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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Once You Go Black.... (and other weekend antics)

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Once You Go Black.... (and other weekend antics)

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peace
This was President's weekend, and so I didn't have to work yesterday. This weekend was simply wonderful, wonderful because I got everything pressing done that I needed to do and even had time for some idleness, to read and watch Olympic skating simply because I wanted to, not because I had to. I got a good deal of writing done too, in finishing the Carnistir chapters (which turned out longer and not as crappy as I expected) and working a bit more on my NaNoWriMo novel. Jenni is playing some of the NPCs in my original RPG themidhavens, and chatting the past few days to get her caught up on history and the like has awakened my Midhavens' muses. (My NaNo novel is based in the world that I use for the RPG campaign.)


Friday, Bobby and I had a dinner-and-a-movie date. We saw Freedomland. I thought Julianne Moore did a nice job as the crazy mother, but now, three days later, I find that the movie didn't make too much of an impact on me. I am finding that more and more: The more movies I watch, the fewer I remember fondly days after seeing them. I am becoming very picky about my movies, I know that much. It is no longer enough to simply be entertained. I feel like every storyline is something I've seen before, so I want something more. I think this about writing sometimes too: Is it advantageous to hone your skill so much? I used to enjoy reading utter dreck--popular novels without much beyond a glossy plot. Now, I try to read that stuff--to be entertained--and I find myself picking it apart. Rolling my eyes at the characters. Giggling at the metaphors. Not that I'm a perfect writer...but I've become a picky reader, and it is harder and harder to entertain me.

For example, I picked the last Harry Potter book to pieces. It's a freaking children's book...and I love the series overall. But I had a hard time being entertained. Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population? Is it worth it, do you think, to satisfy innocent enjoyment for a hobby that might result in a few online "fans" for us but little more?

Anyway.

All of this Olympic skating on television has really put me in the mood to skate. Of course, there was no club skating this weekend due to the holiday. Of course. *grumbles* But my ever-kind husband went to the Columbia roller rink for a public session with me on Saturday afternoon. The place was smaller than I was used to, but they had a wooden floor--not concrete--so that was good. The floor didn't have the grip that I get on the rink floor at Putty Hill; I could feel my skates sliding sideways when I took hard edges. That is not a confident feeling. That and the fact that the place was pretty crowded meant that I practiced a few easy jumps and some holds--spirals, spreadeagles--and no spins. But it was nice to have my feet in skates.

I've been really enjoying the Olympic skating that's always on TV. I haven't missed an event except for the compulsory dance, which is rather...erm...boring. But I do have to say that I have been less than pleased with the commentary we get, at least in the U.S. The figure skating commentators are well-known ex-Olympians, and they are very harsh. They will trash a skater's program as "boring" or pick on flaws in his/her technique. They are fond of trying to explain behavior based on antecedants like "She fell yesterday...look how nervous she is; you can see it in her slow footwork," which reeks of confirmation bias to me.

It is my feeling that they should be more supportive of world-class athletes with the courage to represent their country in such a competition. And most viewers are far from experts. I actually know what a "salchow" is...I know the different spin positions and how they're supposed to look, and I don't like to hear nitpicks that even I--as an artistic skater--cannot see. To a person who doesn't know a lutz from a flip from a loop, it must be utterly inane to have to sit through this.

And I'm sorry, but if someone goes out and does a quadruple jump, I don't care how crappy the landing, I'm too agog to criticize. I can't even do a single axle.

Anyway.

Saturday night, we took our families to Timbucktu for a thank you dinner. Both families have given us a lot over the past few months, so it seemed only fair. Timbucktu is a really nice restaurant in our area. Incidentally, we had our wedding "reception" there. The meal, as always, was excellent. The service, as always, was great.

Then today, my dad calls me and asks me the weirdest question: Has Timbucktu changed to a "black" restaurant?

So I asked him what he meant, and he clarified that there were only five other "white" parties in the dining room beside us.

So is Timbucktu now a "black" restaurant?

To begin, I was utterly embarrassed because my boss (who is black) was standing in my office, having a chat with me, and I was mortified to think that he could hear what my dad was saying since my dad is not the quietest guy on the phone...or anytime. (Incidentally, Timbucktu was also recommended to us by my boss.) Secondly, I wasn't exactly sure of the mechanism that my dad thought was in place here. Did Timbucktu become a "black" restaurant? Meaning what? That a declaration of such is made; that a full-page ad is now taken out in The Baltimore Sun: Timbucktu is henceforth a black restaurant. Black people should all come and try to run the white folks away. Secondly, I don't see why the fuck it matters the skin color of the patrons in a restaurant. Timbucktu is one of the nicest places in our area. Am I supposed to think that it is something less now because the majority of the diners there on Saturday night were black? Am I supposed to be afraid to go there now? Am I supposed to feel excluded? Am I supposed to roll my eyes and say, "There goes the neighborhood"?

Pardon me but: What the fuck??

Did I time-warp back to 1956? Or are we still in 2006? Last I heard, black and white folks are welcome to eat together in the same restaurants and places "belong" to neither race.

*quietly screams lest she disturb her black, Timbucktu-patronizin' boss*

Then, today, I am sitting in my office, minding my own business, reading the latest chapter of Ellie's "Crossroads of Time" over at silwritersguild, and Bill the Fake-Ass Bureau Chief--a.k.a. the "Acting Bureau Chief"--comes in to take some furniture. And he asks me, "So Dawn, are you ready to come to Baltimore?"

This is like the fourth time he has asked me this in five visits. At first, I laughed it off. Now, I'm really starting to wonder. I shall have to speak to Johnny the Boss (yes, the black, Timbucktu-perpetratin' guy in the office across the hall) if there is something I need to know about this. For example, has the notion of one Dawn Felagund going down to the Baltimore office been batted around between the superior minds of our bureau? It would not surprise me to hear that this was so, as I am apparently Teh Champion of WAU Support Staff. Not like that's saying much. Some of you may recall that Johnny and I were both going to move to an office in the city--supposedly with pay raises and grade increases all around--but it turned out that the pay scale was a Corrections pay scale (versus Parole and Probation), and we'd be making basically the same as we do now for twice the work. I have no problem going to work in Baltimore...but not for what I'm making now. No way.

Nor am I tempted to leave Johnny, who--as far as I am concerned--is the best boss a meager research geek like me could hope for. Even if he's black and likes Timbucktu. (Actually, I kind of like both things about him!) The city unit and everyone affiliated with it tends to get on my nerves.

Oh, and here is the quote of the day, just uttered to me by one half of the two coworkers lovingly known (by me) as Alatar and Pallando:

Alatar: Dawn, I don't know the name of the system, but can you run him in it and find some relatives' addresses?

Luckily, my mind-reading skillz are in effect today, and I knew what system he was talking about.
  • Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population?

    Some of them, yes. But I think I am more entertained by the things I do like, so it evens out. There's so many books in the world...
    • True. I've found my (few) authors and read them religiously...but sometimes I look back at the day when the latest Stephen King release was cause for unbridled celebration and I wasn't ashamed to declare, "Jurassic Park 3 was so cool!" and wonder if I will be so simply entertained again.

      Of course, I was only 16 then...but everything still felt so new and so worthy of enthusiasm.
  • It is no longer enough to simply be entertained.

    OMG, Dawn. You want a really incredible movie? Rent Crash. Like, now. Leave work, abandon the warrents, and go watch that movie. (OK, I'm kidding! But rent it soon.) It's amazing. Words cannot describe.

    but I've become a picky reader, and it is harder and harder to entertain me.

    *sigh* I sympathize. I've become progressively more finicky. My current read-for-pleasure, Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Firebrand, isn't satisfying me like The Mists of Avalon did.

    And re: Harry Potter... Hm... Well, I'm a diehard fan (upon finishing HBP a couple weeks ago, I was in utter floods), and I love it, but I found myself incredulous at some scenes and words. And I'm no great writer by any stretch, so I have no right to criticize!

    Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population?

    Well, for me, it isn't improvement as a writer (since I don't write that much), but as a reader of various fanfictions that melt their way into my personal canon.

    Hm... Well, let's give a sort-of example. Before seeing the Goblet of Fire movie, I was going to re-read the fourth book. It's what I always do before a movie, to give me a renewed acquaintance with the plot and details. But I didn't have time before this one, so a couple days before it, I decided I would forego my traditional re-read and go into the movie "blind", so to speak. I found that this lowered my expectations, I was more relaxed, and I wasn't hyper-critical of every change. Afterwards, my two friends and I went to Big Boy's to discuss it (another tradition: after every fannish movie, we must away to Big Boy's to pick it apart), and we were able to focus on what the movie did well, rather than what it did badly/didn't do at all.

    So... I can relax my expectations for enjoyment. When I re-read HBP, I let go of all the uber-good fanfics I'd read recently and lost myself in the real tale.

    When my sister hooked me on Gaelen Foley's romance novels, I was scornful. Cliches, smut, and badly contrived romances would, no doubt, ensue, I thought. Which was true enough, once I started reading...

    ...but I was able to let go of it, and enjoy the story for what it was. (Which was, so to say, smut and plot fairly equally present.)

    Perhaps this is because I am not as serious a writer, or I haven't written as much, or something. Or maybe its just everyone's own opinion.

    I've been really enjoying the Olympic skating that's always on TV.

    *squees* I watched the ice dancing finals last night. Thoroughly enjoyable stuff (though I was pissed that I missed the French pair who skated to Les Mis). I can't wait for the ladies' short program (tonight, 8-11:30 PM Eastern) and ladies' free skate (Thursday, 8-12 PM Eastern). One of my guy friends came over around 10 last night, and he watched the finals with me. My roommate cracked up when she walked in on us arguing over who was the best so far.

    To a person who doesn't know a lutz from a flip from a loop, it must be utterly inane to have to sit through this.

    *grins* We of this ignorant class develop a finely-tuned hearing filter, which allows only the music and sounds of skates on ice in, and blocks out those pesky commentators.

    Did I time-warp back to 1956? Or are we still in 2006? Last I heard, black and white folks are welcome to eat together in the same restaurants and places "belong" to neither race.

    ... *eyebrow twitch*

    *mutters* Race is an entirely cultural construct, which shouldn't matter, but it does, and causes all these problems and confusions...

    Grrr...
    • OMG, Dawn. You want a really incredible movie? Rent Crash.

      I own it! My husband bought it for me for Christmas after we watched in on On Demand one night. It's a great movie; one of my favorites from last year. :)

      Well, I'm a diehard fan (upon finishing HBP a couple weeks ago, I was in utter floods), and I love it, but I found myself incredulous at some scenes and words. And I'm no great writer by any stretch, so I have no right to criticize!

      Incredulous as in liking them or not liking them?

      Secondly, you are an excellent writer, so I don't want to hear that bullocky from you. ;)

      I love the premise of Harry Potter and books 3, 4, and 5 won my heart...but I was disappointed in 6. Of course, I acknowledge that part of that was the fact that I heard on the radio how it ended before reading it. I knew that Dumbledore died but had no idea how...until some snotty damned kid spit it out on the radio. I was pissed. *seethes* And so any emotional reaction that I might have had to that scene was ruined, although I found the funeral to be quite sad, where he's scared because he doesn't know what to expect. I've been there...that was so spot-on that I'm wubbling again now, just thinking about it.

      Perhaps this is because I am not as serious a writer, or I haven't written as much, or something.

      Thinking more on it, I don't know that it's writing so much as analyzing writing. I beta/edit an average of two stories per week. I've been doing beta/edit work since I was 19. So it's hard to read for enjoyment and not automatically switch to the mode where I'm analyzing the writer's style/devices/characters/etc.

      I can't wait for the ladies' short program

      Oooh...me too! Kimmie Meissner, the 15-year-old American, goes to school ten minutes from where I grew up, so she's kind of a hometown hero. I'm cheering for her. :)

      *grins* We of this ignorant class develop a finely-tuned hearing filter, which allows only the music and sounds of skates on ice in, and blocks out those pesky commentators.

      Lol! I wish that I could do this. I guess I've been on the other side of the audience enough times to not want my hard work being trashed in a public forum by some has-been. (*can't believe she just called Dick Button a has-been...but moving on*) It seems rather rude to me, and I've yet to see another sport where they're so unsupportive and openly critical.

      *mutters* Race is an entirely cultural construct, which shouldn't matter, but it does, and causes all these problems and confusions...

      I was really quite shocked at the question...by the fact that it was asked, even though it was more or less rhetorical (because how am I to know how Timbucktu is regarded in the AA community?), implying that there was something bothersome about eating in a place where most of the patrons are African American.

      Judging on race is stupid. How can an aspect of physical appearance determine a person's competence/character/whatever? That's like honestly believing that I'm stupid because I'm blond. Or that I'm mean-spirited because I have blue eyes. It's ridiculous.
    • (no subject) - isil_elensar - Expand
  • The more movies I watch, the fewer I remember fondly days after seeing them. I am becoming very picky about my movies, I know that much. It is no longer enough to simply be entertained.

    *waves to you* Film student here. I cannot watch movies for fun anymore. Everytime I leave the theatre and my friends are like "Now that was a good movie!" I start picking it apart like "Eh well, the cutting wasn't quite awe-inspiring, the plot felt too constructed and the end was totally anti-climatic." Yes, that's me. But the more I like it when I am able to find a movie that manages to excite me. And yes, contrary to popular opinions, those exist. :-)
    • I'm glad to know that I'm not alone. :)

      I can't comment on the technical aspects of a film--like cutting--but I tend to be super critical about aspects related to the story. Especially characters. I tend to tear apart most movie characters for being too flat, shallow, uncomplicated, etc. It drives me nuts.
  • In your job you really must be happy for everything to work properly for you. Otherwise the stress will eat away at your body and your soul. Now about movies and books - OMG, yes! There is no way I can watch a run-of-the-mill movie ever again! I tend to look in the used-DVD store for some very unusual stuff. And most of the movies I like tend to be about WRITERS! LOL! So some of my recent favorite discoveries have been "Adaptation"(Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper), "A Life Less Ordinary"(Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz) and "Bad Education"(Gael Garcia Bernal). And I think I mentioned to you that I just saw "Match Point" (Jonathan Rhys-Myers, Emily Mortimer, Scarlett Johansen). Gods, what a great pot-boiler of a film! I LOVED it!!! I also picked up "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" which has a very 'cute' Hugo Weaving as a drag queen entertainer! What a funny, funny movie!

    As for books, the only ones that stimulate me nowadays are really off-beat stuff like "Oryx and Crake" (thanks for that rec), and non-fiction stuff like the books I've been perusing on the Celts, Druids and Romans.

    BTW, how am I doing on the RPG? I'm right into it, but I'm trying to play my character like one who doesn't really know what's going on!
    • I saw Adaptation and also liked it a lot. I've heard of--but never seen--the others, except for Priscilla, which I've never even heard of, but Elrond in drag?? I might have to check that out! :^D

      I'm with you on the books. (And I'm so glad that you like Oryx and Crake! That's one of my favorites.) I've been reading mostly Joyce Carol Oates lately because I'm too lazy to find a new author and I like her stuff. Her style is dark and intriguing, and it's so easy to become thoroughly immersed in her stories. I'm reading Angel of Light right now and perusing a book of fantasy short stories.

      And you're doing great in the RPG! I'm having great fun talking to an NPC that isn't played by me! I'm really interested to see where this whole deal with the parcel is going, although I have my suspicions.... ;)
  • Then today, my dad calls me and asks me the weirdest question: Has Timbucktu changed to a "black" restaurant?

    So I asked him what he meant, and he clarified that there were only five other "white" parties in the dining room beside us.


    I will (perhaps ashamedly) admit that I noticed the "black Timbuktu" on Saturday night, simply because it was New To Me (tm). But I wouldn't say it bothered me (did dad say that?), and I certainly didn't count and go, "oh look, 12 n*ggers over there, 3 ch*nks, 2 sp*cs, and a partridge in a pear tree" like apparently father dearest did to arrive at his "5 white parties" statistic.

    Then again, I can't really see why he'd bring it up, because there was nothing else different about the whole experience. It's not as if the restaurant went down the toilet with trashy black (or white!) people... it was the same quality as before. So I can't say I looked up from my noodles long enough to say, "omg, look at teh blackness." Interesting though.

    Is it racist to simply notice such things though? Some would say yes. :-/
    • But I wouldn't say it bothered me (did dad say that?)

      No...but the way I look at it is why ask such a question, knowing that (obviously) I could not possibly possess an answer? It was more or less a rhetorical question, which eliminates (to me) actually gaining some knowledge from asking it. (Like if he'd asked: "Did Timbucktu change owners?" I might have known the answer to that, and that seems a question that is asked for the purpose of gaining information.)

      But since there is no such thing as a "black restaurant" then there's no way for me to answer whether or not Timbucktu has "become" one...which leads me to then ask, "Why ask such a question?"

      To me, it says that he noticed and thought it worth bringing up multiple times. Now that's not something that you mention, imho, unless you're bothered by it. I'm interested to see the reaction I get the next time I suggest that we go there.

      Is it racist to simply notice such things though? Some would say yes. :-/

      I wouldn't say no. If you walked into a room and everyone was wearing purple but you, you'd notice. When I (stupidly! *facepalm*) wanted to see The Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Bobby took me, there were four men in the room...but he wasn't sexist for noticing that he was an obvious minority.
  • Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population?

    Oh yes. I don't know if I'd friended you yet when I wrote that LJ entry bashing Eragon, but I can't help but wonder often if I might have actually liked it better if I'd never been a creative writing major. I used to like a lot of stories a lot more before I learned all these critical reading and writing skills. :\
    • No, I missed the Eragon-bashing entry. ;)

      But I think it's natural, in a way, what you say. It kind of ties in with my complaint about the skating commentators being so damned picky. To the average viewer, who doesn't know the difference between a flip and lutz jump, or the casual artistic skater like me (who has managed a single lutz once in her life--yay me!--and hates flip jumps with a burning passion), it seems enough to land a three-revolution jump backwards on one foot...but to someone who's trained and studied the nuances of the sport, issues like how long a skater holds an edge become noticeable and important.

      I suppose it's much the same for writers. The casual reader goes into a story wanting to be entertained, not really caring about the technical nuances...but one who has studied those things tends to notice, and it affects how that person judges the story.

      For me, having edited/beta'ed/workshopped more stories than I care to remember, it's hard to turn off the critic and just sit back and enjoy the story.
  • I can usually put myself in a mindset where I am ignoring the glitches of a story, perhaps fixing them in my mind. I just go into it with low expectations, I guess. Aim small, miss small, right?
    It's hard to say, I haven't had much time for pleasure reading lately, except for some fanfic. Textbooks anyone? Granted, one of my books for my honors seminar, Prep, is pretty good so far. It doesn't seem like it'll shape up to be something mindblowingly spectacular, but at least its not Ten Theories of Human Nature.

    But I, like Allie, don't write all that much...

    I wish I got to watch skating!!! *whine* I only watched pairs on the first night (?). I mostly remember the Chinese guy who tore his achilles tendon landing a triple toe loop (I think it was) but the girl falling.

    Yeah, the commentators suck. During the opening ceremonies, we would jokingly add our own commentary...only to have the "real" commentators say that exact thing moments later!!!

    Re: Timbucktu
    O.o
    That is all.
  • Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population?

    Yes - I am far more aware of grammar and continuity errors than I used to be! My sister lent me a book last weekend (she has been saying how wonderful it is for months), and the main thing I noticed was that the author was apparently unable to make up her mind whether to write in the past or present tense.

    I've been really enjoying the Olympic skating that's always on TV. I haven't missed an event except for the compulsory dance, which is rather...erm...boring.

    I even watched that! The only Olympic event I refuse to watch is the curling - the rest of the time I am absolutely glued to the TV.
    • the main thing I noticed was that the author was apparently unable to make up her mind whether to write in the past or present tense.

      o.O That's a pretty profound error...enough for me to blame the copyeditor and the author.

      I even watched that! The only Olympic event I refuse to watch is the curling - the rest of the time I am absolutely glued to the TV.

      Because we don't really have curling over here, I find it rather interesting. But I can see how it might become boring.

      Skating is the only event that I watch religiously, but I've seen bits of all of the other events too. I've found it's quite nice to have one eye on a book and the other on the Olympics.
  • Do any of you find this, that the more you try to improve as a writer, the less you are entertained by the stories--books and movies--treasured by the general population?

    Actually, no. :-) Writing, for me, is something entirely different than reading or watching movies for enjoyment. Uhh... I enjoy both lots, but I can separate them. For the life of me, I can't even decide if that made sense. LOL! Basically, I go to the movies to be entertained, and I am. I read books to be entertained, and I am. I write to be entertained, and I am, but I write for other's enjoyment as well and can only hope they like what they read. If that means only a rare few do, then I'll be happy with it. /ramble

    Is it really any wonder that I've gone back to reading romance novels more than fantasy?? (so sez the aspiring romance novelist - but hey! I've worked a bit of fantasy into my lastest story...)

    I wanna skate. No one here has time/wants to skate. Ice Skating, roller skating... I don't care. I just wanna skate... *pout*
  • Glad to hear that you've had a nice week-end.

    I watch lots of figure skating too. I used to be a major fan, a couple of years ago, when my favorite skater was at the top of his game. I'm talking about Alexei Yagudin. I also loved the French ice dancers who took the gold in 2002. (that guy always made me think of Prince Charming) You are right about the quality of the commentary. I'm not saying that former skaters should not be brought on to do the commentaries, but they get so technical and critical that it is rather boring. I can't tell the difference between the jumps, I only realize what the number of rotations is, but it doesn't matter, I can still enjoy a good program.

    Is it worth it, do you think, to satisfy innocent enjoyment for a hobby that might result in a few online "fans" for us but little more?

    Yes, it is. The same thing is happening to me. Right now, I only enjoy books that either shock the heck out of me, make my head spin because of the complicated plot and the numerous characters or make me laugh my ass of. I have not read any of the Harry Potter books and I'm not planning to, either, not because they are not good, but because I can't get into the "mood" of these books. And movies... oh, I have not seen a really good movie in ages. I find myself tearing movies apart and picking out the crappy setting, lines, cast... you name it. This is just one of the reasons why I'd rather watch sports, even if it's the most violent of K1 matches.

    But it is worth it, improving your writing and becoming more selective about books in the process. That's how I see it, anyway.

    In regards to the whole black restaurant thing, I can only second what you said: Pardon me but: What the fuck?? When I hear things like this, blatant discrimination of black people, gay people and so on, I just feel the urge to slap whoever says such things. Now, you can't slap your dad... ;p But I'd have no problem calling my mom/day narrow-minded if I heard them saying stuff like this. And I've told others to get the fuck out of my face because they are godamn stupid, for making racist remarks. *is nasty*


    • *huggles your icon* I remember finding those chibis back a long time ago! They are precious! *huggles your icon some more, spending some extra time with Maedhros*

      I can't tell the difference between the jumps, I only realize what the number of rotations is, but it doesn't matter, I can still enjoy a good program.

      I can usually tell the difference, although sometimes it's hard between those that are really similar, like a lutz and a flip, which are the same jump taken off from different edges. I suppose a lot of it, too, comes back to being a show skater versus a competitive skater. To me, if it's entertaining, then it's well done. Some of the more "powerhouse" programs don't really inspire me all that much...but those that are not technically perfect but very expressive are the ones that I like.

      But then, my skating teacher often tells us to "cheat" the proper way to do certain skills because they're never performed that way in shows. For example, a salchow has a really long, drawn-out prep...so we never do it, since we'd never do it in a show.

      I find myself tearing movies apart and picking out the crappy setting, lines, cast... you name it.

      Me too. Having seen so many--being a movie fan--I often get the feeling that I've seen it all before. I've even started compiling a list of things that are shown in the previews that mean that I will not want to see that movie.

      When I hear things like this, blatant discrimination of black people, gay people and so on, I just feel the urge to slap whoever says such things. Now, you can't slap your dad... ;p But I'd have no problem calling my mom/day narrow-minded if I heard them saying stuff like this.

      I know. I was frankly shocked. My dad's kinda old (63) and the age where he remembers a time when such discrimination was the norm, but he generally suppresses it very well. Most of his coworkers and his boss are black...it's not a place for a racist. But I was agog that he would feel something like that worthy of mentioning. Who cares??

      I know we share the same view on this. I have a family member who uses the N-word liberally. The N-word is one of the few words that has the power to make me cringe into a tiny little ball. I just know that I'm going to say something to this person one day and probably get myself disowned...but such is life I guess.
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