Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Why, you ask, would I have passed on this skirt?
Clearly, this whole vanity sizing thing is out of control if I am now a size 0.
So if you find yourself feeling excessively belligerent, hungry, if you suspect you are coming down with something, and have thoughts about shuffling off this mortal coil, it may not be due to all the stress of the holidays. The cause of your distress may be standing right next to you in checkout line.
Don't worry, though. Rumor has it, they have hung up their saddles and are every bit as enamored of cheap cashmere and 500 thread count sheets as the rest of us.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I covet these candy cane shot glasses.
However, I think these would be incredibly dangerous for someone like me. Because while my first thought is "yum", my second thought is "how many shots would it take to get those to dissolve?" And trust me on this one, I have more self-control and, apparently, a stronger desire to know THE TRUTH than Mr. Owl.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I'll admit, every time I see a photo of Barbara Bush, I am reminded of that scene in Austin Powers when Austin is introduced to Basil Exposition's mother and Austin attempts to remove her "wig" while shouting, "that's not your mother, that's a man, baby!" Something about her just strikes me as off.
And now I found this article which suggests she is the actually the love child of British occultist Aleister Crowley (a.k.a "The Wickedest Man In The World") and feel that everything is explained. I mean, it certainly places her comments that Hurricane Katrina refugees who had been evacuated to Texas were "underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them" into a context. And if you believe that there is a genetic component to drug use and addiction, it explains her son's well publicized alcoholism, as well as his religious zeal.
However, as wonderful an explanation as this is for our President, I must remain skeptical as this conspiracy theory fails to offer any insight into why Dick Cheney is the way he is.
P.S. Before anyone gets angry, please remember that I called myself a Cylon yesterday.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
According to this website's advice on How To Spot A Cylon, these are some defining characteristics for which humans should be on the lookout
★Do they ask questions about classified subjects?I don't want to alarm anyone (Fred) but it would seem that Julian and I are Cylons. Julian gets a bit emotionally attached to trucks and televisions and he is a frightening little sociopath (though some may call this normal toddler behavior and the so-called defenseless children with whom he associates display similar behavior). Not to mention that he is unusually strong and fearless (though, again, does death have meaning for a toddler?) As for me, I hear music no one else can hear and I have developed an unnatural attachment to this laptop computer. Admittedly, I am an older model, farther back in the evolutionary process.
★Do they seem unusually strong, smart or self-assured?
★Do they say God instead of Gods?
★Have you seen them before, but you know it's not the same person?
★Do you see them hanging around secured or restricted areas?
★Do they seem to hear music that no one else can hear?
★Do they seem unusually fearless, as if death has no meaning for them?
★Do they exhibit sociopathic behavior around other humans, especially defenseless children?
★Are they unusually adept, almost empathic, with machines?
★Does their spine glow red when they get... excited?
I am telling you all this for your own good. You must remember, the Cylons look like us now. Be aware. Be vigilant.
Monday, December 17, 2007
My friend, Maria, used to say that she was planning on having no regrets and would "never to be able to climb onstage with Frank Sinatra." She said this back when we were nineteen. I am pretty sure that if I asked her, today, that she, like the rest of us, would be able to name one or two things she would have done differently, if she had the chance.
However, as much as I like to complain about how tragic and sad my life is, I don't know that I have any big regrets, or at least, nothing that was within my power to have gone differently. yes, I look back and think I should have handled certain events in my past differently, but in order to have done that, I would need to know then what I know now and that wouldn't be possible.
A few weeks ago, I posted a video of the Doctor Who Children in Need 2007 special wherein Doctor Number 10 (David Tennant) encounters Doctor Number 5 (Peter Davison). It was sweet. Also, it mirrored a wish I have had that I could go back in time and tell my younger self that everything will work out, that I will be okay, that no matter how weak and hopeless I feel in the moment, I have the strength to get through it, that my future is not as bleak as I may have felt it to be.
Which brings me to New Order's song Regret.
It was released in the spring of 1993, when I was working on my thesis and looking with terror at the yawning abyss of the unknown that was the future. I remember sitting in my bedroom, at the computer, typing away. I remember how afraid I was at the prospect that I couldn't count on staying friends with anyone once I left, that I would no longer be a student, and that I would officially be an adult in every sense of the word.
So I listen to this song and it feels like a conversation between my 21 year old self and my 35 year old self across the fourteen year span (with a few comments by my older self to Fred, explaining the person I once was to them, though Fred actually knew me back then, so really, he doesn't need much clarification). And I can see that girl I once was an say "It will be all right, you may regret everything now, but someday, you won't. You may lose people along the way, but you will find others who mean more to you and you may renew some of these friendships which you are so sure you will lose. You'll be happy for every single moment, you will not want to change a thing."
Of course, the way we know it is a song and imaginary the fact that if this were some sort of time machine, there would have been a line which could be interpreted as "you had better stop mooning over these issues and work a little harder on that thesis, missy, because you will regret that spending all this time being depressed over a boy and over the future when you could have spent it researching and writing."
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I understand anger. I understand saying things you cannot take back. I understand being hurt. What I cannot understand is suddenly losing the love you felt for someone else.
Understand it or not, it seems like it is a constant theme in my life. I become friends with someone, that person continuously tells me how cool I am, how much I mean to them, and then I am abandoned. And because I do not understand how someone can suddenly cease to care, I keep banging my head against the wall, trying to break through and renew the bonds of friendship that have been severed.
As you may well imagine, I am a bit skittish when it comes to making new friends. I hesitate because, frankly, I don't want to risk giving a piece of my heart to someone who will carelessly discard it. And my fear that this will happen makes me tedious with the friends I already have (for is there anything more tedious than having someone suspect you will grow tired of them or so insulting as having one constantly doubt your loyalty?) Someone I knew in college once described it as "putting so much importance on the last six seconds and ignoring the last six months."
I tell myself that just because this happened to me when I was ten (then my friend abandoned me because I skipped a grade and she didn't. Also, I was told later, because I started to develop breasts), just because this happened to me when I was sixteen (that time, the friendship ended because my best friend did what he had done many times before, blew up at me and stormed off, but that time I didn't call him to apologize for whatever I had done that had set him off-not that I ever knew, but I had previously apologized, all the same), just because this happened in college, does not mean it will happen to me as an adult. In theory, adults are more mature and simply do not have time for that sort of drama. And I am busy with Julian and Fred and the demands of life, it isn't like I have all that much time to dwell on whether someone wants to be my friend or not.
But just because we are grownups now and should be able to talk through our issues with the people we claim to love doesn't mean this actually happens. And just because I am a wife and a mother doesn't mean I don't sometimes get sad when I think of the friendships I have lost.
The thing about thinking that everything is your fault is that it means that you have the ability to control what happens. It isn't true, however. There are things outside of one's control. No matter how much you may love someone and no matter how willing you are to discuss whatever conflicts have arisen, you are only in charge of yourself. You cannot make someone be your friend. You cannot make someone love you. Even if they once did.
So while I can't understand how you can love someone and call them your best friend one day and then, literally, the next day want to have nothing to do with them and ignore all overtures of friendship and reconciliation, I have to accept that this happens.
Sometimes, the only thing you can do is stop trying and let go. And take comfort in the knowledge that Sinead has been there, too, and to wonder if I should get her haircut (see second video).
Friday, December 14, 2007
It started with the episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where the man finds out that his wife has been having an affair and the son he adores, the child who is the center of his life, is not his biological son. It ended badly, with the lover asking for custody (um, the kid is three and you are only now interested because it turns out the sperm that made him was yours? What about the man who has raised him?) and then the father (the real one, the one who tucked the boy in at night and hugged him when he had nightmares) killing his wife when she told him she was taking his son away. I was angry and bitter, despite the fact that I knew it to be fiction, at the notion that biology meant something, that anyone would suggest that taking a child away from the father he knows simply because he doesn't share the same DNA is a good thing.
But then, the pitfalls of foreign adoption seem to be this week's big news. First, there was the Newsweek article detailing how some adopted children have severe emotional and behavioral problems. Then came the story about the Dutch diplomat and his wife who have
While my gut reaction to the Dutch diplomat's story was "there has to be more involved than what has been reported" I have changed my mind and decided these people are selfish and awful people. They adopted this child at four months and she has lived with them for seven years. Any failure for this child to integrate into their lives is theirs and not hers. Because it defies logic that a four month old baby would already have absorbed so much of its natal culture that it would be unable to adapt after seven years of living in another one.
Still, I would rather the child be given back to the adoption agency than that she be in the care of people who do not want her. Because surely being raised by people who do not want you is worse than being raised in an orphanage, no matter how well off the people may be. You don't want this child to end up beaten or dead because the parents couldn't cope with raising her.
I used to say that I wanted to adopt children, that I didn't see the point in making more children when there were so many children in this world in need of homes and families. But who can say that the love I would provide would be greater than the love an individual child may experience at a particular orphanage? I have met an adult foreign adoptee who remembers the orphanage before adoption and has extremely positive feelings about the place. Isn't it arrogant to assume that the life one can offer in America is superior simply because we can offer more a child more material wealth? What surprised me about the Newsweek article was how few of the profiled parents who adopted older children (and by older, I mean children over the age of two) mentioned seeking out therapy/family counseling before having problems. Personally, if I was suddenly gifted with a toddler, I would seek out some help not simply because the child may have problems stemming from what he/she experienced prior to arriving on my doorstep, but because the transition must be a terrifying experience for this child and I am not sure that simply providing hugs and kisses would be enough.
All this is making me wonder if I am an imperfect person and an imperfect mother. Julian had nine months to leave a physical mark upon me before we ever met and then for years after as I fed him milk created by my body, from my blood. As Julian grows, I am struck by all the ways he is like me and not like me, all the ways he is like Fred and not like Fred, all the memories of my own childhood which rise to the surface due to something Julian does, and all the physical similarities which cannot be ignored. To love one's biological child means loving someone to whom one has a tangible physical connection that all can see. To love one's own biological child is a form of self-love.
So while I do believe that I could love any child, what if I am wrong? Obviously being a parent means so much more than simply providing genetic material and a warm place to grow, but what if, for whatever reason, I couldn't love another child as much as I love Julian? This isn't the sort of thing one learns about one's self until the deed has been done.
Am I being too hard on all those adoptive parents who have returned their adoptive children? They must have entered the relationships with high hopes and the belief that they would love this child with all their heart. Something went wrong along the way. But regardless of what happened, it is hard not to judge them harshly because they were adults and had some control over the turn of events, whereas the children involved were completely helpless. While there may be no clear villains, it is clear who the victims are.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Terry Pratchett, from his letter announcing that he is suffering from a rare form of early onset Alzheimers disease.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The view from the back door
Julian helped shovel.
And then Julian and Fred built a snowbear.
All this snow inspired me to, finally, buy a pair of waterproof boots (though not technically snow boots).
Julian was kind enough to model them for a photo. I also designed and knit myself a hat. Julian was not quite as accommodating for this photo.
Which meant I had to model the hat myself.
Friday, December 07, 2007
However, as much as he loves to sing, I think Carol Channing may be a bit of a stretch.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
I don't know. Personally, if I were Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't be bringing the words "character" or "financial irregularities" into the debate. And while bringing up kindergarten essays of Barack Obama's does demonstrate that he has been interested in becoming president for decades, I don't really consider an essay by a five year old to demonstrate the same level of ambition as, say, staying in a marriage with an adulterous husband and voting to support an unjust war. But hey, that's just me.
As I have said before, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, I think we are all but assured four more years of a Republican presidency.
However, I guess one positive about all this is that she is demonstrating that a woman can go negative just as strongly as male politicians. Sadly, this isn't what I have in mind when I say I want full gender equality.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Which, for us, meant putting up stockings, stringing some lights around the fireplace, placing some ornaments on the mantle and calling it a day.
We really like the way this turned out.
While we have always planned to eventually get a tree, we never do. A tree seems like so much more work and I can't imagine it being that much more festive.
Obviously, we are not about to let symbolism get in the way of lights and sparkles.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Now, if I had said this, it would have made perfect sense (as Julian is the Monster Man and he is the center of my universe). But it has been over fourteen hours and I still have no idea what Julian meant by this (Fred, also, is mystified).
However, I am pretty sure the robots weren't involved.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Seven Random Facts About Alimum
1) I trained to be a yoga instructor, but never felt my yoga skills were good enough to actually teach a class. I hate hate hate going to yoga classes where the teacher is less-proficient and knows less about yoga than I, and I didn't want to be one of those teachers myself. When I go to yoga, I want to be inspired and I want to learn something; I do not want to be thinking stuff like, "He really should take us into this asana gradually. Just going into the pose full out might cause an injury" or "No, that is not the way you do utthita trikonasana, you are going to wreck your knees."
2) My left food is slightly larger (about 1/4 inch) than my right foot. My left eye is slightly larger than my right eye (I think it is really noticeable, but no one else seems to notice, even when I point it out to them). My left breast is slightly larger (about 1/2 cup) than my right breast.
3) I skipped fifth grade.
4) I sleep in cashmere sweaters. A few years ago, I started noticing cashmere pajamas. Then I started noticing that there was a lot more cashmere in the thrift stores than there used to be (I have been meaning to write about that topic for awhile, but I digress). So now I have a bunch of cashmere sweaters which are too big, or have moth holes, or are the wrong color, but they are still cashmere and make for very comfy pajama tops.
5) I found my first gray hair when I was seventeen. As a result, I am not sympathetic when women my own age whine about going gray. Hair dye was invented for a reason. Also, since I have been going gray for almost half my life, I am surprised when other people notice my gray hair for the first time. I mean, yeah, I dye, but I don't touch it up regularly, so how could someone be friends with me for years and fail to notice that, if I held off on the dye jobs and invested in a case of Aqua Net, I could be the Bride of Frankenstein?
6) I don't wear much makeup, usually, but somehow I have managed to amass over fifty tubes of lipstick.
7) I had my first, and only, bite of a Twinkie when I was thirty years old. I had gone to a play about the assassination of Harvey Milk and the Twinkie Defense and, at the end, the theatre handed out Twinkies to the audience. Joel, who knew that I had never eaten a Twinkie in my life, offered me a dollar to take a bite of a Twinkie. I took a bite (and took his dollar). It was every bit as disgusting as I always imagined it would be (the Twinkie...I like money, so the dollar was not disgusting at all, though I probably should have held out for a fiver as Joel was that intent on seeing me eat a Twinkie.)
At this point, I think everyone has already done it, so I would just be retagging people. So,
if you haven't yet done this meme, consider yourself tagged.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This wasn't the first time I had heard about female circumcision. I think I first read about it in a social science textbook when I was in seventh grade, though it may have been earlier. I remember there was a little blurb about a young African girl who couldn't wait to be circumcised, because it was a rite of passage. We discussed rites of passage in class and I asked how, exactly, a girl was circumcised. I mean, I knew about male circumcision, though, to be honest, that was a bit of a mystery to me as well. I knew that it was done in hospitals, assumed anesthesia was used, and, since it was done on babies, assumed it wasn't so bad because the person being circumcised wouldn't remember the procedure. My question was never answered. As I grew older and found out more details about what the procedure entailed, I came to view female circumcision as a barbaric, misogynistic practice. I'll admit, I haven't really thought about the genital mutilation of girls in awhile (the hot topic on parenting discussion boards being whether or not to circumcise our infant sons).
So I was sitting there this morning, talking to Julian about his new CD of songs with his name in them (Thanks, Abigail and Olivia!), drinking my pomegranate green tea and read that one of the reasons that female genital cutting is aesthetic, female genitals being seen as ugly. Which struck me as interesting because this is the same reason given for labiaplasty.
I find it odd and ironic that we are telling African women that genital mutilation is barbaric and backward whilst surgeons in our own country are telling women that their vaginas need modification. Because, if you read the women's magazines, labiaplasty is the hot new trend in cosmetic surgery.
So I did some google searching and read some plastic surgeons websites. One site asserted that "Feeling good about how you look often builds self-confidence and self-esteem."
Oh really? You think having that surgically altered will improve someone's self-esteem? I am not suggesting the results of cosmetic surgery wouldn't improve one's self- esteem, just pointing out that unless one is a contortionist, a mirror and some privacy will be necessary to see the changes this procedure delivers. I mean, ordinarily, I would say that if there is a complex one can have about one's body, I have it. I am like the Energizer Bunny of body dysmorphia. I am too short. My nose is a source of dissatisfaction and the dark circles under my eyes seem impervious to concealer. Don't even ask me about saddlebags and cellulite unless you want a long treatise on how much worse mine is than everyone else's. However, in spite of my ability to analyze and agonize over nearly every square inch of my body, I can honestly say that I have never felt particularly self-conscious about the patch between my legs. Oh, yes, I get bikini waxes and worry that I am hairier than other women, but as far as my actual genitals are concerned, it never occurred to me that I should worry. I mean, yeah, my genitals are ugly, but so are everyone else's, which is why I never understood the success of Hustler. And while I am all for being neurotic about ugly parts of my body, it doesn't seem like one's labial folds would be an area that gets a lot of exposure. I have very little reason to go checking around down there myself and, with the exception of Julian's birth, I have had little reason to suspect it is on display for an audience. While I am sure that my gynecologist and Fred have opinions on the topic, I can't see investing thousands of dollars on surgery which may result in nerve damage if they are the only two people who will see the results. I am sympathetic to someone's desire to improve themselves via cosmetic surgery, but wouldn't it make more sense to invest that money in liposuction or a nose job? Who is so perfect that the only area of their body that "needs work" are their labial folds?
So why are so many women in the developed world choosing this procedure? (By so many, I mean any women outside the porn industry.) Is this the logical result of the increase in pornographic images we see on a regular basis? Isn't communicating the message that a woman's genitals should be modified to conform to a predetermined standard of beauty, even if it results in scar tissue and nerve damage, another way that women's sexuality is suffocated and denied? How can we tell women in developing nations to say no to a misogynistic practice intended to control their sexuality when similar practices are performed here?
The thing that makes me most distressed are the before and after pictures (WARNING! GRAPHIC CONTENT!). I mean, yeah, they do look different and rosier afterwards, but considering the part of the body we are talking about, I can't really say they look better. I may feel differently about this if I were a lesbian, but I doubt it. It isn't an attractive part of the body to begin with, so anyone lucky enough to find one's self down there should shut up and be grateful.
Mind the gaffe: voice of Tube sacked for criticising network
I have often been accused of liking the sound of my own voice, but the truth is, I only like the sound of my own voice as amplified through the bones of my skull. I can't stand hearing tape recordings of myself. As cool as it would be to be the voice of public transportation, I would hope it would be in a city in which I did not live. Apparently, Emma Clarke has similar feelings and, for that, she was fired.
Ms Clarke responded angrily to Tube officials and The Mail on Sunday yesterday, claiming she had been "wildly misquoted" by the newspaper. "What I actually said was that travelling in a Tube train would be dreadful for me, listening to my own voice and seeing the haunted faces of commuters being subjected to me telling them to 'mind the gap'," she said.Her spoof recordings are hilarious, by the way. Go hear the rest here or here.
So, as it turned out, I gave up on the novel fairly early on in the month and have thrown myself into the blog. Which is not a bad thing. And I am being barraged by many ideas for what to post next, ideas which may take a few hours, days, weeks, months to develop into the essays I envision.
So, while you are waiting for me to write something brilliant, or if you have found my blog throuh NaBloPoMo and want more of me, go read the essay I wrote right before November began (yeah, I am proud of it) or maybe something from years ago or something else from years ago or my thoughts on the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Hey, just go to the archives and browse if you miss me. And feel free to leave comments.
Monday, November 26, 2007
It is so easy for those of us in the developed world to say that the big problems are happening elsewhere, to people we don't know in lands where we have never been. Given the statistics, however, we all know women who have been victims of violence. No matter how safe and secure you feel, a woman or girl you love will be the victim of violence in her lifetime. Maybe you will never know. Maybe you will only learn about it after the fact. Maybe you will watch from afar feeling unable to stop it from happening. Maybe you will sympathize with the abuser and condone the violence, or you will blame the victim because you disapprove of her behavior. Maybe you will pretend it doesn't exist because to admit it does means that you, too, are living under the threat of it happening to you.
Facts & Figures on Violence Against Women
Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture. It takes a devastating toll on women’s lives, on their families, and on society as a whole. Most societies prohibit such violence — yet the reality is that too often, it is covered up or tacitly condoned. — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, 8 March 2007
Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.
Go sign the petition and see what you can do to stop this violation of the human rights of one half of the world's population.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
|You Are Scissors|
Sharp and brilliant, you can solve almost any problem with that big brain of yours.
People fear your cutting comments - and your wit is famous for being both funny and cruel.
Deep down, you tend to be in the middle of an emotional storm. Your own complexity disturbs you.
You are too smart for your own good. Slow down a little - or you're likely to hurt yourself.
You can cut a paper person down to pieces.
The only person who can ruin you is a rock person.
When you fight: You find your enemy's weak point and exploit it.
If someone makes you mad: You'll do everything you can to destroy their life
And I am not feeling well today, so this may be it for the blogposts. Maybe. Because, sick or not, those quizes just suck you in. I mean, how can I resist finding out what crappy christmas gift I am...
|You Are Socks!|
Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Today is Buy Nothing Day.
Although, at this point, either you weren't planning to buy anything today anyway or you have done all your shopping. What with some stores opening at midnight and me not getting around to posting until the late afternoon.
I realize that just because I didn't go shopping and I haven't whipped out the plastic today, I am still consuming more than my fair share of the earth's resources. Today I am using natural gas to heat my house, electricity to power this computer, and, earlier today, I used gasoline to transport my body from here to my mom's house, not to mention all the potable water I have used to wash away dirt from my body and food scraps from plates.
When you think about it, not shopping today really won't make much of a difference. But it is a start. And even if it is a tiny drop in a very large bucket, it still is something.
P.S. The above ad was rejected by MTV because they deem it inappropriate for their viewers. Um, maybe I am in the minority, but I wouldn't expect the people who are broadcasting A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila to have any standards (either intellectual or social) with regards to what they show their viewers. Please tell MTV that corporate censorship is unacceptable.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I may have a chance to post again today. However, I wanted to get my NaBloPoMo duties out of the way, just in case. Have a great day, don't eat too much (do you really like feeling overstuffed like a sausage?) and try to get a walk in (at least...me, I have plans to go to the gym, but I am obsessed).
"Thanks for letting us eat you, Marlon Brando."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I'll admit, this isn't what I would have thought if someone had said "blue box, bigger on the inside than on the outside," but it makes sense and this blends into the background better than a police box in this day and age.
I wonder if he owns a Van Gogh...
Of course, I think Cookie Monster's definition of porn wouldn't make the rest of us blush. Unless, of course, you find your heart racing by the sight of hot, naked cookies.
Oh, alright, I'll admit that photo looks kinda dirty.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I think, after the singing and the cake and the presents, he may be starting to understand. I overheard him saying that he "liked this birthday stuff" and then, later, he told my mom that he wants the firehouse which matches the fire truck he got today (the manufacturers kindly put pictures of it all over the box, as a public service, I'm sure) for Thanksgiving and he wants Santa to bring it to him. Um, yeah, that isn't quite how it works, little guy. Of course, given the way this week is shaping up, I'm not sure he will understand this anytime soon. Today was just a party for the family. Tomorrow, all his friends from school will be coming over for pizza and cupcakes. And then there will be Thanksgiving in a few days (where he will see out of town relatives and friends who will, most likely, wish him a belated birthday). He may well think that birthdays are supposed to last a week. I hope we haven't created a monster.
She was nineteen and this was her first video.
As you may imagine, I felt a huge kinship with her when I first saw this video, at sixteen, on 120 Minutes. It faded soon afterwards, as I was confronted with the hype surrounding the release of her first record and then the huge hit that was her second record. And then all the stuff that she has done and that people have said about her over the years.
But watching this video now, I can't understand why people were shocked, years later, to discover she was an angry, damaged person who might lash out in inappropriate ways. I feel like everything we need to know about Sinead O'Connor--beautiful, troubled, insane, brilliant--is encompassed herein. This is not a girl who is happy, stable, willing to play along and do as she's told. As this song and video suggest, this is a girl who is going to do some dangerous things out of anger, pain, and love. She'll likely hurt herself most when all is said and done, but even then, she will have no regrets and she will make no apologies.
There is something very hypnotic about this level of crazy. I'll admit, as a girl who always tried to be understanding and mature in the face of pain, I am envious of someone who can be this unrepentant, I wish I had it in me to let my demons loose.
Not to mention that she was doing the whole vengeful naked female covered in gold thing a good twenty years before Angelina Jolie.
P.S. This wasn't the post I planned to write today, but I haven't gotten around to uploading the pictures from my camera. Sorry.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
But it isn't as if that is the only song out there that, upon consideration, sends chills down your spine. Just off the top of my head, I can name Blondie's One Way Or Another ("I will drive past your house), Sinead O'Connor's Troy ("You should have left the lights on"), Animotion's Obsession ("Who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me"), and Screaming Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You ("Because you're mine!"). However, I am pretty sure that the people who wrote those songs knew they were singing about crazy, obsessive, dangerous, might harm the object of your affection and yourself love. And as we sang, we knew too, deep down. However, there are those love songs which both the singer and listener don't seem aware are stalker-like and it is only upon actually listening to the lyrics that one stops and says "yeah, maybe it is romantic, but if someone actually sang that to me, I might feel like my safety depended upon me getting the hell away from the singer, moving to another town, and wearing a disguise when out in public."
In my alternate life, the one where I am a cabaret singer who sings disturbing and discordant songs in the style of Julee Cruise (a woman who, through her work with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, has recorded her fair share of creepy songs) with a touch of Elizabeth Fraser (who may well be singing very scary lyrics in many of her songs, but who can tell?), I am singing cover versions of Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up and The Cars' You Might Think. Don't let the upbeat music or shiny video production fool you, these are scary, scary songs.
Although, I'll admit that no amount of whispered intensity and piercing glances will quite replicate the scariness of finding a guy in your tube of lipstick.
P.S. Just as I was connecting all the links on this blog, the beginning strains of what I consider to be the ultimate stalker song began to play on WXRT. Because, unlike all the of the above songs, I don't have to imagine what it would be like to have people sing this song to me, I have experienced it many times. I don't care how tortured and distraught he is, the last thing a girl wants to hear from a spurned suitor is that his "aim is true."
Friday, November 16, 2007
Which Backyardigan are you?
| You got Uniqua, she is completely unique and outgoing, and she's also a tomboy, she enjoys singing and dancing with her friends |
Take this quiz!
Fred and I are constantly telling people how much better children's television is today than it was when we were kids and we reference The Backyardigans in these conversations. I find myself singing bits of the songs throughout the day, even when Julian isn't around ("Tea, tea, tea, we'll have a perfect cup of tea, so lift your pinky, pip pip cheerio" for instance). I suspect I will be watching this show long after Julian grows out of it.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Me, I do not read ahead in the knitting patterns, period. Which is why I tend to design my own stuff and/or not take on any projects that I cannot intuitively grok--which is why I make ornate cable knit fisherman sweaters and lace, but dislike fair isle and rarely attempt to tackle it. When I knit at all, which hasn't been much lately, but I swear, I'll jump back on that horse eventually.
In life, I would consider myself to be a planner. But in life, as in knitting, I have limited myself so that I don't have to do much planning ahead. I don't plan menus for the week and I often have to force myself to make shopping lists before going to the store. Vacations, when we do them, get planned in short bursts of activity interjecting weeks (or months) of procrastination. We haven't had a party in years and holidays are at other people's houses. So, yeah, I'm not much of a planner, I just have constructed a life where my lack of planning is not a huge problem.
Except that Julian is getting older.
I am trying to plan Julian's birthday party-what sort of games to have, what sort of food to serve, what sort of cake to make-and it all seems pleasant enough because I haven't entirely accepted that it is real. I am blithely assuming that everything will work out without actually doing any of the actual work to insure that everything does work out.
I am in for a rude awakening very soon. Then I will be in freakout mode.
Suffice it to say, I am in awe of Stuntmother's hostessing abilities. Whether or not she reads ahead, she clearly is a lot more brave than I.
|You Are Jan Brady|
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I found myself thinking the younger writer sounded bratty, her arguments boiling down to "This is how I want to dress. You don't have to look". Any woman who has ever breastfed knows that there are times when the public may see your breasts and you hope no one stares, so I understand the "just look away if it bothers you" argument. However, I also know how hard it is to avoid staring at something on display and when I see the cleavage some women are sporting (and the bras that are sold to get their breasts to look the way they do), it is impossible to deny that breasts are not on display.
The older writer makes the observation "I keep thinking there’s a relationship between the present day, show-it-off aesthetic and the pole dancing being taken up by women of all ages, which I understand is supposed to be fine exercise, limber muscles and so forth, but basically fills me with such feminist despair that I just want to go sit in the dark by myself. Am I overreacting? Or are you all coming of age now convinced that sexuality has to be part of what you present to the world?"
I have asked myself this question as well. What is going on with the young girls today? But the younger writer isn't that much younger than I am. she is closer to me, in age, than the older writer. So what changed in the decade between when I came of age and when she did?
Off the top of my head, I can think of two things that have changed the landscape for girls today. The first is that sexual harassment policies and laws are designed to protect them from unwanted sexual comments and advances. So women and girls feel safer to express themselves in public, believing themselves to be protected. But why has self-expression come to equal self-exposure? Because, and this is the second thing that has changed, pornography won. Instead of becoming a society where people are judged on their merits and not their gender, we live in a society where women are told that being sexy is a requirement for advancement.
Maybe I am so irritated by this because I have always been self-conscious about my breasts and, in most situations, I try not to call attention to them. I can't understand why anyone would want to outside of a social setting--I mean, I understand wanting people to want you (whether you are available or not), but honestly, I don't want to be viewed as a sexual object 24/7. Maybe I am just irritated by this because I see this as further evidence of society's sexualization of the breast which, I feel, is partially responsible for our country's low breastfeeding rates and lack of breastfeeding support. Maybe I am annoyed because this just speaks to how far from equality we women are and how so few women seem to care.
I just can't see how anyone would argue with the following statement:
Maybe I am just getting old.
If you have ambition and intelligence, if you’re intent on being taken seriously in the workplace, what is the deal with the cleavage? It’s not just the well-endowed I’m talking about; it’s as though a frenzy of unbuttoning and unzipping has come over everybody, regardless of breast size and regardless of locale. I thought places like the grocery store and work were ones where we prefer not to have people consider at first glance our possible merits as sex partners.Do you all mean to be wearing neon signs that spell out “please look here”?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Which isn't to say I am not aware of the passage of time (heck, I have a whole category for blogposts which may fall under the umbrella). However, most of my realizations that things have changed have been in the realms of emotions and culture, as opposed to the physical (although I have noticed that my muscle tone isn't what it once was, but then, neither are my workouts. This may be a sign I am getting older, or it may be a sign that I have a toddler).
There was a time, when I was twelve, when I could watch a Duran Duran video and accept it for what it was: a beautifully filmed narrative designed to appeal to our base desires for fame, wealth, and sex (except for Save A Prayer, below, which was designed to appeal to our base desires for the members of Duran Duran in a tropical paradise, but I digress). Oftentimes, the narrative was not terribly coherent or linear, but I didn't care as the images were so hypnotic and pretty. Also, at twelve, I tended to take things at face value.
Then I grew up. I went to an elite private college where I learned about subtext and allusion. I was trained to see that things have meaning and, oftentimes, it couldn't be grasped at first or second glance. In fact, to truly understand a piece of work, you would need to be intimately familiar with every piece of work the original piece of work referenced, sometimes unintentionally. And you wonder why I didn't go to graduate school?
So here I am, trained to understand that things are not what they seem and I encounter the recent Duran Duran video:
Yes, I know that Duran Duran videos are supposed to be heavily populated with models some of whom do vaguely suggestive things to one another (to appeal to the viewing public's desire to see hot girl-on-girl action) or really cruel things to one another (to appeal to the viewing public's misogyny, or at least, their hatred of skinny models). I imagine the pitch for this video was "What if One Flew Over The Cookie's Nest and America's Next Top Model were to have a baby?" But is that all it is? Watching this video, I couldn't help but wonder if it is meant as some commentary on Britney Spears and what our society does to its girls. Or how female empowerment has been coopted by pornographers, so young women are told that flashing their breasts is a sign of liberation and not exploitation. Or how the people who are supposed to be helping girls grow into young women unscathed seem incompetent and clueless as to how to make this happen. Or maybe that we are all a bunch of voyeurs. Which is a lot to be reading into a Duran Duran video. I mean, back in the day, no one would have accused Duran Duran of making a socio-political statement via there videos.
So either times have changed or I am really good at finding meaning where none exists.
But I'll always have the old videos to go back to and, now that I'm older and wiser, I can see all the references to the Jean Genet and Jean Cocteau which I didn't get back in 1984. And don't even get me started on the metatext.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I am delusional.
When I was growing up, I would often trip and fall or walk into something (like a wall), and my father would often be there to say, "Klutz Attack!" This enraged me because it ignored the huge crack in the sidewalk or the table which happened to be in my way. Clearly, I thought, my pratfall was not my fault. It could happen to anyone, if that person had happened to be inhabiting the same area of space which I had been. Accidents happen to everyone.
But they don't, do they?
I once commented on my clumsiness to another woman in a ballet class and she said, "Most dancers are pretty clumsy in real life. You're so used to moving through empty space, you're not used to navigating around furniture." I am not sure I believe her about the relative offstage/out-of-class gracefulness of dancers, this is does lend some insight into my particular brand of pratfalls. I walk into walls, I tumble down stairs, I tumble up stairs, I catch my hip on the edge of the kitchen counter, once I even fell off a stage once (it was four feet off the ground, I bounced right back up and got onstage and didn't sustain any injuries). For some reason, I cannot navigate my body around objects. Also, if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that many injuries have occurred because I was doing something, like a cartwheel or high kick, without taking into account of the spatial dimensions around me. Inattention and distractedness can probably claim credit for more scar tissue on my body than anything else.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Oh, take a wild guess.
Last night, I was walking upstairs with a full glass of water in my hand and obviously was not thinking about what I was doing. I tripped forward. I smashed my left hand into the stair in front of me and my right hand, the one holding the glass, banged into a stair above my head. The glass shattered in my hand. Luckily, only three fingers were cut and there was only one which looked serious (yay for the butterfly closures). Obviously, I can still type. The fingers on the left hand ache, but what would I expect after they go crashing into a stair? And while I am in pain, I am also feeling inordinately proud of my ability to once again avoid serious injury. Yes, I am embarrassed by all my stumbling and bumbling, but I am enough of a drama queen to try to garner sympathy from all of you, as well as to brag about how much of a bad ass I am (oh, you figured this out about me when you read the bit above about me bouncing back after falling off a stage, you aren't surprised).
I worry, however, that my luck won't hold out forever. I also worry that Julian has inherited my tendency to crash into the ground at the velocity of the acceleration of gravity multiplied by time. One of these days, time is going to catch up with me, one way or another.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
When I first heard this song by Leona Naess, I thought it accurately described almost every boy with whom I had ever been involved before Fred. "And he stamps on every emotion, and he dampens each and every explosion." Yep, that pretty much says it all. Not that I'm special in this regard. Don't we all have the experience of encountering the charming sociopath, the man (or woman) who can make you feel like the center of the universe when he focuses his attention and charm on you, but then can turn on a dime, leaving you out in the cold? And then, you may not have even found him all that attractive before, but once his attention turns elsewhere, he becomes the most appealing man in the world and you will go through all manner of contortions in the hopes you may once again gain his favor.
Of course, when I look back on the people for whom my heart once went pitter pat, I have come to realize that they were just stupid and young. What I once saw as cruelty I now recognize as confusion and fear. Because it sucks to have someone like you if you don't like them back, or even if you do. Sure, we all want to be let down easily and honestly, but oftentimes, when we find ourselves in the position of having to do the rejecting, we are rendered inarticulate and try to ignore the situation, just wishing it would go away on its own. Which it does, eventually, because time passes, and with it, crushes and broken hearts.
The other part I have often wondered about is the relative charms of my suitors past. I remember finding them to be witty, intelligent conversationalists, but really, how accurate are these memories and, for that matter, what did I know about witty, intelligent conversation at twenty? Maybe we all were terribly dull. Or maybe I wasn't, but they were. I remember going to a party with Maria when we were nineteen and meeting this guy there who we both found attractive and amusing. I went back to college and Maria began dating him. The relationship lasted two weeks because, well, it turned out the guy wasn't really worth her time. What had happened was that Maria and I had been so witty and charming at the party, we ended up charming ourselves and confusing our handiwork with his. Which isn't to say that the boys I liked were dumb as a box of rocks, simply that I wonder if what I found so terribly attractive about them was the way I behaved when I was around them, if the person I really loved was the person I became when they deigned to speak with me.
It may be a little of every one of these. And I am talking about more than one person here and, really when I think about it, the only thing any of these boys had in common was my affection. However, it would be nice to have a time machine and go back and tell my tortured twenty year old self that things would improve, that I would eventually break the cycle and find someone who loved me back, that I would come to view those years of unrequited love as a rite of passage, as the fire I had to walk through in order to become the person I am today.
A note about the videos: The first video is incomplete, but it is so much better than the official one, which I included for those of you who want to hear the whole song.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
You have Amyothrophic Lateral Sclerosis
It is better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
I saw that movie. Gary Cooper died from that.
Alright, so it may not have been an episode of Quincy after all, it may have been something else (Trapper John M.D., The Incredible Hulk) it doesn't really matter, at least, not as far as this story is concerned.
See, I was very young I understood that the people on tv and in films were actors playing roles, but I didn't identify them beyond the roles they played; I understood that Hawkeye Pierce was played by an actor named Alan Alda, but if I saw him being interviewed I would have said, "There's Hawkeye." I didn't understand that most people, especially when discussing very famous actors, don't completely lose sight of the actor within any given role they play. So, I heard this actor on a TV show say that Gary Cooper died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and I thought he meant that Gary Cooper, the actor, died from the same disease as Lou Gehrig, a character he played in the film The Pride of the Yankees. How weird is that? Being the sort of child who just loved finding patterns in things, I thought this was a very cool coincidence and I told other people about this. Since most of the people I told were six as well, no one corrected me on this. My mom may have tried to correct me, but I was positive I knew what I was talking about. I mean, it was on television, it must be true.
I am not sure when or how I figured out that Gary Cooper did not die of ALS. It was one of those things that I didn't think about for awhile and gradually my perceptions shifted, so when I thought about it again, I didn't make the same assumptions. Then I forgot all about it.
I was reminded of this the other night when Fred mentioned that everything tasted bitter. I did a quick google search and found an article entitled "Persistent bitter taste as an initial symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis". Uh oh. I read the title to Fred and he said, "what's that?" and I said, "Lou Gehrig's disease." We turned off the computer and decided not to think about it. Of course, I did still think about it though, remembering that Fred told me about muscle twitches he had been having a few weeks ago and then wondering if it was too soon to talk to a doctor about all this.
Yesterday morning, Fred calls me from work and mentions that he did his own google search and found out that a bitter taste which lasts 6-10 days is also a side effect of eating raw pine nuts, something he had done on Wednesday night. We joked about what a paranoid hypochondriac I am, always ready to believe the worst, and this triggered my memory about how I thought Gary Cooper had died. We laughed.
Which doesn't mean I have stopped worrying. Just reminding myself how having a brain that seeks to find patterns often can mean finding a pattern where none exists.
Friday, November 09, 2007
There was a time, when we had more time and fewer responsibilities, my friends and I would spend whole afternoons and evenings sitting in coffeehouses drinking warm beverages and talking. This was back before Starbucks had made its aggressive bid for world domination, so these were independent coffeehouses which offered bottomless cups of coffee (or endless refills of hot water) for $1.50 and the people who worked there often chose the music which oftentimes was music we would have chosen ourselves. When I briefly worked at an independent coffee house, I always played The Cocteau Twins. Just as there is music which sounds like summer, music which makes you want to run along a beach naked or drive too fast on an empty road with the convertible top down, wind whipping through your hair (two things I have never actually done, but which certain songs have made me desperately want to do...and the songs weren't even about doing those things), there is music that sounds like late fall and winter. The soundtrack for falling leaves and snow.
So while I should be running errands, taking advantage of this brief toddler free period (Julian is with my mom) to do things away from the house, I am sitting here with a cup of Earl Grey*, listening to songs I have heard a thousand times before.
*Alright, Aushra and Maria will immediately be crying foul when they read this. My dislike for Earl Grey tea (it tastes like perfume) is decades old. It is true, I am not really sitting here sipping Earl Grey tea (though I have softened my stance against it and I will drink it if it is the best option available). I am actually drinking Throat Coat. However, that doesn't sound nearly as good.