Monthly Archives: April 2009

this is probably some kind of trap

But still, this exists! How did they know?

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…i’m happy again

Last day of classes!  HURRAH.  And I have “Singing in the Rain” stuck in my head, in my head.

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an exercise in restraint

Went tonight, along with Rachel, to a reading in the used-book basement of a local shop. There were literary people milling about, which as usual made me feel at once really cool and alarmingly uncool, and I had the urge several times to crack lame-ass “jokes.” However! I did not do so. In fact I didn’t say much at all (!), then when others addressed me, got all embarrassed like there was no reason for them to notice how closely I stood. But point is I didn’t toss out the “my-newt/minute” joke or start babbling about Michael Chabon or anything. So that’s a breakthrough, I’d say.

If I could maybe work on restraining my developing proclivity to stay awake after everyone else has gone to bed, regardless of how tired I am (read: a bit), that would be all the better.

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because all the Elvis in your hips is awful forced, pretty mama.

I am not usually super into poetry, but tonight in a bookstore basement a bestselling gay man with his own Wikipedia page and an expensive haircut suggested I start trying. I’m not sure how that’s going to go, but in honor of his idea I am sharing my top five poems (of the moment) on the internet. Don’t spend them all in one place.

The Constant of the Universe by Andy Weaver. Ok so maybe I just read this now, but it has just skyrocketed to the position of My Favorite Love Poem. It is long but it is worth it. Also he quotes Ani.

To Lou-Andreas Salome by Rainer Maria Rilke. This was my former favorite love poem. I still think it is a huge fucking deal; I have reconciled it with the above poem by re-categorizing it as something else. It is not a love poem, it is… a poem about someone he loved. It’s weird, because this one is obviously very specific, it’s written to one person in particular, but every major relationship I’ve ever had in my life I’ve felt like this poem describes it. Also be careful to get a good translation, because some of them make Rilke sound dumb and he is not dumb.

Thanks by W.S. Merwin. My best friend showed me this in high school and it made me go a little crazy, like I started printing it out and taping it everywhere and stitching it to stuff. I cannot explain what it is about. But I cannot imagine that anyone could read it without being better off afterwards.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other by William Stafford. As I said, I am not usually super into poetry. But this is, I think, a perfect example of why the genre needs to exist. I know exactly what Stafford is saying here, and I know it’s terribly important, but I don’t know how to put it any more concisely. I feel like it’s possible that the plainest and most truthful way to put this sentiment really is in these five stanzas. Do you know what I mean?

First Writing Since by Suheir Hammad. I first found this in a hippie-dippy pinko commie newsletter that my Quaker mom and I get; regardless of its Trader-Joe’s-organic-recycled-paper silly beginnings, it is really beautiful and important. It’s another one of those things like the Rilke poem, where I know it’s very specific in intent – this one is about 9/11 – but I end up thinking of it all the time, in every situation, and I feel like it contains so much more. Also it is one of the only things I’ve read about 9/11 that feels like it was done right. It is worth reading for anyone who lived through it.

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Stuff Rachel Fucking Hates

Hey everyone, sorry I’ve been gone so long. It’s been a long week, and I’ve been busy having real-life feelings. Don’t worry, though. I still hate plenty of stuff.

Still having homework even though it is supposed to be 85 today. All I want to do is go back to bed – but outside.

Racism. In the course of about a week, my university has:  suggested dissolving the African- and Afro-American Studies department, undergone an internal trial in which white students protested the position of a Racial Minority Senator because it made them feel discrimated against, and published a student editorial in which the author says he “fails to perceive any benefit from interacting with people of other racial backgrounds.” Jesus Christ. I don’t even know what to say.

The ending of Grease. What the fuck, Sandy?

Miss California. I think I’ve only watched any of the Miss America pageant once; all I remember was Miss Massachusetts singing opera. Why couldn’t Miss California have just done that instead? “For my talent, I will confirm the rest of the nation’s suspicions that my state is full of homophobic assholes.” Also, what is Perez Hilton doing there? Maybe I don’t really understand how this works.

Cleaning up after other people’s parties. Are you listening, people whose party I had to clean up after last night?

Driving children to suicide. In the past few weeks, two eleven-year-olds have killed themselves after prolonged taunting and abuse from their classmates, which their respective schools did little or nothing to stop. Both Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera were the targets of cruel, and specifically anti-gay, bullying at their schools; it got bad enough for both of them that they managed to kill themselves at only 11. Neither of these boys identified as gay, but that doesn’t really matter. Combined with the case of Lawrence King, it’s becoming ridiculously obvious that schools which ignore anti-gay slurs and bullying are not only negligent, but completely unconcerned with the physical safety and emotional well-being of any student who might even be perceived as gay.

How stain-y hair oil is. It is so good for my hair, and so bad for my clothes

How expensive pressure cookers are. Guys, I am looking for help. Which would be a better investment – a slow cooker, a rice cooker, or a pressure cooker? I want something that’s really multi-use; like, something that I could cook a lot of different foods/meals in. A slow cooker obvs does that, but sometimes you don’t want to wait 8 hours to eat. A rice cooker would only cook rice – or so you would think. This intriguing article implies otherwise – and also is written by Roger Ebert? A pressure cooker can be used for anything from brisket to potatoes to steaming broccoli, and is supposed to cut your cooking time by 2/3 or something. But they also cost as much as a plane ticket and are kind of intimidating/scary. Thoughts? –

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Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great

Returning from vacation. Man, did I miss people.

Those Aren’t Muskets!. Recommended for your viewing pleasure: the Internet party and the subsequent intervention for Myspace.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Rereading it after a few years and am delighted with Michael Chabon’s language.  “It’s the beginning of the summer and I’m standing in the lobby of a thousand-story grand hotel, where a bank of elevators a mile long and an endless red row of monkey attendants in gold braid wait to carry me up, up, up through the suites of moguls, of spies, and of starlets, to rush me straight to the zeppelin mooring at the art deco summit, where they keep the huge dirigible of August tied up and bobbing in the high winds.  On the way to the shining needle at the top I will wear a lot of neckties, I will buy five or six works of genius on 45 rpm, and perhaps too many times I will find myself looking at the snapped spine of a lemon wedge at the bottom of a drink.”  THAT IS ONLY PAGE TWO, GUYS.

11 Points. Sam Greenspan writes 11-point lists of things, from types of women the Kama Sutra advises you against marrying (spoiler: your mom) to things the Back to the Future sequel predicted correctly to actual literary references (score!!).  Hilarious and a bit addictive.

The Billy Bob Thornton bitchfest of a radio interview. Seriously, what is his deal?  I’m surprised the host didn’t throttle him with a stray cable.

(Honorable mention this week: That’s What She Said. A female-written blog about zany celebrity antics.  Haven’t had much time to check it out in-depth, but I already have inclinations to envy due to its title –– seriously, why didn’t I think of that first?)

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thoughts I have thought today

Only 11:10! Score, I’ll have enough time for a leisurely sandwich before class and still check Cracked before I go!

11:45? Dammit. Class is in fifteen minutes and I have no bagel.

Good thing the bagel place has no line.

Aw, but wait. You have to eat this in class. You should’ve gotten butter. I mean, we all know you can’t eat bagels like they’re sandwiches, because they over-cream cheese the bagels here and it will bulge out everywhere and end up all over your face. It will be a distracting embarrassing mess. But if I put the halves asidde to eat like a real bagel then I’ll have to smooth out the cream cheese and it will be a whole production.

YES! Discussing the derivation of the historical concept of “sensibility”: FTW.

Is the girl behind me drawing her own comic? That is so boss.

Oh, economics.

I should buy new socks. Also, finish that comic. It’s been almost a month; get on that.

I’ll be the grapes fermented, bottled and served with the table set in my finest suit, like a perfect gentleman. I’ll be the fire escape that’s bolted to the ancient brick where you will sit and contemplate your day.

Blogging is an inherently narcissistic activity. Why should Rachel or I believe that people would be interested in reading about us? Does blogging make me a narcissist? What about the several hundred million other bloggers out there?

And you could say a similar thing about art. Why do we go see bands put on shows or read a writer’s stories or attend a painter’s exhibition? Not that blogging is an art.

Man, Bloc Party is awesome.

I wish Art Bechstein and Arthur Lecomte were real people, so we could all go to classy parties.

New personal mantra: never mix Pokemon and nakedness. (BACKSTORY: Our school has a dance recital each year in which the dancers wear only paint, in lieu of clothing, and the program included a Pokemon-themed number.)

Huh. That Pokemon number went way better than I thought.

BEDAZZLER! I always wanted a Bedazzler.

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Jessie’s gender identity

Rick was a singer
Yeah, I know he’d done
A good song in ‘is time
But lately something’s changed
It ain’t hard to define
Rick’s screwed with his spellin’
And I want to make it right

‘Cause Jessie‘s a girl’s name,
And Jesse for boys has no “I” (I just know it)
Not to bring up gender roles again, but…

You know I wish Rick Springfield
Could spell
You know I wish Rick Springfield
Could spell

Why can’t he find a name database?

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Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great This Week

Legendarium. Turns out it’s a real word! How exciting. According to Wikipedia, it was created specifically for “Tolkien scholars” to discuss the legends of Middle-Earth (!). Which takes me to

Any time Stephen Colbert and Neil Gaiman debate the merits of Tolkien characters. “Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo! Bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow.”

Jason Segel. I finally saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall this week, which confirmed what I already suspected: Mr. Jason Segel is a bundle o’ laughs. You know he wrote that entire movie himself? Couple that with the hilarity of I Love You, Man, and you get a dude I would totally hang out with. So: Mr. Segel, if you happen to have stumbled upon here in your perusal of the Internet (perhaps in a routine self-Google? hey, I don’t judge), the offer stands. Mabes we can make piña coladas!

That Ben Gibbard made a cover of “Thriller.” Can it get better? No.

Today’s XKCD. Secret: I love the Internet.

Being a lady. Seriously, this week has been one long romance with archetypal femininity! I am living in a chick lit novel, or something. First I wore a rare skirt on Easter (my mom: “Ooh! You look like a girl!”), then chopped all my hair into bangs and spent the rest of the weekend either watching comedies or shopping for things to wear. What is going on?

Skype. My friend the Doctor is fourteen timezones away right now, studying le science, so I haven’t talked to her all semester. This week, we’ve Skyped three times. (EDIT: I would like to make some kind of joke here but can’t think of any corny, stereotypically Australian things to say. I guess since she told me how worried she was to eat a whole lamb for Easter, I could make a “lamb on the barbie” joke, but come on. Rachel and I are better than that.)

Making fun of Matthew McConaughey. The bongo thing is dead. Here, instead, let us mock his actual career! (Oh, Dan O’Brien. Where would this weekly bit be without you and your cohorts?)

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top five: blogs

Unsurprisingly, I am a reader of blogs as well as a writer of one. I am one of those people for whom checking their Google Reader is the daily step that comes right after checking my email. I didn’t start out this way, though; I had to be coaxed into it by a friend of mine whose frequent mention of them prompted me to look for ones I like. “What? You don’t read Feministing?” “Oh, let me just find that recipe on one of the soup blogs I read.” Now that my personal transformation is complete, allow me to share my five favorites with you, taking them from a wide range of topics and genres.

This Girl Called Automatic Win. Probably my all-around favorite, if I had to choose. This woman is everything I want to be and do with my life: witty and gay and New York-based and ironic and a writer and prone to bad decisions but in kind of an attractive way. On election night she sliced her entire lower leg open while changing a window blind, and still had it in her to liveblog the entire thing and then go party in Harlem afterwards. She chronicled the buying of her couch on Craigslist, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. She drinks a lot of vodka tonics and is accompanied by a stuffed toy Chihuahua named Tinkerbell. Granted, she’s been posting less lately, but it’s only because she’s been busy creating an awesome and unprecedented site for “girl-on-girl culture” on the internet. Why yes, she does sell stickers and hotpants. Go check it out.

EDIT: for instance, here is where Riese does an interview with her best friend over AIM, and then gets to put it on the internet for her job. “What are you wearing? Tight yoga pants?” I want to be her when I grow up.

Mason-Dixon Knitting. Ok ok ok let’s get this out of the way now:  I do read knitting blogs. Like, blogs whose express purpose is talking about stuff people are knitting. I realize this is not for everyone, or even for anyone who is not me. But let’s try to keep an open mind, ok? For people who don’t knit or care about knitting blogs, I still think this is an excellent place to go. There is so much going on here besides sweaters! They liveblogged the Oscars! They crashed the Obama’s tea with the Queen! They occasionally put on beehive wigs and sing Nashville country on YouTube! Also, they are hilarious. For real, guys, go look.

Smitten Kitchen. This is a food blog. I don’t know how much you know about those, or what preconceived notions you have about people who read them. But I’d like to put forward the idea that this is not a blog for people who like to cook; this is a blog for people who like to eat. There are beautiful, mouthwatering photos of food everywhere, and free recipes for them. What a great idea! There’s a range from the complicated and esoteric (parmesan-black pepper biscotti, butternut squash and caramelized onion galette, swiss buttercream wedding cake) to the dead simple (arroz con pollo, homemade pizza, and prizewinning chocolate chip cookies). This lady is exhaustive. I cannot think of a dish you could not find a fantastic recipe for here – and you see photos of how she made it step-by-step, how she thought it came out, and her own tips and recommendations from when she tried the recipe. Even if you don’t cook, find someone to make it for you.

Sociological Images. If you’ve ever taken a sociology or sociologically-inclined class – for instance, gender or race studies – you may remember the process of looking at some piece of pop culture – a magazine advertisement, a billboard, or in more recent years a Youtube video – and picking it apart in class. You know, having your professor point out how women in fashion advertisements are often posed as if they’re dead or unconscious, or in some kind of physical distress. Or noting that the only black women you see in commercials are light-skinned with straight hair. You will remember that this was  probably the most fun part of the class; who doesn’t love watching Justin Timberlake videos and then talking about them? No one! That’s why a group of sociology professors made a whole blog for doing just that! Every day they post a series of images or artifacts from pop culture, and talk about their implications. It’s interesting, and it’s also eye-opening.

Racialicious/Feministing. Okay, so I couldn’t choose between the two of these. Which is okay with me, because I honestly believe you should be reading both. As you can maybe guess, one deals largely with race issues in the news and pop culture, and one deals largely with women’s issues. I’m serious, though, when I say both are important; I really think that their commentaries should be read in tandem. Partially because there’s a lot of overlap and intersection: obviously both have done a lot with the Rihanna/Chris Brown domestic violence story, for instance, which is talked about with a lot of both gendered and racial implications. But also because there’s rarely ever a gender issue that doesn’t also have a race factor, or a race-based incident that didn’t also involve gender. (See the link above about Justin Timberlake, which is actually from Racialicious.) For example, there’s a post right now on Feministing about the book G-Dog and the Homeboys, which focuses on one priest’s efforts to combat gang violence in LA. When talking about gangs, gang violence, and police intervention/brutality, there are huge things going on with masculinity, race identity, and the intersection of both. I think if you’re going to look at current events and cultural issues – like the media response to Michelle Obama – you’re  missing half the story if you’re only reading (mostly white) feminist media or only looking at non-white news sources.

And while I don’t need an RSS feed to read it, there’s obvs this blog too. Check it out.

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