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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On Mashup Monday: Invisible Pony edition

Okay, so I have a confession: I really like "Call Me Maybe." Except maybe I don't. I don't ever seek it out, but when I hear it, it's always pop-y and entertaining, and I find myself bopping along a little, but then when it's over it's still in my head for DAYS. Not hours, DAYS. So I like it in the moment, but the way it repeats on me for days afterward is horrible. It's much like cajun food in that respect.

(Also, why is it crazy that she should give her number to a guy she just met? How else is he supposed to get in touch with her? "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but you have really beautiful eyes and I'd like to make babies with you"? Yes, a bit forward. "I just met you, and in the interest of further communication I'd like to equip you with contact information"? That just makes sense.)

"Gangnam Style," on the other hand, is objectively awesome, because not only is it infectiously entertaining but it also comes complete with a dance that can be performed pretty much anywhere.

Psy/Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Gangnam

Monday, July 30, 2012

On MORE MUSIC MONDAY, which isn't actually a real thing

Okay, so this was going to be today's Mashup Monday, except I've spent enough time bitching about what really qualifies as a mashup that I couldn't bring myself to violate my own rules. So instead, you get two songs for the price of one! It's MORE MUSIC MONDAY. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Since I discovered "Smells Like Booty," I think I've gotten to a point where I'll listen to just about any cover, mashup, or remix of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--which is kind of funny, since I was never that crazt about the original version by Nirvana. But here, 2CELLOS combine two things I truly love: a bizarre cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and cellos. And now you can love it as well.

Nirvana/2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit

On Mashup Monday: Don't Hold Back edition

Okay, so I've long loved John Williams scores. He's actually why I wanted to play the piano professionally in the first place (although we saw how that turned out)--and while I've long loved his music, I'm not ashamed to say it was the score to Titanic that made me imagine myself behind that piano. Although we saw how that worked out.

So now, John Williams and the Chemical Brothers, although I've never had any real desire to make electronic music professionally. Maybe if John Williams really did get together with them…

John Williams/The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize the Empire

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith, who isn't interested in your bullshit.

Okay, so Zoe Smith, 18, is a weightlifter. This weekend, she competes for Britain in the Olympics. She can clean and jerk nearly 260 lbs. Her Olympic qualifying total was 211 kg, or about 465 lbs. That alone should be enough to make the wise person disinclined to mess with her.

But there are always unwise people around to make the world a shittier place, and a number of them took to Twitter after the BBC aired Girl Power - Going For Gold, a documentary about Smith and her teammates Hannah Powell and Helen Jewel. "They're probably lesbians anyway," and "I'd think you were a bloke and so would 9 out of 10 lads," and of course the classic "Now piss off back to the kitchen."

Smith held her own on Twitter, and then she elaborated further in a post on her blog.
The obvious choice of slander when talking about female weightlifting is "how unfeminine, girls shouldn't be strong or have muscles, this is wrong". And maybe they're right… in the Victorian era. To think people still think like this is laughable, we're in 2012! This may sound like a sweeping generalization, but most of the people that do think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pigheaded blokes who feel emasculated by the face that we, three small, fairly feminine girls, are strong than them. Simple as that. I confronted one guy that said "we're probably all lesbians and look like blokes", purely to explain the fact that his opinion is invalid cause he's a moron. And wrong. He came up with the original comeback that I should get back in the kitchen. I laughed.

As Hannah pointed out earlier, we don't lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we're flattered. But if you don't, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our 'manly' muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

Weightlifting events start this Saturday; competitors in Smith's class, Women's 58kg, lift the equivalent of a grown man over their heads starting Monday.


[Cross-posted at Feministe.]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On my dad

Okay, so sometimes, I've found myself inspired to sit down and write an actual letter or card to one of my parents and put it in the actual mail, because it can be nice to have something tangible and handwritten that outlines in great detail exactly how much you're loved. Inevitably, I'll get a call a few days later: "What a sweet card! It made me want to cry. You're such a good daughter. … I'm not dying, am I? Dying and no one's told me?"

So: No, dad, you're not dying. Happy Father's Day.

1. When I was little--sevenish? Eightish?--my mom went back to work as a nurse part-time. Frequently, her wonky hours would leave my dad responsible for getting my brother and me off to school in the morning. This meant that my dad had to learn to curl my hair. There were a few mornings when I'd head off to school with little pink lines across my forehead and the tops of my ears, but it didn't take him long to get the hang of it and curl my hair like a pro.

2. At one point, our family had a weekly night when we'd all sit down in the family room and Dad would read aloud to us. No, I'm quite serious. We did that. We had these big, thick paperback books--Mark Twain and Sherlock Holmes are two that jump out at me--and we'd sit and listen. I spent my entire childhood surrounded by books, and I blame my current reading addiction entirely on my parents.

3. In an an older post about my mom, I mentioned a road trip we all took to northern Virginia in which Dad, Doug, and I drove home together. While we were passing around DJ-ing duties, Doug put in the soundtrack to Avenue Q. It was somewhere around "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" that Doug and I started wondering if it was a good idea to do this with Dad in the car, and by the middle of "My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada," we were holding our breath. I think it was the line "And I can't wait to eat her pussy again!" that set Dad off--laughing so hard he nearly drove off the road.

4. My dad is brilliant at math. I don't just mean that he has a trick for calculating the tip at a restaurant--he remembers every equation and rule and formula he's ever known, he can do mental calculations like a boss, and he almost majored in math in college until he realized that Calculus IV is a horrible, horrible thing to engage in voluntarily. But that's not the kind of thing you leave behind. He and I were in the car, heading home from somewhere I don't recall, and a lottery billboard had recently been updated with the newest bajillion-dollar jackpot. He and I started figuring out odds of winning for various games, estimated payouts, annuities, and bizarre Rain Man-type math, and when we got home we kept coming up with new puzzles for ourselves and solving them. By the time we'd abandoned statistics and started pulling out Mensa puzzle books, we'd been at it for probably two hours. I spent two hours doing math with my Dad. On purpose. And I still catch myself doing math for fun sometimes. It's a sickness.

5. My parents had very different styles of teaching my brother and me to drive a stick shift. Mom explained the process, gave cues as best she could, and jumped and winced a lot whenever we'd grind a gear. Dad would explain the mechanics of the manual transmission and relate it to the act of using the clutch, the gas, and the shifter--which is great, except he'd do it at the same time, while we were driving. So I'd be driving along, approaching a right turn, listening to his calmly delivered instructions whilst piling through brake-clutch-turn-shift-turn-brake-clutch-gas-shit-clutch-gas-clutch-sputter-sputter-sputter… And then Dad would say, "Above all, just fly the plane." And now, 15 years later, I remember 1) how a manual transmission works, 2) what it looks like, 3) how to drive a car that has one, and 4) to just fly the plane.

Love you, Dad.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

On body types, mental health, and defending the skinny girl

Alternately: The One Where Maybe I Come Across as Some Kind of Apologist for Something, or Whatever, I Don't Know

Okay, so my reader knows I hate blog posts that start with definitions, but I think this one calls for it.

The NIH on Anorexia:
A decreased appetite is when you have a reduced desire to eat. The medical term for a loss of appetite is anorexia.
The Mayo Clinic on Anorexia nervosa:
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia nervosa attempt to maintain a weight that's far below normal for their age and height. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively.
I share these definitions in part because I'm so very pedantic that when I see terms used incorrectly, I get an eye twitch and an itchy rash on my lower back. I also share them to clarify something: Anorexia isn't "the state of being skinny." It isn't "the state of wanting to be skinny." It's the state of having a broken brain. And that's harsh, I know, and I know a lot of people with and/or recovering from eating disorders might bristle to read that. But as someone who spent (and continues to spend) plenty of time fixing my brain after a decade of bulimia, I feel comfortable assigning broken brain as a contributor to eating disorders.

On entitlement complexes and Birmingham's new smoking ban

Okay, so you walk into a bar and ask the bartender for a Grey Goose martini. And the bartender says, "We don't have Grey Goose. Would you like Ketel One or one of our other fine vodka offerings?" and you tell him no, you want Goose. He repeats--patiently, because he's a nice guy--that they don't have it. That if you insist on a Grey Goose martini, you'll have to go somewhere else, and if you insist on drinking here, you'll have to settle for Ketel (or one of their other fine vodka offerings). So what do you do? Of course you pass a law requiring every bar in town to stock Grey Goose so you can walk in wherever you want and have whatever you want.

NO, YOU DON'T. You decide that Ketel One will make an acceptable martini and order one of those. Or you decide to go down the street to see if another bar has Goose, and you get a martini there. Or you go home, where you have a freezer full of Goose, and you make your own cocktail. Sure, it's disappointing--you wanted that drink at that bar. But you're an adult, so you suck it up and recognize that, in the words of the Prophet, you can't always get what you want.

As of June 4, smoking is forbidden in basically any public area in Birmingham, including less than seven feet from the entrance of any bar or restaurant. In theory, as a dedicated nonsmoker, I should like this. It means I don't cough, I don't get exposed to secondhand smoke, and I can come in after a night out and not have to wash my hair before I go to bed.

But no one has every guaranteed me the right to go wherever I want and not have to wash my hair afterward. And no one has ever marched me into a smoky bar at gunpoint. On nights when I don't feel like getting smoky, I'm perfectly free to NOT GO to any of the establishments where people are smoking. And--up until last week, anyway--no owner of a private business was required to provide me with a smoke-free environment, just because I wanted one.

Friday, June 15, 2012

On the deadly bite of the Black Widow

Okay, so over at Feministe, I posted about my love of the Black Widow in The Avengers and my frustration with reviewers who completely dismissed her as eye candy despite ridiculous amounts of evidence to the contrary. (Warning: That post, and this one, are chock full of SPOILERY SPOILERS THAT SPOIL.)

According to movie reviewers, she's also a "token sexy female," who "spends a lot of time looking puzzled or confused" and "clench[ing] her brow," "repels invading aliens through the sheer force of her corsetry," and provides "images of Scarlett Johansson in a black bodysuit."

The funny thing is that that very reaction is one of the things that makes the Black Widow so effective at what she does. She's a sleeper--constantly underestimated and manipulative. She acrobatically defeats a team of Russian arms dealers--with both hands and a chair tied behind her back--because they had no idea what she was capable of. While normally I'd find Loki's derision of her as a "mewling quim" to be utterly horrendous, I kind of liked it here because it underscored the fact that our alien demigod villain was falling for her act and giving her everything she needed.

...

One great thing about the Black Widow is that the penalty for dismissing her and making assumptions about her generally involves blood loss. Now, far be it from me to say that violence is the answer (although I’m also not saying it isn’t...), but it would be nice if the real world had more tangible penalties for sexism. Like criticism by one's peers, censure in the public arena, or a reflexive expectation of public apology for misogyny. Or the public calling-out of idiot movie reviewers who obviously struggle with viewing comprehension. Or being hung upside down by one's ankles. Whatever.


And on that point, I'm of course completely right. In the subsequent discussion, several commenters mentioned that they'd love to see Natasha Romanoff interacting with other badass women, like Agent Maria Hill, in the next movie. I'd like to see that--and in addition, I think the Blu-ray extras for the movie would be a great place for a scene with them interacting casually, maybe blowing off some steam at the firing range after a mission. Something like this, for instance.

JOSS WHEDON, I KNOW YOU'RE READING THIS. I'VE DONE YOUR WORK FOR YOU. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE NOT TO DO THIS.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

On speciality

Or: I never thought you were special. I thought you should know.

Okay, so I wasn't there at the Wellesley High School graduation last weekend, but I would have loved to watch all the proud parents swallow their tongues as English teacher David McCullough told their brilliant progeny that they aren't special.
No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism. Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue. Normally, I avoid clich├ęs like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field. That matters. That says something. And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all. Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same. And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.

All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.

You are not special. You are not exceptional.

Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special.

On the new cola wars

Okay, so in an effort to combat super-sized New Yorkers, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is combating super-sized sodas.
Gas guzzlers, McMansions, Walmart, Costco: If one thing is certain about American consumer culture is that bigger is better, especially if it is cheaper.

So more than a few New Yorkers took it especially hard Thursday when they learned that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wanted to take away their plus-size sodas in restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, arenas and mobile food carts, as a way, he said, of fighting obesity.

Under the new rule, grocery stores and convenience stores will still be able to carry large-quantity sodas, but places that serve food (rather than just selling it) are restricted to 16 ounces at a time. It doesn't restrict a person's ability to chug down those same 32 ounces in one sitting--it just makes costs the person more money and more hassle. And it also doesn't restrict the size of diet drinks (which can reduce satiation), fruit juices (which can have as much sugar as sodas), or alcohol (which can pickle your liver and make you kill someone with your car or call your ex at 3:00 a.m. and beg him to take you back), because apparently those aren't public health risks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

On the Good, the Bad, and the Friday Random Ten: Final frontier edition

Okay, so I was really sad to see the space shuttle program go. I know NASA has its reasons for backing off of manned space flight, but for me--a child of the 80s--that's just what the space program is about. Huge, powerful telescopes and rovers on Mars are super cool, and I get a thrill every time astronomers report the discovery of a new celestial structure, but space exploration has to involve people in jumpsuits doing slow backflips in outer space and eating pudding out of midair while talking to second-graders live via video feed. I wanted to be Sally Ride.

That's why the science-fiction-y concept of commercial space flight is such a thrill to me--even if the government doesn't feel compelled to put humans back into space, private companies (hopefully) will be able to pick up the slack in terms of discovery and general childlike wonder. And this morning, I got to watch via live feed as the SpaceX capsule Dragon docked with the International Space Station. The Boy and I both remember the thrill of watching rocket launches when we were little, and we were sitting rapt the entire time as the docking happened in real time, right in front of us. It made me hopeful for the the future, and not a lot of things really do that a lot.

What's good (for the week ending 5/25):

- The Replacements. I'd spent enough time quoting this movie that I finally managed to convince The Boy to sit down and watch it, even though he doesn't care about football or Keanu Reeves. But of course he loved it, and now when I say, "Get the ball! Get the ball! I'm comin' for ya, blue eyes!" he laughs because he knows what I'm talking about, not because I seem slightly unstable and it's best to humor me.

- Google Chrome

- Otis Redding

- Kayaking. I'd never done it before, but The Boy bought a kayak, because it was half-off, and who can resist a half-price kayak? and I thought it would be fun to try. Dude. That's the most intense upper-body workout known to man, and it's transportation, and it puts you right next to the water on a hot day.

- Nutrisse Nourishing Color Foam in Light Intense Auburn


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On fifty shades of lame

MOM AND DAD: I'm a virgin, The Boy and I haven't gotten past second base, and I'll probably never have sex because it's totally gross and icky. Maybe you go read another post now. Look, this one has kittens!

EVERYONE ELSE: Mom, Dad, I told you to go read the kitten post.

EVERYONE ELSE FOR REAL: This review almost certainly isn’t safe for work. The novel might be. Ho hum...

Okay, so despite (or perhaps because of) the frenzy surrounding Twilight, I resisted picking it up and struggling through it until I was informed that it might help me better understand true love. Now, no one has tried to imply that I don't understand true kink (thank God), but since the newest suburban-mommy literary craze--alleged kinkfest Fifty Shades of Grey--is receiving those same kinds of accolades, I thought it might be time to update my education. And what better way to do that than with a book that is not just inspired by Twilight fanfiction but directly adapted from it in a search-and-replace kind of way? Fifty Shades of Grey, by British author E.L. James, started out as “Master of the Universe,” by fanfictioner Snowqueens Icedragon. Ctrl+F, and Bella Swan turns into innocent virgin Anastasia Steele; Ctrl+F, and Edward Cullen turns into powerful and enigmatic business magnate Christian Grey. The couple that taught me so much about love between a 107-year-old bloodsucker and the high-school student he stalks and longs to murder can now teach me the joys of a good spanking.

(I actually thought I knew the joys of a good spanking, but then, I thought I knew about true love, so maybe I've just been kidding myself all this time.)

For the record, I have no problem with fanfiction. (I mean, hi, y'all.) There are actually some fairly well-written ones out there. This is… not one of those. The prose is repetitive, florid, and boring. Removed from its source material, the novel is staffed with underdeveloped, one-note characters without history or motivation (not that the ciphers and caricatures of Twilight were that much better). The twentysomethings talk like teenagers. Christian talks like my grandfather. Hispanic Jacob-analog Jose talks like Dora the Explorer ("Dios mio!"). The exposition seems written for the sole purpose of reminding us that Christian is dark! and Ana is innocent! while shuttling us along to the next sexy part. It's a fic about Bella and Edward getting kinky, and so that's what the novel is about and the only thing the novel about. The story arc goes from "Hey, wanna let me whip you?" to “Okay.” to "No, too much whipping! (runs for the door)" over the course of 26 chapters.

And who struggled through it anyway, for you? Who’s sparing you the time and heartache? Who loves you? That’s right.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On my mom

Okay, so it wouldn't be right to let Mother's Day pass without a tribute to the unequivocal and objectively best mom of all: mine. I'm sorry that none of you have a mom as cool as mine; you can take comfort in the fact that, since my mom is the best of all possible moms, that means that your mom can certainly be awesome even if she can't compare to the awesomeness of my mom.

All joking aside, though, Mama ACG is an incredible human being. She gives a great example of how to live as a person--she's kind, smart, generous, funny, kind of bitchy sometimes, easy to talk to, and fun to be around, but all in an attainable way. She's compassionate and sweet, but not in a way that makes you feel like you can't be yourself around her. She's mastered the maternal art of laughing at something inappropriate you just did while simultaneously shaking her head disapprovingly. She doesn't make you feel ashamed because she's a nicer or more charitable person than you--she inspires you to want to be like her. When I was little, she was the kind of mom a kid needs; when I was a teenager, she was the kind of guiding hand and sympathetic voice a teenager needs and occasionally the jailer a teenager deserves; and as I've grown into a woman, she's become my best friend. I'm indescribably blessed.


So. Some time ago, possibly the summer before my junior year of college, the family took a trip down to Seagrove Beach. With me nearing the end of college and Big Bro already out on his own, we wanted to get in a family beach vacation while we still had the chance. Mom and I headed down first, with Big Bro and Dad to follow the next day. Somewhere near the Florida state line, we passed a roadside stand advertising bonsai trees for $10 each. Mom and I decided that $10 was an absolute steal for a bonsai tree and that we'd have to be sure to pick some up on the way home. Then Mom said, "You know, we're going to be riding with Dad on the way home. He's going to think it's silly, and he won't want to stop." I agreed, and she pulled a Rockford Files u-turn in the middle of the highway, and we went back and bought our $10 bonsai trees and brought them to the condo with us. I eventually managed to kill mine, but I think hers might still be alive.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, but especially to mine. I love you, Mom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

On inviting Thai sex works to come to Daddy

Okay, so courtesy of perennial Practically Harmless favorite JBF comes a video that will make your entire day feel creepy. This is the story of eleven young women from the U.S.--almost exclusively white--who went to Thailand to save the "bar girls" to Jesus. "We found that we were the perfect ones to fight for them," say the title cards. "Because we used to be women in chains… Just like them."

This is then illustrated by a series of "testimonies," written in Sharpie on cardboard, squicktacularly set to the contemporary Christian song "When I'm With My Daddy."

 

Just like a woman willingly or unwillingly providing sexual services in Phuket's red-light district, their "chains" include masturbation, not fitting in a magazine, and perfectionism. "I stopped touching my neener through the grace of Jesus Christ--and so can you."
I had sex ... Now I'm pure 
I struggle with masturbation ... No condemnation for those who are in Christ 
Felt like I was supposed to fit in a magazine ... Now I fit perfectly in His arms 
I labeled myself as an adulteress at 17 years old ... Daddy called me his bride
Ew.


[Cross-posted at Feministe]

Friday, April 06, 2012

On the Good, the Bad, and the Friday Not-Even-Random Ten: I Feel Pretty edition

Okay, so for those of you (for instance, say, ZenBubba) who were wondering when I got back: Um, whenever. Not sure. March 23? We'll call it that. Sounds as good as anything else.

The good (for the two-week period ending 4/6/2012:

- Good Friday

- Good Fridays (the kind where your boss lets you out early on a sunny day)

- Hard-to-schedule interviews that, once scheduled, turn out stellar

- Cocaine shaped like shoes. (I mean, obviously cocaine is bad, but painstakingly crafting it into Manolo Blahniks to sneak it through airport security? That's at least got some class)

- Feeling inspired. Even gooder? Acting on that inspiration

On another meaning of Easter

Okay, so I'm finna get sincerely religious all up in this piece--and we're talking full-on religious, like Episcopapist religious, and not just "spiritual"--so if that's not your thing, just wait a few minutes and then hit "refresh." TGTBATFNERT is coming up next.

Today is Good Friday (as opposed to a merely good Friday, which is most of them). It is, for the drastically uninformed, a big day for Christians, as it is the day Jesus was crucified and died, which was the necessary step before rising on Sunday, because if He hadn't died first the rising part wouldn't have been nearly as impressive.

As Christians, we're expected to live up to the example Jesus sets for us. Usually, that's more to the "God" side of His dual nature of God/man. Spread the Word, always be obedient to God. Do good. Be respectful. Be kind, generous, and compassionate. Be faithful. All important things, and all things we can do in our own lives, but at a certain level also kind of unrelatable for people who aren't themselves at once God and human. We're given this task of being like Jesus, but we're also given a literally unattainable goal--because while Jesus was like us, He also was entirely unlike us in an almighty and everliving kind of way. We're told over and over that we're meant to try to be like Jesus and that there's no chance we will ever succeed.

One of my favorite Lenten passages (defined here as "most striking and most likely to make me cry in church") is the recounting of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before He was handed over. He brings his friends with him--all of whom end up falling asleep, incidentally--and prays and prays and prays for something that doesn't get a lot of emphasis in the Easter story: He prays to God to not make him do this.

On trollin' through Arizona

Okay, so politicians' complete and willful ignorance of the way the Internet really works would be entertaining, if it weren't so dangerous. For instance: In Arizona (oh, always Arizona), the state legislature has passed HB 2549, which states (in part):

It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.

Of course the bill is pretty much indefensible on grounds of free speech, intent, general vagueness, whiny-titty-babytude, and basic geography. But the Arizona government has demonstrated that silly concerns like reason aren't high on their priority list. So all y'all who are just out to annoy me and offend me using your computers (or cell phones or tablets or whatever)? Y'all had better not be from Arizona, is all.

(Actually, you'd better hope you're not from Arizona anyway. That place is getting rough.)

Monday, April 02, 2012

On Mashup Monday: Rock God edition

Okay, so I'm usually the first person to rant about the difference between a remix and a mashup (and don't even get me started on medleys), but this one's funny enough that it's worth bending the rules.

Siri "Rock God" commercial the way it is/Siri "Rock God" commercial the way it should be


Call me a rock god.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

On auspicious comings-out

Okay, so I've never had to come out of any kind of a closet, really, so I don't know if the preferred response from friends would be "yay!" or "okay" or "yeah, dude, we knew." But one guy's coming out post on Facebook lands pretty much where I'd want to be.

Read the entire thing at the link above (post title: Guy comes out of closet on Facebook to friends who are entirely too geeky to care), of course, but I shall provide a few highlights.

The gentleman posts:
I've been in the closet for far too long, so here goes: I'm gay. I've known, in retrospect, for about eight years. This is the easiest way for me to deal with it; I apologize if anyone feels affronted that I didn't tell them in person.

As proof that this is not an account hack, I have posted a somewhat longer post on my blog, at http://[REDACTED].
His friends respond encouragingly.

Good on you man :)

...

takes guts to broadcast this

Congrats

I like the proof of no hack. Well anticipated. I didn't expect it but well done for getting it out. Must be a relief. It must have sucked to hold it in all this time. Could you possibly link a style sheet to that html? I hate bland markup.

ROFL @[REDACTED], "could you please make your blog post that says you're gay look prettier".

Ha ha, I swear I wasn't mocking. I just work on asp.net stuff all day and I've grown sick of ugly sites.

...

Not that your site is ugly. Just could do with some text alignment and maybe a background pic.

Good advice, especially if [REDACTED] decides to come out of the closet again, he can do so in style and elegance. @[REDACTED], perhaps we pretend you didn't come out, and then you have a few days to do a site overall, and then come out again and we'll asses the creativeness ;)
Go read the entire thing--the entire thing! Promise me!--and wish you had friends as cool as Green and Red.

On Hunger Games: What do you mean, the black girl was black?

Note: This post is cross-posted at Feministe. It's spoiler-free after Chapter 18 of the first book, so if you've read Chapter 18, you're good, and if not, read this later.

Okay, so when casting announcements came out for the Hunger Games movie, I was surprised (and yet, sadly, not really surprised) to see that there weren't more non-white tributes. While over the course of a few hundred years and a few disasters the ethnic makeup of the various districts may have shifted such that of the 24 tributes selected at random, only two were black, but it takes some logic-wanking to get there. The book specifies a blond guy, a blonde girl, a redheaded girl, and maybe a couple of others, but otherwise sadistic dystopian reality TV shows wherein children are forced to murder each other for the entertainment of the privileged masses might be expected to know no color.

But that, as well as the search for the perfect Caucasian Katniss, just wasn't enough for some people. Hunger Games fans ("fans"?) were up in arms at the casting of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Katniss's kind, compassionate stylist. Through the magic of reading comprehension, they managed to miss that a) Cinna's description isn't given beyond short, dark brown hair, gold eyeliner, and green eyes, and b) Kravitz is a cool drink on a hot day and they could have cast him as President Snow for all I care. (And--spoiler alert--in the movie, Kravitz does such a stellar job as Cinna that there could be no other.)

The wailing only got worse after the movie's release on Friday, as "fans" who hadn't seen a lot of advance materials got the shock of their lives to see a black character depicted by a black actress. Rue, played by the adorable Amandla Sternberg, was described as having "dark brown skin and eyes"--thus the ruination of the film at the hands of a dark-skinned, dark-eyed actress. On Twitter:

Friday, March 23, 2012

On the Good, the Bad, and the Friday Not-Even-Random Ten: I'm Back, No Seriously, This Time It's for Real edition

Okay, so I've become irrationally obsessed with The Hunger Games. I'd heard about it from here and there, and it was always somewhere toward the back of my reading list. When the first movie trailer came out, I found it intriguing and decided I definitely wanted to see the movie and should probably read the book first.

I loved it way too much. I'm saying I loved it more than is reasonable for a book that is solidly readable but not in any way spectacular. It's a good book, but not a great one such that I should be thusly fixated on it. No explanation. But this is all by way of saying that the movie is coming out today and I'm so inexplicably excited. The Boy teases me. He's probably teasing me right now.


What's good (for the indeterminate period ending 3/23/2012):

- Dirty Signs With Kristin, wherein Kristin teaches you to say things you probably shouldn't in American Sign Language. Today's lesson: how to sign "giant cock-topus."

- Firefighters doing their job like a boss.

There's a story behind this, and I could tell you, but I'm… not. (Totally feeling for the guy who has to pull up his dress while he's running. Strapless is a pain. I have to do that all the time.)

- Getting paid to do something you actually enjoy, not just something you tolerate doing because it pays the bills

- The Motorola Droid Bionic


Monday, January 30, 2012

On Mashup Monday: Groaning Pains edition

Okay, so BRAAAAAAAAAAINS. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAINS.

BRAAAINS. BRAAAAAAAINS. "No, we have to wait for this kid who wandered off, even she's obviously too stupid to be anything but a liability!" "Hey, while we're in Atlanta, you know what we should do? Not pick up some guns and non-shitty vehicles!" BRAAAAAINS. "Hey, let's give the unstable chick with a chip on her shoulder a firearm and a high-up place to sit!" BRAAAAAAINS. "Hey, has anyone else noticed that we aren't actually seeing more than about two zombies an episode anymore? And we're spending most of our time inside? And pretty much all we do is talk a lot? Like, a whole lot?" BRAAAAaaeugh.

Anyway.

The Walking Dead/Growing Pains


Aww. It warms the heart, and then pulls it out and eats it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

On Super Commando and the Funky Bunch


Dooouche...

Mark "Invincible" "Entourage" "Date Night" Wahlberg has a message for all the families of passengers on Flight 93: Your loved ones died because they were pussies and didn't have the balls to judo-chop one of the terrorists and punch another one in the sternum so hard he flew all the way back into coach and blast another one with his eyeball-rays and choke the fourth one to death with the sheer force of his steely glare, then singlehandedly land the plane like Marky Mark totally would have if he'd been on board.
"If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn't have went down like it did," Wahlberg says. "There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, 'OK, we're going to land somewhere safely, don't worry.'"
Douche.

Super Commando did issue an apology ("apology") via People saying that his statement was "irresponsible" and he's sorry that it "came off as insensitive." (Yeah, "came off as insensitive." It totally wasn't insensitive, but I can see how it might have sounded like it was.) Then, while his publicist was in the bathroom, he sneaked onto a radio show to keep digging a deeper hole. Radar has the transcript, but Celebitchy offers a more concise summary.
First, he would NEVER disrespect 9/11 families. Then he only disrespected the families because he's not really an actor, he's a tough dude from the streets and he just wasn't thinking. Then he just said that stuff because no one ever wants to talk to him about all of the charity work he does! Then he only said it because he was asked about it and he is forced to go wherever the interviewer wants to go. And finally, he only said that stuff because it's just the interviewer's interpretation.
"I'm really sorry." Say it with me, now, Super Commando: "I'm really sorry. I was shooting my mouth off, and it was completely wrong and insensitive." Got it?

"It was completely wrong and insensitive, but all I was trying to say was that--"

No, Super Commando! No!

"I'm really sorry."

There you go. Jesus, someone find his handlers. I think they're tied up in a closet somewhere.