Irrelevant Troubadour


The Top 9 Worst Shipping Pormanteau Names

Shipping is a strange and woolly phenomenon.  I mean, I can understand why people do it and find it fun–it’s fun to speculate about romance, after all, and it’s much easier and less risky to do it with fictional characters than with real people.  Heck, I’ve even had brief fascinations with ‘ships in my time (not telling you which ones–people I know in real life read this thing and I gotta hide my powerlevel!)  Still, this doesn’t negate the fact that a lot shipping is extremely silly.  That, I imagine, is one of the big reasons behind its appeal.

One aspect I never will understand, however, are the portmanteau names.  You see them in mainstream gossip mags all the time–Brangelina, TomKat, etc. etc.–and they never stop being silly-sounding.  What’s even worse is when fans start to identify themselves via their ship names, leading to large groups of otherwise sane teenage girls referring to themselves as ‘Zuatarans’ or ‘Harmonians’ like they’re aliens from a 1950s B-movie.  With that, I present the top nine worst shipping portmanteaus.  Please note that in this list I’m not bashing the pairing in question (for most of these, I haven’t even seen/read the canon in question), just the name, so don’t worry, I’m not internet persecuting you.

9. Suzalulu (Suzaku/Lelouch, Code Geass)

god damn CLAMP people are skinny

Hot hot figurine yaoi used completely without permission from someone named milk_of_time's Livejournal

This one just sounds silly.  I think I had a mai tai at a tiki bar called ‘Suzalulu’ once.

8. Spuffy (Spike/Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

a-blah, a-blah!

I have no idea who made this but it's pretty silly looking.

I absolutely refuse to ever watch Buffy (watch me get hooked on it a few months from now and start writing vampire slashfic or something), but I’ve known enough enough fans of the show to know that shipping is serious business.  The shipping names, though, are not, as evinced by ‘Spuffy’.  And its rival ship, ‘Bangel’, doesn’t get off easily either.

7. Logurt (Wolverine/Nightcrawler, X-Men)

hey, they could've been listening to "car talk"
No idea where this is from.

Don’t you want some delicious Logurt?  It’s the cultured pairing!  Hee.  I slay myself.

6. Gwack (Gwen/Jack, Torchwood)

one classy waterfoul

Google Image Search is my friend.

Gwack gwack gwack!

5. USUK (America/United Kingdom, Axis Powers Hetalia)

checks and balances motherfucker
Have a diagram of the US and UK govermental structures from Wikipedia.

I’m sorry, I really am.  I just can’t help but read it as “u suk”.  And names for slash ships should generally be a bit more eloquent than YouTube comments.

4. KatPee (Katniss/Peeta, The Hunger Games)

he is hiding something

I got this image from someplace called "sillycats.net". I won't be surprised if they've conquered the entire internet within a year.

Eew.  Now I have even less of a reason to ever read these books.

3. Kum (Kurt/Sam, Glee)

i really can't imagine someone wearing this in public, even though zazzle says it's "rated G"

You can actually purchase these shirts from Zazzle, though I have no idea why you'd want to.

Kum.  Kum.  Kum. There’s no way to say it that sounds good.  In fact, Glee in general is really bad with it’s shipping names: it’s also given us “Furt” (Finn/Kurt, sounds like an armpit farting noise) and “Puckleberry” (Puck/Rachel, sounds like something old people have to eat).

2. Rwanda (Ralphie/Wanda, The Magic Schoolbus)

not even gonna make any jokes

Image courtesy of the US State Department

I don’t know which is worse, that there are Magic Schoolbus shippers out there, or that they decided to name their shop after one of the most war-ravaged countries on the planet.  Like, I feel bad making jokes here.  Let’s go on to the next one.

1. Chair (Chuck/Blair, Gossip Girl)

really, it's just a chair

A chair. Just a chair. That's all it is. A chair.

So you ship Chair?  Because I ship End Table!  I hate those people who ship Sofa, though; that pairing is so OOC.

There are plenty of pairings out there that take names from real-life objects and phenomena, but I’m singling this one out because it just seems so silly to go on the internet and say “Chair forever!” or “I hate Chair!” or “I wish more people wrote about Chair!”.  It’s just…Chair.  I don’t know what else to say.

—-

Well, I hope you learned something about the magic of shipping.  I know I certainly didn’t.  But wasn’t it fun not learning anything?

And before you ask, me and my girlfriend’s portmanteau couple name is “Weaselboner”, so in a way making this list was cathartic.

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I’m Giving Up Blogging
February 22, 2011, 8:33 pm
Filed under: internet nonsense, live action tv, ridiculousness

I’ve just found the best website on the internet.  I’m never going to be able to top it, so why bother?

I present to you:

Fuck Yeah, Whose Line Fanart!

a steamy showertimeIt’s been real.



A Guide to Life (By 4chan)
December 27, 2010, 3:11 am
Filed under: internet nonsense, social sciences

So recently I came across this lovely image somewhere in the vast wasteland of the internet.  Here’s a preview (I’m not embedding the actual thing since it’s huge):

4chan, life coach

Charming, eh?  Basically, this is a guide to life made the folks at 4chan (which board, I’m not sure).  Now I’m not really one to buy into the whole “anonymous are legion and are slowly destroying society” hype–they’re angry adolescent nerds, just like all previous angry adolescent nerds throughout history.  Still, 4chan culture is still a very interesting window into the mindset of a certain subset of a generation, and so I thought it would be valuable to analyse what they think are the steps to a fulfilling life.  This image is set up like a step-by-step guide, so I’ll go through each step in order.

Step 1: get a real job.  Can’t really argue with this one.  Well, I suppose I could; the idea that one’s livelihood should be tied exclusively to how much work they do isn’t one I’m entirely sure I agree with, but that’s a topic for another day.  Also, this guide basically assumes that your average 4chan user isn’t going to be able to find a job that’s fulfilling to him (and before you take umbrage at my pronoun use, this guide was written completely with a male audience in mind.  4chan, remember.)  Then again, I suppose this thing is intended for people completely lacking in direction and ambition beyond “frag some faggots in Halo 3 and pirate some anime”, so it’s perhaps a valid assumption that they won’t have a career they’ll be passionate about.

Step 2: don’t waste all your money on anime merchandise.  Pretty good advice if you ask me.  Just ask Jennifer Diane Reitz.

Step 3: stop spending all your time on 4chan.  Also good advice, albeit somewhat ironic and hypocritical–after all, whatever self-appointed internet life coach made this thing obviously doesn’t have much else going on in his life beyond posting on imageboards and making giant MS Paint motivational posters.

Corollary to steps 1 to 3: you don’t have asperger’s/depression/social anxiety disorder, you’re just using them to avoid reality.  Surprisingly enough, I actually know where this one’s coming from.  It’s a troubling trend among residents of the internet to read wikipedia articles about various mental disorders and decide they have them.  This is especially true with Asperger’s, I’ve found–after all, if you have self-diagnosed Aspergers, not only do you get to be both a misunderstood genius and a victim, but you have an excuse for why you can’t talk to girls.  It’s a shame, though, because Asperger’s Disease and depression and anxiety disorders are very real, and people pretending to have them for attention cause a lot of undue prejudice to come the way of those who actually do have them.  But that isn’t really the point of this post, and besides, the phenomenon of the fake aspie is one that has been documented quite extensively other places on the internet.

Step 4: go where the girls are.  Basically, this one just says to find groups of people who share the same interests you do and eventually you’ll meet women there.  Pretty straightforward and unobjectionable.

Step 5: buy whichever girl that strikes your fancy a ridiculously ostentatious gift!  This is really where things start to get hairy.  Basically the guide is telling its reader to buy the affections of the female of his choice.  Now, it says in the fine print that you, in fact, shouldn’t treat this as a trade for the woman’s love, but come on, that’s what it is.  Step 6, a flow chart, reinforces this: it’s basically a straight line from “giving her stuff” to “she goes out with you”, with the only detours being seemingly arbitrary lacks in affection.  The most damning thing here is that no other factor in your relationship is mentioned besides these gifts.  The strategy is pretty simply “buy her stuff, and if she doesn’t like the stuff you buy her find someone else.”  Whoever made this guide regards courtship in a very stone age manner–the females go to the one who brings back the biggest gazelle carcass to the cave, personality and wit irrelevant.  But we’re getting ahead of ourselves with the caveman analogies; that’s not ’til Step 8.

I will say though that the picture of the stick figure dude giving the stick figure lady a two-ton box of Pocky is pretty cute.

Step 7: prepare for the suck.  As cynical as this is, I kind of agree with the gist of it: people tend to regard the beginning of a relationship as the “happily ever after” moment without taking into account the toil it takes to keep a relationship alive and the hardships that invariably happen to couples.  Lord knows I do this.  It’s a simple fact that once you begin seriously seeing someone, not only does life start throwing innumerably curveballs at the two of you, but you begin to notice all the flaws in your loved one that you ignored while in the flush of your infatuation.  In typical 4chan fashion, however, this guide presents a little list of the flaws you could discover in your new significant other, and puts “pimples” on the same tier as “ovarian cancer”.  That kind of hyperbole, though, is pretty much par for the course in internet discourse, so it can be ignored at least to some degree.

This all ties into the second part of this step, which can basically just be presented free of modification here: “Human beings are programmed to notice the imperfections of others more than the imperfections of themselves.”  This I completely agree with.  It’s especially true in the strange hall of mirrors that is 4chan: you have your little board (be it /tg/ or /co/ or /x/ or /d/ or god help you /b/), and while you may argue with others on the board, they’re anonymous just like you, so you never manage to form a permanent negative opinion of anyone else.  You eventually begin to identify with the board as yourself , which makes a good deal of sense, because after all, everyone who posts there is Anonymous, who is you.  The rest of the online world, then, is all the people around you, and you regard them with mockery and derision, mixed with a smidgen of genuine hatred–feelings you can’t feel about your own group (and thus by extension your own self) due its members’ lack of identity.  In short, it’s a lack of self-knowledge.  This problem happens on a micro level as well, to one person, both online and in other social interactions.  You can’t find flaws in yourself unless you examine yourself, and you can’t examine yourself unless you know who you are, which precious few people do.

What does this have to do with picking up chicks?  Well, women won’t go for the oblivious asshole, obviously.  How, then, does this guide tell you how to stop being an oblivious asshole?

Well, it’s in Step 8: pretend to be what you want to be.  The first part of this I’m good with: if you habitually make it a point to act like a good person without actually being one, you will eventually become one.  This is, from my experience, pretty much true.  It’s the damnedest thing.  It’s also quite refreshing that this guide, rather than dumping a bunch of PUA bullshit on the reader, tells him that best way to get women is by being a good person (the love-bribes of step 6 notwithstanding).

It’s in the second part of this step that things, once again, get hairy.  The average channer is understandably a bit leery of the prospect of being a good person, so the guide gives an argument from evolutionary salience (always my fave!  i’ll do a post on why i don’t like them sometime later maybe).  Basically, in the Cro-Magnon days, you had two types of adult males, your alphas and your omegas.  Your alphas were the ones who protected the tribe, help the positions of power in the tribe’s conventional structure, and as such got all of the women, while the omegas couldn’t function in the status quo structure of the tribe and so were outcasts.  This guide is positioning itself as a guide for omegas who wish to become alphas.

But let’s take a look back before the Cro-Magnons to their predecessors, the Neanderthals.  Now, my evolutionary anthropology is rusty, but if I recall correctly the Cro-Magnons arose as genetic mutants among the Neanderthals.  They had higher foreheads, thinner noses, and better cognitive functions.  And they were universally outcast.  The power structure of the Neanderthals in most cases socially and physically ostracized the new Cro-Magnons; they were, in short, omegas.  Yet these cro-magnons managed to breed, either with each other or with some Neanderthals they managed to convince.  And pretty soon they had a pretty good population going, one that was strong enough to drive the Neanderthals to extinction.  See what I’m getting at?  It’s like Temple Grandin said: “I can tell you the one who made the first stone sphere wasn’t one of the yakkety-yaks ’round the campfire.”  The alphas may control the social order, yes, but social change and upheaval comes entirely from the omegas.

And this, I suppose, is what really bothers me about this guide.  It tells you how to succeed, yes, and there’s actually some good advice in it, but ultimately it’s telling you how to succeed completely on everyday society’s terms.  According to Howe and Strauss’s theory of generations, different generations are characterized by different reactions to the doings of their peer group.  A reactive generation, for example, tends to be cynical, nihilistic, and disaffected, while a civic generation tends to be comprised of, for lack of a better term, little boy scouts.  If you need definite proof that our current generation is a civic one, just take a look at this image: the message, when you get right down to it, is, “hey kid, get a job.”  We expect our pipe-smoking, tie-wearing father figures to say things like this, but our ironically-attired, mop-headed kids?  That’s unexpected.  And it’s also a bit troubling.  It’s all to easy for a civic generation to fall into what the surrealists (a bunch of dirty reactives) called “miserablism”, and to begin living what Henry David Thoreau (a bit of a reactive, and certainly quite dirty) called “lives of quiet desperation”.  After all, getting a wife and a job and a baby and a mortgage may be better than sitting in your parents’ basement looking at Lucky Star hentai, but is it really the best you can do?

At the beginning of this post, I wrote that step 1 (get a job, faggot) wasn’t all that objectionable.  And that’s still pretty much true.  But the guide tells its reader to get a job at tech support, and then pretty much drops the issue.  To which I say: yes, get a job at tech support, but also take night classes in psychology, or also start writing your novel, or also get involved in an organized crime syndicate, or do all three of these at once, or at least do something other than just go to work.  If you have to quit posting on 4chan and forego buying two-ton crates of Japanese snack foods for girls for a while, then so be it.  There’s more to making yourself a better person than just making yourself into an alpha male.

And seriously, stop looking at all that Lucky Star hentai.  That stuff’s disgusting.



Google Zeitgeist 2010
December 10, 2010, 5:05 pm
Filed under: internet nonsense, politics and current events, social sciences

Courtesy Link.

So I open up Google today and I see, right below the search bar, a little sentence about Google’s annual zeitgeist, their ranking of the top search terms in various categories.  “Ooh!” I think to myself.  “I bet I can make a really interesting blog post based on this!”  Then I read the zeitgeist, and my face falls.

It’s not that there’s anything all that troubling on this zeitgeist, it’s just that there’s nothing all that interesting.  Lots of people searched “world cup” and “haiti earthquake” and “justin bieber”.  These are all things I would completely expect to be the subject of many searches.  There really just aren’t all that many surprises to be found here.

The one thing that did jump out at me in this year’s zeitgeist was how many people were searching for really bizarre nonsense words.  What, exactly, is a “friv” or a “myxer”?  I can kind of guess about “gamezer”, but I have absolutely no idea about “pdanet” (is that a typo?).  And my mind absolutely refuses to contemplate what exactly an “otterbox” could be.  Oh, I can guess that these things are either online services (read: scams) or consumer electronics (read: worthless boxes of wires), but whatever happened to having descriptive names that don’t sound like species of alien fungus?  Actually, thinking back, it’s be kinda cool if “otterbox” was a descriptive name.  But still, as much as I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, is it really so much to ask for names of things to make at least some sense?  But I suppose that’s 2010 for you: earthquakes, soccer, Bieber, and friv.



All Your Evolutionary Theory Are Belong To Us
December 2, 2010, 4:04 am
Filed under: internet nonsense, ridiculousness, social sciences

I wonder if Richard Dawkins knew when he came up with his theory of memetics that in 30 short years the term “meme” would come to apply almost exclusively to humorous cat pictures.

Dawkins

"I went on /b/ one time and it reaffirmed my lack of belief in a just god."



Casey Lalonde, “Thank You”
December 1, 2010, 9:58 pm
Filed under: comics (web), internet nonsense, music

Something very strange is going on at MS Paint Adventures today.  Oh, the comic is normal (as normal as Homestuck can ever be), but the ads are very mysterious.  How so, you may ask?  Well, I suppose I’ll have to stop beating around the bush and tell you.

This is the music of Casey Lalonde. It’s pretty good ambient/indietronica stuff, though that’s not the sort of music I listen to all that often.  Plus the album art is pretty cool, and is apparently done by Lalonde himself.  Why do I bring this up?  Well I found out about Mr. Lalonde because he is currently advertising his album on mspaintadventures.com.  Not only that, he’s paying a ridiculous amount of money for the privilege to do so–if you live in the US and click one of his ads, you make Andrew Hussie $242.40.  None of this would be impressive, however, were it not for the fact that Casey Lalonde happens to share a name with two Homestuck characters.  There’s Rose Lalonde, one of the strip’s protagonists, and Casey, a young salamander who follows Rose around and sort of serves as her familiar.  This can’t be a coincidence.  No, something is afoot!

(or maybe some random friend of casey lalonde’s told him that he shared a name with some webcomic characters and he decided to buy an ad on the site for the lulz.  that could also be a possibility.)



Laurel Hill Follow-Up: “HaHaHaHa!!! That was unexpected! =D”
November 25, 2010, 11:58 pm
Filed under: internet nonsense, ridiculousness

This really speaks for itself.