Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Anyway, I've been clipping coupons lately (not using coupons, just clipping them, putting them in an envelope, forgetting them when I go to the store, then going through them every few weeks to throw out the expired ones).
And I was inspired to start a possible series called Things I'm Not Buying. Because the vast majority of coupons are for things I would never ever want or need, and I think they're funny.
This is an ad for pre-cooked bacon. Despite it's "Best Taste" seal, I'm not convinced. If I even ate bacon, I would probably prefer to cook it the old-fashioned way. Though I guess you could make an argument that this would save time (approximately 1 minute) or keep some grease from the water supply, is that really worth losing the smell of frying bacon? I'm also not in favor of making saturated fat easier to add to your meals.
These are Native American Chief stamps. Like, hey guys, you were right. Sorry about the genocide, but part of being the greatest country in the world is admitting when you've been wrong. So, here are your faces on some stamps. Not just any stamps, free collectible ones. We will exploit no more forever. (JK)
I swear this appeared in the same coupon bunch as the stamps. Have they no sense of irony? What to get the man in your life who loves outdated, insensitive racial slurs as much as he loves home-team football and tasteful jewelry. Look no further. You can't see this, but it's only $117. Those are real diamonds, y'all. Oh, and 23 karat gold.
But of course, there are always a few things I am buying.
M&Ms premiums are crazy delicious. Think M&Ms can't get any more delicious. So did I. But think again, my friend. Think again.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Anyway, that reminded me that I wanted to post about the fact that at the beginning of November I had not one but two surprise readers tell me they liked my blog. It's probably the most terrifying thing someone can say to me. Wait, no, the most terrifying thing someone can say to me is (if that person is an acquaintaince, I mean) "So I read your blog."
Now I know that if said person didn't like my blog, she probably wouldn't say anything, would just keep it to herself as her respect for me slowly wilted and died. Eventually she'd start avoiding eye contact and all our interactions would be awkward--like many of my interactions really, so maybe I wouldn't even notice.
But there's still those few seconds of pure terror and nervous laughter while I wait for that person to pass judgment on my writing and my sense of humor. And even if she says something good, it's still kind of scary.
Because, as Amanda and Tony and the many other creative types out there can tell you, making yourself vulnerable is scary as all get-out. Here's my work, judge me. While I like the idea of a lucrative blogging career, I don't have the energy/balls to pursue it. I already get paid to be a writer, and I agonize over that too.
In the words of Wes, who coincidentally just brought home his mastered CD and is now ripping it apart, "It's really fucking hard, Sweetie Pie." (It sounds amazing, btw, except for this weird thing on every "s" sound on the entire CD.)
That being said, if you do like my blog, you can tell me. I'll get over the embarrassment pretty quick in order to bask in your praise.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Now that National Novel Writing Month is over, I've found that it indeed works, as I haven't touched my "novel" despite the best of intentions. Part of the problem is that I'm not entirely comfortable with what I'm writing about. But I'm not going to write about my internal struggle because I don't want anyone to know what I'm writing about. That's how uncomfortable it is.
Instead, I will wax a little bit about the ethics of fiction writing, which actually played itself out in another way for me last month. A few weeks ago I went to see two fantastic authors speak at a Pen/Faulkner event at the Folger Shakespeare Library. I put all that in there so you know exactly what kind of book-gobbling yuppie I am.
It was excellent. I now understand why Wes stays up late playing guitar after coming home from a concert.
But anyway, Russell Banks read a short story he'd written, Cow-Cow, based on something that happened to a friend. The story was about a couple who shoot their runaway cow in a cemetary, which serves as an allegory for the end of their marriage. (Does that sentence make sense? I really wanted to use "allegory" but couldn't make it fit.) Anyway, he said that was a true story, but that his friend was annoyed that he'd changed it; she and her husband are in fact stil very happily married.
That led to a discussion about where ideas for fiction come from. As Richard Russo said, you can't jump from thin air into thin air. An idea has to come from somewhere. One of the authors said that "fiction is in the details," that writers take their experiences or the experiences of their friends (or someone else's book/movie/idea) and fill in the details, and that's what makes it their own and a work of fiction. And that made me feel a little better about what I was writing.
I had also recently visited my favorite place, and found James Frey's new novel, Bright Shiny Morning on the new books shelf. Oh, I thought, I should read this, but first I should read that other book and see what all the fuss was about.
Frey's other book, as you probably know, was A Million Little Pieces, which incurred the wrath of Oprah herself when The Smoking Gun revealed that the so-called memoir was pretty much completely made up.
Now, I was well aware of the controversy, but I was somewhat sympathetic to Frey. Memoirs are usually fictionalized to some extent. Names are changed, no one remembers exact conversations and details. That's ok and understood in the world. Of course, they're supposed to be mostly true.
But since I'd never read Frey's book, I didn't follow the brouhaha too closely. So, some 3 years after the story broke, I was happily reading and enjoying A Million Little Pieces, and though I knew some of it was made up--enough to make Oprah angry--I was still subconsciously reading it like it was a memoir. I thought it was mostly true, but I kept wondering what wasn't.
After talking to someone who told me she'd read the book before the controversy, I finally went and looked up what all the fuss was about. The TSG article is, in a word, devastating. Go read it. I'll wait.
Turns out, as I'm sure everyone but me already knew, James Frey is a big priviledged phony. If you don't have time to read the article, that picture of him at the top of it pretty much sums it up.
I was at my parents' house for Thanksgiving, and I'd only brought one book (something I usually never do), so I continued to read the book after reading the article. And I couldn't do it. I was disgusted. I now understand why he felt the need to claim it was a memoir; otherwise it's a portrait of a meathead, a completely unrealistic protagonist with no redeeming qualities and a pretentious writing style that's supposed to mimic the cluttered mind of an addict. But when you know you aren't reading the mind of an addict, you're reading what a rich white kid who liked to drink a lot in college thinks a hardened addict might sound like, something he's imagined to further himself and his bad-boy image, well, it's just gross.
What's so remarkable is how strong my reaction was. I always, with the exception of Hannibal, finish books. Even when I don't really like them, I still muddle through and look for redeeming qualities and learning points. But I couldn't take one more sentence of Frey's arrogance. And reading the book, it was quite clear that, as TSG noted, the book never ever would have (and didn't) sell as a piece of fiction. It was a terrible cliche. (And it made me feel bad about what I was writing. Not because I'm lying about myself, but because my story is exploitative in a certain sense.)
Which is interesting to me, too. I guess the difference between Banks' fictionalization of real events and Frey's is that Banks is a superb writer. He got published without the back story, because his books are really good. I also don't really know anything about Banks other than he seems like a nice dude, but that's probably because no one has ever needed to drag his lying name through the mud, a la Frey.
And if anyone has read this far, I hope some of that was interesting to you, too. I didn't realize this would be so long, and I usually do edit my ramblings, but I was trying to work this out in my head.
So thanks for indulging me. I know this has almost zero relevance to the rest of the world, but if you have any thoughts on any of it, I'd like to hear them.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
But here I am, less than three hours away from my deadline, and I'm officially throwing in the towel. My final word count is just over 22,000, and as you can see I'm blogging, not working on it.
I'm not really really giving up, though. I plan to give myself another month to get to 50,000 before I turn around and start revising it. I'm trying to build up a writing portfolio, which is why I have a blog in the first place. So even though I wasn't able to write 1,667 words a day, I've still written creatively more in the last month than I have in years. This even trumps my thesis, which clocks in at just under 15,000 words, counting the bibliography, and took about a bazillion months to complete (there was more research involved in that one, though).
As far as NaNoWriMo goes, I can't really say that I followed their advice especially well. I never attended a write-in. I only stayed up late once or twice to write, and I only forced myself to write a few times. In other words, I did a pretty good job of churning out 22,000 words while still living the life I like to live. So I think that bodes well for my ability to keep writing in the future, if not my ability to write for a living. (Differently than I already do, that is. I know, nothing is ever good enough.)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So November has rivaled September in terms of blog crapitude. But that's what happens when you kick so much ass in one month, like I did with a bazillion posts in October.
Guess I'll have to shelve those big dreams of blog stardom for a while. Luckily, despite the fact that it really sucked last week, I didn't quit my day job.
Nothing to report/I don't feel like putting together a real (entertaining) post. I'm headed home for Thanksgiving a day early, thanks to my hard-earned comp time. The entire Bolton family is participating in a 5k on Saturday, plus I found free yoga for Thursday, plus Golds Gym is free on Friday, so I'm ready to counteract the turkey effect (not that I eat turkey, but you know what I mean).
I'll actually blame my lameness on all the weight lifting I've been doing lately. It's exhausting. And it's probably going to screw up my 5k. And I need a lot of band aids because I'm so cut.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
But when you're barely halfway through because your boss keeps making major changes and hasn't even given you all the material to edit, well, then that's bull shit.
Guess which experience I'm having? At 10:30 this morning I had no fewer than 10 emails from my boss about stuff we had to do that day. I spent the next four hours editing and putting together the text for our designer and bugging my boss for the rest of the material.
So we've been working all day, and tomorrow we'll have to finish up (what we have!) and then I have to proofread it--our other editor will never see the annual report before it goes to print!--then who knows? I still don't see how we're going to make that deadline.
In the meantime, I'll be glued to my computer if you need anything.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Then, we went to see Conor Oberst at the 9:30 Club. Her review is here, but I would like to add that the guy in front of me was laying toxic farts the entire night, which did mildly dampen my enjoyment of the show. Seriously, it was really bad. I almost had to say something.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I have some ideas, so I'll post something tomorrow. And bear with me; maybe at the end of this month I'll have a 50,000 word novel AND a bunch of blog posts. Who rules? I rule.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
But, just in case you're looking for some more post-election fun, AAUW put up a neat post about what a bunch of us did yesterday and last night.
AAUW is completely nonpartisan, but of course women's organizations usually shake out on the Democratic side. So we're all pretty excited. My story's in there. Check it out and share yours.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Wes and I are trying to make plans to watch the returns in the District. I didn't think I'd be up for anything (I rarely am) but I'm so agitated, I could stay up for days. I was awake at 6 just because I knew I could be voting. (I went at 8:15, took about 45 minutes.)
So Wes is coming to meet me downtown, because my co-worker and I decided that D.C. was definitely the place to be. I want to be in on the celebration/riots, no matter what happens.
The best part of this whole thing though? My "I Voted" sticker. It says "Presidential Election 2008," so I have a souvenir of my participation in possibly the most historic election since the original George W. (That's Washington.)
To borrow a phrase, for the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country, proud of the fact that we're open to a broader idea of power, one that goes beyond the traditional white male figurehead. I think it's wonderful to see a government that is more reflective of its electorate. It's been 143 years since people other than white men could vote. It's about damn time we had something to show for it.
Monday, November 3, 2008
And while I have a few things I could post about, I'd just like to take a minute to reflect on the death of Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. The death of my grandmother, my father's mother, was one of the saddest, most profound moments of my life. Of course, she died suddenly at the age of 56, but losing someone so important to you is never easy.
So add some sadness on top of my stress, and I'll be back tomorrow with fun.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
My friend said that if we take the flyers then the guys get to go home. I told her that I'm didn't want to take flyers that they offer to women implying that we have guts to lose. Do they offer it to all women? Or just those who look like they need it?
I imagine the seminar goes something like this: they invite all us fat women in, offer us cookies but then don't let us have any! And that's the first step to losing belly fat. (No really, it is.)
So that was fine and good for a laugh, but today I went to the chiropractor and he told me, while pressing on my hips (the saddlebag area, if you will) that I had really nice padded bike pants. EXCEPT MY PANTS AREN'T PADDED. Yikes.
I'm reading Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, and seriously, no wonder everyone has an eating disorder.
For real now, I'll start my diet tomorrow. I earned my Buzz cupcake tonight.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
But I wish you'd respect the fact that I only like to drink water at a specific temperature (and, ahem, I think you mean "that are strategically" and "that frequently"). I don't want to go all the way downstairs (6 floors) when I could just go up one. The ice is better on 7 anyway. It's smaller, and I can eat it when I run out of water instead of just going to get more water. Just sayin'.
Seriously, every time I tried to sneak into the kitchen today to get some ice, there was a break and everyone came pouring out of the Jamestown Foundation meeting, blocking my access to the ice maker. So I drank cool water all day and didn't get to chew any ice. It was devastating.
Update: The organization asked that I take their name out of my blog, so I did. Who knew search engines worked so well? But I still want ice!
I know it still reinforces traditional notions of masculinity, but he says "honor du-el" and wipes his eyes under his glasses and throws that cap. Hehe. Who's laughing now? Me.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wes asked me today, and I'm really not sure. I think I like doing them because they make me feel special. Outside of my running group, I don't know too many marathoners, and of the other marathoners I do know, I'm faster than almost all of them. Plus I really like my running friends, so it's fun to hang out with them and work toward a common goal.
As far as a marathon, well, it just became the logical next step. I ran a 10-miler, then I ran a half marathon, and I had such a great time that I had to go for the full. It's only recently that I've come to appreciate how different 10-milers and half marathons are from the full marathon distance.
Of course I also have a wicket sweet tooth, so marathons help with that. I've heard some people lose weight while doing them, but I wouldn't know anything about that.
The diet starts tomorrow though, so for my next marathon I'll be totally jacked and possibly a few pounds lighter to increase my aerodynamicity.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
So, marathons are hard. 3:45:33. Wait, what's my weight doing on there??
Update: My original link stopped working. This one doesn't have my weight on it (though I'm not embarrassed--130), but it does have incorrect 5k splits for me and some pictures. Enjoy!
Update 2: The splits are correct now. So close!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I'll post results tomorrow if my body decides it has 26.2 miles left in it :) In the meantime, read up on the Post's coverage.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Just add it to the ever-growing list. Today I went to see Obama out in not real Virginia (not to be confused with Communist Country, where I live).
On our way in there were a few protestors, including one guy on a sweet red, white and blue motorcycle and a big sign that read "American's for McCain." So I said, "You've misspelled that. There's no apostrophe in Americans" like the good little editor that I am. He shot back something about his last name and then said he never learned to spell.
Now, he might have been joking, but he really didn't sound like it. He sounded like some smug Republican--I'm sorry a smug Real American- accusing me of elitism. And obviously spelling and grammar are things that only elitists care about.
And of course, about 15 minutes later, I realized what I should have said to him:
"That's nothing to be proud of. No wonder they keep sending your jobs overseas."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After a good start to the blog, describing the strong, prominent black actresses in the film, my co-worker started talking about how awful it was to have this woman single her out because she kind of (not really) looks like the women in the movie.
And let's get one thing straight: she's absolutely right. But now it's my job to make some racial theory palatable to the wealthy, older white women who are the members of my organization. (Our staff is very diverse, but I think it will still be hard to get this by them.) Samhita on Feministing talks about it in a post today, reminding me why this blog is important and that it should go up, and not necessarily in white-washed (pun intended) language.
I personally can't wait to tell these women that, despite their best intentions, some of their sentiments and "diversity" programs are, well, racist. (Though one member did tell me that, and I quote, "diversity means different things to different people." But she was using that to justify leaving authors of color off a reading list in favor of rich white women, so it looks like we have our work cut out for us.)
Of course the safe blog is likening the difficulty the Jennifer Hudson character has with voting to what's going on today, but this is definitely the more interesting of the two. We'll see what we can do. Might be time to break out the Patricia Hill Collins...
Wait, I DIDN'T KNOW PHC LIVED HERE!!!!! I kind of love her. Wait, did I know that? It's on the back of her books. Nevermind.
How would you phrase the blog?
Would you go?
Monday, October 20, 2008
Monday morning, on the other hand, I have my first appointment with a guy who specializes in something called active release technique, which I'm pretty sure is going to change my life. I've had pain in my left leg for, ahem, more than a year now, and this guy knows what's wrong and how to fix it. I'm excited about that, though at this point the numbness that keeps me from sitting in my chair has become like an old friend, and I'm kind of going to miss it.
But I've also recently started suffering from pretty debilitating headaches that start in my neck, so I'm not going to miss those.
To make sure that I get my money's worth out of this guy, however, I made a list of problems that I've had this training season. So without further ado, here is my list of pain or, as I like to think of it, my list of things that make running so great:
Numbness, pain in my upper left hamstring and glute that makes it difficult to sit
Tightness and pain in my "haunches"
Occasional back pain that takes my breath away/prevents me from moving
IT band pain (both legs)
Calf tightness (both legs)
Left ankle and foot pain
Stiff neck that results in intense headaches
I think that about does it. I know it sounds like a lot, but hey, that which doesn't kill me and all that. Plus, I'm able to keep running through it all, so I'd say I'm still doing pretty good.
Wish me luck! (for Sunday and Monday)
Saturday, October 18, 2008
So far, I've pretty well managed to avoid an unequal gender division of labor, where I do all the work while Wes sits around and you know, does man things like watch tv or drink beer. I have a secret weapon--I'm lazy. Like crazy lazy. And I hate cleaning. And I have a really high tolerance for clutter. Not filth, clutter. So I'll wipe up stuff like the sinks, but I'm pretty laid back about the rest. And, because I'm totally lazy, I have absolutely no qualms about asking Wes to help me.
I've read articles about training or nagging men into helping you (Linda Hirschman has some extreme ideas in Get to Work--hey, where is my copy of that?), but usually I just ask Wes or complain about having to do it and he does it. Even though I'm by far the messier one. So at the risk of jinxing myself, cleaning my house is not as bad as it could be. Though I hear it could get worse (and here I'm trying to link to a Feministing post whose permalink isn't working, but it says that co-habitating men do more housework than married men. Reason #8,567 why I'm not getting married... Reason #8,568 is that Wes announced today that he likes the name Felon for a child, Felony for a girl.)
Anyway, I also did this today! Hooray for Halloween!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So what's up to
Kate, who has the best blog name I've seen, at Winning Friends With Salad
Monica from Urban Charm Chat
Olive, who also has an awesome blog name, at Surely You Nest
and Linda at Monkey Business Kids and Baby Bunching
I'm unfortunately not able to link to Kellie from AllThingsNanny.com, because I can't find her page. But I hope she keeps fighting the good fight to help nannies get some agency out there. (haha, nanny agency)
I'm also not linking to this woman who had a real stick up her ass about the fact that I was standing next to three of my colleagues during our ice breaker game. She told me, with attitude, that we really should move around because some people were there to network, and we were really inconveniencing her. Well guess what, lady, I didn't come to the conference to meet a-holes, so I guess both of us were inconvenienced. I'm not sure why someone who writes a blog targeted at organizations was so bent out of shape about meeting four people from an organization, but hey. In fairness, she couldn't move herself because both of her feet were chained to the floor, so maybe I'm being unfair.
Anyway, someday, maybe after the marathon and NaNoWriMo (more on that later) I'll be able to vamp up my blog. But don't worry, I'm writing down my ideas.
So congratulations, Katie. Welcome to the grind. I spent the first few months of my job trying to come up with an alternative to the monetary system so we wouldn't need money and, more importantly, I therefore wouldn't have to go to work everyday. I'm still working on it, but I'm glad you can now join me in my theorizing.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Today I attended the BlogHer D.C. conference in Bethesda. I got lots of new ideas about how to shake up and improve this blog, and I'm looking forward to getting started on them ... tomorrow. I was all about doing it tonight, but Jac came over, and we drank a bottle of wine and went out to dinner. So now I'm inspired and a little too full.
(Tomorrow I'm also going to stop eating and drinking so much. All I need is to gain weight before the marathon.)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
If nothing else you'll love their banner and that picture of Michael with wing hair.
Friday, October 10, 2008
But I don't really have shoes that match this dress. So I bought silver heels at Filene's. Except I can't really wear heels. I can't decide if I want to wreck my legs for the sake of hottness and essentially throw away the $50 I spent on the shoes by wearing them instead of just wearing my flats and returning the heels on Monday.
If it wasn't two weeks from the marathon and the economy wasn't melting down around us, I'd probably risk it.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
When I was in college I took a creative writing course. When we had prompts, I wrote some decent short stories, but I struggle with writer's block when it comes to completely original stuff. We had to write two stories for review, and I wrote mine as thinly veiled recounts of my own experiences.
Most of my feedback said that there was some good writing, but then went on to comment on the obvious mental illness of the protagonist. I mean, yeah, so, maybe my "character" "threatened" "her" sister with a "screwdriver." But does that mean she's mentally ill? Maybe the sister was really on her case and didn't respond to other forms of communication? There's really no way to know.
Anyway, that class led me to believe that I wasn't so good at fiction. So I started "blogging" instead of thinly disguising my neuroses--and now I'm an artist, not a psychopath.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Here's a pic.
P.S. My dress = not here.
Monday, October 6, 2008
My protein powder got here on Friday. (No, I still haven't opened it. I try not to think too much about it, especially at times like these, when I have a zucchini cake in the oven. Mmmmmm zucchini cake.)
Wes's bizarre shoes are here, though. I didn't even know he ordered them; the box just showed up to taunt me with its bold, Urban Outfitters (clearly not WHBM) logo.
Actually, the shoes kind of look like they have teeth, so it's like they're mocking me too!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
So my apologies to the six people who check this everyday. I have a vague idea who most of you are (Sitemeter is always watching), and I'm sorry I let you down. To make it up to you, I'm going to do 10 posts RIGHT NOW.
Just kidding, I'm going to dinner now. But three in one night, not bad. Just read them slowly.
If I had known of it, I would have added it to my list of things to do today--and it might have actually gotten done, unlike about 90 percent of that list. (What did get done? A 22-mile run, and I cleaned half my bike. Cleaning your bike totally sucks, by the way. I'm not in a rush to do the other half.)
Anyway, I think we all know we're I'm going. Guess what I'm qualified to do!! Personally, I hope I get to be the editor of Date Lab.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I finally found one in California. (I guess that answers that question. And by "I," I mean the nice lady on White House Black Market's customer service line. After I went out to Union Station at lunch looking for it.)
I spent a lot of time at White House Black Market this weekend. The lady had me trying on everything in the store. Some of it was great, but this dress was my favorite. It was just a tad too small. So I went on a mission--and victory is mine!!
I'm also waiting for this dress to go on sale.
It looks better on me than on that model. But who pays retail? Especially when that retail is$148. (The answers to those questions are me, sometimes and never me.)
In conclusion, shop at White House Black Market. We can be twins. But please don't wear that dress if you're going to two weddings in Raleigh on Oct. 11. Thanks.
P.S. Why is the "cancel" button more prominent than the "upload photo button" on this interface? I canceled my photos like three times. That can't be operator error!
P.P.S. Sorry, Beth of the Lehigh Valley WHBM who spent an hour complimenting me (whether my outfit warranted that or not) and bringing me stuff only to have your commission go to some woman in Cali who just picked up the phone. I owe you one.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
In my day I had some issues with body image, issues that playing sports (adequately) has mitigated. But you could also make a good argument, as my sister often does, that my devotion to running hasn't so much mitigated my preoccupations as replaced them. But hey, running's healthier than not eating any day.
So now I have a goal to lose 7 pounds (130 is actually my ideal weight) and to drop down to 17% body fat. That's really the kicker. I want to be more muscular. For the exercise component, I'm supposed to lift for 3 hours a week and keep up my running. That's easy enough.
But ugh, the food. She wants me to drink protein shakes and the daily calories on my plan are limited to like 1650, because, as a (mostly) vegetarian, all my proteins have carbs in them, which the software doesn't count. So it looks like I can actually eat about 2,000, but on paper it says 1650, and that's a little daunting.
So I'll take about a week to amass this shit (and a blender, of course) and then it's off to day after day after day of dry tuna and half an English muffin for three meals a day. It's going to be great.
Monday, September 22, 2008
But today I got some pretty sad news. I've had some people tell me they never realized I have a brother because I don't talk about him too much. But I do; he's six years younger than me, so we're not super close anymore, but I still like to think I look out for the kid. And right now my heart is breaking for him.
I never met his roommate Paul, but late last week I got an earful about what a great guy he was and how much Michael liked living with him. I'm sorry for my brother's loss and for Paul's family and other friends, and I just wanted some time tonight to be sad. Tomorrow I'll go back to being a jerk.
Thanks for bearing with me.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
I have to buy a trail light for my bike. Tonight, after a lovely run in the Results HydroWorx pool, I headed home only to find that it was almost too dark to wear my shades. That's bad for a number of reasons: number one, bugs in my eyes; number two, if I had stayed much later, it would have been completely dark, and I don't have a light.
I used to have a light--you're required by law to have one in DC and VA if you ride at night--but a lovely woman broke it when she helped me fix my flat tire. She flipped the bike over while the light was still attached, and it snapped off. At the time I was happy that I didn't have to walk home, but now I kinda miss the stupid light.
Don't get me wrong though, that light was not cutting it. I rode home along a trail, and it gets DARK. Plus I'm riding against traffic on the way home, so the lights of oncoming cars make it hard enough to see. I've almost driven off the trail a few times from darkness or blindness. Really, it's a great trail.
Anyway, my little light, which was totally sweet and bright for its price class, still wasn't bright enough for the deep darkness of the banks of the mighty Potomac. So I need a trail light. And those fuckers are expensive.
So, in conclusion, I'm complaining that I have to drop $200 so that I can continue riding my bicycle to work during these shorter days. At least I don't drive.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
So, last night, before heading out to dinner with some friends at P.F. Chang's (my friends love chain restaurants), Wes asked me, "What are we going to get at P.F. Chang's?" And I enthusiastically responded, "Diarrhea!"
Famous last words, y'all. Unlike my sister (haha) I have a pretty good, well-behaved G.I. system. But running can sometimes really fuck me up. After my first half marathon I literally almost pooped my pants, and I am NOT an elite runner. It wasn't that I was pushing myself so hard, it's just that running jostles your insides, and debilitating stomach cramps snuck up on me after the race, far enough away from a bathroom that disaster seemed imminent.
So sometimes my stomach acts up. It most often happens after really long runs. But this week, the combination of clam chowder for lunch on Friday, clam chowder for lunch on Saturday and a 20-mile run on Sunday seem to have laid me down for the count.
I'm dying. I finished running at like 11:30. It is now 3:09, and I am typing this from the bathroom. The toilet is the only place I can sit upright without getting cramps that send me running back to the toilet. I've been here so long that my foot is asleep. I was gchatting with Kate, so I brought the computer in here with me and figured I may as well blog. Lucky you. I really wish I had my camera in here. I'd post pictures of my vanity--by which I mean the cabinet. A blog about me shitting is enough of an illustration of my self vanity (self vanity?). But I guess it's weird enough that I have my computer with me...
Seriously, thank God we have the internet. Now everyone can suffer with me.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I'm so angry and insulted and stressed about her and the Republican campaign strategies that I can't stand it or organize my thoughts into anything that doesn't turn into a rant. She reminds me of this other "feminist" I knew who wants all the benefits of feminism but never misses a chance to attack other women. I mentioned before that I like to think the best of people, so this strategy of lying and appealing to the lowest common denominator really throws me for a loop. I get physically upset about it. No wonder some people hate affirmative action! (I still like it--otherwise the domestic terrorist Republicans have won.)
But luckily there is a shining beacon of hope. Yesterday, after spending the entire day at my desk, reading story after story about Sarah Palin until I wanted to cry, another Sarah came to my rescue. She's like Haley Joel Osmet in Pay It Forward, and I'm like Jesus on the bridge, and now I'm paying Sarah Haskins forward to you. It might be ok after all.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Anyway, it looks like sweet marathon weather tomorrow. At 4:30, when I wake up, it will be 72 degrees and 93% humidity. Brutal.
Normally I love running, especially distance. But right now the prospect of running 13.1 miles fast (I consider 8:15s to be fast!) is just not doing it for me.
I don't mean to be so negative. It might be fun! You can check out my results on the new and improved Pacers Racers site!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I think, at bottom, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate is insulting, and I don't think women are going to fall for it. It's Harriet Miers all over again--at least I hope it is.
I'll admit that as a Hillary supporter who always liked Obama, I did narrow down my choice based on the fact that Hillary was a woman and that a woman in the White House was a precedent I wanted to set. But, really, my support was based on her strong stance on and interest in women's issues, not the fact that she herself was a woman. And, this is petty, but I'd like to see a woman WIN the presidency, not take the back door in when the old-ass president dies in office.
And, although I'm often accused of living in a big-city, intellectual bubble, I truly believe that my fellow women won't be fooled by McCain's pandering or the sub-par candidate he's put up to make history. I like to think I have faith in humanity, and even if P.U.M.A.s are out there, they're not completely stupid. And now they see what John McCain thinks of them.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Wes and I were planning a summer 2012 London trip, but after that Handover--obviously their spelling and not mine--I'm not so sure.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Last night, I about fell off the couch when the women's 4x100 relay team dropped their baton. I had read that the men had done it, but I didn't know the women would make the same mistake. But it's been ugly all along. Where did Jamaica come from? And a bronze medal out of a 5th place finish hardly makes up for all the lowlights. (Ok, there have been some highlights.)
So tomorrow is the men's marathon. Now's your chance. Don't make me regret spending the last two weeks of my life--weeks I'll never have back!--glued to your prime time event coverage and your heart-warming fillers. (P.S. No male athletes have children?)
After the heartbreaking American performances in the women's marathon, I want to see Ryan Hall medal. Wes didn't buy this giant tv for nothing, dammit!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
But I thought Gene was hilarious this week. I laughed out loud.
Plus, finally!, a successful Date Lab. Is that the first? I'm pretty sure it is--it is being advertised as the Date Lab we've all been waiting for.
And Tom gave 2 1/2 stars to a restaurant devoted to chocolate. It's like eating at my house except more expensive and with fewer m&ms. I wish I were there right now. The restaurant. I am at my house.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I won't get into it too much, except to say that I used to have trouble sleeping on the first floor of any dwelling because I thought a murderer would come get me. I'd spend late nights tossing with the TV on at my aunt's house thinking about someone slipping through the woods and into my room to stab me while the 4 a.m. repeat of Oprah ran in the background. (I thought keeping the TV on might protect me.)
But these days, I'm a lot calmer and more well-adjusted. I even live on the first floor of my condo building--something I swore I'd never do. But love makes you do crazy things--Wes wanted to live on the first floor to make load in/out easier.
And, despite the fact that I've been riding it almost every day since January, it only recently occurred to me that it would be really easy for a car driving on the GW Parkway to jump the curb and smash right into me while biking or running on the Mt. Vernon trail. Seriously, people (myself included) drive like maniacs on that road, and in a lot of places, the trail runs right alongside it. I'd always thought about how my bike could slide out from under me and directly into traffic at this one part, but my preoccupation with cars coming to get me is completely new--eight months after I started traveling on it. I take that as a sign of progress.
I also now willingly publish details about my life on the internet, known province of stalkers, rapists and murderers. Tomorrow, look for directions to my house and a description of my daily routines and habits.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The women who play are uniformly gorgeous, so I guess they feel no need to cover all that hottness up with, well, uniforms. I'm watching May and Walsh play the semi-final match, and so are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. I doubt the outfits are lost on them.
Anyway, I'm intrigued by how good May and Walsh are. They are, by far, the dominant team. Last time I watched, their match count was something like 457-9. And right now they are trouncing the Brazilians 14-6. Make that 15-6.
I think it's a shame they don't play against men. I bet they could take on many of the best men's teams in the world and still come out on top. Sure, the net is higher in men's volleyball, and on average the men are probably taller, but Walsh is well over 6' herself. I'm not worried.
I read this book for a review I never wrote for the AAUW member magazine. It was about the idea that sex-segregated sports do a disservice to the best women, because they never have a chance to go up against the best competition--men. After reading the arguments of authors Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano, it's difficult to disagree with them.
As a former rugby player and now runner, I certainly see the arguments in favor of letting women win by separating them out of the men's competition. While Paula Radcliffe can beat her countrymen, she hasn't yet clocked a marathon time that would beat the male world record holder. And she probably never will. Winning is likely more rewarding than always coming in behind a handful of men, but Radcliffe still comes in ahead of the vast majority of men running marathons.
At the lower levels of sports, sex segregation might be a good idea, especially to introduce girls to their sport. Boys can be intimidating, and they therefore tend to dominate on the pitch. McDonagh and Pappano are in favor of voluntary segregation--they are protesting forced sex segregation. It's a fine distinction, but an important one. While the scrawniest, nerdiest, most athletically disinclined boy could try out for his school's football team if he wanted to, it's likely that the most athletic, talented girl at his school could not, simply because she's a girl. And when you look at it that way, it doesn't seem fair.
So May and Walsh might not have any interest in competing against the top men, but it might be good for their game. And it might also make for good tv. Provided the dudes wore correspondingly skimpy outfits.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Modeling camp? Because why teach your girls, ages 7-17, about creativity, talent and comfort in their own skin when you can teach them about unrealistic standards of beauty and how to pose like a sexpot?
As one of the campers told the Post:
"I'm going to be a high-fashion model," says Bailey Milde, a long-limbed 12-year-old from Stafford in short shorts and a tank top. "Not all agencies are going to like me, but I think enough will that I'll make enough money to live on. I have a good body type for it."By which she means that, as a pre-pubescent child, she's really skinny and has no breasts.
I know lots of models are very young, but I also know that eating disorders, drug use and depression run rampant in the fashion industry. And I also know that reading about the urge of people to teach their 11-year-old daughters how to wear makeup and pose so men want to have sex with them makes for one of those exhausting feminist moments.
In fairness, drug use also runs rampant in the world of rock and roll. But Katie tells me her GR!DC girls got a talk on how fame isn't everything, and while I did stop a participant on the street to ask for her autograph, the purpose of rock camp wasn't to break these girls into show business or to create unrealistic expectations. It was to teach them that's it's good to be a girl.
At model camp, on the other hand:
Campers from 7 to 17 spend a week or more learning makeup tips, runway walking and how to compile a professional portfolio. They leave with a handful of fashion photos and, generally, an intensified desire to enter the competitive world of modeling. ...The camp's founder defends her camp as a self-esteem builder, but look at those pictures. And imagine that meeting: "I'm sorry, but one of Kayla's eyes is smaller than the other, and she's 5 pounds heavier than the average 8 year old. She'll have to go on a strict diet, and even then she'll be lucky to get a dog food commercial. Sorry, Fatty."
After camp is over, each will meet with Cole and a parent to talk about her potential for professional modeling.
The campers also spend the day at a spa. I feel like I've spent too much time defending girls' rock camp. This modeling camp is disgusting, and its values are completely misplaced.
One or two of the most promising (and tallest -- adult models generally must be 5 feet 9 or taller) might be recruited to join Cole's scouting firm, Model Source, which represents models she's chosen who are trying to get jobs with New York agencies. Shorter girls will receive a list of other reputable agencies to pursue on their own. All will be offered the chance to participate in Cole's $2,000 modeling program during the school year.
"I'm known for being honest," Cole said. "If I don't think someone can work, I'll say that I don't know that this is the best investment for you."
The rest of you skinny girls, fork it over.
Campers said they understand that the chances of hitting it big are slim. But even if they never get a modeling job, they said, they still learned valuable skills, such as how to address the paparazzi.Because, obviously, handling the paparazzi is a skill all young women should cultivate. You know how we treat those who can't.
But I was there for the first Girls Rock! DC Showcase. GR!DC is a rock camp for girls by women. My sister, Kate, volunteered there, and she's pretty much been bouncing off the wall all week with excitement. I know this, and I've only talked to her like twice.
So sometimes it's exhausting to be a feminist, but sometimes, times like this morning, it's completely exhilarating. This camp is all about teaching girls to rock and all the attendant values and virtues that come along with "rocking"--of which there are many, I can assure you after seeing this morning's show.
I'm not too embarrassed to admit that I fought back tears a few times. Watching a little girl spin is such a non-sequiter, but that's the point. With some notable exceptions, female DJs are few, and, like lots of women in male-dominated fields, women musicians have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove themselves. My dad once told me he just doesn't like women singers. (That feeling you can't seem to place when you dislike a woman but just can't explain it? Yeah, that's sexism.) Though he also doesn't care about lyrics, so we don't have much to talk about when it comes to music.
So, in the last week, these girls formed bands, practiced or learned to play instruments, wrote a song, and cultivated their image. And without exception, their songs were fun, and their images were fierce. There was a lot of confidence on display--a trait that can be so rare and vulnerable in teen girls. One band, the Beat Queens ("like a drum, not like a vegetable") were all about 8 years old and had a whole routine worked out where they asked each other and the audience "Are you ready?" "Thank you, America," Queen Adia, the lead singer, shouted at the end of her set and again at the end of the GR!DC camp song. We ran into her after brunch, and she gave me her autograph.
Some girls are born with that kind of confidence, and I suspect Queen Adia is such a child. But some of us have had to constantly choke down self-doubt and fear and shyness to ever get anything done, and I saw a lot of those girls on stage today too. They're the ones who made me cry, because if they can realize at such a young age that it's awesome to be a girl and to have attitude and style and confidence and not worry about what anyone else thinks, then their lives are going to be that much better, starting today.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
In the meantime, and my whole point, please leave comments. Either don't tell me in person or don't just tell me in person what you think. Remember, you can be anonymous online.
But I did go to lots of other places. On Thursday, Wes and I stumbled onto a great restaurant and had a big, indulgent dinner. (Tomatoes and watermelon are my new favorite thing. I had a great dish at Jaleo, made one myself and now the one at Conduit. Try it. Trust me.) Then on Friday we walked all over the damn place and ended up back in Mission (via Bart) to see Patton Oswalt
and to eat another delicious dinner.
We did all that walking because it's damn near impossible to get on a street car though my cheap ass didn't really want to pay $5 anyway (no exact change for the bus either). I'll never get over my broke college ways when it comes to transportation. There were some hills. Yes, we walked up that.
Saturday, we decided to kick it Bohinkas style. We rented some crappy bikes (crappy because of overuse and neglect, not because they were crappy to begin with). They were Marins, which was cool because we rode into Marin County.
Anyway, us, bikes, we rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, just like Full House (that's the second mention of that show on my blog--a worrisome statistic) and down into Sausalito a beautiful but super crowded little tourist trap. Next time I'll want to continue onto the Redwoods, but for Saturday we had to turn around and go back. But if you ever go, don't waste your time in Sausalito. There's nothing you'd want there, unless you like expensive but tacky "art" and overpriced restaurants with gorgeous views.
Luckily by the time we turned back, the fog had dissipated, so our ride back up the giant hill out of Sausalito was totally worth it. After that we rode through Crissy field and back to the wharf to return the bikes. I flew home at 12:30 that night.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Seriously, every night I get sucked in to the stupid thing and the running hasn't even started yet! I'm watching women's gymnastics now, but I SHOULD be sleeping. Or writing another Olympics blog for AAUW (but 10 hours is enough work for today). Or, frankly, showering. I had a track workout tonight. Olympics!
Monday, August 11, 2008
10:41 Mangled his name
Wes: he looks good!
10:42 Yeah, that is a lot of money. He's probably lying. Edwards, not Josh. What's a depotee?
10:43 Honestly, it would make a lot more sense to me if someone cheated on me while I had cancer. I do think there's some defensibility, and I said that before Edwards got caught.
10:44 How does Josh know this stuff? He looks so grown up! Good job, buddy.
10:45 That was fast. Now they are on site at the hotel. So trashy. The background music is hilarious. I'm so disappointed that they followed up Josh's intelligent commentary with this crap. You're right, Greta, you're a quality journalist.
10:46 Liveblogging is hard. Sorry this was devoid of substance. I'll have to rethink my approach for future live blogs. I'll put a youtube link up if there is one.
"His baby"?? Oh no you didn't ;) There's a reason my aunts have always loved the National Enquirer...
10:48 Creepy NE guy on Edwards when they busted him at the hotel: "He looked like his life had ended." That's what you call a money shot.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Anyway, I go back and forth between being cool and not cool around celebrities. While meeting Ben Folds was like the highlight of my life, it certainly wasn't the highlight of my witty repartee. I mostly shook and thanked him for a great show before breaking down into tears after he walked away. But I was totally cool when I met the guys from Guster. I told Ryan that the picture on his shirt was a heart attached to the female reproductive system. He'd had no idea. So I like to think I hold a special place in his heart. Of course I was only standing out there trying to meet Ben again, but whatevs.
Anyway anyway, I'm not sure how you're supposed to deal with meeting celebrities. Obviously, unless they run marathons or care about feminist theory, we don't have that much in common. It's hard enough for me to make small talk with my friends, let alone acquaintances, let alone strangers, let alone world famous (or B-list) strangers. (On the other hand, Josh Ritter, I'm coming for you.)
So when Patton and his crew walked into this little gallery in the Mission neighborhood, where Wes (formerly SP--who am I kidding. There's nothing anonymous about this) and I were the only customers, I looked right at him, then tried to get Wes's attention. In a desperate attempt to play it cool, I was trying to slyly ask Wes if that was Patton Oswalt, but all he heard was me asking him something about patents in my best ventriloquist impression. (The doy dought the dasketdall.)
Once outside, I told Wes what I'd been trying to say. He was just as excited as I was so we paced the storefront a bit debating whether or not to go ask him for a picture. I said I didn't think that you were supposed to bother celebrities, but Wes pointed out, probably correctly, that Oswalt likely doesn't get bothered that often.
But we left. There's no evidence. You'll just have to believe me. (Unless he's into googling himself and sees this blog and wants to leave a comment that yes, he was in San Francisco last weekend and yes, there was a lovely young couple who left him alone in that one store.)
Oh, and Patton Oswalt is a comedian and was the voice of Remy in Ratatouille and he was the bad guy in the Reno 911 movie. And he wrote this, which is pretty funny.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Now this is a little bit of a confession for me, as SP is totally into the Western thing. One time we were out shopping, and he asked what I thought of a shirt, and I said it was fine, except for those weird western shoulder things (apparently western yokes?) . And he was like, "All my shirts have those." Oops. He's right too, I must have just overlooked it when I was looking deep into his soul and finding my future or something like that.
Anyway, Southwestern stuff is fugly. But my latest issue of Crochet Today arrived today, and there appears to be some sort of Southwestern theme going on with this issue. I guess that's a little bit of a confession as well. Not only do I love to crochet, I subscribe to a magazine about it. It's super relaxing and satisfying, and it helped me recover from a rugby hand injury when I picked it back up a few years ago. But I actually hate yarn and can't afford silk, so I spend most of my time crocheting stuff for other people--mostly hats for SP who apparently has a thing for kind of ugly/yet artistic things that I don't appreciate.
Once, when volunteering at a homeless shelter I got into a big argument with one of the residents about whether or not I was a feminist. She hates feminists, because they hate men, but thinks men and women should be equal, just that men should be in charge. When she caught me crocheting she gave me a little wink and said, "You're not a feminist." And that was the end of that.
So what's my point? I guess I don't have one. Except that I won't be making a prairie poncho anytime soon. But that I did make these sweet hats:
And I promise to update with a picture of the prairie poncho as soon as CT updates its site.
I like the Southwest itself too. It's just that style... this post'll be better once the patterns are up. Also, Luskey's western wear? I totally interviewed for a political job with the heir to that empire.
Update: Here it is. I told you it would make you barf.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
But, as a 26-year-old woman with disposable income, I can assure you that, if someone is going to lure me into the (lonely, girlfriend-less) world of game, it won't be with a Clueless video game. (That's a game based on the movie Clueless, not a description of the misguided attempt to appeal to women's taste that such a video game represents.)
And I really liked the movie (back when it came out in what, 1991?) I probably still like it, but I wouldn't like spending my time--what the hell--fixing up video game characters?? I assumed the game would have us picking out Cher's outfits, but I just actually read the press release. You fix the characters up based on clothing styles and interests--you know those basic building blocks of any stable, satisfying relationship. I'm curious as to whether you can fix up same-sex couples...
Anyway, the idea of fixing real people up in real life is nauseating--why in the world would I spend my time sitting in front of my tv matching up (I'll go out on a limb here) stereotypical caricatures of nonexistent high school friends? Does this sound like fun to anyone? And wasn't the moral of Clueless to butt out?
Maybe it's just me (and Gillette at least). Carrie Underwood probably loves it. That's a little better, America Ferrera.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I finally have an official policy regarding my other blog, AAUW Dialog. That's right, I'm a some-time blogger, full-time editor for the organization (stalkers welcome).
I'd like to be able to link and cross post some of my work there here, because I'm doing all that work, and I may as well get max benefit. Plus that way I can blog on the clock! But this is my personal blog, and as such, my views are not representative of the organization as a whole, and in no way should they be construed as the opinions of AAUW. For example, I still wish we'd called it the BLAAUWG instead of Dialog...
I'm also going to try to cross post relevant stuff to the new Feministing Community, because I love them over there.
Little did I know, as I was posting my latest wedding screed, the Post had a big article up on the front page of the business section about the latest wedding trend--frugality! (Apparently, I subscribe to the Sunday Post for nothing, as I can't even manage to read it the day they validate me. I mean my views on weddings)
I know you know I hate weddings (my co-worker came into my office today to tell me my anti-wedding mania was getting a little out of hand) but I really wanted to highlight one quote from the article:
Experts say there are many ways to cut wedding costs. "This is the time to prioritize what you need and realize that there is always something in your budget" to economize, [Richard] Markel [director of the Associaion for Wedding Professionals] said.That is my problem with weddings. Markel's statement has always been true about weddings, long before a crippling recession hit, but his industry has made a fortune preying off of ugly stereotypes, faux traditions, selfishness, and rampant greed and consumerism. The wedding industry has made billions of dollars convincing families that they need to spend outrageous amounts of money (whether they can afford it or not) for their special day.
And, as a commenter on my AAUW blog pointed out, it has also created a gross sense of entitlement on the part of the couple, but I would argue that extends to the guests. Don't you dare skimp on the alcohol or entertainment, or we're going to be talking about you later.
I love parties, I really do, but the wedding culture coupled with the recent economic boom was an ugly mix, and I'm not sorry to see it go. Consumerism and corporate greed turned weddings--occasions that should be joyous and loving--into something ugly and competitive and cripplingly expensive for most of the population.
So go ahead and get married. I know you're going to. (Though keep dissemination of pictures of yourself kissing your beloved to a minimum, please.) But keep in mind that cheaper weddings are so hot right now, and that every dollar you save can be spent on the quality of your life, not just the quality of one day.