Friday, June 21, 2013

At the end

Okay, so it was going to have to happen eventually.

Nine years ago, I started this blog because I had things to say and no one nearby to say them to. At first, just having a platform to blab out my thoughts was a thrill; over time, reader started trickling in, and there was interacting, and I've even gotten to meet some of you in person, and that has been an even bigger thrill. It has been a really great nine years. And that's a high note I'm going to end on.

This blog and my reader have meant a lot to me over the years, and I wish I had some kind of gold watch to hand over in honor of a well-earned retirement. I don't have one of those, though, because this is a blog, and a watch would be wasted on a blog, because it doesn't have a wrist. I also wish I had a gold watch to give to you, my steadfast reader, who has stayed with me all this time even as posting waned, because then I would have a gold watch and I could sell it and use the money to buy shoes.

I don't want this to be over, honestly. I like the heck out of y'all, and I want to keep you. You can still read my feminist-leaning stuff on Feministe, and I hope you will. Hook up with me on Facebook, and we'll be friends, and I'll talk about shoes and grammar and Georgia football. Follow me on Twitter, and I'll follow you back. And I still fully intend to finish the epic Baby-Sitters Club fanfic that I started; I don't know when, and I don't know where, but it will happen.

The final Ten:

1. U2, "With Or Without You"
2. Sisqo, "What These Bitches Want"
3. Siouxise and the Banshees, "This Wheel's On Fire"
4. Alanis Morissette, "King Of Pain"
5. Christina Aguilera, "Walk Away"
6. Garbage, "I Think I'm Paranoid"
7. Arlington Priest, "Mexico"
8. Paul Young, "Come Back and Stay"
9. Blossom Dearie, "Comment Allez Vous"
10. Pet Shop Boys, "Dreaming of the Queen"

Your Ten, and your suggestions for the final chapters of the Baby-Sitters Club Super Mystery #last, go in comments. Love y'all.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I fucking hate terrorism.

I fucking hate terrorism. I know, bold statement, right? But here's the thing about terrorism: It's not about the people who are killed. The people who are killed -- human beings, with lives and friends and families and futures -- are merely tools to accomplish a larger goal, which is to control entire populations of people through fear. People die and suffer not for anything they did or even anything they're accused of doing but because their death is an expeditious means to an end. That makes me indescribably angry.

I have a thing about fear. Maybe I have an unusually high pain tolerance, maybe I just lack an appropriate amount of respect for my physical being, but I can handle a tremendous amount of physical pain in a way that I can't handle fear and anxiety. The Boy, an individual has amount of experience with pain, says that while a person can be inured to pain, there's really no way to become inured to fear -- you either get over it and don't have it anymore, or you work through it, but there's no real point at which you get used to fear and don't notice it anymore. Pain can itself be scary, but eventually it's over, one way or another; fear can last as long as you do.

Right now, there are three people dead in Boston -- one an eight-year-old boy whose dad had just run the marathon. Three families are dealing with that loss. Nearly 200 people are injured, including countless traumatic amputations and a two-year-old with a serious head injury. And millions of people are terrified, because they've been reminded that we live in a world where things like this happen and there's no preparation for it -- there's no trying to guess which dates are significant enough that some evil person might try to use them to make a statement. There's no trying to guess which gathering might be a target, which flight. There's no way of knowing when or whether they'll start targeting individuals as soon as they have us scared enough to stop gathering in public. There's no trying to guess, and that's the point. It's not to make us dead; it's to make us scared. It's to keep us scared, to remind us every time we start to feel comfortable opening our front door that the world is a terrifying place and the only answer is to stay trembling and obedient. It's to make us look over our shoulders, to distrust our neighbors, to round up all the brown people first just to be on the safe side. Millions of people in the U.S. remain or have become scared now, along with millions of people around the world who feel the same feelings from the same sources caused by different groups and individuals, all for the same reason: No good reason, because there's no fucking good reason.

I don't care who did this or why. I don't care. The question everyone asks after things like this is Why? Why, God, why, and the only answer is Because. Not Because marathon runners are sinful. Not Because someone has a vendetta against your eight-year-old. Just Because someone wants everyone to be scared, and your loved ones were conveniently located.

Because someone wants everyone to be scared. Someone is hurt and angry and taking it out on the world not through pain but through fear. And maybe the hurt and anger are perfectly justified, and maybe in a different situation I would have even cared enough to sit down and talk about it and do something about it. But now, and probably forever after now, I couldn't give less of a shit. No shits are given.

Ultimately, of course, the who and the why do have larger implications. Eventually, we will find out who was responsible, and we'll probably have some idea of why, and action may or may not come of it, and if action comes it may or may not be the right action to take. But to the people who are hurt and grieving and scared right now, that's probably not going to help much, because there's no why that can justify what was done. The why will be bullshit. The why is always bullshit.

That's not the world I want to live in.

This is the world I want to live in:

Marathon spectators. Friends and loved ones. And complete strangers, too. People whose sole goal in life, for that one day, was to stand next to the road and be encouraging to people they've never even met and will probably never see again.

Marathon runners who were exhausted at the end of 26.2 miles but kept running, straight to the nearest hospital to donate blood for the hundreds of people who'd lost theirs.

People who heard explosions and made the absurd decision to run toward the smoke and fire, because others needed help.

People who opened their homes to complete strangers who'd come in from out of town for the race and wouldn't be able to get back home that night.

My condolences go out to the victims of the bombings, to their families, to Bostonians and former Bostonians who are trying to sort out what happened in their city, and to everyone who has been traumatized or re-traumatized by this senseless violation. If I had anything more substantial to offer than "that really sucks," I would offer it. But failing that... that really sucks. I’m so, so sorry.

Monday, March 04, 2013

On Mashup Monday: Head Like a What? edition

Okay, so there's not much I can say about this that The Verge's Nilay Patel hasn't said sufficiently.
There are many things about my youth that have been ground into fine dust by a relentless online culture determined to use every emotion I've ever felt as a wedge into CPM advertising or a dubstep meme remix.

This is not one of them.
I think this may end up being my go-to when I have Marilyn Manson's cover of "Personal Jesus" stuck in my head and it won't get out.

Carly Rae Jepsen/Nine Inch Nails - Call Me a Hole

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Mashup Monday: Classic spy thriller edition

Okay, so if I have two weaknesses, they're cellos and Matt Damon. (This is, of course, a ridiculous statement; I've openly declared numerous weaknesses, among them shoes, Reese's peanut butter eggs, and Adele's "Someone Like You." But cellos and Matt Damon are definitely in there.) And movie music, too -- I live for a good movie score, and John Powell's dense, driving main theme to The Bourne Identity adds a whole new level of understated tension to the action scenes. (Am I geeking out too much? Just enough? Just enough too much? Call me, John Powell).

Anyway. My point is that if you mash up the main theme to The Bourne Identity and Vivaldi's concerto for two cellos in G minor, I'm likely to... well, geek out much like I just did. Not so much that I actually bought the mp3, I'm afraid, but there's no reason you shouldn't.

The Piano Guys - Code Name Vivaldi

Monday, December 03, 2012

On damned good football

Okay, so the outcome of Saturday's game was disappointing. The game itself, however, was far from disappointing -- the game was freaking awesome. The game was two perfectly matched teams playing their asses off, and if there had been 30 more seconds in the game, the outcome could have been completely different.

That can be the hardest way to lose a game. The Bulldogs didn't lose because the refs were idiots. They didn't lose because Bama played dirty. They didn't lose because Bama played better than they did -- as much as some people are saying that Georgia was weak or inconsistent, or that Mark Richt and Aaron Murray can't finish a big game, the fact is that the Dawgs held their own, actually led for more than half the game, and ultimately played to within four points of the #2 team in the country. And they didn't lose -- and don't anyone dare say it in my presence -- because Chris Conley caught a ball that he'd have been better off batting down. The man saw a ball flying his way and went with his first instinct, which was to catch it so no one else would. And had that one foot not slipped out from under him, that one error might well have turned into a touchdown.

Georgia lost the game because games have to end eventually, and when they end one team has to have more points than the other. It leaves a fan without anything to rail about, anything to whine about, or anyone to rail at, and that can be kind of disappointing. We like to have reasons for unpleasant things, and this one doesn't have a reason. But reason or no, one fact is indisputable: The Bulldogs played their asses off.

To repeat: The Bulldogs played their asses off. They worked the entire time. They wanted it the entire time. They performed the entire time, and they damned near won. Mark Richt coached the hell out of that game, with just enough shades of Dark Richt to keep things interesting and enough of the Coach Richt we know and love to keep the team on track. As individuals and as a team, they played really good football. And no matter how disappointing it is that that team won't be getting a BCS bowl berth -- and don't get me wrong, it's way disappointing -- there's comfort in the knowledge that in the conference championship, they played the hell out of some football, and they have no reason to have regrets.

At the risk of bringing down the tone of this post, I do have to comment on the accounts of Coach Richt "storming out of the press conference." When I read about it, I had this image in my head of him being shouty, aggressive, throwing his drink down in disgust. My head was full of a Hothead Richt I'd never actually seen in the wild. And then I watched video.

Yeah, that's exactly how it looks when Mark Richt storms out of a press conference. Just like his "irate on the sidelines" looks a lot like any other coach's "having a facial expression," his "going off in a press conference" looks a lot like "speaking emphatically" from anyone else. He's a classy dude, answering a kind of stupid question -- if anyone has ever wondered about Richt's and Murray's ability to come through in a big game, this one should have addressed that handily.

Georgia didn't come up short or underperform. It doesn't even feel like they lost. They played damned good football against a damned good team, and at the end of the game they had fewer points. Good job. Damned good Dawgs.

Friday, November 30, 2012

On the Good, the Bad, and the Friday Random Ten: Red and Black edition

Okay, so this is a big weekend for me for two reasons: One, the Georgia Bulldogs are in the SEC Championship Game, and if they win they face Notre Dame for the national championship, and I don't care folks are saying, we have a chance at a win. As long as I wear my red-and-black-striped toe socks. Which I totally will.

The other big part of the weekend is that Saturday is December 1, which means I get to start decorating the house for Christmas. Which I will be doing every moment I'm not watching football, meaning that by sundown our house is going to look like it just got brutally attacked by one of those Christmas Villages that pop up in the retail spaces vacated by Spirit Halloween Store shortly after Halloween.

So that's two things that are good this weekend. But wait! There's more!

What's good (for the indeterminate period ending 11/30):

- Dame Judi Dench. I loved her in the new Bond movies, I love her in "As Time Goes By," and I love her even more knowing she embroiders charming little needlepoint pillows that say "You Are a Fucking Shit." She's on my list of women I want to have lunch with, along with Tilda Swinton, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, and Jennifer Lawrence (just for variety).

- My imaginary lunch with Judi Dench, Tilda Swinton, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, and Jennifer Lawrence

Monday, November 26, 2012

On Mashup Monday: Rollin' edition

Okay, so Britney Spears is my classic and ongoing thing. (No secret there.) Adele is my new musical girlcrush. (Haven't mentioned that one yet, but I'm sure it requires no explanation.) And now someone's gone and gotten chocolate in my peanut butter. Very exciting thing.

Britney Spears/Adele - Rolling Till The World Ends

On fashion writers hitting back

Note: I don't do this often, but I'm about to go full-on, hardcore, vapid fashion chick here. If that's not your bag, you might want to skip this post; Mashup Monday is coming up next.

Okay, so I used to work for an industry-focused fashion publication (and have provided a few basic details about it). I've compared my former job to The Devil Wears Prada, although of course it wasn't nearly as dramatic (and I got to write); my boss wasn't actively abusive and rarely wore Prada. It was just a matter of long hours, big egos, other people's work, work that not just wasn't my own but wasn't even related to my job (planning a friend's birthday party? Really?), clothes I couldn't afford (but was still expected to wear), rampaging bulimia, and parades of skinny teenagers reminding me that I, at 25, was fat and over the hill.

One assignment that tickles me in retrospect (hey, assignment, get your hand off my retrospect!) involved 400 copies of our June regional issue, a Sharpie, an X-acto knife, and a very pissed-off advertiser. One article in the issue had included one sentence about the advertiser's competitor, and that was enough to get the issue banned from said advertiser's establishment--unless we removed the sentence. From all 400 of the already-printed issues. Using a Sharpie to cross the line out, or a knife to cut it out. This being a fairly serious situation--the establishment in question was a huge deal--we actually debated on whether to send a crew down with markers and knives to do the job. The final decision, though, was to leave the issue as it was and stare the advertiser down. He blinked first, and the the issues were placed in his establishment fully intact.

This is the Diet Coke version of what Jenna Sauers is writing about when she asks, "Why are fashion designers so ridiculously touchy about press?" She writes about the recent shitstorm as Yves Saint Laurent reorganizes and rebrands and handles it just about as poorly as one can, PR-wise. The brand name is going one way, the logo another, the accessories line the old way, the women's collection is taking the name of new creative director Hedi Slimane, and the headquarters are moving one ocean plus one continent away from Paris--and nobody really knows exactly why, and YSL(? Yves Saint Laurent? Saint Laurent Paris?) isn't telling.