Tuesday, January 31, 2006

happy birthday, you bitches.

imagine my delight in coming home after a long day at work and discovering the latest edition of Bitch magazine on my coffee table. and their 10th Birthday issue, to boot!

i had gotten a few email newsletters and updates here and there, so i was aware that their 10th year mark was coming up, but browsing through this issue really brought home what an accomplishment this milestone is for a magazine like Bitch. it's a cold, hard world out there in magazine publishing, and even more so if you're determined not to depend on advertisers that will hopelessly dilute and/or openly contradict any attempts at feminist analysis. so i just want to take a moment to publicly thank Bitch for being a little feminist lifeline in my life - for being the one magazine that i am always happy to see. though i may not always agree with some of the writers or the ideas found within its pages, Bitch is a welcome respite from so much other media that assumes i have the attention span of an eight year old and an I.Q. roughly equivalent to my waist size.

if you don't have a subscription yourself, well christ on a bike, what are you waiting for? go get one!

they just keep coming.

seriously, i am getting a silly number of hits around josh from the true life: i'm moving to NYC episode. i can tell when MTV re-runs it, because i get half a dozen people just desperate to learn more about josh and his wisconsin ways.

anyway. i wanted to get a substantial post up over lunch, but alas, the hour has gotten away from me. file cabinets arrived - yippee. these bankers boxes strewn at my feet have really started to bother me. so now, it's time to start methodically eliminating them from my workspace.

god, i hate tuesdays.

Monday, January 30, 2006

ok, so.

tonight, i watched an episode of #1 Single, that new show on E! about lisa loeb and her trying to find a man in new york.

i kinda loved it.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

tagged with the four meme.

amy has tagged me with the "four meme," and that's cool, because it gives me something to do on a lazy sunday afternoon. without further ado:

Four jobs I’ve had:

1. retail associate (*shudder*)
2. mail delivery person at UMass
3. waitstaff at the catville country club
4. development associate

Four movies I can watch over and over:

1. field of dreams
2. the truman show
3. breakfast at tiffany's
4. six degrees of separation

Four places I’ve lived:

1. catville, ma (i don't know why i'm so recalcitrant to give up the name of my hometown. maybe because i don't want people from high school finding me via google.)
2. amherst, ma
3. boston, ma
4. chicago, il

Four TV shows I love(d):

1. the west wing
2. my so-called life
3. house hunters
4. globe trekker

Four places I’ve vacationed:

1. ireland
2. florida
3. on a cruise ship (belize, honduras, grand cayman, mexico)
4. toronto and ottawa, canada (ottawa was actually a really cute little city!)

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. margaritas (and any mexican food that arrives along with them)
2. buffalo chicken pizza
3. a bento box from ecce cafe
4. pad thai

Four sites I visit daily:

only four?? ok.

1. salon
2. pachycephalosaur
3. ornithology for beginners
4. critical fluff

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. on a beach in southern thailand (we were just looking at their tourism website last night)
2. sitting with SisterCat, Mike, and Kim-Soo, drinking wine and cracking wise
3. on the swingset at mothers beach in kennebunk, maine
4. at a sushi restaurant, eating california rolls

i'm not going to tag people, because i'm not sure who's left to tag! i am uncertain over my ability to sway the few loyal readers who're also bloggers that i have. so you've dodged a bullet, all three or four of you. however, if you want to grab this, please feel free - i will certainly read the random details about your existences as you have so nicely read mine.

Friday, January 27, 2006

friday cat blogging, selfless cold and composed edition.

this is CatCat looking very prim and proper. i think it's the way she sits like that, with both front paws pressed together but still visible. it's like the feline equivalent of sitting with your knees together and your hands folded on your lap.

that is also (thank god) an old rug. we finally got rid of that thing a few months ago and got something a little more respectable. i bought the old one in grad school, and for some reason carted it all the way out here to chicago too. Once CatCat arrived on the scene, her claws finished it off fairly quickly. which was a nice excuse to throw it away.

immune system = hurting.

i am sickly. there's no getting around it. i have had three colds this winter alone, when i usually get one or two a year. my immune system is flailing about in confusion, wondering what's going on. my hunch: job stress.

so anyway, this will be brief. but i wanted to say two things.

1. this morning on the El, i sat across from a woman reading a million little pieces. i mean, i knew this phenomenon was going to happen, but seeing evidence right in front of my face was still startling. what is wrong with people? did you not watch oprah kick james frey's ass yesterday? (well, if you're in chicago, there's a good chance you didn't, since bush decided that would be a fine time to commandeer the airwaves and tell us shit that we already knew. but if you're crazy like me, you could have stayed up til midnight to watch the re-broadcast.)

2. the patching project worked (i think). the results will be final when they come out of their initial run through the washing machine this weekend. i remain quite hopeful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

eat it, jacoby.

through another kate's blog, i found this great post at Pinko Feminist Hellcat about why people are leaving massachusetts in droves. contrary to jeff jacoby's howler-monkey screechings, it's not about gay marriage or liberalism. it's about dollars and cents.

this is a great post, as it manages not only to take on those who would make these ridiculous arguments like jacoby, but everyone who has decided to label all 20 and 30 somethings "slackers." sheelzebub asserts that we're actually not slackers, we're just trying to scrape together enough money to get by with some basic comforts of life, and maybe healthcare and a house someday if we're lucky.


your wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Hobo: I got one thing to say to you: "Thank you." And...I got two things to say to you: "Thank you" and "Flame on!"

--F train

the real story.

the real story i wanted to write this morning was not about moving and jeans. nothing against either topic, as they are nominally important to the functioning of my own life at the moment, but the willful frivolity of the post below is not really truthful.

the headline on the Tribune's website today is Chicago's Rape Epidemic. this actually elicited a wry smile from me when i first read it - this is news? the prevalence of rape is news to people? this just in: the pope is catholic. then, against my better judgement, i clicked through the morning news. on CBS2 we got a report of an unidentified man in his 30s who is breaking into women's dorm rooms at northwestern. he isn't assaulting them or stealing anything; apparently, accordingly to broadcaster man, he just likes to "watch girls sleep." over on NBC5, we get a story of one woman in aurora who was not quite so lucky. she came home to her apartment to find a man in a ski mask jumping out of her closet, who then raped her, stole her stuff, and fled.

ok. this is a big part of why i go through phases of attempting to avoid news media in general. the combination of sensationalism, voyeurism, and plain old fear-mongering become hard to handle after awhile. but still, when i see two particular stories like i did on tv this morning, combined with the Trib's "yeah, no kidding" headline, i feel sick to my stomach. because regardless of the statistical improbablity of being assaulted by a stranger, it happens. statistics are no comfort to that woman in aurora today. and what did she do wrong? nothing. her problem was being a woman. that's all. being in the wrong place at the wrong time (which, ironically, was her own home) and being female.

really, how can anyone look at the reality of these three news stories and not be struck by how our society treats women? how can anyone reconcile the prevalence of rape with the idea that feminism "got what it wanted" and women are considered equals? how do you take two and two and not come up with four?

if society truly valued women, the incidence of rape would be vastly diminished. i don't think you're ever going to eradicate rape - it's hard to eradicate anything - but it would certainly be less widespread that it is today. and don't talk to me about declining crime statistics overall, because i know and that's great, but it doesn't change the fact that women are still raped every day. but beyond the actual instance of rape, the issue grows roots and takes hold in the way that a society actually reacts to rape - which, in our case, is without a real sense of seriousness or condemnation. according to the department of justice, the average time served on a rape conviction is about five years. for a sexual assault conviction, it is just under three years. and we all know how many rapists actually end up being convicted.

truthfully, we don't forcefully condemn rape because it is not in society's interest to do so. rape is a tool of any patriarchal society, and a very powerful and effective one at that. it is used to instill fear, to keep a portion of the population cowed and frightened, back on their heels in a defensive position. how often do we see the burden of preventing rape put on women? don't walk alone at night! don't live alone! carry mace! take self-defense! don't talk back, don't go to his room, don't drink, don't wear that skirt! and by god, it works. we live in fear. it doesn't matter if it's a statistically improbable fear - when i am walking down a street at dusk, with the streetlights barely on, and i hear footsteps behind me where a second ago there were none, that momentary flush of panic is real.

i resent that. i resent the way that my society forces me to live this way. i resent the fact that if i were raped tomorrow, in the year 2006, what i was wearing would still be a matter of discussion. i resent being told that it's up to me to stop men from assaulting my bodily integrity. i resent how the anchorman on NBC reports a rape, shakes his head sadly, and then moves on seamlessly to the traffic report.

end of an era.

if almost eighteen months can be considered an era. yesterday, we finished packing up nonprofitland's old office, and today around noon i will head to the new office, where hopefully i will encounter all of the boxes i just packed up over the last week. that's the bitch about moving - you feel like you're finished when the last cardboard box is taped and labeled (though with house moves you might even have to load the truck and move the boxes too, but luckily here we're paying someone to do it), but you aren't! those boxes just rematerialize in a new place, to be unpacked and sorted through and organized. at least i get to wear jeans and sneakers today.

speaking of jeans: i also thought i should end the desperate suspense that i most certainly left you all in when i mentioned the latest transaction in the search for the Holy Grail. do you think i bought the $190 Seven jeans? oh, hell no, you know i didn't! not that they even fit. not that anything in that damn store fit. they had a wall of jeans that cost a ton of money! you'd think one pair would fit! but no, i think in retrospect i was actually less likely to find a pair that fit at the hip lincoln park denim bar. why? my theory: designers don't want girls who don't look like models wearing their jeans. now i am not a very big girl, but there is a definite curve factor - the waist to hip ratio is pretty serious. this apparently puts me out of the running for high-end jeans, as my hip size was pushing the limit of the sizes that they carried (they probably went three or four sizes higher, but these were waist sizes, 29, 30, 31, etc, and not the double sizes you find in regular ol' stores). and of course i wanted to bludgeon all the other little trixies in there, giggling about how "oh, i'm a 25. oh, i don't know, i love both these pairs, which one should i get? oh, maybe i'll just get them both!"

*grits teeth and walks out of the store empty handed.*

but anyway. i did buy a pair at the brown elephant for eight bucks (eight bucks!!) that actually seem to fit. jesus h. christ, it's too good to be true, right?? well, yes. because after i come out of the fitting room, i notice there's a five inch rip just to the left of one of the back pockets. shit! so close! so i decided, you know what, i'll just buy them, buy a two dollar iron on patch, and conjure my inner domestic goddess. if i succeed, voila, ten dollar jeans. if i fail, well, it was only ten bucks.

cross your fingers - if this works, i'll have a pair of jeans that fit and i won't subject you to this juvenile prattling about pants any longer!

Monday, January 23, 2006

a deluge of cardboard and packing tape.

ok, a few quick thoughts before i am overrun by moving supplies and am unable to reach the keyboard:

1. i was going to blog about the 33rd anniversary of roe v. wade this weekend, but it just got me too depressed. i am too depressed about too many things at this point to willingly put myself in a frame of mind to get more depressed, so i just didn't do it. i have slapped myself on the wrist with the "bad feminist" ruler, and now i am moving on. i'm sure i can work up a healthy dose of outrage about reproductive rights in the near future, but right now, i am sans angry energy. at least, as far as all that goes.

2. my search for the holy grail, a.k.a. a pair of jeans that fit, had some interesting ups and downs this weekend. i went from trying on $190 Seven jeans in lincoln park to $8 thrift-store-rack stuff in boystown. i purchased one pair. which one? i'm not telling yet! but the odyssey is not over, so more self-absorbed rambling about this soon.

3. go steelers!

4. i have managed to lose two winter hats in three weeks. i found one, and promptly lost another. this is my subconscious trying to tell me something, though i can't quite figure out what. kinda like the dream i had last night, where i had these weird barnacle-like growths on my legs. gross! in the dream, i was like, oh my god! why have i never noticed these before? why have i not freaked out about this before?? and then i woke up and thought, because you were only dreaming. so bizarre.

Friday, January 20, 2006

friday cat blogging, fat bastard edition.

i told you this was coming. this is CatCat looking her fattest....

with alien eyes to boot.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

among strangers.

"Then I think - Where? Where feels like home?...That time when I was twelve when we went to the Gaeltacht - our first time away from home - the other little girls sobbed for a day or two before they settled down. But I wasn't any more homesick than usual. I think you can be born homesick. I think you can have a dislocated heart. No place will do. The most wonderful home in the world full of the most love wouldn't be enough for you - you'd keep looking around for where you belong." -nuala o'faolain

the other day, coming back to my neighborhood from downtown, i got off the 146 bus at the intersection of roscoe and the inner drive. the underpass to the lakefront was just to my right, and time was plentiful, so i walked under the rush of traffic and emerged in front of belmont harbor. i had my hat and scarf on, though the wind off the lake wasn't very bad, and my iPod was tucked in my pocket. i sat at the edge of the choppy water, listening to fiona and tom petty and tori and rilo kiley. i watched the people around me - couples in expensive shoes strolling along together, joggers running in pairs or alone, two round middle-aged women, bundled up in big fleece coats, taking pictures of each other with the lake and skyline as their backdrop.

after a little while, i started making my way back to the street, and i realized that i rather enjoyed the sensation that i was an observer, someone who felt apart from the scene and watched it passively. i didn't feel like i belonged there, sitting on lake michigan, or walking the sidewalks and pathways alongside it, but i actually enjoyed that feeling. after a year and a half of living in this city, i've struck a comfortable balance between outsider and insider - i am comfortable enough with my surroundings and my understanding of them that i can go downtown without consulting a transit map or asking directions, and yet i can walk around still feeling like there is so much that i don't know.

and now, just as i've reached that cozy midpoint between newcomer and settled resident, i get an itch to move on - to start all over again. to find a new city where eventually, i can look out the window over an intersection and know where the uneven pavement is, which storefront has just closed, and which bus routes groan and hiss by every fifteen minutes - but still feel a random pang of loneliness, still feel that moment of "how did i get here?" rushing over me. that strange and beautiful feeling that you could belong, but you know that you don't.

home is a fascinating concept. i do have a home, in the sense that my parents live in the house i grew up in, and will always make a place there for me if and when i need one. for that, i am very lucky and grateful. however, in the long run, their home is not cut out to be my home. and i have to wonder, like nuala, if there will ever be a place that feels like my singular home. i have to wonder if i want there to be one. because for now, as odd as it sounds, small victories over places, small inroads into life in a certain spot at a certain time, seem really appealing to me. i like the idea that i can try it anywhere, and that maybe sometime soon, BoyCat and i will unpack our bags in some new apartment on some new city street, and i will grab my coat and my iPod and venture outside - a strange face among strangers.

imagine my surprise at this boston.com headline.

He's baaaaack...

oh, the intrigue! i can hardly stand it!

i was already missing his baseball acumen and boyish good looks.


if you've got the time, click over to pandagon and check out amanda's recent riff on how "anti-abortion" really means "anti-choice." an enjoyable snippet:

I suggest applying abstinence-only logic to other areas of life. For instance, if you dare leave the house and associate with other people, you run a high risk of catching cold. And yet no one suggests that you be denied antibiotics because you were irresponsible by refusing the 100% surefire way of never catching cold by never leaving your house or seeing other people. Only when it comes to matters of fertility do we consider forcing doctors to withhold treatment as a way to punish people–and what we’re punishing, of course, is having sex.

amanda raises some very good points in this post, as usual, and it's worth a read. her final statement, though, struck an off note for me: "'pro-lifers' are not at all 'pro-life' so much as they are anti-choice."

in many ways, i agree with this theory. i think at its heart, the 30,000 foot view of the anti-abortion movement shows that it's not so much about saving babies as it is about imposing morality and punishment. however, the 30,000 foot view is almost always a theoretical one. do i think that blue-collar christians in kansas, or montana, or massachusetts for that matter all consciously think about how they want to punish women who have sex out of wedlock? no. maybe some do, but i doubt that the majority are functioning with that intention. for them, having received the indoctrination of abortion is murder from church figures and conservative politicians - having drank that propaganda kool-aid - they honestly believe that abortion is killing a child.

i, of course, would argue vociferously with that conclusion, but as amanda points out, that's a wild goose chase. it's also immaterial, as the matter can never be definitively decided (and don't tell me about "potential scientific advances" that might unearth an answer, because that's not possible - no matter how much we come to understand about gestation and "when life begins," there will always be a grey-area morality involving the worth of a potential life versus the worth of the actual life incubating it). however, there are other ways of entering into a discussion with anti-abortion people who believe it's a moral wrong to terminate a pregnancy - there's the fact that morality is at its foundation a personal issue, there's the fact of weighing moral wrongs, there's the fact of the church being separate from the state, etc. we can have these debates, while being somewhat sensitive to the fact that these people have been led to believe a certain way, and they won't react kindly to being told outright that they're dupes. in other words - while the anti-abortion movement is ripe with anti-woman sentiment and is ultimately out to relegate women to a lower status, our response has to be more nuanced than just shouting that from the hilltops.

the conservative christian movement has done a bang-up job of convincing many americans that they are morally superior by opposing abortion, and that by virtue of that moral superiority, they should be able to impose their views on those who disagree. the pro-choice movement of the last 20 years has yet to figure out an effective way to address that fact. i'm not saying i have the answer, or even that i'm original in identifying this problem - i just want to point out that unfortunately, it's more complicated that we'd like it to be.

i'm sorry.

this morning, i yelled at the lady on the honey bunches of oats commercial. you know, the one with the hair net?

now i feel bad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

anniversaries abound.

BoyCat and i saw rick bayless yesterday.

if you're from chicago, or a total food network junkie, you'll know that rick is a pretty well-known chicago chef who specializes in mexican food and runs two good mexican restaurants downtown - frontera grill and topolobampo. he does a show on chicago public tv called "mexico one plate at a time" that is strangely enjoyable. rick himself is odd, slightly annoying but a little more slightly engaging, and between that and all the mexican food i've found myself watching the show more than a few times.

anyway, BoyCat and i went to frontera grill last night to celebrate our three year anniversary. (we were involved in that weird, not-really-dating, sort of passive-aggressive and definitely confusing kind of way for about four months prior to january of 2003, but we don't really count that!) we were happy to be a little low-key about the event, forgoing presents or elaborate anything for a nice mexican meal. we'd never been to frontera before, so we thought it'd be a good choice, and it was - the food was not outrageously priced, offered good basic mexican dishes, and it was really tasty. and then, at the end of the meal, we spotted the rickster himself hanging out over by the kitchen.

i dared BoyCat to go over and say, "oooh, rick, i love your plantanos!," but he wouldn't do it.

but that wasn't the only anniversary that we celebrated this week. today is also our one year anniversary of having CatCat! we didn't take her out to dinner or anything, but we did pick her up and squeeze her and tell her we loved her. earlier tonight i was remembering the first night we had her, when she sat under the dining room table most of the night, and i could only get her to venture out a few inches so i could pet her right before i went to bed. then she went right back under the table and settled back down, so i went to sleep figuring i would try to befriend her more the next day.

then, at around 2:00 am, i heard little paws padding into the bedroom and a tiny little squeak that bordered on a meow. there was CatCat at the foot of the bed, inquiring after some attention. she hopped up and let me pet her for a few minutes, and then curled up at the foot of the bed with us.

we've been friends ever since. awwww, so cute you could puke, right? pukey, but true.

i do love my two pseudonymous Cats.

carnival time.

they're back at it.......

The Carnival of Feminists, seventh edition, for your reading pleasure. this carnival's theme is "feminism and pop culture." i will be clicking away furiously when i get home from work, and you should too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

code red. this is serious. seriously serious.

ok, people, the jeans problem has just intensified exponentially.

is that scary enough language? i hope so. because i almost had a slight heart attack today when i laid down on my bed while wearing my one pair of good jeans, and noticed that the seam on my left hip looked a little funny. upon investigation with my index finger and thumb, it was discovered that there is actually A HOLE developing along the seam. about an inch of fabric was just receding from the stitching, having had enough of being part of a functional piece of clothing. i freaked out, yelled incoherent things for a few minutes, shook my hands like homer simpson, you know. then i realized i could just, you know, sew up the hole. but that is just a temporary band-aid on this ticking time-bomb of a situation.

because you know this is just the tip of the ice berg. i've been wearing these jeans for so long, and now that they're the only pair i own that actually fit and that i actually like, i wear them exclusively. so sooner or later, they are bound to start falling apart. i will stave off the inevitable for as long as i can with a needle and some navy blue thread, but there's only so much an incompetent seamstress can do.

to compound things, i went to the levi's store on monday, and guess what? they don't do the custom jeans thing anymore. so, even if i wanted to drop a buck fifty on a pair of jeans there, i couldn't. so, i tried on four different cuts in two sizes each, and still.....nothing. this jean hunt was slightly ridiculous before, but now? now that i've been to the levi's store (levi's! the original maker of jeans!) and still been unable to find a pair that fits, what next?


next up: i'm going to a place called The Blue Jeans Bar in lincoln park and, if i do buy a pair that fit, spend way to much money in order to possess them. i will keep you posted.

Monday, January 16, 2006

holiday observations.

1. well, it was a fairly disappointing football weekend overall, with two of the three teams i was rooting for eliminated from the playoffs. this sadness was mitigated, however, with the utter glee of watching Saint Peyton and his Colts brought down by the Steelers. holy shit, what a game that was. there was the horrendous officiating (since when does a guy catching the ball, hitting the ground with both knees, and maintaining control not constitute an interception??), the nail-biting defensive manuevers, that surreal Bettis fumble, then that even more surreal Roethlisberger tackle, then the missed field goal? my god. it was almost heart stopping. but i am very pleased with the outcome, because i just cannot stand Manning. that smug little prick - walking around like he's god's gift to football. did anybody else see that 4th down play where Dungy sent the punt team onto the field and Manning waved them off?? and Dungy did nothing?? seriously...my friend from pittsburgh noted, "Cowher would have gone out on the field and dragged him off by the helmet." and nothing against Dungy, i think he's a great coach, but how are you going to let yourself be disrespected like that? whose team is this, anyway? unreal. and then after the loss, in the press room, Manning's trying to "find a safe word" with which to criticize his offensive line? well, honey, you're certainly going to need a safe word after managing to point a finger in public at the guys charged with protecting your ass week in and week out. good luck.

2. i was watching dawson's creek this morning (shut up), and i sort of can't believe that the Michelle Williams of that first season is the Michelle Williams who could go home with a golden globe for best supporting actress tonight. and she'd deserve it - she was freaking fantastic in Brokeback Mountain. however, this is the woman who decided that in this morning's episode, the best was to play Jen Lindley as a convincing teenage drunk is to puke into her hand, and not over the fence like any normal person. seven years later, there's oscar talk. miracles do happen.

3. women, please stop wearing trucker hats. right this second. ditto with the Uggs.

4. you know what demographic i feel really bad hating but usually do it anyway? those slightly elderly ladies that stock up on random amalgamations of things at the drug store, and then hold up the line for 10 minutes getting everything out of their cart (there are carts, at walgreen's! who knew?) and spreading their coupons out and arguing over 30 cents here and 65 cents there. i want to bludgeon these women with stacks of Us Weekly, or bins of Chapstick, or whatever else is handy while i wait interminably to buy a roll of toilet paper and some dish soap. i'm sorry old ladies, i know you mean me no malice, but i want to kill you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

can i tell you a secret?

i love watching Nanny 911.

why? why do i get such pleasure from watching a variety of dysfunctional families with insane children get disciplined by british nannies?

well, when i put it that way, i'm not sure i want to know.

but really - i said to BoyCat last night about 20 minutes into the episode about the Graham family, "this show is like crack!" if it's on, i inevitably end up watching it - i can't help it. maybe it makes me feel a little bit better about my own life. hell, my job is ridiculous and the brick walls in our apartment are slowly disintegrating and there's almost no food in the house, but at least i'm not the Graham family!

oh, the Grahams, they were quite a little clan. they live in a big brick (probably brick facade) McMansion outside chicago, where dad is an ER doctor and mom is (wait for it) a stay-at-home mom. they have four boys - one 13 year old from mom's previous marriage, a six year old, and four year old twins. the kids play video games all day every day, and when they're not playing video games, they're pummeling each other and/or the dog. oh, and screaming. screaming that would make your ears bleed after an hour or two. it was utter chaos in that house, to a degree that i can't even imagine living with. and yet, the parents - despite the fact that they are being filmed for a show called Nanny 911 and not Parents of the Year - wanted nothing to do with Nanny Deb's suggestions for improving their household. what it came down to was that it was easier for them to let the kids play video games four hours a day than actually, you know, entertain the kids themselves. dad works a whole "30-40 hours a week" and thus really needs his downtime, and mom, well, mom has "things to get done." why bother also trying to parent your children, when you can just warm up the Game Cube?

perhaps i'm not being fair. well, i'm sure i'm not being fair, because editing is everything and i really know nothing about the Grahams. but the whole thing - and so many episodes of Nanny 911 - just reek of obvious problems and obvious solutions, that you just end up staring slack-jawed at the mounting insanity and thinking, "you idiots."

of course, that's a big part of the allure - feeling oh so much smarter than these clueless people. but even being aware of that, god, it's still fun when you can make pretty accurate predictions about how long it will take to hear statements like "boys will be boys!" and "who do you think cares more about parenting - a stay-at-home mom, or the woman that makes enough money to pay you to parent their kids??"

oooooh, snap. but you're still on Nanny 911.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

wahoo, a wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Drunk girl: And shrimp is round. Not a color, but round. Fuck that! I'm going home!

--Dumpling Man, St. Marks

and more. plus, i'm freaking angry.

ok, linkfest, i know, but really you should read ayelet waldman's article on salon, I was conned by JT Leroy. usually i'm not a huge fan, but her take on it is interesting. the following is partly what i was trying to get at in the debate BoyCat and i had last night:

The larger question...is the morality of courting people's sympathies, including mine, by exploiting the issues of AIDS, homelessness, teenage castaways and transgenderism. Wasn't Albert and Knoop's assumption of these victim identities in order to achieve fame and fortune immoral, even evil? Doesn't it belittle the experience of everyone who has really suffered as they only pretended to?

Her own response to these hypothetical questions is interesting, as well.

Yes, of course. And yet somehow I'm not as troubled by this particular thing. It probably did little harm, except to the egos of those of us who were fooled, and it probably did some good, if the books themselves found an audience among the very people JT was pretending to be. I'm much more troubled by James Frey's actions in perpetrating a similar fraud. I view him as far more venal, more absurdly self-aggrandizing, and dangerous. Because Frey actually tried to convince people that his "recovery" could inspire them in a specific way. If they acted as he did, if they followed his lead, they too could be saved. JT Leroy's creators presented a model of redemption, not a prescription for it.

this seems pretty perceptive to me. however, i have trouble agreeing with the conclusion that "it probably did some good, if the books themselves found an audience among the very people JT was pretending to be." i think maybe it did, right up until the moment that Leroy was revealed to be a fraud. the implication of that revelation, at least as i see it, is that what the fraud says to those "very people" is your existence is not important, so much so that i can just make it up as i go along. i can claim your voice as my own, and make money off of it, and fuck all what you care about it. your life is just fodder for my mill, and by extent, everyone's mill. it's entertainment.


what i'm angry about is actually unrelated to literary scandal. it's jeans, and Oprah.

firstly - why on earth can i not find a pair of jeans that fit me? i know this is a common tale of woe, but seriously people, i cannot find a pair of jeans that i could wear out of the house. i eternally damn to hell the forces that inflicted "ultra low rise" upon society. i would really love to be able to purchase a pair of jeans that don't make me eligible for Indecent Exposure charges when i sit down in public. the low rise problem is compounded by the fact that i have a really small waist but pretty sizable hips (curse you, MomCat, curse you!). apparently, no one else in the world is shaped like this, and if they are, they are apparently not allowed to wear jeans. today at the GAP i literally tried on a dozen pairs of jeans, six different cuts in two sizes each. nothing. nothing even close to wearable. i am getting ready to walk into some high-end michigan avenue store, supplicate myself, and beg for a pair of jeans that fit, whatever the cost. this, of course, would be unadvisable, but i am almost, almost there.

secondly - why on earth does everyone in the world think that Oprah should be the solution to all of nonprofitland's problems? and by problems, i mean fundraising needs. i get this all the time, from people involved with the agency from the outside, from people involved with the agency from closer to the inside, even from people in the foundation world who should know better! "what about Oprah? maybe she could help." "how about Oprah's foundation, you're based in chicago." "oh, maybe Oprah?" ok, here's the deal. Oprah does not run around chicago tossing bags of money into the street! Oprah does not ride down the street in a sleigh slinging presents into worthwhile non-profits! you cannot just call up Oprah, tell her you need some money, and get a check the next day! Oprah IS NOT AN OPTION, so stop trying to put us off of asking you for money by suggesting i peek into Oprah's piggy bank! i already have, and it ain't happening! so shut up about it already!!

phew. i feel better.


from the New York Times, some follow-up on the Frey fall-out.

also, the ramifications of both unmaskings for hollywood.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

deceitful above all things, indeed.

so, i'm sure you've heard. you know, about James Frey being a total liar and JT Leroy not even really existing.

for some reason, i am completely and totally fascinated by this. technically, they are two different stories with two different sets of ramifications, but the fact that they both broke within 48 hours of each other? holy shit. it makes it difficult to process in its entirety. being a girl who studied and analyzed books and authors for a solid six-year stretch (never mind all that pesky work i did in high school), this is like a gold mine for my little brain. where to start, where to start?

i'd say the issue of authenticity is central here. both cases are so shocking because the authors claimed to be "authentically" something, and it turned out to be a lie. the Leroy case is a little more complicated in that "JT Leroy" wrote (in my understanding) autobiographical fiction, but the autobiography on which his fiction was based was a fabrication. This makes the judgement more difficult - what, exactly, is wrong with the fact that a 40-ish woman musician wrote under the guise of a teenage transgendered former prostitute? other than the fact that she didn't, you know, tell anyone that.

BoyCat and i found that we disagree on the answer to this question. he, in sum, doesn't think there's anything wrong with Laura Albert's deception per se, but that the problem begins when she (and her other partners in crime, her husband and sister-in-law) eventually embellished the tale to include Leroy's HIV-positive status, and used that to curry sympathy and favor from well-minded people. BoyCat is unwilling to condemn her for merely creating the original fabrication. i, on the other hand, am totally willing to do that. my instinct is to say "of course it's wrong!," but i'm have a harder time pinning down a reason why.

in trying to figure out why what Albert and her co-horts did was "wrong," i find a tangle of things knotted up in my mind: the authorial voice, fiction, non-fiction, minorities and the disadvantaged, ego, greed, good writing, bad intentions. and i don't even know the full story - who knows why Albert did this? on the surface, it seems to be about finding a way into a publishing industry with certain predilections and biases, and then exploiting that industry and its money-making ability for personal gain. but who knows? we certainly never will. even if Albert ends up writing a tell-all book about her reasons "why," it will never be a three dimensional picture of the truth. so i'm left with this bad taste in my mouth - with a sense that some unspoken rule has been broken, with a sense that someone who never even existed has been wronged. and yet, i find myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all. oh, the contradictions, the conundrums - the ridiculousness of it all!

and James Frey, well, that's a little more cut and dry. this guy wildly exaggerated or out-and-out fabriacated an autobiography of himself, made millions off of it, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. what will Oprah do? seriously, what will she do?? ooooh, i really hope she does something. because it seems to me like there's nothing Oprah likes less than being made a fool of. if you haven't had a chance to read the Smoking Gun report that i linked above, you should - it's fairly jaw-dropping. it seems to me like TSG ended up having a serious ax to grind with Frey by the end of the whole investigative process - part of me wonders how much he managed to dig his own grave here by acting like an arrogant, juvenile, "who-me-no-way-i'm-invincible" prick.

all in all, the publishing industry has had a wild beginning to their week. you do have to wonder how this kind of blatant hoaxery (just made that word up, i like it - is there even a plural noun form of "hoax"?) got past the sentinels so relentlessly and continually. will heads roll? will books burn? will Oprah kill?

stay tuned.

Monday, January 09, 2006

the good, and the bad.

on the down side:

i left my hat in the car over the weekend, so i was forced to leave the apartment today wearing dark brown boots, a camel coat, and a black hat and scarf. oh, the shame.

on the up side:

i just got a raise. whoa.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

indignities du jour.

Media Girl observes that in south dakota, women are like cows.

Shakespeare's Sister informs us that in indiana, men know how a woman's "health or life would be permanently impaired," and it's sure as shit not by bearing a child that she doesn't want.

Friday, January 06, 2006

friday cat blogging, last of 'the early years' collection.

holy crap was she skinny. she is looking in the direction of the kitchen, with a crazed look in her eye. this was probably day 3 or 4 of her tenure here. look how tense she is.

it will be a year on january 18th that CatCat has lived with us. if i do say so myself, she's had it pretty good so far. as evidence - fat pictures, crazy pictures, and fat and crazy pictures to come.

on a completely unrelated note, we just finished watching "me and you and everyone we know." i think i liked it.

my nerdy laugh-out-loud moment of the day.

finding this on Post Secret.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

real quick like, before i fall into bed.

i have some real posts percolating in my brain, but they will have to wait until that most noble of organs can figure out how to translate said percolations into actual, readable sentences.

see above for exhibit A of this problem.

a few thoughts, though, that i feel oddly compelled to share:

- i really need to put in a new pair of contacts. i am one of those abusers of the two-week limit, you know, where i just wear them until they make my eyeballs hurt. well, my eyeballs hurt.

- mtv's true life has the ability to draw me in like no other tv show. if i haven't told you about the wonder that was true life: i have a summer share (on the jersey shore!), well, i'm going to commit 3 or 4 future posts to doing just that. tonight's episode was not quite that good, but true life: i'm moving to new york was still highly entertaining. i can't even get into all of it now, it's just too much to process, but the favorite character of BoyCat and i by far was josh, a 20 year old from wisconsin who moved to new york to become a model. if josh had three brain cells, then they must've been fighting with each other at all times. and he had a wisconsin accent. and he fell asleep on camera at a "burrito world." that's all i can say.

- CatCat is in some kind of highly agitated state right now. she has attacked BoyCat's glasses sitting on the edge of the couch, leapt at low-hanging christmas ornaments (i'm taking the tree down tomorrow, really), and has spent the last five minutes attempting to peer behind the cable box and dvd player, in order to get at some invisible menace that's lurking there. the catnip mice scattered around on the floor are usually the extent of CatCat's entertainment, so this is intriguing. if someone finds BoyCat and i dead via clawing tomorrow, you'll know whodunit.

real quick like, before my morning meeting. UPDATED...TWICE!

i must get west of the mississippi! i must! i mean christ, looks like i've got the eastern part of the country mainly under control. i'd be embarrassed by BoyCat's map, i'm sure...

update: ok, i know this looks really ugly on my template, but i don't really care.

update 2: i was correct, BoyCat did kick my ass in U.S. travel. ok, in world travel too (they have a map for that, but i would be so mortified by displaying mine that i'd crawl under the couch and never come out). oh, and he also showed me how to make the map fit within my post space, because apparently in addition to being better traveled, he is also smarter than me.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

just enough time for a wednesday one-liner.

this one is near and dear to my heart, and courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Girl: He doesn't smell that bad for an academic.

--Gotham Bar & Grill, East 12th Street

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

new things.

so, after reading my last post, many of you are probably assuming that my new year's resolution for 2006 was "start smoking crack." this is understandable, but untrue. i actually haven't really made resolutions per se - they're more like mini-resolutions. pseudo-resolutions. sorta-kinda-resolutions.

what can i say, i hedge my bets.

anyway, one of these resolutions is to write more, period. i have two degrees in this, for god's sake (it sounds funny to say that my degrees are in "english," when i think a more apt description would be "reading and writing stuff."). i should do more of it. so what better place than a blog, with its total lack of restriction or structure, to play around and write in some different ways? the point is, don't be surprised by anything this year. except for poetry - i will not subject you to poetry, i promise. really, it wouldn't work out well for any of us.

and on that note about all the writing i'll be doing, try not to miss me too much over the next two weeks as i submerge myself in nonprofitland work. two weeks, many proposals, a photo project to coordinate, and an entire office move. i will try to post whenever i come up for air.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

at night.

my apartment, late at night, is a place with which i'm not entirely familiar. i am a night person, but not a late night person - i am 12:45 a.m, not 3:30 am. during what most would consider "the middle of the night," i am usually asleep. i sleep lightly, and because of this i wake up intermittently, shuffle to the bathroom, wander back.

these moments of half wakefulness can yield interesting results. i have often just been roused from dreaming, and as i move through the bedroom doorway i rub my forehead and the bridge of my nose, trying to make sense of the nonsensical. trying to snatch out a bit of meaning from whatever bizarre scenario my subconscious was playing out, or sometimes, trying to stamp down some unruly emotion or memory my waking mind usually has the intelligence to forget. trying, in the few moments that i'm awake, to understand the previous sleep.

i usually fail on all counts.

the other night, i walked out of the bathroom around 4:30 am, readjusting my eyes to the darkness after a few moments of light. ususally, i just turn right, and then left, and then push the door, and then push it shut again without hesitation - with a bit of haste, in fact, because dark unseeable space is deeply unsettling to me. even though it is my apartment, and i can see the thick outline of the couches and bookshelves and dining room table, there are pockets of nothing between them that can't be penetrated. anything could be there. so i scurry past, not wanting to know.

but the other night, i slowed down. the other night, i looked, and everything was tinged blue. it was like the blue of a television set that's on in the dark, but the television was outside. it came through every window, it came from under the front door. it bounced off the walls, and the furniture, and tinted the floor.

i'm sure that there is an explanation for this. the hour of day, probably. (though it seemed too early for late winter light, this was like a precursor to light. light's harbinger.) and i didn't even ponder it for more than three seconds before i continued my scripted journey back to bed. but why did this, of all things, arrest my attention in my half-sleep? and why am i thinking about it now?

maybe because the very beginning of illumination, in that particular drowsy moment of my life, was a beautiful shade of blue. and it required nothing of me except to notice it.

i was asleep again in seconds.