Fun Things That I Needed Today

The subtitle of this post is

Because I looked at too many shitty things on the internet and I now feel, unsurprisingly, like shit

Sometimes when you are holding a fussy baby who will not go to sleep, and you have a smartphone, you — no, wait. Let me skip the angsty still-a-New-Mom bullshit (and anything possibly actionable), and just tell you about the fun and happy things I discovered on the Internet of Awesome* after reading through the Internet of Shit.

1. This episode of the podcast Ditch Diggers: Ditch Diggers #20: Starring Guest Host Ursula Vernon

By the time they got to bison, my day had improved so much. Thank you, Ditch Diggers and Ursula Vernon for all your animal anecdotes, but also overall for your fantastic and occasionally bitchy podcast that, even while it preaches tough love** for slow-ass writers like me, never makes me feel worse.

2. The Shirk Report from Twisted Sifter

I used to look at this bad boy every Friday, for a cheer-up. At the time I was working in a decent if monotonous job with a irrational, puerile, vindictive boss, so it’s only natural that funny gifs every Friday (viewed on work time, because I was stickin’ it to the boss! So rebellious!) seemed higher-than-hi-larious. It gets repetitive, and it isn’t always funny, even to someone with low-road standards like mine. I think it’s best viewed maaaybe once a year. Maybe.

3. Peering into the Darkness, by Joe Hill (@ the NYT)

Don’t know how to explain why this cheered me up. It’s not glee at the pain of someone famous, or even my own misery finding a buddy. As a 3a, I read Hill’s “My Father’s Mask” last summer and loved it. If you haven’t read it and you like horror, go find 20th Century Ghosts or Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror and enjoy.

4. Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) Choreographed “Labyrinth”

I was watching the making-of featurette on the Labyrinth special features, and almost dropped Baby E. (ha ha! Just kidding! I was really shocked! In fact I don’t even think this is funny and I am so ashamed, don’t call CPS!) when they interviewed the choreographer for the crystal dance scene, a one “Cheryl McFadden.”

“Oh my goodness!” quoth I most unprofanely (verily). “Does Dr. Crusher have a sister? Because there is no way one woman could be so obscenely talented!”

Boy, was I wrong! Boy, am I using too many exclamation points! Mark Twain and any/all grumpy style manual authors are turning whole cemeteries into blended mush with! Every! Single! Sentence!

I’d like to apologize for the above paragraphs. I am crabby, yes. But I didn’t think I was that big of a monster.

5. Howl’s Moving Castle

Both the book and the movie, for different reasons. Reminds me I need to either request more Diana Wynne Jones through ILL or dig around for her at the local secondhand bookshop. Can you think of an author’s name that is cooler than hers? It’s so lyrical. She sounds like a storyteller. Yeah, anyway.

6. The Overnighters

Caught this documentary on POV/PBS the other night. Briefly, it’s about a Williston (North Dakota) pastor providing shelter to homeless men who come to town in hopes of oil field jobs. The shelter he provides ranges from inside his church, to the church parking lot, to his own home, and all of these places prove to be controversial, particularly when some of the men are revealed to have criminal backgrounds.

Wow. Okay, I admit — this is something that when I watched it, my  immediate and shallow reaction was, okay, my life is not that bad. While I don’t recommend day-to-day musings like that unless you’re extremely depressed, and I find that appreciating the positive by accentuating the negative is only a bare, mean kind of happiness to me, I’m not gonna lie — sometimes it helps.

However, I think that feeling that way, while it’s honest for me, is also fundamentally wrong in how it separates me from the people in the film, how it can separate anyone from people less fortunate than them. It’s easy to go from that separation to contempt or worse, to fear and fear of the unknown person in general. A quote from the follow-up article “Overnighters: a year later” in the Williston Herald (warning: don’t read if you don’t want to spoil certain events in the documentary) that stuck with me: “We don’t see anyone we don’t know walking our halls.”

What a complicated movie and a complicated issue. I really enjoyed it and am still thinking about it and Williston, and I highly recommend it.

In sum, I hope some of these things have cheered you up. If you are dead from my abuse of punctuation, I apologize. Say hey to David Bowie for me.



*Yeah, I know the proper opposite of the Internet of Shit is Internet of Things, but pbbbt, because whatever, I do what I want.***

**Or straight-contempt, whatevs.

***Ouch, today is bad.


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