In which I make a painful admission

Taylor Swift’s new song isn’t completely terrible.

Although I admit I’m not sure I have the courage to watch the video:

It’s not that I have a blanket dislike of bubblegum pop, mind you.  My affection for Avril Lavigne has been confessed enough times that it hardly even feels like a confession anymore.  But Taylor Swift?  God.  Taylor is the worst, and her single before this one was like the ur-Taylor Swift song.  Shake it Off is literally everything about Taylor Swift that sucks concentrated into four minutes, and I hate it so much that I have to turn off the radio when it comes on.

This one, on the other hand?  I knew I was in trouble the first time I heard it, when this line floated through my ears:

Oh my god
Look at that face
You look like
My next mistake

And I thought “Heh, that’s kind of clever,” and only a minute or two later realized that I’d thought something complimentary about a Taylor Swift song.  It’s amazing to me that these two tracks are on the same album; one of my biggest gripes about Swift is that she seems unable to write about anything other than herself and how everyone’s always picking on her/doing her wrong/mean/insufficiently worshipful, and Blank Space actually betrays a sense of humor about herself, which to my knowledge she’s never done before.

I’m not about to buy the album or anything.  But yeah, this one?  Not bad.

Thanks, no.

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Monday miscellany

A whole lot of stuff today, most of which isn’t worth its own post and I don’t want to have 300 posts today anyway, so you get a bunch of bullet points.  Enjoy some commentary and a bit of open self-promotion:

  • The entire northern part of the state is on a travel warning again and school has already been called off for Tuesday.  Both my wife and my son are home; we’d have had to pick him up from day care (they closed at noon because of the travel ban) and I had to clear the driveway before getting anywhere was even possible.  I figure Wednesday is downgraded to “doubtful” at this point from “I’m sure we’ll be back” earlier today.
  • Despite the headline of the previous post, I’m actually not upset about the weather, nor am I angry with the various people posting “Awesome out here in California!” or “Hey, it’s 65 degrees here in Florida!” people.  I prefer cold weather to hot under all circumstances, period.  I admit if I still lived in Chicago, where there’s nowhere to put the damn snow, I’d be miserable, but clearing the driveway every once in a while isn’t actually that big of a hardship– I’d rather plow the driveway than mow the damn lawn any day of the week.  That said, I’m growing ill about the lost time before the ISTEP test.  I really am going to be writing a letter to the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent to advocate for pushing back the test at least a week.  It’ll be interesting to see how contractually bound we are to the dates we’re scheduled to.  Pearson doesn’t give a damn about the contract, mind you, but I suspect our state officials will.
  • The Internet is for porn; everyone knows that.  I finally figured out what Twitter is for last night; Twitter is for snark.  Watching the Grammys, for example, isn’t terribly exciting (exceptions in a moment).  Watching the Grammys and mocking it on the Internet along with half of the world is hilarious.  I know I talk about Saladin Ahmed a lot around here, but Christ the guy was on fire last night and it was hysterical.
  • What Twitter appears to be less good for: driving traffic to websites, at least as far as I can tell.  Nobody clicks on links in Twitter.  I’ve had blog links retweeted by celebrities three times– Cherie Priest RTed my “10 best books of 2013” post and both Lyrics Born and Lateef retweeted links to yesterday’s post about them (also: Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker and Cherie Priest read something on my blog, squeeeeeee) and it led to maybe four hits from Twitter yesterday and maybe six when Priest did it.
  • That said, I have 93 followers right now and I want 100 today.  Follow my twitter feed!  There’s a button right over there on the right!  I’m funny sometimes, I promise!
  • Also, I should hit 1,337 blog followers today, which makes my inner Internet nerd happy.
  • Speaking of naked self-promotion, note the “Short Fiction” page that’s been added to the header up there.  If you’re a newer reader there’s a couple of stories up there that you may not have seen.  I’ll be beefing this up in the future, especially if the summer writing grant goes through– I find out about that in less than a month.
  • Back to the Grammys:  I don’t usually watch them; the Grammys actually are what people say the Academy Awards are and usually they are best ignored.  I’m glad I caught last night’s show, though, if only because it was so amazingly, unashamedly weird.  Steven Tyler’s weirdly inappropriate affection made Smokey Robinson want to put on the Ring of Doom and bamf off the stage.  Cyndi Lauper was painfully, obviously, amazingly drunk.  Pharrell’s hat was just obvious and amazing.  The Macklemore/Queen Latifah/Madonna thing was weird and creepy and somehow both massively inappropriate and inspiring at the same time– like, Latifah’s gay, right?  Everyone knows that?  She’s got a long-term partner.  So you have the straight white guy, and it’s not like the Grammys repeatedly recognizing white rappers over more talented black rappers (coughKendrickLamarcough) isn’t already a problem, and he’s rapping about how being gay is great, then you pull out the mostly-closeted gay lady to marry a whole bunch of people, both straight and gay couples and a couple of notably interracial ones as well, and CBS does their damnedest to only focus on the straight couples while it’s happening, and meanwhile Madonna is there for some reason and she’s leaning on a cane and looks older than Betty White.
  • Somebody– can’t find it right now– said that Macklemore’s unique talent was managing to come off as a douchebag even when he’s being perfectly sincere and saying things you agree with.  That’s not far off from the truth, near as I can tell.
  • The Awkward Taylor Swift Dancing tumblr.  You’re welcome.
  • Good stuff, though:  The Pharrell/Daft Punk/Stevie Wonder/Nile Rodgers collaboration was awesome, but holy shit were they overshadowed by the Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar’s mashup of Radioactive and m.A.A.d city
    earlier in the show, a performance so outstanding that by rights it should have ended the entire ceremony on the spot.  Like, the Grammy people should have just sent everybody the fuck home and released the rest of the awards by email or something.  I wasn’t terribly familiar with Lamar before the show; I downloaded his (also Grammy-nominated, but it didn’t win, see above bit on Macklemore) album on the spot.  Sadly, I haven’t had time to listen to it yet; I’ll report back.  That shit blew me away.
  • Cutting to that poor little country girl right after the Lamar/Imagine Dragons performance was the cruelest decision of the evening and I can’t believe they did it.  They went from a showstopping performance straight to something that was deliberately staged to look like a show in a poorly-attended country bar, complete with lame Christmas lights sewn into clothes and fucking neon cacti, and meanwhile the audience was wiping sweat off their foreheads and going to the bathroom.  I may download her album too just out of pity, if she hasn’t retired from music out of sheer embarrassment by now.
  • My wife and I are both pretty digitally connected people, right?  So much so that we can’t really tell each other things that have happened anymore without beginning with the phrase “You’ve probably already heard this, but…”.  We had a particularly bad example of this this morning, one that may well be a sign that the two of us need to reevaluate our lives:  I cleared off the driveway and let her know that I was going to go take a shower, then as I was drying off afterward she knocked on the door to the bathroom and said “Hey, you probably already know this, but school’s cancelled tomorrow.”  Because apparently it is reasonable to my wife that I’m on my phone checking Facebook and Twitter while I’m showering, or that perhaps I check my phone before drying off.  Which entertains the crap out of me.
  • No, shut up, I didn’t know yet.

That’s enough for now.  I’m bound and determined to get The Benevolence Archives 5 done today, so you might see another post from that this evening sometime.