Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mad Woman

I call back about the job, after waiting a day. I get voice mail and leave a message. I wonder if we're going to enter a passive-aggressive battle over this.

I look through what is available on Netflix. The Canadian selection is really terrible, because we have different copyright laws than the US, and the content providers are afraid to let Netflix licence their shows in Canada. Most of the "movies I'd like to see" list is not available, and it suggests some laughable substitutes when I search for them. It does turn up some suggestions I like, but they are movies I already own. I start watching the TV series Mad Men, because I've heard some good things about it.

It's a meticulously crafted period piece about the 1960s, and not the Vietnam War or the flower children, but the buttoned down conservatives of the era, at an ad agency. They have a lot of fun with establishing identifiable, fairly timeless situations and then smashing the viewer upside the head with anachronisms we weren't expecting, like when they get up from a picnic and just leave all their trash behind. I keep wondering whether it's a clever social commentary or just an an excuse to produce misogynist, racist television, glorifying old fashioned attitudes. Its redeeming feature is perhaps that it will remind some people that the good old days never really were, and by removing the role of advertising to another era, perhaps show people how easy it is to be manipulated.

But the weird thing about psychological manipulation is that it often works even when you're aware it's happening. Just watching this darn show makes me want to mix an old-fashioned martini. If I watch another season I may get the urge to vacuum in pearls and high heels and bake a meatloaf for some man. If you watch people doing something, even if it's only fiction, even if you don't approve, it makes it more likely that you'll accept that behaviour as normal. That's why the conservative right objects to gay couples being treated unblinkingly as normal human beings on television, why my wacky relative (please tell me everyone has one) believes that shows about friendly space aliens are Hollywood grooming us for when the aliens come to help us, and why some parents don't let their kids play violent video games. Or maybe those parents just want their kids to stop playing video games and help make dinner.

Those of you who read comments will remember the calorie counter discussion from a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to tell the non-comment-reading people about this too. If you like to keep an eye on weight, fitness and nutrition all in one little app, I recommend myfitnesspal. You don't even need an iPhone/iPad Touch to use it, because it has a web interface too. You may not be into counting calories, or eat weird stuff that is never in calorie look up tables, but this app has almost everything I've eaten in a month, and allows me to specify the ingredients in a recipe or just tell it the caloric value, if I know. It lets you log exercise, and automatically adjusts your remaining calories for the day. It didn't have "plumbing" as an exercise, but it had automobile maintenance, which was about the same level of physical activity. Its strength is that it is completely effortless to use. You just have to resist the temptation to round out your caloric allocation for the day with a few tablespoons of chocolate chips. They're high in iron, I justify.

The water still comes out of my tap really straight, and that potential employer doesn't return my call. Plus it's apparently open season on B737s in North Carolina. Would you have found it on your preflight walkaround? If they hadn't found the bullet on board I might have believed it had been there a while. The airplane would probably have pressurized without a problem. The Screaming Whippet groundschool instructor described an incident where he did a flight, warm and happy up in the flight levels, only to discover after landing at destination that an entire window had blown out right after take-off. It had accidentally been left unsecured after routine maintenance.


Wayne Conrad said...

When we went to the park in the 60's, we cleaned up our trash. So did others. Now and then you'd see something left behind, but you see that now, too.

I don't know what attitudes were towards women in business in the 60's, but by the 70's when I got my Fortune-500 job, there wasn't a trace of the attitudes shown on that show.

I'm pretty sure it's Hollywood. As in, there may be many individual elements that are true, but the gestalt is not.

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I'd pick up Jon Hamm but not his trash...LOL.
And I do make meatloaf for a man, several in fact because they love my meatloaf and if they didn't they'd starve.... it's good to be the Mom!
But I draw the line at vacuuming in heels and pearls. Jeans and tennies for me. Necklaces make me feel like I am being strangled.

Brandon said...

"I may get the urge to vacuum in pearls and high heels and bake a meatloaf for some man."

You crack me up.

Good luck on the job hunt.

majroj said...

My cousin had a ride on the Goodyear Blimp in Los Angeles (well, based in Carson, CA actually)in the early Seventies. The pilot told him they were ordered to circumnavigate south-central L.A. due to the frequency of small-caliber gondola impacts over there, and the correspondent holes the gas envelope.