Overthinking Fiction: Cody Lambert

My friend and I were talking about old television sitcoms like Blossom and Family Matters, and at some point, we got on Step by Step, and how pretty much the only reasons to really watch the show was the progression of Al’s hotness (Christine Lakin), and how distant cousin Cody Lambert was pretty much the best character of the show.

Naturally, my mind goes off on tangents, and it doesn’t take long for me to take something that I liked, like Cody, and overthink and dissect it to a point where it pretty much kind of ruins them.

But anyway, to those not familiar with Step by Step, Cody is the nephew of Patrick Duffy’s dad character, and the older cousin to the Lambert kids.  He’s older than all of the family kids, but not quite old enough to be considered a full-fledged adult, and he was basically the character that could relay to the children, their parents’ advice, when the kids would be obtuse about it.  And since Cody was the cool older brother figure to everyone, everyone listened to him.  Along the way, Cody found the meaning of life by deliberately depriving himself of sleep, and got into a massive bar-room brawl, all while spouting Valley speak and sounding like a bro before the term bro was even coined.

Regardless, he was unanimously perceived as “the cool guy” of the show, and to a 1990s impressionable kid, nobody in the world was cooler than Cody Lambert.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the tall handsome young adult that lived in a van in the driveway that came equipped with a water bed in it?

And that’s where the snowball begins rolling.

Basically, the show takes place in Wisconsin.  And as most of us are very well aware, Wisconsin is not a state like California or even Florida, where you can move to a different part of the state, and completely avoid cold weather, and live in a consistently mild climate.  Wisconsin can most certainly get warm in the summertime, as much of the United States can, but if there’s one thing that people know about Wisconsin, aside from the popular notion that all cheese is miraculously from there, is the fact that they have brutally cold winters.

Football fans are well aware of this, as they’ve all pretty much seen a Packers game in which everyone but the one body painted lunatic is dressed like green and yellow eskimos, and steam is rising off of the active players’ bodies, while those on the bench huddle in gigantic team cloaks.

I’ve been to Wisconsin in the wintertime, it really absurdly cold.  So cold that mist rises off of bodies of water as much of it evaporates and freezes almost simultaneously.  It’s so cold that liquids don’t often stand a chance at remaining liquid outdoors for very long.

Needless to say, I can’t remember a lot of episodes of Step by Step off the top of my head that actually addressed Wisconsin winters, but for a guy that lives in his van like Cody, going to bed at night must seriously be a true life and death experience.  Unless he has an endless supply of Tauntauns inside of that van, I can’t imagine that in the peak of winter, sleeping in the van has much chance of fending off mortality.

And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that he’s got a water bed inside of his van.  Clearly, nobody really thought about what happens to water when it’s outdoors in a cold winter night, much less a cold winter night in Wisconsin.  If freezing water come ice has the capabilities to burst through iron pipes, then there’s absolutely nothing from stopping Cody’s water bed from freezing, expanding, and not just bursting through the vinyl lining of the bed, but the entire fucking van itself.  Bursting it like when we’re kids and we put a warm can of Coke in the freezer to fast chill it, forget about it when we’re losing our shit over one of the numerous bike levels of Battletoads, and then it bursts, leaving a mangled and gnarled piece of aluminum around a slushy, sticky mess in the door shelf.

Now imagine if Cody were actually sleeping on said bed when this nightmareish scenario occurred?  Despite the fact that the Lambert family lives in a house large enough to house six kids, they can’t even spare the fucking couch or something for Cody, relegating him to sleep in his own tomb outside in a Wisconsin winter.  So after the worst-case scenario occurs, JT wakes up the following morning, and due to his hero worship of Cody, steps outside in the morning, only to find the mangled, gnarled remains of a van that was ripped in half from within, by the ice formed from the water in Cody’s water bed, when it froze overnight.

And amidst the carnage is a blue and definitely dead Cody Lambert, frozen stiff, but at least dying somewhat peacefully, as he was in his sleep when the tragedy occurred.

Allegedly, Cody was written off the show in later seasons due to an alleged domestic violence incident with his wife.  He could very easily have been written out and justified as having died in the aforementioned manner, but Step by Step was an ABC family sitcom.

But let’s be real here, cool as Cody may have been, there’s zero percent chance that anyone could live like Cody did, in a Midwestern northern state, like Wisconsin.  Whoaaaaaaaa.

HP’s new logo is stupid

Short story shorter: Hewlett-Packard introduces new logo which will start being on display with HP’s Spectre laptop series.

Here’s the thing, once you know that it’s by HP, it’s easier to visually identify the H and the P, because your brain is basically filling in the gaps for you.  But if you didn’t know that this was HP for Hewlett-Packard, then who’s to say that it’s an H and a P?  It could be a lower-case B, followed by a P, or even a lower-case B, followed by a lower-case R?

Or who says they’re even letters at all?  It’s almost like a hand-symbol like the shocker.  Or maybe it’s claw marks or something, for a company that takes its namesake from a ferocious animal?

The point is, it looks stupid.  Overly minimalistic, to a point where if you didn’t know who it was before seeing it, you just might not be able to figure it out.

And whenever I find a logo that looks stupid, I like to find out the creative process behind it, because it’s kind of relevant to what I do for a living.  Thankfully, CNN Money is very quick to point me in the right direction, because we’re quickly able to find out in the agency’s own words just how this shitty logo came to fruition:

The defining signature of the system is the 13° angle. 13° represents HP’s spirit as a company, driven forward by ingenuity and optimism about the future and a belief in human progress. It also refers to the world of computing by recalling the forward slash used in programming. 13° exists within the brand identity, in the graphic language, product design and UI.

— Moving Brands

“spirit as a company, driven forward by ingenuity and optimism about the future and a belief in human progress?”

“13° exists within the brand identity, in the graphic language, product design and UI?”

How about HP’s logo was italicized because Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard thought a plain old HP looked lame, and asked the designer to italicize it?  I would be willing to wager legitimate money that 13° angle happened purely as circumstance to hitting CTRL+I, instead of some sort of deliberate shearing of two letters.

The thing is, I love reading the fluffy convoluted heaps of bullshit creative agencies spout to justify their so-called designs.  I’m sure HP’s spirit is captured by a 13° angle in their logo, and not their pursuit to drop their computers into as many households as they possibly can, to pad their wallets and satiate investors.

But seriously, I’d love to see a creative agency just tell it how it is, when it comes to presenting their work: “Our intern, uh, thought it just looked kind of minimalistic and cool.”  “The assistant VP was on the shitter reading X-Men comics, and saw a scratch pattern that Wolverine left on Sauron, and thought it looked like something cool.”

Either way, HP’s new logo looks stupid.  And at a quick glance, it’s way too easy to interpret the series of 13° lines as almost BP, which would be the oil company, the one that dumped shitloads of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.  Not quite sure I’d want that mistake to remotely even be close to the table.

At what point is trying hard kind of dumb?

Impetus: New York high school student is accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges among other prestigious schools.

First, a lot of people probably think this girl is insufferably arrogant.  Yeah yeah, haters gonna hate and all that jazz, but come on now; she applied to all eight Ivy League schools, Johns Hopkins and MIT among other notably prestigious schools?  Sure, reach for the stars, but as people are very well aware, college applications ain’t free.  I can’t imagine college applications for Ivy League schools are much cheaper than the local commuter school, but seriously.

With the credentials that she had, she was a shoe-in to get into most of the Ivy League schools, had she picked one that she liked the most, as well as perhaps a fallback one or two.  Going for all eight, as well as other prestigious schools is most definitely an ego pursuit, to see how many she could get into, regardless of the cost of applying.  It’s a no-lose situation where getting into any of them garners the humble-bragging that’s being done now, and any instances of denied entry can be met with simple denial of having applied.

Whatever though, congratulations to this tryhard for getting into every single Ivy League school.  I’m sure her less intelligent friends are thrilled that she has her veritable pick between Harvard or Brown, or  Columbia or Yale, while they’re figuring out how they’re going to afford SUNY-Long Island or Binghamton.

When I saw the link to this story, I clicked it with the dread that I was going to be reading about some Korean or other Asian student, who was tryharding on an Asian-level, to have gone for every single Ivy League school.  I was actually relieved when it turned out that this tryhard was of a Nigerian background.  And then it occurred to me that most Asians aren’t even aware of the fact that there’s eight total Ivy League schools, and probably only know of Harvard and Yale.

But then after reading about this story, I thought to myself that it sounded kind of familiar.  So I did some light research, and it turns out that this story isn’t as unique and quite so groundbreaking, when four other tryhards have accomplished the exact same feat within the last two years, with three of them being in 2015.

So one, we have a whole lot of tryhards applying to, and apparently get in to all the Ivy League schools, but the thing is, they’re all from ethnic backgrounds that kind of tickle the radar that some gentrification might have a little to do with their overwhelming ease of acceptance.

Let’s not just point the I’m a racist finger, because I’m pretty sure anyone reading my fucking brog has also heard the same kinds of jokes that Ivy League or any other prestigious school has filled their quota of overly ambitious Asians, and have to be vastly more selective of them, so it’s not like we’re not aware that colleges do try to mix up the ethnic bowl with as many different flavors as possible.

But among the Ivy League tryhard sweepers, here’s just the four others that I found from a two minute Google search, on top of this most recent tryhard:

Either most Americans don’t bother applying to all the Ivy League schools, or Ivy League schools are clawing at each other to get the opportunity to claim students from ethnic backgrounds such as Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria and Bulgaria.  Perhaps both.  Asian students are too busy filling out applications to just Harvard and Yale, and most Ivy League schools probably are tired of reading the same copy/paste story of Asian immigrants who overcame poverty and/or oppressive homelands for American opportunities.

The point is, applying to all Ivy League schools seems kind of like an arrogant maneuver, and sets the stage for the most insufferable of humble-brags if it actually works out and acceptance to all is achieved.  But I have to think that there’s more to just academia that gets some of these tryhards in the door, and it’s not to say that these students might not actually be qualified to attend Ivy League schools, but sometimes the selection process really is just skin deep.

Finally truly respectable

If there’s one good thing about Wrestlemanias, whether you watch them or not, it’s usually the most opportune time for the WWE to make some changes upon it’s passing.  Throughout the years, belt changes have often come on or immediately after Wrestlemanias, including numerous iterations of the World title, the Intercontinental championship. all the times John Cena wigger-ized both the United States and the World championships.  But at long last, the most visually problematic belt of the bunch, the maligned Divas Championship was finally put to rest, replaced with the new and respectable WWE Women’s Championship.

This is a step in the right direction.  But a bigger step in the right direction is the WWE’s decision to finally scrap the whole notion of “Divas” in the first place, and anoint the women wrestlers with the same distinction as the male wrestlers – Superstars.

It’s not so much that I’m some ultra feminist, as much as it’s simply the fact that I recognize that women’s wrestling has come leaps and bounds from the days of Torrie Wilson versus Stacy Keibler cat fights or Sable versus Jacqueline piss breaks.  Those were Divas.  From AJ Lee, Paige, to the more current crop of stars like Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, and those on the way like Bayley and Asuka, calling any of them Divas isn’t as much of a disservice as much as it’s simply kind of insulting.  All of these women have proven that they can go, and it’s at last long overdue that they’re no longer denigrated by the title of Diva, and called the Superstars that they really are.

Big kudos to the design of the belt, basically making it the white and red clone to the World Championship.  By doing so, it demonstrates equal importance and prestige to that of a World Championship, and it’s nice to see the Butterfly belt has been killed off, and replaced with something that looks like it’s worth fighting for.

Naturally, with the death of Diva, it begs to ask the question of what’s going to happen to the (alleged) hit show Total Divas, that I’d given up on four seasons ago once it inevitably became a vehicle to drive storylines for television.  Given the fact that it’s on it’s like fifth or sixth season (somehow), I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s pretty much at the end of it’s line.  Given the fact that the Bella Twins, the original focal points of the show are injured or retired now, not to mention Natalya’s basically a performing trainer who jobs to the upstarts, it’s safe to assume the show’s running out of fuel, and the notion that the namesake Divas is dead, it’s a safe bet to assume the show’s on its way out too.

Anyway, it’s nice to see the respect towards the women Superstars is growing, and their own roster is a few components shy of becoming a truly entertaining division.  Perhaps when Bayley arrives, and Paige somehow gets out of the doghouse she seems to be in, there can be more than one compelling women’s storyline going on at once.  Baby steps, though, baby steps.

I hate 3D movies

A weekend ago, mythical girlfriend and I talked about possibly going out to see a movie.  We knew what we had in mind, but what lied ahead of us was the dubious task of finding a theater within reasonable distance, and a showing time that could accommodate us grabbing a quick bite to eat without keeping us out too late, as mythical girlfriend’s schedule has work on the weekends.

Needless to say, while combing through Fandango we didn’t find many options that fit our criteria without it being just beyond the realm of leisurely capability, or nowhere near any viable dining options.  And every single time we found a showing that might work, at a location that had some decent grub nearby, it turned out that it was a 3D showing.

We then entered a conversation about how really, we both didn’t like 3D films, because one, they’re absurdly more expensive than regular films, and two, the necessity to wear glasses is a pain in the ass, and for people like me who already wear glasses, the idea of stacking on a second pair just to watch a film is not very appealing.  We agreed that the only reason we end up watching 3D films at all, is because either their showings are at times that are convenient to our agendas, or we’re amidst a group that, again found the time to be convenient, or actually likes 3D films, and group mentality dictates going with the flow.

But if the scenario presented itself in which 3D and standard films were shown at the same time, we would go with the standard film.

And then we didn’t go see any movie at all, because making decisions is hard.

I then took the query to social media, and I asked theFacebook if they actually liked 3D movies, or if they only saw them occasionally because the showing times were convenient.  And to no surprise, the overwhelming majority of people who responded stated exactly my own sentiments; they’re either ambivalent or against them, but if the timing is convenient, they’ll still watch.

Which leads me to conclude that 3D movies are pretty much garbage, and that the idea that they’re actually popular or successful is a farce, spawning from the fact that theaters like to stagger the showing times, and it’s kind of like the most popular times are slated for 3D viewings, so that theater patrons have to shell out the extra money to watch it in 3D when they’d probably rather watch it in standard.  One friend stated something that I was amused by, and would likely agree with, that I’d frankly rather pay extra to avoid the 3D aspect, than to be stuck with it; that’s how much 3D sucks.

But because people are more or less duped, deceived and pigeon-holed into going to 3D movies, the entire 3D camp is still making boatloads of profit, even though there are plenty of people who don’t actually like them.  Unfortunately, because they’re making profit, 3D movies will continue to be a thing, because greedy people exist, and they endlessly continue to want more money.

Seriously, 3D is shit, absolute shit.  I don’t care if films are filmed in 3D or are retroactively remastered to appear to be in 3D, when the day is over, I don’t want to have to wear glasses in order to enjoy a movie.  What the fuck for?  So that something can appear to pop out of the screen, as if Scarlett Johansson’s boobs could be heaved into the third dimension, and I could cop a feel?  Fuck no.

Instead, we get shit like Silent Hill: Revelations 3D; yes, the 3D is part of the title, which is almost as bad as that Piss2 game called “Big Mother Truckers Only $19.99” that basically said “we suck” in the title itself, much like SH:Revelations 3D does.  So in instances like this, 3D is the only option, and as someone who wants to be social, I still watch it, and the extent of 3D features throughout this shitty film is the ashy snow emerging in 3D, and one scene where the now-face turned Pyramid Head flings his gigantic blade at the viewer, and it comes soaring at your eyeballs.  Whoopdie-frickin-doo!

3D movies suck.  This is where I’d want to declare that I’ll never go see another 3D movie again on principle, but there’s no way I’d be able to hold true to that.  I’m far too willing to go with the flow, and all it’s going to take is one film that a convenient time, or a group activity to see a film in 3D that’ll get me to watch another one.  But otherwise, if I have the choice in my own viewing endeavors, I’m avoiding 3D flicks like white people avoid riding MARTA.