pass off my dislike for the games as a negative hand-eye coordination problem, but that would be denying my ultimate feelings.

Cosmo also has a bit to say about why I probably dislike gaming in their Cosmo for your Guy section in December's issue.
Your ex had a few redeeming qualities, no doubt, but that doesn't mean your current flame wants to hear about them. In fact, an innocent comment about your ex's culinary skills or love of football could give your girl a serious complex. "When you kid about something a past partner did well or go on and on about a stand out attribute she had, it plants a seed in your present girlfriend's head that she doesn't measure up to this amazing Superwoman," says Bobbie Reid, author of Clueless: Real Solutions for Men who Don't Get It - and the Women Who Love Them.
Needless to say, of course.

Despite it all, I suppose that gaming in moderation is okay, (as it works with most things), however it seems that gaming can begin a slippery slope to addiction. Yeah, I've seen a few of those.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Who wants to keep the doctor away?

On Friday's episode of the Ellen Show, the incredible guests Jennifer Anniston and Kenny Chesney (give me a country singer and I'll watch your show!) were accompanied by TV Guide's Sexiest Man.

My first conscious introduction to Mr Sexy himself was one night last year when I begrudgingly sat down to watch a show someone so desperately wanted to watch. As a smack to my stubbornness, Fox's House M.D. soon became my favorite show.

I say 'conscious' because surprisingly, I have met Hugh before. In fact, as well as being a British soap star, Hugh Laurie has littered children's movies. In 1996's remake of the cartoon 101 Dalmations, we saw Hugh play the infamous Jasper, one of Cruella's men. A year later, my sister's absolute favorite movie (and my least favorite) The Borrowers saw Hugh as the Police Officer. He even played a part in Spice World! I do remember him being the father in Stuart Little and soon, we'll be hearing his voice in the soon to come to theatres cartoon Valiant.

If you haven't already started tuning in to watch House on Tuesday nights at 10:00, then you're really missing out (screw The Amazing Race). And don't just watch Fox for the pretty face. The show is really great too! Mix CSI and ER (or Grey's Anatomy) and you have House. I'd also suggest catching the brilliant Hugh Laurie's British accent if you ever get a chance to. He sounds exactly like Matty! (Or maybe Matty sounds like him!)

(Dan thinks I have a crush on both Hugh and Matty. Although they both have fantastic accents and are sexy to boot, I will only admit to being in love with one man.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

To His Mistress Going to Bed

Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labor, I in labor lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals
As when from flowery meads th' hill's shadow steals.
Off with that wiry coronet and show
The hairy diadem which on you doth grow;
Now off with those shows, and then safely tread
In this love's hallowed temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes, heaven's angels used to be
Received by men; thou, angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven like Mahomet's paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite,
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.

License my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,
My mine of precious stones, my empery,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds is to be free;
There where my hand is set, my seal shall be.

Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee.
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be,
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta's balls, cast in men's views,
That when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them.
Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings, made
For laymen, are all women thus arrayed;
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)
Must see revealed. Then since that I may know,
As liberally as to a midwife show
Thyself: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
Here is no penance, much less innocence.

To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
What need'st thou have more covering than a man?
~John Donne, "Elegy 19. To His Mistress Going to Bed"~
Today, we are forced upon the notion that everything has overt sexual tones encompassing them. We are surrounded with all these confusions of sex for love. Yet, Donne catches the perfect vibe between the two. Instead of the erotic passion which hides the lines of love in most things we're used to, he harnesses sex within the borders of love.
The speaker and his mistress are slowly being brought back to a pure Adam and Eve state, before the fall. He is explaining the process of each covering being removed, each part of her outer beauty being shed for him to discover anew the beauty of her natural. There is no one else but the two of them. And he finds her beautiful beyond compare.
We are burdened with our self consciousness, with our baggage and our past stories. And yet, somewhere beneath everything we try to present, we are beautiful. Each mountain and valley is an intricate part to who we are. Maybe what we try to hide, are our greatest treasures.