Friday, June 15, 2007


This day was a pretty normal Friday. I got up, went to work, did some work, got acupuncture, managed to stay awake through a meeting, found out my experiment didn't get as far as I'd hoped, then met with some colleagues for happy hour. Or happy three hours, as the case may be - because I have to sit around and drink water for a while before going home.

The good things from an average kind of day:
  1. While my experiment didn't get as far as I'd hoped, it did get going and went very smoothly for the most part. It was lack of appropriate sized tooling for my test vehicle that means I have to wait for Monday to finish up, but by then it should go reasonably well.
  2. The acupuncture was a nice time out. Very soothing. And after this appointment I can extend the time between visits.
  3. A coworker stayed a longer at the bar with me while I drank my enormous water. We discussed where all of our relatives live. I'm not sure either of us paid a lot of attention, but we had fun drawing maps on the napkin.
Even though drinking makes me sleepy:

Sleepy Otter from CuteOverload

I managed to avoid the couch nap somehow. I even did a decent ab workout, probably because my couch distraction involved watching a movie with people working out. I started watching Hitch, which I like well enough, but own on DVD, so I went surfing. Somehow I got sucked into Ice Princess, a movie targeted to teen girls who dream of making it big more than making it. It was actually an enjoyable flick because it avoided the thing that has come to make me hate "feel good " movies: the dominance of the underdog.

Most of these shows have the favorite being cocky AND mean, the spawn of horrible pushy parents, who must be "put in their place" no matter how hard they've worked to get to the top. Despite, or because of, the fact that in real life the pretty, the wealthy, and the very fit often have a path less encumbered by external obstacles, American movie and TV studios can't turn out enough movies where the underdog rises up from obscurity and incompetence to take down the prom queen, football star, or super mathlete. Or to my point, the person who has worked their whole life to get to the top only to be knocked down by some jerky newcomer with a lucky streak.

It reminds me of watching a nature documentary. If the feature is gazelles, you want that nasty cheetah to be thwarted in its search for dinner. But if you watch the cheetah show, you want that gazelle to go down. I've decided that I want the character who has the heart, the talent, the dedication, AND who has paid their dues to win. That, to me, is a satisfying climax. I'm rooting for the cheetah, even during the gazelle show. If the favorite loses because they fell on their face, it had better not be from sabotage or dumb luck. I don't care if they are cocky - I think if you're in the top ten of your game, you can show some pride in that without being evil.

For the most part, IP did this. The newcomer had natural talent and worked hard for an intermediate time and has a shot in the future because she placed, but didn't win, over the top skater. Cool Runnings did somewhat well with this too, although they did make the german/swiss teams movie-evil. I've never been a good enough competitive athlete to know if the top teams really behave that way, but I never saw anyone get stabbed with a mechanical pencil at ARML.

But there is at least one case where I do want the underdog to get equal attention to their pretty blonde sisters. Missing women. From USA Today on wednesday:
    Stepha Henry is still missing. But since yesterday, Google News has indexed just three stories that mention the 22-year-old black New Yorker who disappeared two weeks ago in Miami. Missing Woman, happens to be black

    During the same period, the site found 525 stories that mentioned Kel.sey Smith, the white girl who was kidnapped and killed in Kansas, and 6,581 news stories that mentioned the celebrity who is famous for being famous. (Even Nata.lee Hollo,way, the Alabama girl who went missing in Aruba two years ago, earned more mentions than Henry.)

Aside from the fact that I don't want people to go missing (duh), I think there is too MUCH publicity over these things normally, but only when the victim is blonde. I'd say "white" but really, the blondes get the most press. Since I don't think I can vote for "no press" on the subject, I'd like to give a little push of hope and bandwidth in the direction of Stepha Henry.

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