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May 12, 2003

Haircuts and Our Weekend

In case you're wondering, yes, the shaved head look is a new one for me. Well, not entirely new -- when I was five I was sent to live with my aunt for about a year (my mother had had an operation which required a long convalescence) and my uncle Vern, who lived up to every rural stereotype attached to a name like "Vern," went and had my head buzzed because he thought I looked like a girl (which was probably true -- early pictures of me show me to look disturbingly like my own daughter). I believe they sent a school picture to my mother shortly thereafter and that she cried. I didn't mind; at least they didn't beat me up in school (well, not for looking like a hippie, in any case).

However, it's the first time in my adult life my hair's been this short, and the direct cause of it is frustration with the fact that the more hair you lose, the less the hair you have left wants to do anything. It's like it gets depressed, like an assembly line worker in a factory that's chronically laying people off. Oh, look, another fifty follicles shut down. I don't even see why I bother. Point is, it's difficult to make what's left look good, and I'm not one of those people who would choose to spend a great amount of time on it anyway. So off I went to the barber -- not the hair stylist. When you go to get your head shaved, you want a barber, damn it.

Who, incidentally, approved of my desire to crop my head close. She told me about the men who came in with less hair than me but with a greater sense of self-denial, demanding she do something with their heads that implied they were still carrying around the hirsute wealth of Fabio. This struck her as sad. You work with what you have, and don't make what you have work to be more than it is. Good salt of the earth wisdom that you can only get in small-town barbershops. And for only nine bucks, to boot. Most psychological counseling sessions are far more expensive, and don't include a trim as a throw-in.

I think the barber did a fine job with the haircut, but to be honest I don't know if the buzzed look is really me. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail after he saw the picture I put up on Friday, saying that it makes me look like a bad-ass. And I'd agree, but I can't decide if it's the "Sullen mysterious man that all the chicks crave" sort of bad-ass look, which would be good, or the "Straight outta the Aryan Brotherhood at San Quentin" sort of bad-ass look, which, needless to say, would be kind of bad. Today's picture is somewhere in the middle of this; I call it my "I'm the new bassist for Metallica, and the publicist told me to scowl like I was unhappy about it" look. Incidentally, I'm not the new bassist for Metallica.

My birthday was swell; I got birthday wishes from friends, had dinner with the in-laws, and then Krissy and I went off to see X2: X-Men United, which I thought was fine. I'm not a big Marvel Comics guy, to be entirely honest with you; it's like the AL of comic book publishers (DC is the NL, obviously), and as such all its characters feel about ten degrees skewed (and in case you're wondering, Marvel's DH is clearly The Hulk -- "Hulk Smash!" Yes, Hulk. That's what we want you to do). But as far Marvel comics movies go, X2 is probably the best one out there, and it's nice to see that Patrick Stewart still has a viable gig now that the Star Trek movies have imploded around him.

Mother's Day was likewise very nice and low-key; Krissy spent most of the day with her mother, with Athena in tow, while I stayed at home and banged out a chapter in the new novel. People have been asking me what the new novel is about, and I am of course fairly mysterious about it, except to note that it involves sheep. People think i'm joking about that. I'm not, people. The particular chapter I wrapped up also involves panda steaks, a cult that worships Ted Nugent, and a major diplomatic incident precipitated by a few pungent insults. I can't believe I get paid for this.

There's your weekend wrap-up around the Scalzi Household. I didn't mention the constant 25 mph winds that's been blowing more or less constantly since Saturday morning or the thunderstorms that have been swinging through on a regular 6-hour basis, because I assume most of you out there have been experiencing this over the weekend as well. Let us never speak of it again.

Posted by john at May 12, 2003 09:47 AM

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Comments

Bill | May 12, 2003 09:50 AM

Now, wait a second here. All right-thinking people know that the AL is the good league, and the NL is the evil league. Do I need to send a squad of designated hitters over there?

John Scalzi | May 12, 2003 10:18 AM

Maybe that's the case in the evil alternate universe you live in, Bill. But back here in what most of us like to call "reality," all virtue lies within the NL. Should you ever wish for someone to open a portal in the fabric of time and space so you can come back to the optimal universe, you just let me know.

_Jon | May 12, 2003 10:25 AM


Let's see - soo much to comment on.

First, the pictures - last one and today. You look ... angry ... . The photo (Is it a photo if it never gets printed on photo paper?) from the 10th is like an angry man trying to see _into_ the camera. The one eye slightly squinted, as if to ask - what is going _on_ in there? The shot from today is a) blurry, b) like a man caught off guard and not wanting to be bothered.

When I saw the pic from the 10th I was a bit taken aback. I expected the man behind Whatever and Indie Crit, et. al. to be *happy*. But that's not what I saw - and it was a bit of a shock. Sorry if that bugs you, but hey - I call 'em like I see 'em.

Now, on to the other delicious topics of today's post -

Oh, the hair thing. Well, as someone who is a bit older than you (1+ year) and has been losing his hair since I was 19, I can tell you that shorter is better. I recommend a bit more length on the sides, which will get you a less "aggressive" look. And by a bit, I mean about 1/2-inch. Have your barber let that grow and lay flat. It will create a transition from the short-straight-up hair and down your head. If you don't like it, you can have it re-buzzed too. And, I too go to the local small barber shop (where there is rarely women - not suprisingly with all the stylists around). Ironically, it is only $8 - you're gettin' ripped off by a monopoly down there. :)

I would have to say that the movie studios _love_ having a pre-existing character to make a movie off of. I'm glad they do. I think Spawn was my favorite so far (coming from comics to movie). Too bad Todd fell off the wagon or whatever happened to him.... Lots of open plot line there.

Oh didn't the Star Trek movies suck, eh? How sad. With enough money, I would pay to have them re-done in a way that was worth watching.

Ted Nugent lives up here. I guess he's not too popular on the radio interview circuit lately.

Oh, nice windy stormy weekend. Nothing brings the tarps off the neighbors cars-in-the-backyard better than strong winds. And the snow-mobiles, motor-bikes, and sometimes the wheel covers from the mobile homes. Yesterday was fun because a bunch of dogs got out and formed a pack. Large dogs - Rottweilers & PittBulls & Sheppards - Oh My! My dogs going nuts, every dogs still penned up in the hood is barking their fool head off. My 10' US Flag is *beating* itself madly on the awning, and the 60' disease-weakned Elm tree is leering over my house making reeeealy scary sounds. The occasional power flicker is nice and re-assuring. It's tough to get a good night's sleep with all that going on.

John Scalzi | May 12, 2003 10:32 AM

Re: The "angry" look -- yeah, it's definitely atypical, which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed posting them. I'm clearly a goofball, and the new haircut lends itself to non-goofball-like scowls. I took a quick series of photos documenting my new haircut -- some which included smiles, honest -- and Krissy noted that the best pictures were the ones without the smiles. Which is, quite honestly, a reverse from the usual thing.

Anyway, I really am more cheery than recent pictures suggest. Sullenness just isn't my thing. I think that's one of the reasons I'm amused by the photos.

Stephen A. Russell | May 12, 2003 10:47 AM

I too am a member of the Shaved Head Club for Men. You know, you can even save the $9 you are paying your barber. I got a set of clippers a few years back and haven't paid for a haircut since. The only hard part is getting the back straight if you do it yourself. Of course you have a wife which might come in handy. Maybe you can get her to do it for you and play it up as a bonding experience.

Guy Matthews | May 12, 2003 11:00 AM

*smirk* y'look like a london pub-goer now, ready to get totally smashed n act like an idiot jumping around in front of buses n such ;). Happy b-day btw, sorry didn't post sooner, I was off getting my new kitty, Frenzy :).

Tripp | May 12, 2003 12:23 PM

You'll get more chicks with the second photo.

But, I'm no chick, and you aren't getting any anyways, so wadda I know, and we can't tell.

Xmen2 was great! Action, back-story, body-paint, room for a sequel.

I bet for 8 bucks you didn't get a razor cut. I'm not sure what it does, exactly, but it adds more 'texture'.

I hope you have a nice week!

Sue | May 12, 2003 12:48 PM

When I am Queen of the World (and I will be), the DH will be banned from baseball. So will Astroturf and the Wave. And all announcers who say "we" when referring to a team will be summarily executed. Those attempting to wear comb-overs will be put in one of those stockade things the Puritans used, then have their heads shaved in public. Life with me as Queen of the World will definitely be interesting.

Is there something in particular about Marvel that makes them the AL of comics? Is there some sort of class system for superpowers that relegates the less interesting ones to Marvel while DC comics get the really good ones?

Maggie | May 12, 2003 01:24 PM

We're getting blown all over Hell's Half Acre up here in Toledo, too. WTF? I'm waiting for the tornado sirens, y'know?

I think you wear the shaved head well. It looks suitably geeky.

Lynn | May 12, 2003 01:53 PM

Pfft. Marvel's comics were always more interesting when I was growing up (we're talking the 60s-70s here) than DC's. DC always struck me as just a bit too "Golly!"; Marvel was dark and edgy and cool, and their girl characters were better. This is then; I haven't kept up too much since the 80s. The only comics I read now are "THB" and "Fray," and to say they're sporadic is putting it mildly, especially the former.

As for close-cropped locks, my dh (designated husband) has kept his within a half-inch or so in length since it became clear he was developing a monk's bald spot like his dad's. Interestingly, the spot filled in as soon as he started keeping it quite short. We have a set of clippers and do it ourselves every six weeks or so.

And your haircutter is right. I stopped dyeing and perming my hair when I realized I was just trying to make my stick-straight nearly-black hair into something it wasn't. Better to work with what you have. It's a philosophical as well as a fashion statement.

Bill | May 12, 2003 02:32 PM

The designated hitter is a good thing. It permits people like Edgar Martinez to keep playing the game: at age 40, he's hitting .343, 26 points over his lifetime average. He can't run at more than a zombie-like shamble, but I love being able to watch him go up and hit.

Sue | May 12, 2003 02:43 PM

The DH is not a good thing, unless you're Edgar Martinez's agent or a member of his family. Having a batter whose only purpose is to hit so that we don't have to see the pitcher hit is like having somebody on the Lakers just so we don't have to watch Shaq take free throws. It's like offering a golfer someone to do their putting. Why not let quarterbacks who can't run with the ball have a substitute runner? If you can't play the whole game, make way for someone who can. The DH was put in, IIRC, to help increase offense. In this day and age, I certainly don't think we need that anymore.

rick mcginnis | May 12, 2003 03:44 PM

Hair is overrated, dude. I've promised myself that as soon as the two encroaching peninsula of skin meet at a predetermined point at the top of my head, isolating a windblown island of thin scruff, I buy the clippers, take it all off with the #2 attachment, and never visit a barber again except for a shave.

So sez me.

And happy belated birthday, man - good on ya.

yr pal,

Rick

have mercy | May 12, 2003 04:14 PM

Scalzi, the new do looks great, but what i wanna know is, have you properly considered the possible ramifications of posting a topless photo of your minor child on the net for all and sundry? i mean, what will the neighbors think? and more to the point, what does Athena think?

Don't get me wrong, so long as all parties are comfortable do carry on. It's interesting that no one else has remarked on it, as pictures of Athena generally attract substantial comment, yes?

Henry | May 12, 2003 04:29 PM

I really think you have it backwards. DC is AL and Marvel is NL. The Yankees and Babe Ruth and Superman and Apple Pie vs the more colorful teams of outsiders like the Brooklyn Dodgers and the X-Men. p.s. The DH rule sucks!

Bill | May 12, 2003 04:43 PM

Bah! The DH rule is one of the charming differences between the two leagues that makes it worth having two leagues.

The pitcher doesn't "sit out" half the game in AL play; the way the game is defined in the AL, the pitcher's role is entirely defensive. And that's no big deal; after all, nobody complains about football teams having different offensive and defensive lineups.

And sure, it's a change from the original rules of the game. But the game has changed enormously over the past, what, 150 years? If you're going to protest the DH rule as a corruption of the purity of the game, you may as well also protest the curve ball and the pinch runner, not to mention the practice of paying the players.

Tripp | May 12, 2003 05:26 PM

Sue,
Baseball has DHs and football has place kickers. Sometimes football has a different guy for kicking off.

Most team sports have specialities, it's just a question of degree.

Or, it's a sign of the decline of our civilization.

Tripp | May 12, 2003 05:30 PM

Okay, okay, 3 comments in the same section is lame, even for me.

But, I gotta say, John, for a guy who states that 'looks don't matter' you sure hooked up with a babaliscious wife! So, I think maybe you're talking the talk without walking the walk.

Henry | May 12, 2003 06:10 PM

"nobody complains about football teams having different offensive and defensive lineups."

I do. That's exactly what I don't like about football. There are all these people on the field and very few of them have any talent other than brute strength or speed. In baseball, pitchers study hitters, hitters study pitchers, there is real strategy involved no matter what your position. Now, DH isn't as bad as all that, but I do think it's a step in the wrong direction for a great sport. And in the end, that really is a sign of the decline of our civilization. Thanks for that insight, Tripp.

BTW, still waiting for justification on why John thinks DC is NL and Marvel is AL.

John Scalzi | May 12, 2003 08:02 PM

Tripp writes:

"But, I gotta say, John, for a guy who states that 'looks don't matter' you sure hooked up with a babaliscious wife! So, I think maybe you're talking the talk without walking the walk."

Well, I won't deny that my wife is babe-alicious, but I would note that her babe-aliciousness is the least of her various attractive qualities.

Tripp | May 13, 2003 09:27 AM

Curses, you escaped my trap! If what you said is true, then you are indeed a 'lucky guy' (tm).

And thanks for correcting my 'babaliscious' spelling. I didn't think I had it quite right.