Archive for November, 2010


Reputation

Switching schools gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself, or at the very least to change your reputation. 

You’ve got one chance in the move from elementary school to high school, and one chance in the move from high school to university. You may have more chances depending on how many times you switch schools in between, but you’re pretty much guaranteed at least two.

It’s a nice thing, I think. Like getting re-rolls in Monopoly. Fuck your hotel on Boardwalk, I’m re-rolling.

While I’m sure that some people put an effort into making sure that they develop a particular reputation, reputations often develop completely by accident. Especially the negative ones. Not too many people see themselves as assholes, or sluts, or evil. Not too many people want to be seen as assholes, or sluts, or evil. Not too many people have "asshole" or "slut" or "evil" in their About Me section on Facebook. Those types of reputations just kind of happen.

At Queen’s, I had a reputation for being quiet and not doing much. Not exactly a great reputation to have.

But the Powers-That-Be saw fit to give me another chance at U of T, and so I rolled the dice once again. Guess what I’ve come up with.

"The Cynic."

Really? Wow, I never would have expected that. Basically, I’m the guy who just hates everything and lampoons everyone.

While I’m certainly a very judgmental person, I don’t hate everything. There’s a lot that I like about the world. I probably like a lot more stuff than I hate. And while I’ve definitely done more lampooning this year than usual, that’s mostly because I’ve just been given much more opportunity to do so this year. I mean, look at who I’m living with this year.

A Dungeons and Dragons nerd with a mohawk.
A British girl.
An incredibly gullible Asian girl.
A ginger.
A cage fighter.
A Turk.
An opera singer in training.

I mean, come on. They’re practically¬†asking for it.

But regardless of the reasons, this is the reputation that I’ve ended up with. And it has its advantages, I guess. For one thing, it means that I can pretty much say anything about anyone I want to, and no one will take it seriously. But while it’s cool not having to watch what I say, overall I don’t feel like this reputation is one that works for me.

So I’m going to try to change it.

I mean, if I can. That’s the thing: I don’t even know if it’s possible to change a reputation within the space of four months. It’s an interesting experiment, right?¬† My plan is basically to maintain my current behavioural pattern for the rest of the term, and then come back next term doing whatever I can to dispel this "cynic" label that I’ve been given.

My hypothesis is that if I commit myself to changing my reputation, it can be done. It will take a while, but it can be done. Not in a week, and not in a month, but I think that it will be hard for the others to completely ignore such a radical change in my behaviour if it’s maintained over the period of several months.

That’s what I think anyhow. How about you?

Self-Censorship

This one was supposed to arrive a few days earlier, but due to my Internet connection being gay, you get it now.

So, self-censorship. First off, what is it?

By "self-censorship", I’m referring to the process of holding back. For example, withholding certain statements for fear of offending someone, or not speaking your mind because you don’t want to be rude, or not sharing your true thoughts on an essay because you think that the teacher will disagree and give you a bad mark. Stuff like that.

This is a problem for me in particular because I want this place to be somewhere that I can share my thoughts with as few limits as possible. With a readership of about three people, it shouldn’t be an issue. In theory, all I have to do is avoid saying anything nasty about any of those three people, and I can say whatever I want. Besides, those three people are friends, and I wouldn’t slander them anyhow.

The problem is that my readership is actually larger than three. The thing is, I don’t know how much bigger. More importantly, I don’t know who those peripheral readers are. And let me make it clear: Having a large readership is not a good thing for me. It would have been lovely during the days of s3c0ndh4nd and Kakunaman, when entertainment was the chief goal, but not anymore. I need a few people to give me their love and support, but any more than that and it becomes constrictive. This obscure corner of the Internet has become a little bit less obscure lately, and I don’t like it.

90% of the time, the process of blog-writing goes like this:

I post a blog.
A few comments appear from the usual suspects within a few days.
Repeat.

But sometimes, someone who usually doesn’t usually comment will leave a comment. It’s weird, because other people only tend to comment on blogs in which I’ve mentioned them. I mean, I write a blog about Kevin and the film club, and who comments? Kevin. I write a blog about winning that award with Michael Bazzocchi, and who comments? Michael Bazzocchi. I write a blog about the Wrigley Field Incident, and who comments? Camilo, who I hadn’t even spoken to in over two years. There were another few occurrences as well that I can’t be bothered to remember at 2:00 AM.

There are three possibilities:

A) It’s a coincidence. Everyone just happens to stumble upon blogs where I’ve mentioned them by name.
B) There’s some sort of mechanism that alerts people on my MSN contacts list when a blog is published which contains their name.
C) There are other people who read this thing at least occasionally.

It’s happened a few too many times for me to consider A), and I have no clue about B).

Option C seems to be the most likely scenario. Do you agree, or am I flattering myself here?

The problem with C being the correct answer is that it means that I have to censor myself. I can’t say "Man, I really hate person X" because of the fear that person X might be reading.

This problem would go away if people would let me know that they’re reading, but I can’t fault them for not doing so. If you tell me that you’re here, I might have to hold back a bit in order to avoid pissing you off in some way.

Now, I would assume that the reason that anyone reads this is to hear my thoughts on a particular issue. If I’m holding back anything, you’re not getting the whole story from me. As such, it’s in the reader’s best interest to make themselves anonymous in order to receive the best content from me. I know how the system works, and I understand it, but I don’t like it.

There’s no real solution to this problem. If I keep writing blogs, I keep running the risk of people discovering this place. If I stop writing blogs, well, I lose.

Ironically, the best solution might be to blow this place up and start anew. And whaddya know? Microsoft is making me do that in six weeks anyhow! I’m not happy about having to move, but one of the few advantages is that I’ll go to a new obscure corner of the Internet, and people will have to find me all over again.

People Will Talk

"People talk," he said.

Yeah. They do, don’t they? Like I said about a year and a half ago, it doesn’t matter who you are. No matter what, there will always be people lying in the weeds, waiting to cut you up.

People will always talk. It’s unavoidable.

But the one thing you have on your side is the power of denial. If you deny everything and admit nothing, no one can hurt you. Let them talk. They can’t prove anything.

I Have Filled My Heart With Hate

In reality, there isn’t much that’s permanent. A lot of the time we’re given people and places that will last us for only a relatively short period of time before fading away. Because of the way that school works now, that short period of time translates to about a year.But still. If you’re given something that you know is good and that you know you’ll only have for a year, why wouldn’t you accept it and embrace it and enjoy the hell out of it while it lasts?

People don’t seem to get it, and it really pisses me off.

Too hypothetical for you? Alright.

I’m living on the 12th floor in this residence building with this set group of people for the year. Most of them are good people, and I find that I’m growing somewhat attached to them. There’s a connection that we all have with each other that I really like. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a good thing, I promise you that. The first two months here have kicked the hell out of Queen’s, I’ll say that much.

And yet in spite of all that, I’m probably going to lose touch with most of these people once the year concludes. None of them are doing history programs, so once we’re no longer living in the same space I probably won’t see very much of them anymore.

But whatever, that’s just the way life works. I’ve decided to just enjoy the year while it lasts.

Unfortunately, some people just can’t seem to leave well enough alone. Some people, against all logic, are knowingly violating the most basic rules of residence living, attempting to destroy the unity that we all have achieved.

I mean, what’s rule #1 when you’re living in residence? No floorcest, right? And there’s a good reason why this rule exists. You have to live in close proximity to the people on your floor for the better part of the year. Fooling around with people on your floor can only lead to awkwardness, arguments, disunity, etc.

So why are people openly making moves towards violating this rule? Do they not realize that we’ve got something special going? Are they not aware that their sexual promiscuity could ruin everything for everyone on the floor?

I try to stay oblivious to such things for my own sanity’s sake, but I can only ignore the rumblings for so long. To my knowledge, rule #1 hasn’t been violated yet, but multiple people have made moves towards violating it.

Is it any business of mine who’s screwing who? That’s debatable. But the fact is that these people are within my inner circle on the floor. It’s very clear to me what will happen if these people do not change their path. Everything that we’ve enjoyed over the past few months will be lost forever.

This, I cannot allow.

I’m not sure how many allies I have on this front. One, for sure. There was a second one, who actually took me aside to speak to me about the issue of floorcest violations, and expressed his disapproval. But just weeks later, the hypocrite went and made moves towards a violation of his own with another girl.

I don’t know what I can do to stop this, but I’ll do anything in my power. The unity of floor 12 must be preserved at all costs. If people must be hurt, so be it, so long as the unity stays intact. This floor has become my home, and I will destroy anyone who tries to harm it, even if those people are my friends.

Disney in Crisis

The Disney Channel is in a bit of a pickle now, which by extension means that Family is in a bit of a pickle now.

See, Disney has this model in place which they call the 65 Episode Policy. Basically what this means is all shows, no matter how popular, get cancelled after 65 episodes. The rationale behind this is that Disney doesn’t want to rely on the same ideas for too long. Disney wants to be fresh and constantly evolving. So for that reason we saw shows like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens cancelled well before they theoretically should have been.

And then Kim Possible happened. This show had a rabid fan base, and when news came out that it was being cancelled, all hell broke loose. Angry messages were posted all over the Internet, petitions were signed, Disney execs received death threats, the whole nine yards. The result was that six months later, Disney renewed Kim Possible for a 4th season, breaking the 65 Episode Policy for the first time.

Once that precedent was set, Disney found that they couldn’t go back. That’s So Raven was extended from 65 episodes to a whopping 100. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had 87. Hannah Montana will end with 93. Wizards of Waverley place is at 81 so far, with more episodes to come.

Disney has gone a step further recently, by creating spin-offs of shows to try and further milk their products. Hence 34 episodes of Cory in the House and 66 episodes of The Suite Life on Deck. If you’re keeping count, that’s 134 episodes in the That’s So Raven universe and 153 episodes in the Suite Life universe.

Disney seemed to realize that keeping the same series going is much easier than having to come up with new concepts every few years. Plus, you please the target audience by giving them more of what they want. Fans hated the 65 Episode Policy, so it’s understandable that Disney would abolish it.

And for a while, everything was peachy. Disney was on top of the world, led by Miley Cyrus, the Sprouse bros., and Selena Gomez.

But now shit is about to hit the fan.

Hannah Montana ends this Sunday.
The Suite life has only five episodes left to air.
Wizards is down to its final season.

And what is there to fill this void? Squat, ladies and gentlemen.

In the past, Disney has always been ready with something to replace their shows when they come to an end. When Even Stevens ended in 2003, That’s So Raven had just begun. When Lizzie McGuire ended, Phil of the Future stepped in to take its place. But this time Disney doesn’t seem to have anything waiting in the wings:

Cory in the House wrapped up two years ago, and isn’t coming back.

Jonas L.A. is on hiatus, possibly permanent.

Demi Lovato checked into rehab a few days ago, which leaves Sonny With a Chance’s status up in the air. There are five remaining unaired episodes, and after that the show would need to be renewed. There’s almost no question that it would have been renewed, but Demi’s body image issues may or may not throw a wrench into that.

So where does that leave us? Well, if nothing changes, in a few months Disney’s lineup is going to look like this:

Hannah Montana reruns
Suite Life reruns
Shake It Up!
Jonas L.A. reruns
Phineas and Ferb
Wizards reruns
Good Luck Charlie
Sonny With A Chance reruns
Fish Hooks

Not exactly the killer lineup that Disney once boasted.

So while they’re not exactly up shit’s creek yet, they’re certainly approaching it. The next few months are critical. They need to hit a home run, and they need to do it by March or April, or else they’re going to get hit hard in the ratings department.

May fortune shine on them.