Let's Chortle With Orto

Mike Norton was kind enough to hang a long and thoughtful comment on my last post. I sat down to respond to it in the comment thread, and then realized that if I did it anything like justice, it would just as well go as its own separate entry here, and who knows, maybe a few other people who read this thing might find points of entry and join in. That’s how it used to work in the Amateur Press Alliance I was briefly a member of, anyway, so let’s see if it might work that way here.

Mike’s commentary will be in italics, mine will be immediately underneath it, in plain text. If others chime in in the comment threads, the formatting could get really interesting.

Work is something I still don't want to talk about, so I'm with you on that.

As I’ve mentioned on previous blogs, nearly everything that moves us one way or another in terms of the stimuli we receive from exterior sources boils down to a question of attention, desirable and otherwise. A good day is one where we receive more desirable attention than we are accustomed to (or, in cases where certain segments of our lives truly suck, where we receive a welcome lessening of the amount of negative attention we normally get in our daily round), a bad day is one where we either don’t get as much desirable attention as we have come to expect, or where we get considerably more undesirable attention than we’re used to.

I no longer use the words ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ to describe this sort of attention, however, because they’re inaccurate and clumsy. Positive attention from someone we find appalling and wish would just go bother someone else is as annoying as negative attention (or no attention at all) from someone we want to like us. (Negative attention, on the other hand, is rarely welcome, even from sources we already dislike. It’s a sad fact of life that some, even much, positive attention can be undesirable, while the converse simply isn’t true for negative attention.)

Anyway, moving on beyond all that pedantic shit, I’ve realized – well, actually, I realized it a long time ago, but it’s especially true in my current situation – that the reason customer service jobs, and call center jobs in particular, are so stressful and generally onerous is that they are all undesirable attention, all damn day long.

Nothing is more irritating or stressful than being forced to pay attention to something you find completely uninteresting or actively unpleasant, and I get four ten hour shifts of that a week – people calling me up, none of whom I’d willingly choose to speak with on any subject under most circumstances, and all they want to do is bitch at me about some problem that, seven times out of ten, is only a problem because they’re a moron, and the other three times, while it may be a valid problem they really didn’t cause through their own ignorance or incompetence, and honestly can’t resolve themselves, I still can’t make myself give a shit out it or them.

It would be different if I thought that the product I service was essential or useful, and the people who use it were truly needy. But, basically, the accounts I provide service for are a tax dodge, and the people using them would get along just as well without them (as many of them inform me at least once during any conversation I have with them).

So, all goddam day long, I’m trying to write a blog post or read something on an interesting website or eat something out of the lunch SuperFiancee packed for me or drink a Pepsi or, you know, do something else involving paying attention to something I want to pay attention to, and ‘beep-beep!’, here’s another worthless miserable whiney piece of shit cocksucker in my goddam ear bitching at me because they didn’t fill out some paperwork correctly or they forgot to get it in by the deadline or they got something in the mail which they understand perfectly well but they just don’t want to DO what it tells them to do because they find it annoying and they want me to tell them it’s okay, they can just throw it away, but I can’t, because they can’t – and I don’t GIVE A SHIT. I JUST WANT THEM TO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY.

And that’s how every one of us doing my job feels, but we can’t ever allow that to show when we’re talking to these no good dumbass motherfuckers, or we’ll get bitched at by our supervisors and maybe fired. So it’s just ‘beep-beep!’ followed by “I got something in the mail from you guys today and I can’t understand how you can need any more paperwork on these charges” or “I just got online and saw that there’s an ineligible code on my last claim I really don’t understand” or “I don’t understand why I can’t use the card to pay for snow tires after all this is MY money” and, honest to god, it’s enough to make you understand these people who bring a gun to the office one day and start firing indiscriminately.

That’s what happens, when every day, all day long, you’re constantly barraged with undesirable attention that demands you pay attention back to it.

We'll see what happens this upcoming Saturday as far as the local clix plans are going.

I set up a West Coast Avengers (Vet FF Hawkeye, Vet Tigra, Experienced War Machine, Experienced Mockingbird, Vet Wonder Man) vs a mostly Stern Avengers squad (Vet Captain Marvel/Photon, Vet Black Knight, Vet Hercules, Vet Sub-Mariner, Unique Wasp, and an Experienced Falcon, just for kicks) game downstairs last Friday, but I haven’t even done the opening moves on it yet. I thought I might today, but I slept in this morning instead so it seems unlikely.

Deadwood's been gnawing these past two episodes, I agree, though this most recent one had more oomph to it than the previous week. We got to see Al back in action this time, at least.

Knowing there's only two more episodes left is what is likely getting to all of us. There's too much future for these characters for that to take care of, even with two movies to follow next year.

That’s a good point, and having said that, let me voice an agreement with SuperFiancee that’s been growing in me over the past several weeks – these new subplots regarding the traveling acting troupe are an unconscionable waste of time and screenspace that could be much better spent on other, previously established characters we have more interest in.

I can certainly understand wanting to find a part for Brian Cox on an ensemble show if he’s available and willing; I think he’s a splendid actor and I enjoy watching him in any part he plays. But when I think that we’ve probably spent at least two full episodes worth of time on these fuckers that could have been used nearly anywhere else to better effect, it makes me crazy. DEADWOOD has way too many good characters in it already, and far, far too many of those have been given short shrift this season, for me to embrace an entire posse of new folks who don’t appear to be doing anything at all to advance the main plot.

My interest in and energy for blogging -- writing or commenting -- is at an ebb, too. I look around and read but generally can't bother myself to write much if anything in response. What comes to mind is broken and banal and not worth typing.

I’ve been disappointed in a great deal of what I’ve posted lately, too, but it’s always been that way, since back in the Doc Nebula’s Eastern Oregon Dum Dum Depression Blog days. At least I can comfort myself with the fact that however bad my material may be lately, few are reading it, and fewer still troubling themselves to respond in any way. Although I haven’t checked out Portal of Evil in years; maybe they’re still yukking it up over there every time I come up out with something new.

I've been following SUPREME POWER by the trade, too, but I believe I'm one unread trade behind.

A thought that struck me recently was to wonder what numerical designation the SUPREME POWER universe has. Which led me to immediately wonder if they’ve assigned such a designation to the Ultimates Universe, which led to several thoughts at once –

* * * God, I hope not; then someone would want to do a crossover and I’d have to find them and kill them first

* * * Say, SUPREME POWER is probably the story of the Squadron Supreme in the Ultimates Universe

* * * Hey, it’s kind of weird to talk about an alternate dimensional version of an alternate dimensional team in, you know, a dimension that is already an alternative to the mainstream continuity – just how many layers are there? But then, when I think of it that far, I realize that, in fact, the Marvel mainstream is just one universe, the Ultimates is just another, and the SUPREME POWER universe would simply be another, separate one… and that doesn’t seem right; somehow it seems like the mainstream Marvel Universe and its Squadron Supreme should be more closely associated than the Ultimates Universe and its attendant alternate universe concepts… and I don’t know. It’s making my head hurt. The Ultimates Universe shouldn’t be real, let’s put it that way, and neither should the SUPREME POWER Squadron Supreme.

As for Supernova, yeah, this is going to be a tough over two months for me, as they're likely not more than a couple weeks away from official announcements concerning the set, and photos and inside info have been leaking. As I've said several times, I expect that by the time the set hits I'll have heard most of who's in it, and that it'll really be the sculpts, dials and point costs for the figures I'll most effectively be able to keep hidden.

I know you’ve said that before, and I’ll say this – if I honestly felt I couldn’t keep news of what characters were going to be included in the set from myself, I’d never try to keep the dials a secret, unless I had faith they’d be well and accurately done. The last four sets have given me no cause to have such faith at all, so I’d want to be as prepared for the inevitable and shocking disappointment of looking at the new Vet Silver Surfer’s dial and finding out he has a starting attack value of 9, with a 3 damage value, and Psychic Blast, as I possibly could. (I’m just guessing on that last, but I’d take odds.)

Of course, knowing Seth, this will only be the starting attack value, and the Surfer will see his AV surge all the way to a godlike 10 for his second slot only, and perhaps it will get back up to 10, with no powers at all, on his final slot.

One wonders how all the weenies are going to respond to a rookie Thanos with an AV of 8…

People - with the best intentions, so I can hardly be angry - have brought me news of everything from Nova and Drax to Mantis and the Super Apes -- leading me to expect a Red Ghost, too. There's almost certainly more out there by now, but I'm not looking for it.

I’m sorry folks have leaked this stuff to you. I’ve been trying not to mention anything. I believe a few more than those you’ve mentioned have been confirmed, but I’m not going to say a word beyond that.

I really, really wish I had any hope at all that Mantis will have a decent dial.

Still, I'm dutifully avoiding Boneyard's lists and anything marked as Supernova spoilers. I really, truly want to be able to open boosters and be surprised.

Good luck with that. A recent character who is almost certainly going to be a Unique will almost certainly startle and delight you, if nobody advises you as to his/her/its presence before you find one in a booster.

I couldn't pick one of the Olsen twins out of a lineup unless someone made it really easy by making everyone else black, male, etc.

I pay more attention to this stuff than you do, I guess. I never watched Full House when it was on (although I’ve seen a great deal more of it than I want to now through Nick At Nite reruns, as SuperAdorable Kid loves the show), but I’d certainly seen enough of the Olsen Twins over the last decade or so, as they became more nubile, to understand that they were individually quite comely, and when you throw in that twin thing, which nearly all men seem to share as a common erotic fantasy, well, I can certainly understand the ‘Countdown to Legal’ that a lot of guys were closely following during the march to their 18th birthday.

As do all child stars, they seem to have had more than their share of personal issues, and in the real world, I wouldn’t crawl into a hammock with either of them without extensive blood testing first… but the real world isn’t where erotic fantasies take place.

Having said that, I sometimes just write for comedic effect, and have to admit, my erotic fantasies rarely center around celebrities, anyway.

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