Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm a MAD non-conformist

This is in reply to Rory's words in A Neopoleon Creation Story - Day Six - #2: Rallying the Troops. I was actually just going to post this in the comments section at, but this quickly grew into a ginormous, informative thing that I now feel deserves a proper post on my own blog. So, here goes:

"back when I started this site in 2003, women still didn't know about the internet."

Er, I had a webpage by 1996, mainly because I was really that talented at avoiding organic chemistry homework. I've since forgotten everything about organic chemistry, with the possible exception of cyclohexane (nothing special about it, I just remember the concept of cyclohexane), but I still do webby-type things.

"Now they're here with the rest of us, clogging up the web with their recipe swapping and knitting advice."

I don't cook often if I can help it, and I still have no idea how to knit. There is another Astrid Phillips who has commented up a storm on various knitting forums online, but she is merely using my name for maliciously inane purposes.

"To show my gratitude, I'm going to thank one (female) . . . . Astrid and I've been writing back and forth for quite a while now, and I've probably been linking to her more than is appropriate."

True. But, hey, my website's views quadruple every time you link to me, plus I enjoy feeling like a member of somebody's coterie -- but only if that coterie involves geeks with great cheekbones and murderous sandwiches.

"Anyway, I said I was going to flirt, so here goes: Astrid, I totally want to touch you on the leg. How'd that go? Was it flirty? Maybe a little creepy? A little of both? 'Crirty'? 'Creety'? 'Fleepy'? 'Flirpy'?"

I'm partial to 'flirpy,' nicely done. As for the actual leg-touching, I'll quote a friend of mine who quoted this at me last night from somebody else he was quoting: I'm still plotting data points on you. You've already been beta tested, and apparently there were some bugs before you were recently upgraded, so...yeah. Thanks, though. I'll keep you posted on the leg touchability when my focus group finally gets back to me.

"Astrid . . . might be too professional to know how to advise us cheap-ass Handycam dorks."

Never. You're forgetting I'm also a film instructor; advising cheap-ass Handycam dorks comprises a sizable chunk of what I do.

"As Cliff said, she's a 'cinnamontog. cimanym.tog. synonymtograf.'"


"I don't know how to spell the word either"


"but it's pronounced like 'cinnimootohgrahfur'."

Sigh. All together now: SIN-eh-ma-TAW-grah-fer. Dude, it's like, totally iambic pentameter dactylic dimeter [thank you, Einar]. Probably doesn't help that I sometimes like to call myself a 'cinnamontographer' when I'm feeling revoltingly cutesy.

"It means she knows how to take photographs of movies or something."

Exactly. Okay, seriously, here you are:

A cinematographer is an artist and craftsperson who tells stories using lighting and a motion picture medium (film or video, although I'm partial to flipbooks and hand-cranked penny arcade machines myself), and this is done in collaboration with fellow artists and craftspeople. In other words, I take what the director tells me ("make this scene look cold, scary, and really warped," for example), and I figure out what that means visually (most likely harsh shadows, lots of blue, and crazy/unflattering angles, just to continue the example), and then I translate that into technical stuff for my crew (like asking my lighting crew to put the lights in certain places and at certain angles to create harsh shadows, with certain shades of blue-colored gels [sheets of colored plastic] on said lights; perhaps also asking my camera crew to tilt the camera and stick a wide-angle lens on it to warp the actors' features).

So, lots of translating from the artistic into the technical, and lots of bossing people around.

Speaking of penny arcade machines (which really do make me almost obscenely happy), I'm going to quote my copy of The Voodoo MAD on the topic of movies:

MOVIES - ORDINARY CONFORMISTS . . . go in for uninspired Technicolor musicals, stories with happy endings, migraine-provoking Cinemascope, and 6 1/2-hour double features that destroy the eyes, ears, nose, and spine.

MOVIES - ORDINARY NON-CONFORMISTS . . . patronize stuffy out-of-the-way movie houses that show "experimental" films, arty-type films, documentaries, and obscure foreign language pictures with the sub-titles in pidgin Swahili.

MOVIES - MAD NON-CONFORMISTS . . . enjoy hand-cranked penny arcade machines which contain film classics like the Dempsey-Firpo fight, Sally Rand's Fan Dance, old Ben Turpin comedies, and Tom Mix pre-adult westerns.

Three guesses which one I am (in case you didn't bother reading the title of this blog entry).

Also, since Sally Rand is all sorts of terrific: Sally Rand dances with a very beautiful Balloon. This reminds me of "The Prisoner" (see intro here and part of the pretentious-yet-handy "The Prisoner Companion" [with balloon at 2:29] here).

You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

P.S. I think I mixed up my bracketing technique -- it usually goes { [ ( ) ] }, and I did it the other way around throughout this post. I'm only saying this because silly matters like that actually bother me, but when I tried it the other way around, it looked weird. If you don't give a crap, congratulations -- you are a relatively well-adjusted person. If you DO give a crap, we'll probably get along quite well, although our friendship will most likely devolve at some point into a frenzy of slapping each other over something remarkably stupid, like the proper pronunciation of 'coupon' or 'banal.'


  1. So.

    +1 point for using the phrase "iambic pentameter" in a post, but -1 point since it's not a pentameter and -1 point since it's not iambic.

    That leaves you in the red, I'm afraid.

    According to your own analysis, it should be clear that what you have on your hands is a pair of dactyls - a dactylic dimeter, as it were.

  2. HOLY CRAP YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT AND I WAS TEMPORARILY HALLUCINATING. I practically never mix up my poetic parsings, which just goes to show what happens when I don't bother eating lunch.


    Wow. Now I need to curl up in the fetal position under my coffee table and quietly moan about what a failure of an English major I truly am. I wish I were kidding, but I'm not.


    Thanks for the correction, though.

  3. Okay, so I just finished curling up under my coffee table -- I'm still not kidding -- and you know what I realized? That I had a forgotten IKEA sticker still attached to the underside of said table. So, instead of wallowing in mortification, I spent the past couple of minutes lying under my coffee table while trying to peel off a very stubborn sticker. As it turns out, I wasn't really in the mood to quietly moan after all.

    Just in case you were curious.



    Good gravy, not at all! I'm flattered, as well as amused. Well, mostly flattered. It's not every day that a guy proclaims his flirtations to me in front of the entire (online) planet, funning or no.

    Have fun with your dictionary this evening.

  6. It just occurred to me that you think I might be mad about your pseudo-misogynist comments (those darn women with their knitting and bridal mags), rather than about your hand-on-leg comment, so I'll reiterate: I'm amused. Not mad. On with the funning.

    Just FYI, it's always been my sense of humor to react stone-cold seriously to other people's humor, just to see how far I can push things before the other person breaks. Too often, people think I'm taking them seriously, and they freak out that I Have Them All Wrong.

    I assure you that, even at my most serious, there is ALWAYS an impish gleam in my eye. Unless, of course, you actually intended malice, in which case vengeance will be mine. Kind of a shame that impish gleams don't translate well over the interwebs.

  7. "Good gravy, not at all! I'm flattered, as well as amused."

    Is that the same thing as being mad?

    I don't know what "gravy" means.

    "Have fun with your dictionary this evening."

    We went bowling. It won.

    "It just occurred to me that you think I might be mad about your pseudo-misogynist comments (those darn women with their knitting and bridal mags), rather than about your hand-on-leg comment, so I'll reiterate: I'm amused. Not mad. On with the funning."

    I figured the flirtation thing - I don't think anybody could take the women-plus-net-equals-invasion stuff. If they do, then they're dookie. The point, of course, is to make fun of the doofusesses who *do* think women are bad (when they are, in fact, only lesser).

    "just to see how far I can push things before the other person breaks."

    Ohhhh... well, thaaaaaaaank yoooooooou.

    My ego is inversely proportionate to my emotional security.

    After I snapped, I had to have my top half stapled back to my bottom half.

    I'll send you the bill.

    "Unless, of course, you actually intended malice, in which case vengeance will be mine."

    I'm still confused. You can't intend "mace" - it's a thing. You can mace *someone*, but you cannot intend mace.

    You're an idiot.

    And you can keep your vegetables. I don't care.

  8. "I don't know what 'gravy' means."

    You-- wha? How is that possible?

    Good to know your dictionary can beat you at bowling. Humbling for you, but nice to know.

    "My ego is inversely proportionate to my emotional security."

    Wow, you really are the male Astrid, except for the fact that you're prettier. Fascinating.

    "After I snapped, I had to have my top half stapled back to my bottom half."


    "I'll send you the bill."


    "You can't intend 'mace' - it's a thing. You can mace *someone*, but you cannot intend mace."

    I never did.

    "You're an idiot."

    No, an idiot is somebody who only skims my blog before assuming that a) I'm probably mad and b) I intend mace instead of malice. Not that I'm pointing fingers or anything.

    Incidentally, I can't believe it took me this long to discover what mace actually is. I knew about the spray and the medieval weapon, but there's a whole world out there of even more mace factoids. Gosh.

    "And you can keep your vegetables. I don't care."

    Oh, but you DO care. I can tell.

    Why on earth are we discussing produce?

  9. Sorry. I went through a depressive phase. Might not be over, but it lifted a hell of a lot today.

    Did one of those sit-on-my-bed-for-three-hours-and-stare-at-a-wall-that-I-can't-see-because-it's-dark things last night. That's when things get scary and I try to dig my little self out instead of waiting for the meds to do something miraculous.

    So. Yeah. I'm back.

    I think you've been there as I've gone through a couple of these things, so hopefully you knew why I wasn't out there responding to people and stuff ('cept on my own site, where I tried to have a little fun, though I was feeling too intimidated to wander beyond it - no kidding).

    "Oh, but you DO care. I can tell.

    Why on earth are we discussing produce?"

    Because you said this:

    "vengeance will be mine"

    And, because I was doing my ALL CAPS STUPID VOICE character that doesn't always type in all caps, I thought it would be funny to change "vengeance" to "vegetables" since "vengeance" is a word that's far too sophisticated to exist in HIS ALL CAPS STUPID WORLD.

    Then, because you said the vegetables would be yours, and because ALL CAPS GUY doesn't want vegetables, he was all - even though it wasn't in caps - WELL, KEEP YOUR EFFING VEGETABLES, THEN. SEE IF I CARE. OMGLOL.

    I still think it's funny.