Monthly Archives: August 2010

don’t hassle me with your sighs, chuck


This one goes out to all the ladies. Yeah… oh hell yeah… ohhh, shit yeah!

*cough, cough*

Sorry, I don’t know what the hell that was. Anyway, this is a question for all the female readers, as it relates a little bit to Monday’s blog – god knows I frequently attack men as a gender on these blog pages, mostly because I am one, and have a pretty good sense of what we’re made of, but my perspective is for shit.

To all you women out there, whether you’re an anonymous animals or not… what is your true feeling about getting older, staying attracted (or attractive) to your mate, and what’s your general sense of how women are treated when they venture into their 30s and 40s?

Or if you want it put another way, does the system feel rigged and shitty? Or is it actually a lot better than you thought it’d be?


it pays my way and it corrodes my soul


Oh my god I am IN LOVE. Have you all heard about JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater? He might be the closest thing to a genuine hero we’ve got left in this wicked world.

Yesterday, his flight to NYC had just landed, and some asshole leapt up to open their overhead bin before the plane had arrived at the gate. Over the intercom, he repeatedly reminded all passengers to remain seated, but the passenger refused.

So he walked down the aisle to confront the person directly, just in time to get walloped in the SKULL with his giant hardcase luggage. Fuming, he asked for an apology, and instead this asshole started yelling, calling him a “motherfucker”. And then he had that moment, the crossroads all of us have in our lives, where he could either suck it up and swallow his misery… or GO NUCLEAR, WHICH IS WHAT HE DID.

He got back on the intercom and said, “To the passenger that called me a motherfucker, FUCK YOU! I’ve been in the business 28 years. I’ve had it! That’s it!” Then he grabbed two beers – opened one of them – pulled the emergency door handle that inflates the slide, and jumped out of the plane with a smile on his face. Then he got in his car, went home, and had sex with his boyfriend. As I was telling Tessa this story tonight, I was almost beset by tears of joy. We aren’t the ones we’ve been waiting for – THIS guy is.


Steven Slater beat drug abuse and alcohol, then took care of his father, who ultimately died of ALS, and has been nursing his mother, who is in the death throes of lung cancer. If you’re dealing with all this shit, then some fuckwad – in a narcissistic rush to best their fellow passengers – hits you with a suitcase and then embarrasses you in front of an entire airplane… well, sir, you have my permission to express yourself.

According to NBC, Slater is being charged with “2nd-and 4th-degree criminal mischief, 1st- and 2nd-degree reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in the 3rd degree… [facing] up to 7 years in prison if convicted.” Some other choice tidbits of journalism:

“Cops found him in bed with his boyfriend when they arrived to arrest him at a beachfront home in the Rockaways with a porch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, sources said… He was grinning as police walked him in handcuffs to a squad car. ‘He left with a big smile on his face,’ said neighbor Curt Karkowski.”

“…the [passenger had] cursed him out, saying in effect ‘go f–k yourself’ and calling him a ‘mo-fo,’ according to law enforcement sources who are still sorting out the specifics.”

“…a former flight attendant, Janet Bavasso, who lives next door to Mr. Slater in Queens, found nothing mysterious at all. ‘Enough is enough — good for him,’ Ms. Bavasso said. ‘If he would have called me, I would have picked him up’.”

“A jetBlue co-worker who was on the flight called Slater a working-class hero. ‘It’s something we all fantasize about,’ she said. ‘But we have kids and a mortgage or are just too chicken – or sane – to go through with [it]’.”

“‘Chances are I am flying 35,000 feet somewhere over the rainbow on my way to some semifabulous JetBlue Airways destination!’ [his] MySpace page says.”

Oh my god, oh my god, it’s like having Morrissey as your airline steward. And yes, I know airline companies are the worst, and they treat you like calves about to become veal, and he could have hit somebody on the tarmac with the inflatable slide, but please, people… don’t harsh on my crush!

beeyotch make sandwich


To folks who live in the more liberal communities of America, this will come as no surprise: research is showing that many women find themselves falling in love with other women once they hit their mid-30s. Anecdotally, I feel like I’ve seen this phenomenon play out pretty frequently, but Lisa Diamond at the University of Utah has actually done the long-term research.

Before any of the homophobes out there start saying how this proves that sexual orientation is a choice, these “late-life lesbians” had no homosexual feelings or experiences until that one person came along in their thirties that made them feel unadulterated, innocent LOVE once again. It was not a choice, it was a change.

I’m warning you now, I’m about to devolve into a screed against Men™ that will no doubt send many of you into a defensive posture, and make me look like a self-loathing fool. It will also paint me as shapist, and absolve women of all relationship responsibility. But I’ve always maintained that if I were a chick, I’d be so enraged at our culture that the mere act of tolerating dudes would be a daily exercise in vessel-popping restraint..

The article at top wonders aloud about these changes in attraction: “Now the puzzle is to figure out why… and how to explain it developmentally.” My response is: don’t overthink this. Let’s take a look at your typical male-female dynamic upon reaching the age of 40.

• Biologically, the female is entering the last stage of childbearing, or has decided to forgo the whole birthing experience. Either way, the man is no longer of imperative sexual use. We might not listen to our caveman ancestry, but our subconscious does – and early mankind rarely lived past the age of 27. A woman’s subconscious at 40 is probably asking why she’s still putting up with some dude.

• Around this time, men fill with water and beige-hued gelatin; their wobbly masses begin to calcify into armchairs and racism; they lose their hair and transfer it to their back and ears; they begin their journey that ends at the YMCA locker room as an 80-year-old obese, pink, distended homunculus. And what’s more, they don’t give a shit.

However, if the woman were to allow herself to fall into the same level of disrepair, the man – and indeed, the rest of the world – would treat her like a bubo-infested carrier of the Black Death. So she generally keeps in shape, does the small things to remain presentable, and keeps her doctor appointments.

But here’s the kicker: as the man morphs into this blob, he begins to make more money and wield more power than ever. She, however, begins to lessen in earning potential and cultural influence. What part of this proposition is remotely attractive?


• The man is also beginning to become more rigid in his belief system, less flexible both physiologically and emotionally, and more prone to hang on to infantile notions of How He Thinks The World Works. Typically, the women, in Professor Diamond’s words:

“…have more diverse relationships. Their life patterns change. Their careers change. They often become more expansive in their thinking, more open-minded… those sorts of things can create a context in which a woman might have always had that capacity to become attracted to women, but might never have had the opportunity until she reaches a certain stage in her life.”

I mean, come on – at some point, this is just math. Guys just bring so little to the table. I’m not disregarding the nice paycheck many men bring home, and the (still inequal) partnership they provide with kids, but remember, we’re talking about the love relationship between the woman and the man, the ineffable quality of a woman’s heart, and the unknowable origin of our deepest desires. Given the evidence, it’s kind of amazing so many women stick it out.

And yet, they do. Many do so because most of you guys are actually awesome, or because the women are just not susceptible to having their sexual orientation changed, and still genuinely love a man’s body, a man’s company, the smell, the rough feel. But if that infamous blog entry from a few months back is any indication, something is not working for a lot of anonymous readers.

The lesson? I dunno, maybe it’s just a cautionary tale to guys. Put simply, GIVE A SHIT. Take care of yourself, stay elastic, avoid ruts and work past your resentments to find your partner again. You may be funny, and god knows that counts for a lot, but… well, never mind. If you’re funny, she’ll probably stick around forever.

next up for bids: the aerosol cheese ipod dock


Like everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere, the editors of xtcian take it easy in August, since the internet slows to a crawl. So for your Friday pleasure, here are three found objects:

FOUND TECHNOLOGY: The USB Toothbrush Sanitizer


FOUND VIDEO: The real-time Twitter moods of the USA

FOUND CARTOON: What Happens When You’re 24 Years Old


i just want to be tied to the back of your car


Readers of this blog – which might include my grandkids if I’m lucky – will no doubt look at today’s entry and think “wait, they were still worrying about homosexuals getting married back then? what the FUCK?”… however … us progressive types are doing the best we can, here at the beginning of the 21st century. And today in the culture wars, we kicked some Neanderthal ass.

A California judge struck down the bigoted, homophobic, putrescent hunk of shame known as Proposition 8 as unconstitutional under the equal protection clause, failing “to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license”.

Yes, my friends from the future, this is what we deal with. Can you and your robots imagine?

Anyway, now it’ll go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will uphold it, then on to the Supreme Court, where one Justice, a guy named Anthony Kennedy, will determine the future of gay marriage – and with it, I believe, much of the soul of America. That may sound overly emotional and dramatic, but these are the decisions that determine a nation’s character, and our character has not been very kind recently.

In 1996, Anthony Kennedy himself said that any law that “classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else” was unacceptable, so here’s hoping. Of course, you’ve got the wingnut asspants of our national dialogue already calling out the California judge as gay and of course my Mormon folk in tha’ 8-0-1 are glum, but who cares? Yes, my guests from the future, us liberals have to snatch our victories when we get ’em.


regarding hiney


Hope you guys don’t mind being lab rats for my little schemes, but I have another question to pose about your television ingestion habits. Put simply, what is your main method of seeing a TV show?

Obviously, most sports are fettered to time and channel, given how hard it is to avoid hearing the result (especially if you’re in the extended Carolina family), but how about the rest of television?

If you wouldn’t mind, break it down into percentages if you can, even if it’s “I watch everything on the DVR long after it has aired, 100% of the time, and skip all commercials.”



teenagers of my ilk circa 1983 will remember this kind of image – the “put the knob between two cable channels” way of watching porn

we hope you’ve enjoyed today’s broadcast


Okay, so excellent work on all the responses to the quiz from yesterday – that many participants is truly a wondrous feat here in the dregs of summer. To answer the question “what was the theory?”, I’d say my brother Steve’s comment comes closest to the issue. Time and time again writers in Hollywood have pitched or written something fantastic, but it gets rejected because it didn’t fit the network’s “brand”.

Which is generally fine for writers, because there’s a lot of different places to go. And if you’re smart, you’ll know what the network is looking for in the first place and save yourself the trouble. What I’m interested in, however, is the concept of a “network brand” itself. I’m not convinced that networks need a brand at all, given the way most people under 30 get their entertainment.

Sure, people love “Mad Men”, but can you quickly tell me which channel number AMC is on? Most folks search for shows by title (on iTunes, Hulu or even the TiVo) and have little regard for what corporation actually broadcasts it. In that regard, you folks did a lot better on the quiz than I thought you would – which proves that I’m either wrong, or asking the question five years too early.


I understand why “branding” is so appealing, and it’s not just for execs to hang their hat on. Working at a place that has an overall ethic, or a zeitgeist about “what we do” can be emotionally focusing. Also, given the current advertising setup, the ad companies buy into the brand of the network, and set their prices accordingly (but that model obviously won’t last forever).

Also, I get the idea of “branding” a particular night of the week, the way NBC used to own Thursdays, and CBS currently owns Mondays – you want someone to settle down in front of your network at 8pm and love everything until the local news.

But I’d argue that making successful television shows is so hard, and in some ways such a crapshoot, that I predict some network is going to jettison the entire concept of a brand entirely and simply focus on quality, regardless of category or theory. They will see that a nation of 18-34 year olds is no longer watching their beloved channel 254 at 10pm to see what happens to Don Draper, they are streaming it on a tablet to watch half of it on a road trip, and the other half in the bathroom. To the viewer, the show comes from Magical TV-Making Land.

By the way, I ended up sitting next to the executive producer of “True Blood” last night, and… remember when I asked why vampires and werewolves hate each other? Well, I figgered I’d ask him, and he was quite interesting about it.

First, he said it’s a little like the relationship between San Francisco and Los Angeles – LA is basically okay with SF, but SF frickin’ loathes LA. And with vampires, it’s not a “class” issue (like I had thought) when it comes to werewolves, since vampires have their own hierarchical class system.

To him, it remained a metaphor for racism at its core: one group of people have more power, the other looks slightly different and have less. Past that, he joked, they make it up as they go along. I told him you guys liked the show, and that was very pleasing.