Bio on Meetup.com That Made me Roll my Eyes

My name is Liz and I am a world traveler, dreamer, achiever, lover, humanitarian, mentor, entrepreneur, tech geek, marketing maven, ninja, and the proud owner of (redacted).

Wow! you’re all that? And a ninja too? So you can throw shurikens with deadly accuracy? You can hide in the shadows and scale walls in seconds? You carry smoke bombs with you to escape situations quickly?

The Holiday Retail Depression Tour

Back when I was a kid, the American landscape was covered with vast herds of majestic shopping malls. In the wild suburban spaces one could always count on finding a gigantic shopping center designed as if it didn’t have an outside. A popular weekend past time was trekking to the mall to engage in that most American of past times: consuming mass-produced products.

Most times we would patronize the specialty stores that populated the middle section of the mall. But two times a year our focus would turn to the “anchor stores”- those massive retail department stores located at the ends of the mall corridors. In the late summer to purchase school clothes and late fall to early winter to purchase holiday gifts.
It was in these annual rituals that not only afforded us a chance to engage in an orgy of pointless consumption, but allowed us to determine and to flaunt our social status. There were subtle gradations of price and quality among the department store giants that amply demonstrated your socio-economic strata. I distinctly recall how my father would disdainfully refer to K-Mart as “the Mexican Lord & Taylor”, sneering at it as we crossed the parking lot to enter the Sears store. When I went to the fist day of school that year, I knew I would never be as good as the kids who got their clothes from J.C. Penny’s, but at least I wasn’t like those losers dressed in K-Mart clothes.

It was a simpler time, before the amazons and ebays had laid waste to the retail giants of yore. The Zayres and Montgomery Wards have long since passed from this mortal coil, but some of these lumbering beasts still soldier on.

Herewith is a survey of the decaying hulks of the once mighty retail giants of the American landscape.

Sears

Upon entering Sears, one is greeted by headless mannequins wearing clothes that look like they’re from a magazine ad from the 1950′s

headless mannequins

We are here to bum you out.

From the ghostly husk of the portrait studio to shabby, stained rugs Sears gives the impression of a dying boom town from an old Western. Racks are either overstocked with merchandise that doesn’t move or sold out and not replenished.

The portrait studio of the damned

The portrait studio of the damned

J.C. Penny

J.C. Penny is like the well-to-do middle aged guy who lost his job and hasn’t been able to find new one. The unemployment ran out months ago, but he’s too proud to apply at a retail or service job to tide him over til the next thing comes along.

The desperation is getting harder to mask. He says he traded in the luxury car because he wanted something “sportier”. But it’s hard to ignore that new car is a used Impala. He’s starting to neglect yard work and personal hygiene.

Sad J.C. Pennys

So sad. So very sad.

K Mart

K Mart, always the poor cousin of the department store giants, is the most depressing. Between racks of Die Hard batteries leaking toxic chemicals, and a display of curtains labelled with a sad bent paper sign reading “Room Darkening”, it’s as if they’re trying to bum us out.

Room darkening

Most appropriate sign ever.

Orson Scott Card is a stupid asshole

A lot of bloviating has been done about Orson Scott Card’s homophobia in the weeks leading up to the release of the movie based on his novel, Enders’ Game. There’s no denying that he is a bigoted jackass. But the world is full of those, and we should just ignore them and let them die out.

What bothers me about this is that those who rightfully call OSC out on his regressive views often add how shocked they are that some one who could write such a “brilliant” novel could be such an asshole. Homophobia is falling by the wayside in our sciety, which shows we are advancing in at least one respect. But if Ender’s Game is considered good fiction, them we have other problems to solve. The story rests on a couple of pretty silly plot points that could have been fixed if Card had spent an extra fifteen minutes thinking about the mechanics of the novel. (spoilers)

  1. Ender is supposed to be a brilliant strategist. Yet his finishing move on the aliens is to blow up their home world with a giant doomsday bomb. It takes hardly any strategic knowledge to decide “Let’s just drop a big bomb on them”.
  2. It’s supposed to be a shocking reveal that what Ender thought were merely simulations turn out to be real actions in the field. But he was in Battle School. He knew he was being trained to lead forces to kill the aliens eventually. So the big reveal is that he’s just a litte ahead of schedule.
  3. Ender is supposedly needed to commit genocide against the aliens because of his “empathy”. There have been many genocides throughout history, and no one would accuse the perpetrators of having an abundance of empathy.

Ender’s Game is just another Hollywood cash grab based on a poorly plotted piece of juvenile fiction. OSC is just another casual bigot embracing old fear-based attitudes. The movie will tank, his work will be forgotten, and the world will move on.