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30 June
fat media update number two
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Fat media update number one is that I was [am?] in a magazine. Since I already wrote about that quite dorkily in my livejournal, you should just go read what I wrote there - if you care to.

Fat media update number two is that I have, finally, finished the copy of I'm Not the New Me (aka The Poundy.com Book) that the ultracool Cinnamon procured for me, signed and all.

I entered into the whole book thing with mixed feelings. Cause Pound is very entertaining and frank and just, you know, good, but has often been about a whole weight-loss focus that is so not my thing. And I worried that it would be one of the new crop of fat empowerment books that are... well, really not the least bit empowering. Seriously, one more person basically saying that everyone needs to be trying really hard not to be fat while trying to love themselves just as they are - well, one of these days, I'm going to poke out someone's eyes.

But that someone won't be Wendy McClure. Because her book is actually a pretty good memoir. Yes, it's a memoir of someone who happens to be doing Weight Watchers throughout it, but it's intelligent, largely not all that fat-phobic, read. If you're hoping for any kind of radical view of fat people (like, that being fat can be fun funky good times), you'd better keep hoping. But it's not bad.

Okay, not exactly a ringing endorsement. You have to understand that I'm at a point where I'm just so very tired of every implication being that fatness sucks on some level. It'd be swell if someone would write a book that was all about how much fatness rocks, or really examined why everyone seems to think it can't rock (which actually, Revolting Bodies and Bodies out of Bounds kinda do - so someone has written that book, after a fashion). Barring that, though, I suppose a largely [oh, look, a fatgirl pun!] entertaining and marginally insightful memoir is a lot better than many of the other takes on fatgirl books I've seen. I would have prefered more insight with my entertainment (like, there's a surface that feels like it could be scratched regarding the whole joining a diet club thing, something I suspect McClure could dig into in a revolutionary way), but I still had a good time. [Please don't mention that other fatgirl book written by that other Wendy - you know, the one that's all "feel great despite your size - but god forbid, don't forget to apologize, us fat folk have to keep up appearances!"? I hate that book.]

There's really only one true problem with I'm Not the New Me, and it's that people seem to want to declare it an Official Fat Girl Book. If it weren't for that, the book could just be about a woman who has some experiences, one of which is being sorta fat and joining Weight Watchers and then sorta not being fat anymore. And we could all read it and laugh a little, and think for about a half second, and it would be fine. Think about it - that random DC chick who slept with people, got fired, then got famous on the internet? She wrote a book. It's terrible. McClure's book kicks that other book's ass.


There aren't enough images of fat people out there, clearly. There aren't enough that everyone can read a book about a fatgirl and not have the letters F, A and T sparkling over their heads the whole time. Me included. I want every new fatgirl book to actually have something challenging to say to the world, because there are so few of them out there saying anything at all. I want to be moved intellectually.

By the way... blah blah blah, sorry it's been so long since I've blogged, but these are crazy times. Crazy times.

Oh, and you can't comment anymore without the supersecret username and password (both redpolka), as I decided to just avoid the whole comment/trackback spam entirely. Sorry for the inconvenience.


09 September
whb : sexist entertainment
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Sez Miz Roni:

This question follows me everywhere during almost every day. How does a feminist deal with the fact that sometimes she just loves the groove of an anti-feminist singer/musician? I know we all shake our groove thing to some pretty bad songs, but how do you get over this hypocritical aspect of our lives? Or are you a good feminist and stay away from anti-women/sexist lyrics? [Read the WHB responses.]

Maybe my idea of anti-woman/sexist is too narrow, because I don't think of any of the music I listen to as anti-woman. If it is, I have never noticed. It could just be my musical choices, though - because I am someone who always pays a great deal of attention to lyrics.

There is the occasional alt-country song (almost always sung by a woman, oddly) about which I'll think oh no you din't, usually in response to some bitchiness directed at another woman. I'd be curious to see Roni's own response to that question because of that - I know she's a country music fan; not just the "alternative" stuff I listen to; if the mix she sent out this spring was any indication, she runs the mainstream country gamut, and some (not all!) of that stuff is wacky with stereotype.

But mostly, my music somewhat accidentally falls in line with my politics - er, at least when the lyrics aren't so poetic they shift toward obscure.

There are exceptions. There's actually a song [Bis' "Listen Up"] that's tangentially about the songs I'm talking about - the indie boy rockers' tales of girl problems; the ones that take up the Troubadour's legacy and place women on a pedestal of mysteriousness and subtle gender stereotype, the ones that encourage a stalkeresque "if I just keep sleeping on her front porch, she'll realize she truly loves me" mentality. I like the indie rock; I like these boys, but it bothers me that their idea of respect for women is so silly, that their ideas of love are sometimes so warped-sounding. None of these boys think they're sexist, but it's still irritating. Because they're representing what the indie boys and girls who aren't in bands are thinking, too.

That subtle reinforcement of "girls do this / boys do that" in our pop culture is as destructive in some ways as the "gonna go beat up a cop and bang a ho" stuff people complain so loudly about. At least the latter you know is supposed to be fantasy. But we demand both, don't we? They wouldn't sell if we didn't want those fantasies.

Speaking of indie rock (a relevant sidebar). There's a not insignificant amount of sexism present in the indie music scene, still, and the music inevitably reflects that, even in terms of the artists you hear about from some of the ostensibly independent music media. I offset this by making music choices based on the worst, most conservative view of Affirmative Action - I pick music based on Venus and other feminist mags, and therefore know next to nothing about new guy-dominated bands. But now I'm exhausting my commentary on the actual topic and riffing on it.

Another relevant sidebar - there was a band on the Today Show some months ago. It might have been Maroon 5, and was definitely one of those pop bands masquerading as indie rockers. The lead singer (male) sported a "FEMINIST" t-shirt. Our host asked him why he was wearing said shirt; he said essentially "cause it's all about the girls". That's right. I'm a feminist because I'm all about the girls. Although in this case, very hard to assess whether it was latent sexism or simple stupidity talking.

As a final relevant sidebar, if I diverge from the music topic a bit, I do consume quite a bit of media fluff that is, if not sexist, at least not fodder for la revolution. Like, pretty much everything fictional TWOP covers, movie and television. But that's a subject for another day.


29 April
celebrity activism
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I'm glad to see that very little of the post-March coverage on blogs has anything to do with the celebrities who were there. But the media coverage keeps coming back to pictures of famous folk. I was thinking on this in the shower this morning, some of the same ideas pop up on Ms. Musings shortly after.

Ms. Musings linked to a Salon.com article that actually went a step further, trying to pinpoint the leader of our next generation of feminists to one of the celebrities who was or wasn't there. While I doubt anyone actually believes that Kirsten Dunst (par example) is going to rise up and lead anyone, this seems to me to highlight a problem with celebrity activism: it furthers the idea that famous people are more able to get things done than anyone else. And yet, outside of feminists, is Betty Friedan or Emma Goldman or - yes, Gloria Steinem - famous? Is Ellie Smeal? Is Gloria Feldts? Is Kate Michelman (who so completely and totally rocked it on Saturday night, can't say that enough)?

Well, no. But they're the ones who get it done. The lobbyists and the congressfolk and the people who vote for them or send them money or whatever get it done. Celebrities are just eye candy.

That's not to say a celebrity endorsement isn't useful to a cause, particularly an unknown one (i.e. freeing Tibet). Or that a little free press on an awards show ever hurt anyone. But...

Do celebrities motivate other people to come out for political events? Does anyone think, well, Whoopi Goldberg loves reproductive freedom, so I guess I do, too? Yeah, I don't think so, either. I don't have any research to prove it, but I'm guessing that celebrities promoting a particular message serves less to pass on the celebrity's sparkle to the message and more to pass on the message's sparkle to the celebrity.

That is, I think Susan Sarandon Whoopi Goldberg Cybill Shepherd Margaret Cho Camryn Manheim Ani DiFranco Janeane Garofalo Pink Indigo Girls Maggie Gyllenhaal Thora Birch Ed Harris Salma Hayek Julia Stiles Glenn Close Alan Cumming Tyne Daly Ossie Davis Ted Turner Illeana Douglas Kirsten Dunst Sarah McLachlan Moby (a selection of celebs of various generations from the list of celebs I got via email a while ago) seem cooler to us for having shown up or otherwise supported the March fo Choice, but not one of those people has the power to make me show up. Their involvement with the March more emphasized that they were cool, if I thought that before, and made me reconsider my belief that they sucked in a couple of cases (well, Julia Stiles' "feminazi" comment on Jon Stewart's show some time ago pretty much convinced me she was a twat, but maybe she's not and anyhow I'm not sure I care).

And there could be a danger that the celebrity coverage of any given issue might lead you, the fan, to believe the issue's being covered, it's under control. It's just my sneaking suspicions talking here, but I don't want people to forget that there's an urgency for each individual to take part. Not because your one vote matters that much, but because a coalition of 1.15 million voters could do a lot to change the balance of things.

The full force of any movement shouldn't be measured in which cool kids come to the party, but in the size of the party itself, and its momentum. If a celebrity can make that more visible, great. But we should never (as the folk over at Ms. pointed out) confuse popularity with leadership. That's for grade school.


12 April
bomb this, anti-semites.
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I saw this propagating over LiveJournal a week or so ago but forgot to bring it over here until Amp posted about it.

My small contribution to the anti anti-semitism google bomb google bomb: Jew.

[Edited to add that, thanks to Ben, I've learned that the rank of the "Jew Watch" site isn't purely the result of Google bombing itself. But, as Google doesn't intend to change the site's ranking, the anti-anti-semite google bomb is still the best way to change it.]


06 April
the blog.
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It's so true.


02 March
hbo's "iron jawed angels" actually worth watching
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See this entry's title. It's true. And not just because Frances O'Connor is hot, even as a redhead (although, trust me, she is) with a goofy haircut.

Most of what I know about suffrage, ironically, is the Stanton/Anthony era stuff, post-Civil War. So I'm not clear how accurate the movie is aside from the basics - like, who Alice Paul was and the various factions of the early American women's liberation movement. I wasn't even sure, for instance, if the prissy Congressdude's wife character had some basis in history (she doesn't, at least not exactly - I think her inclusion was nice, though, and gave the story more tie to average Janeness, at least the sort of white upperclass average she represents).

HBO's website does a pretty nice job of contextualizing the movie, too, with summaries and resources and pictures and such. And it's prettily designed (a good example, by the way, of a corporate media site retaining the corporate brand and feel while allowing the content and feel of the individual show/movie/whatever to dominate the user's experience).

So, the movie's worth a look just for the history. It's also very watchable. The general quality of the production is similar to a lot of historical romances; alternately sweeping and intimate. Despite the wedged-in love interest (Patrick Dempsey, whose presence worried me at first), though, the romance of the film is - fortunately - all about the women and the cause. It uses this kinda cliched style to drive home a big old "suffragists rock" message. Er, actually, the "suffragists rock" thing is strangely conveyed in the music, too - it's characterized by a Knight's Tale-esque rock vibe, which more or less works, anachronistic as it is.


03 February
stupid media kerfuffle
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My co-workers, who are known for a complete disregard of the line between work-safe and its opposite, were - I kid you not - huddled around a close-up photo of Janet Jackson's breast this morning, talking about how icky it was. A bunch of people on LJ have been talking about this in the same context as the most exploitative porn. Yesterday, the Glen Beck guy on the conservative talk radio was railing about second-rate halftime talent wrecking family values, and I was deeply confused as to what he was trying to say (not having seen the Super Bowl, which is NOT covered on NPR). Today he lambasted Howard Dean for saying the FCC ought to focus its attention on other things that could be bad for kids (yeah, like the 6PM news). And Katie Couric thinks it's nasty; Pat O'Brian disagrees.

My personal reaction when I read what had actually happened could be summed up in the following: eh, Justin finally got Britney back for that whole Madonna kiss thing; guess that means he's winning the breakup wars according to whatever that thing was on MTV with the animated boxing gloves. [Yes, my personal reactions are this shallow.]

This is stupid. We don't even need to be talking about this.

And this is why most Americans laugh at anyone of strong political belief, because it will eventually expressed as either the aforementioned talk radio program expressed it, or it will come out in the "feminist" claims that Janet Jackson is yet another symbol of passive feminine sexuality, as she did not rip off her own shirt. Basically, it's people like Glen and the LJ feminist communities that make us all look a bit absurd.

It's just a breast, a body part that all little kids have likely seen. It seems highly unlikely that she was not complicit (I mean, she was the one wearing a snap-off cup with no bra under it).

Get over it, America.

Also. This is related to Kim's male nudity/Justin Timberlake post, at least vaguely. There's this idea that the female body is inherently and entirely sexual if nude, while the male body is only sexual in one part - the penis. Of course, the penis is so intensely sexual that just showing one apart from any sexual situation in a movie is grounds for a more serious rating than the goriest of gory action/horror movies, while a bevy of topless or otherwise near-nude women is just background noise.

I understand that people have different feelings about nudity, and that some people legitimately are just annoyed that they were unexpectedly exposed to boobies when they had no reason to expect boobies during their football game, but the resulting media kerfuffle is wholely unnecessary.

If you're really that upset by nudity, ask why female nudity is used to titillate vastly more, and why unsexual naked body parts are considered worse than real-life or fictionalized gore and violence. And do something about that.


20 January
civil rights fiction
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I've just finished Sena Jeter Naslund's Four Spirits, which seems oddly appropriate the day after MLK Day.

So, the jist of the novel is this: it's the stories of several different people woven around civil rights goings-on in Birmingham in the mid-sixties. It starts after the first efforts at school integration and ends (minus epilogue) before any real resolution or federal involvement. I don't typically read historical fiction that isn't essentially historical science fiction (i.e. the story is in the past, but something wildly different happens), but I read everything Naslund publishes. She's that good.

Reading historical fiction centered around a time and place you know a little, not much, about is unusual. Everything seems factual. I wonder if it's different to read about a time you lived through in a fictionalized way, too; I want to pass this book on to older southern friends and know what it means to them.

One of the characters in the book is the battered wife of a Klan bomb-setter; their whole story terrifies me in an odd, back-burner of your mind sort of way. I kept wanting to push that part of the book away from me. And it's a side note of a story, too. It was no more graphic than, say, a Steven King novel (which, if you don't read them, are generally not graphic and more about tension than violence) - but it was so upsetting. Like the rest of the book, it felt like someone's true story, but that wasn't even the thing that made it so disconcerting. It just. Was.

But I meant to talk about this book, and how it worked more through poetry than a history lesson might have. You think, you learn in school, that the big heroes of the civil rights era died for a cause, but you don't think about the people who weren't leaders. Teachers and shoe-shiners and waitresses who were also activists.

And it's sad how much we still haven't achieved.


18 December
catfight - a sort of book review via personal reflection
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I've been reading Leora Tanenbaum's Catfight. You can tell from the hot pink cover it's intended to be "feminist lite" (defined in my book as nonfiction work ostensibly about feminism but mostly a shallow examination or praise of women), but it's more substantial than that.

It suffers, as her first book Slut did, from a tendency towards magazine-ish writing. She'll posit a personal hypothesis, summarize a wide range of interviews and other books, then tidily wrap it up. In covering so much from so many sources, each chapter serves more as a summary of related topics than as a presentation of any specific point. Magazines do that a lot. Coupled with her conversational style (which I absolutely love), it's a very easy read that leaves you feeling like you haven't consumed much. The feminist nonfiction equivalent of chick-lit.

I'd like Tanenbaum to write a memoir. What has interested me most about her books so far is her personal response to the things she researches, and the bits of personal history she brings up. I suspect that a book focused on her that touched on some of the themes of her research would be more substantial, and might ultimately say more about the topic of female competition than what she's written on the subject.

Part of my dissatisfaction with her books is that I think they're really intended for you to be thinking "hell, yeah" along with her, not posing new information to you. So, if you don't find you identify heavily with her ideas, if you don't see yourself perfectly reflected in them, you don't get the rousing experience you might otherwise have had. It's the same problem Cunt poses for readers - either you completely identify, you radically disagree, or you find yourself wishing she'd dive in with a bit more detail. Of course, Cunt is polemical. Tanenbaum's work lacks Muscio's raving passion.

So, why don't I identify with Tanenbaum's ideas?

but wait! there's more »


07 December
trampled woman has crazy grifter history
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In interesting turnaround, the Walmart trample victim has a history of filing personal injury suits - under a variety of last names, at that. So, the iconic story of holiday shopping frenzy could turn out to be a show of greed on at least two levels. And quite possibly a testament to how effectively one person can talk a group into a raving mob.

Karl goes on to imagine how she may have incited the crowd of people around her into a buying frenzy in order to ensure her own injury. It does, indeed, sound like a movie. Creepy. [I was thinking more Lifetime than Coen brothers, but the latter would certainly be more watchable.]


17 November
britney spears, smarter than you might think
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This quote (which, like so much other random news, appeared in my inbox) from a BBC radio interview with Britney Spears just made me smile:

"I probably have more older fans than the younger ones, but I think the reason why everyone talks about the younger fans so much is because the parents are concerned," Spears was quoted as saying. "And in the end they shouldn't be concerned because they should trust their kids and believe in their kids."

Hmm. Yes.

Pause for a contented smile.

Listen, no one's kids are going to become oversexed, stupid, or gay because of Britney Spears (well, okay, maybe she might be part of some preteen lesbians' roots). They just like to imitate her for the power factor. [Heh, maybe if our world leaders were more exciting and wore cooler clothes, kids would imitate them.] It's fun, it's helpful, it's harmless.

Nuff said.


14 November
weblogs aren't fucking stupid, waah
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I have to preface this by saying that I realize the abject pointlessness of refuting a humorous argument, but that I feel compelled by my self-importance to point out the one wild untruth contained in this Why I Hate Weblogs essay.

Note that I'm not refuting any of the rest of the essay. Thus, one can assume that I found the vast majority of the statements to be more or less true and more (not less) funny.

The wild untruth:

There are acceptable uses of weblogs? SURE! Weblogs aren't fucking stupid under the following situations/paradigms.

The 'Celebrity Figure Information' Model. This model provides an insight into the lives of persons of public interest. A model might keep a weblog of their daily routine or places they travel. A television star might comment on their personal lives or events they attend. A professional sports player might comment on games (see Expert In A Field model also) or just on how they are feeling.

Okay, okay, I know it's fucking irony. It's funny, it's funny. But it also totally misses the point of blogging communities in the first place - blogging is more often than not a way of interacting with other people in a way you don't normally do in any other context. Other ordinary people, for the most part. The ordinariness is key. Celebrity weblogs are a niche, largely read for the kitsch factorness. [Does anyone really believe Wil Wheaton has anything more interesting to say than anyone else? No; he's just another blogger. But we linked to him in droves because it's fucking funny that Wesley Crusher has a blog. And hey, we're all desperate geeks. Inside.]

Sure, it's a shallow form of interaction, but it's less shallow than most chat environments, more community-oriented than email, and more likely to open you up to wholly new things than conversations with the people you've known for years.

That, and everyone always has to wait for you to finish before they start commenting. If they don't, you can get all snitty and huff about how they clearly didn't read what you posted and they really ought to have read your entire web-published oeuvre before they even considered calling you on the inane bullshit you just unleashed upon the world.

So, the point is just this: I have very little interest in celebrity weblogs - including the blogs of those who attain their minor celebrity status largely because of their blogs. Except, perhaps, for Margaret Cho. Margaret Cho ROXXX, yo. I <3 Margaret effing Cho.


06 November
eris is designing again.
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Consider this a public service announcement. Eris, who is - in addition to one of the more interesting people I know - one of the finer designers I've met, ever, is designing again. Her work continues to put mine to shame. [I say this not to undercut myself but because Eris truly is a more dedicated and gifted designer than myself; it's a source of pleasure for me.]

There should be rejoicing, I tell you. Rejoicing.


26 October
where IS my country, dude?
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Every American who hasn't yet needs to march right out and read Michael Moore's new book "Dude, Where's My Country?"

Immediately. I kid you not. I've always enjoyed Moore's movies, which tend to both sadden and inspire to action, but his other writing has generally pissed me off. "Stupid White Men" was like the Rush Limbaugh of liberalism - given to broad, sweeping generalizations, funny and occasionally relevant, but mean and generally small-minded. New book - total exception. The last two chapters are brilliant - all about how liberal Americans really are and how to help your "Republican" friends and family realize this.

Also, it appears he presaged Wesley Clark's presidential run. That wacky Moore!

Seriously, seriously. Read this book. Slug through the parts you disagree with. It might change your mind.


22 October
looking for new links
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I'd like a broader community. I'm looking for new regular reads to add to my blogroll (that isn't actually a blogroll, but - oh, never mind). I'm sure I'm missing truly great sites.

But where are they? I'd like to know.

[By "great" here, I mean people who share some aspect of my perspective on the world, are open-minded and are passionate, articulate, and - at least to a degree - prolific writers.]


12 October
firefly movie!
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Apparently Firefly is being made into a feature film.

It was a much better show that it appeared to be (and way better than captainman's brief and bloody stint on Buffy might lead you to believe). But it was so heavy on the concept, it might make for a better movie.

Hey, wait! They announced it like a month ago. Darn, I miss all the good entertainment news. How was this not on TWOP?


09 October
backblog hates me
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Whenever I visit a blog that has comments hosted by BackBlog, my PC freaks out and starts begging me to debug. And of course, every entry on a blog has a corresponding BackBlog script line, so every line throws an error and I'm clicking and clicking and clicking.

Of course, this is on my PC, which is controlled by foreign powers that lock my desktop and programs into certain settings that are reset everytime I log in, AKA work, so I suppose the lesson to be learned is that I shouldn't be surfing on work equipment to begin with. Not even if it is after work hours and I was already online checking my legitimate work email.


01 October
poundy on jemima j
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I've read the back cover of Jemima J at the bookstore before and been hurled into spasms of blithering bilge.

I mean, I'm a fan of the chick lit, but this book is disempowering and stupid. It's also priced way higher than your average Cosmopolitan, which ought to give you the same level of depth and inspiration (in the form of pissing you off royally). I do not understand why anyone has ever recommended it to me.

The book is ass, ass I say.

No surprise, then, that I adore the thorough skewering that piece of disgusting buttock masquerading as entertainment gets at Poundy's Jemima J Sucks Week.


10 September
chick lit
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I cannot resist commenting on Revo's assessment of the chick lit genre (actually an expansion upon Hanne Blank's equally readable thoughts on same).

To summarize: I disagree.

I disagree with the notion that this form of entertainment literature isn't useful - is, in fact, even potentially harmful. Of course they're not serious literature - but harmful?

The chick lit novel, like the spy novel, the romance novel, the ghost-written sports stars' autobiography, is clearly a form of escapism. It's the hipper, trendier romance novel. It comes in ranges of sillinesses, from literate to after school special to inane. Like any silly brand of entertainment, a huge part of its value is in distraction from the daily grind. In the case of chick lit, that distraction is intriguingly couched in the very minutiae of life that one might presumably be trying to escape. Hmmm.

As a reader, I find that the silliest chick lit, on the rare occasions when it provokes reflection, tends to normalize whatever issues I might be experiencing. I mean, my job may be tough, but at least I'm not directionless like the women in the books. You feel for their stupidity, but they're charicatures of real people. No one is that screwed up over trivialities, ergo you, the reader, are less screwed up than these charicatures. And yet - the books always touch on the experience of being female in a "post-feminist" world - many of them show women balancing what they're "supposed to" want against what they do want (in both directions - some want independence, others want man bootay). The point is - you can relate, but at a safe and comfortable distance.

And yes, it does generally depict women having wacky adventures whilst dealing with the perennial manquest and presumed need for self-improvement. The characters are generally impossibly foolish yet oddly endearing, the situations absurdly farfetched yet trite. And no, almost no character ever suffers a great personal change and becomes less of an idiot through her experiences.

What does happen, though, is that the silly characters, like real women, learn (sometimes again and again) that they don't need to change their whole selves to find something of value. It's the message of Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid" buried under masses of credit card dept (presumed in some cases, explicit in others): you're alright just as you are. [The whole "he likes her just as she is" bit in Bridget Jones's Diary - the way it's completely, almost satirically belabored - highlights how much being alright as one is isn't the acceptable norm, for women particularly, but it also extends to men and is seen in some of the comparable books I'd call "men lit".] The women may not be people we want to model our lives on, but that's not the point: the point is, we don't need to model our lives on anyone. We're fine just as we are. [Well, the books that parallel the teen fiction concept where a girl loses a ton of weight or gets contact lenses over the summer and is then transformed from geek to chic don't say this, but they're peddling a different message - that you can be anything you like. As long as you like whatever's "normal".]

And, like all romance fiction, things turn out alright in the end. This is a very diverse genre, though - alright in the end can mean starting or ending a relationship, having nothing to do with relationships, overcoming some sort of immense personal trouble, or finding the right nail polish.

Of course, ultimately, I see a sort of sisterhood in these books. They deal with sometimes-trivial-sometimes-dead-serious issues that most straight [though there are chick-lit books that speak more to lesbian experience, the self-esteem agonies involved are much, much different] women encounter in some form or other as part of the mundaneities of life. They also serve as a sort of trading card you can share and giggle over with the real women (and suprisingly, the real women of multiple generations - I share books with my best friend, my mother, and my boss, for instance) in your life. They form a sort of fictional shared experience that can serve as overture to talking about the non-fictional shit we slog through.

And while Revo jokes that I shouldn't "ask her to read any more of them", the truth is that you can't see past the trivialities these books share without really becoming part of a community of readers, and coming to know a variety of these crazed fictional characters. It's rather like a cult that way, chick lit is.


18 August
out there today
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Sometimes you need a few minutes. Or a few hours, actually. To deruffle your feathers. Today I took my feathers on a ramble through the eatonweb portal looking for something outside my sphere.

This is what I found. Rather, this is what I found and enjoyed.

Across, Beyond & Through: a Unitarian minister's thoughtful insights on spirituality, history, et al. The "scattered bits of god" piece is particularly good reading.

Deviant Savant: generally, comparing anything to an adolescent boy isn't a compliment in my book, but this inspired a very "heh, yeah, I remember" feeling.

the photo retouching site everyone keeps sending me: it's interesting.

Setting the World to Rights: their tagline "ideas have consequences" and the philosophy it represents were intellectually reassuring.


08 August
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Commented on my blog:

ok shes not goat chese but she is evil bye for now ps michael jackson rulez

Enough said.


02 July
how's that for schadenfreude?
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Message from my former webhost, who persist in being complete bastards about my attempts to recoup the expense of cancelling their service after the last time they were hacked into a weeklong outage:

Hi all, This is to notify you that the server is currently being attacked and that this might be causing a lot of downtime in the days to come.

Ha. I'm just glad that's not me.


22 June
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You know how "American Idol" just took off, much loved by all, surprise hit of the season? And you know how it spawned all those other horrid shows?

Yeah. So I'm totally in love with Fame. It appeals to my notion of art as work (the contestants start each show with this "I came to work" number, a nod to Fame old school, and you see them in rehearsal sweating and looking strained and fabulous). Maybe it's not art per se, but it feels like a reasonable facsimile. They dance! Well! That, combined with the "judges" firm gentleness and Debbie Allen's crazy fashion mama bird routine, just makes it shockingly pleasant for trompe l'oeil television.

Plus, I am totally in love with the tiny asian office manager and his Janet Jackson fabulousness. I'd pay to see that in concert.

And. The show is a dig at the other "get yr red hot fame here" television, if you look past the formulaic interview-them-till-they-cry confessional bio strategy. I mean, the judging is pointedly pleasant. Everyone is good. Some are great. Which is, looking at the people on stage, true. And a lot of the judging advice given is about practical marketing approaches for people who make stars, making the idea of the music business less of a black box for the audience. You become involved not only in who seems nicest, but who is really working, and the quality of each performance.

I know it's total schlock, but I love it.


11 June
notes on why i blog
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Some of Tish's recent musings have skipped to the heart of what it means to blog, what it means to belong to a community.

[Coming soon. There's a longer post about what community means that may or may not end up merging with my shifting analysis of what I think VA Spider called "girls gone wild bisexuals". So, ironic that Tish is also thinking about this, in a different way. This longer stuff is sitting on the laptop at home, without phone lines. Or even, currently, email. Sheesh.]

Anyhow. Tish talks about no one blogging without wanting to be read, then says she does it for herself (the blogging, that is). Which seems to be the way most people wrap their desires around this particular mode of communication. I think most of us write in part to savor the shapes of our words and in part because of tiny voices in our head screaming to be heard, to make some form of connection.

And the world of blogging creates in a literal sense the connections that Orson Scott Card once speculated into being as philotes (essentially non-matter string twining from heart to heart, resulting from relationships growing closer). The connections between bloggers are made real with the links and references we make. And things like BlogChalk turn those connections into maps, making it not only real, but parallel to things we understand as off blog community. Neighborhoods. States.

I blog from my fascination with that. With the blog as vehicle for connection with broader world concept in mind. And I do think that concept of blogging invests us with responsibilities to each other. Blogging and reading and linking to other bloggers is entering into a community, a social contract. It's also defining yourself as related to certain people or things (namely the ones you link), not unlike what you do when joining groups or neighborhoods IRL.

Which is, by the way, why I maintain the blog/journal distinction. I keep a journal to document memory, or feeling. I keep it online to have it (theoretically, and nearly) always at hand, to place it in the physical context of a page of my own design. And if you read it and think it's written well, or it speaks to your own experience in some way, more's the good. If you read it and know me, even better. But. If you don't, I still have the narcissistic pleasure of re-reading and seeing the growing beauty of my own words and remembering the self I was a day or year ago, which is ultimately the heart of journal-writing.

By simply being online, though, even my journal participates in community. But it becomes the one-sided conversation you have with your best friend at a coffeeshop. The blog proper remains a larger monologue, addressing your whole neighborhood.


30 May
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There was this brilliant rant I wrote, but then I clicked on some link and stupidly lost what I typed in the MT window. Will I ever learn to type elsewhere first?

So. Tish linked one of the very cute postcards from Fatcities.com earlier this week and was rebuffed for her relatively balanced treatment of the site. I’m glad she posted what essentially served as a disclaimer, because otherwise the site would have been too disappointing.

One of the site’s main functions seems to be hooking up the “undateable” with each other. I’m fine with that. So, the pictures and such get a little slutty, but I’m not as averse to random porn as others are. I would like a little warning that material might be “adult”, but I’d deal if the rest of the site were compelling.

It’s clear that Fatcities’s goal is to be a “mainstream” sales- and advertising-oriented site, much like Yahoo or its ilk. And okay, I accept that. What I don’t accept is its definition of mainstream fat acceptance as non-existent (that is, the mainstream interpretation of fat acceptance, if you follow the subtext, is that fat people are kinda sad victims who need to be helped out of their fatness).

Here are some of the news items cited as “Fat Issues & Fat Acceptance” on the site:

Could you be thinner if you moved to another city?
Too Heavy, Too Young -what parents can do for fat children (it’s all about how to make them un-fat)
Fattest US Cities 2003
Are your height & weight proportionate? Find out here! (BMI calculator)

When you say you want to balance “mainstream” with fat-friendly and you proceed to fixate on dieting and talk about the reasons for obesity, you don’t challenge anyone’s perception. Any of those articles in the right context could be a call to arms, but instead they just spread the message that fat people aren’t okay. Aren’t, to be blunt, mainstream.

I get a little squirrelly about taking women stuff and fat stuff and movement stuff and placing it in an environment that’s about selling stuff. Take the message, water it down a little, add some sugar – and you have messageade! Now with 10% real message!

And you have to wonder: is 10% message worth it? If 80% of the people get 10% of the message, is that progress? In theory, I believe it is. I believe little girls in twenty-dollar t-shirts (now in size XXXL) that read “gurls rawk!” in pink glitter glue are advancing appreciation of feminism. It might not be real political action, but it is, at least, taking that action to the mall – to the mainstream.

It’s just. When I actually see this in practice, it’s a little creepy.

Dru is talking a bit about the mainstream today, and pointed out Pink Prickly Pear’s brilliant rant on the same.

I don’t, as many liberals seem to, think that mainstream American/Western culture is completely banal. There is depth everywhere, and in everyone. So there’s a place for messageade – the place where you introduce the concept in a safe, no-one’s-skin’s-in-this way, the place where the real message trickles down through what we buy because yo, that’s what capitalism is all about.

But. That’s the mainstream co-opting a small part of radicalism. That’s people selling things using what they hear the kids are buying these days.

I think the right way changes when the seller belongs, or at least claims to belong, to the radicalized group.

When you’re part of something that isn’t considered mainstream, you risk not making any progress when you try to package your thing as Yahoo, or as Barbie. You risk “fat acceptance” meaning “feel bad for fat people but don’t hurt them”, you risk “gurls rawk” t-shirts becoming yet another thing girls must have to be pretty, popular, normal.

Do you risk more by not doing anything? Probably. I guess I just want more.


28 May
search result poetry
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Sometimes the search results that land people on any given site are really poetic.

Case in point: tipping the velvet expression slang (used to find WHB).

Isn't that a lovely turn of phrase? One rather expects it to be Ginsberg or some such.

This is one of my favorite features of my host, the spitting out of top search terms as well as strings. It's total fridge poetry. So, for your amusement, some of the poetry spat out by people's visits recently.

This week on WHB (bad poetry created by stringing my search terms into lines, in the order of their occurrence):
the myth madness bell jar forum
easy bob uttl women and sexual
sites litigious unborn prisoners expression
legs movement lace should in
serial non not death origin
lawsuit mail

And on Red Polka:
fat wicked evil of sex and stewart
martha in thoughts
for people equality the social
feminism on to chairs
how nurture nature
v girl degrading etymology women


20 May
another pride & prejudice retelling?
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[This, lovely readers, is Vacation Book Report #1]
Part of the lure of vacationing for me is the possibility of simultaneously engaging and disengaging both my mind and body. I exercise in some form for at least an hour each day, read a couple of really thought-provoking books, then lounge around doing nothing and reading fluff.

Sometimes, the fluff is really entertaining.

Case in point: Pride, Prejudice & Jasmin Field (Jasmin here is a person, not a place as I'd imagined). Plot of book: mildly successful British journalist is wackily cast as Lizzie Bennett in a stage remake of P&P, directed by wildly famous British actor guy. He, by a strange twist of casting mistakes and other hijinks, ends up playing Darcy. Life imitates art. All the other characters follow similarly. Wackiness ensues.

Okay, so it sounds like a much more direct, much less topical Bridget Jones. But it's effing hilarious - if, that is, you are like me and my best friend in your hopeless devotion to Colin Firth's bath scene in the BBC miniseries. If you're not. Well, you've missed out. Trust us.

The nice thing about this silly book is that it's not completely irritating apart from the romance and the whole thin P&P premise. Our heroine is a feminist who actually sounds like one and isn't just labeled so for the convenience of fitting in with the Cosmo set [I know I say anyone who believes in equality is a feminist, but do I really have to let those women play?]. Her family is filled with sympathetic characters that hint at complexity beneath the surface of this by nature very surface-level story.

In short, really quite good poolside reading. And - you can buy it in the embarassing "Chick Lit" section at the Target. If you want to buy books in a category that sounds like small candy-coated gum.


12 May
warning - may cause extreme confidence
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I've said before that I consume a lot of media primarily because I know it will anger me enough to provoke a blog post, a rant, or some more direct action.

This month's Glamour Magazine was no exception. I picked it up after a particularly mind-exhausting day thinking parts of it might be endearing, and at least I'd get a good rise out of it.

It most certainly did. Their idea of "body love" includes such topics as: swimsuits that hide "flaws", dishing celebrities stupid diets as "good" or "bad", dishing celebrities' attitudes towards their thighs, and asking men what they think of women's bodies because god forbid women be able to develop opinions about their bodies based on their own feelings in lieu of someone else's idea of what they should be.

There were, I was surprised to find, a handful of really positive articles and spreads. One emphasizing the history of curves and featuring a not-creepy model, for instance. These were balanced carefully with ads for things you "indulge" in or to "correct" you, guaranteeing that the dangerous extreme confidence hawked on the cover would materialize for no more than a few seconds.

But the overwhelming message was that of course, women agonize about every little ounce of fat on their bodies, and we could all use an occasional break of confidence in all the diet and exercise crazes. Unless you're unhealthy (meaning, actually "fat"). Then you can only love your insides.

It was more depressing for being occasionally uplifting.


04 May
the comic book store
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Yesterday we were at the comic book shop. Fun.

Comic book stores are one of the few grounds exclusively reserved for the hard core. The geek. Each store's organization is slightly different, organized by publisher with the store's favorite publishers up front. [A hint about identifying good comic book stores in my opinion, is to look for independents at the front of the store - if you don't see anything but DC or Marvel in the front, try the next store. But then, my idea of what makes for a good comic is stuff like this and this, not the sort of comics movies get made from.]

So, yeah. I don't get comic book stores. The organization confuses me. The shopkeeps and patrons slightly intimidate me. I basically go in and browse, hoping the things I like will leap from the shelves and assault me. I do not ask questions, having been subjected to the disdain of comic book store employees in the past.

Comic geeks aren't like gamer geeks. Meaning, specifically, that comics have a distinctly male, slightly territorial quality. Gamers, male or female, recognize the geek nature of what they do and are not only serious about it but eager to share. Ask a stupid question and you generally get a sincere answer. There are, of course, the rare, territorial gamer dorks, the boys who don't really ever grow into social skills - they'll be unwelcoming - but the bulk of serious gamers are smart, friendly people.

I don't know if girl comic book geeks are different from the geek boys. Honestly, I don't think I've even met a true girl comic geek, one who wasn't at heart a gamer who happened to hang out with comic fans. I read some of the books they write/draw, though, so I know there are some. I imagine it must be odd to be female in that environment. Not for the cliche of the unrealistic female bodies and objectification of women (contemporary male and female comic artists are creating some superb female characters), but for the extremity of the dorkiness, the disconnection from most people's reality. And, you know, the lack of other chicks.

That said, you have to respect the comic book geeks for creating a space that locks them in and others out so effectively. It has to be satisfying, as a geek, to mock the accidental patrons in the comic store - the ones who don't know what they're looking at, let alone what they're looking for. I think every geek has some core part of them that sits judging the intelligence of others - and mostly finding them lacking. How much fun must it be to express that on a regular basis?


25 April
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This is such a sweet idea: the blog love-in.

Even from a less narfy perspective, it's interesting to know what prompts people to visit your site and nice to share with your favorite reads why you like them.


22 April
the tv monster
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It turns out that we're freaks at our house.

Maybe because we were both the sort of latchkey kids who were allowed to do homework while watching 3-2-1 Contact or maybe resulting from some multitasking gene, embracing of pop culture or other oddity, we don't really get sucked into the television.

I've always assumed that the icon of child or beer-can-toting armchair driver staring unmoving at the glare of a television set was largely a propaganda tool. A great portion of my family's interaction now and as a kid took place with some form of media background - music, television, reading at the dinner table. These things weren't outlawed as a distraction from real life, but accepted as part of life. Don't most families work this way?

Turns out - no. My informal survey of my friends, which started last weekend with one of those semi-intelligent discussions you try to have in a too-loud bar, reveals that it's more common for television and other media to be forbidden. Homework is homework, reading is reading, and television-watching is an activity unto itself.

I had no idea.

And. This is a cultural problem in America. Television, particularly, is only occasionally enough to occupy the brain without any other stimulus. It's not that interesting, or that informative, when you consider how effectively people can process multiple stimuli in the background and keep on working (this is, for instance, one reason you can work in a cube environment and not constantly be looking over your shoulder). People are good at giving focus to one thing without ignoring others completely.

By forbidding ourselves and our kids from ingesting multiple media at once, we reject this capability in ourselves and fail to train it. We make ourselves worse at driving, at defending ourselves, at getting things done - because we assume we have only the attention to pay to one thing at a time.

I have no doubt that part of the reason I am now so productive at work and so creative at home is my ability to work on multiple levels simultaneously, and I'm equally sure that these things are a direct results of years spent doing homework in front of the television and reading while listening to music on the porch.


15 April
whb : the storm clears
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Ah. At last there's something vaguely resembling the website up at We Have Brains. It's ass-slow (I'm temporarily publishing and loading from this site, thanks to a beautiful side effect of my new host's mode of setting up accounts), but it's up.

I've got to install everything, remake templates, recreate as much content as I can - all that, but. The mess with the domain name is over. [Partly, I'm sad to say, because I capitulated into saying Keep my damned money, just transfer the domain!] I was so worried it would take ages.

Glory be.


08 April
some things are so funny they make you cry
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I think this speaks for itself: Propaganda Remix Project. [Thanks to Jordynn for the link.]


04 February
excellence? maybe not.
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I've been travelling mid-day at work more often lately. And so, I'm listening to the local talk radio station (NPR locally shifts to classical music during the workday, and that's just not enough for the drive).

Most of the shows on this particular station are part of the "EIB" network, which is, as far as I can tell, a network of shows that Rush Limbaugh approves.

Rush Limbaugh. Ugh. I do not understand the people who claim he's brilliant and insightful. Maybe he once was - I don't recall him being as simple-minded on his television show years ago - but he certainly is not now. Fully eighty percent of every show he's done has consisted of simply bashing liberals for things like blankly hating conservatives and refusing to come up with effective solutions to the problems they identify.

Um. Excuse me.

"This is Kettle. You're black."

So, no surprise, I find Rush entirely pointless.

But. There are some much better shows on this network. One Glen Beck, for instance. Glen seems to take particular delight in accepting calls from idiots who've heard too much Rush [no, not that Rush, silly!] and stewed in their own prejudices - Glen takes these guys and mocks them furiously. I like that.

He's still conservative, but in a way that would encourage conversation if more liberal-minded folk listened to his show.

Another thing I find fascinating about this whole radio station, oddly enough, is this weird advertising quality. They have the announcers read the actual ads - so, it comes across as these trustworthy figures who just happen to be paid to sell you some idiot product (i.e. Herbalife, I kid you not).

Basically, they use the same methods as older-style radio announcers. Compared to the loud, undisguised quality of most contemporary advertising (surely everyone has at some point had to turn the radio or television down for commercials and back up for the program), it's harder to ignore. It's also strangely disillusioning - and almost creepy.

Trust no one, the trusted radio voice seems to say. Creepy.


16 January
weirdest email ever
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I rarely post anything completely trivial (ah, shut up if you disagree). But I just had to share this crazy email.

It purports to be from the son of a dead Congolese dictator. Is this the new generation of spam? African despots?

In any case, I was amused, and slightly saddened. Read on, if you dare, to see the body of the email.

but wait! there's more »


12 January
a television show i'd like to see
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A half-hour variety show hosted by John Goodman and featuring a variety of differently sized people as weekly guests and cast members. With cute, round funky dancers. The Phat Girls, perhaps?

We could call it "John Goodman's Bootay". Lots of advertising potential - "Spend your Friday Night with John Goodman's Bootay"; "Have you seen John Goodman's Bootay?"; "Get naked with John Goodman's Bootay".

It would have both the utterly bizarre ironic quality of the Daily Show and the bonus of regular-sized people on television.

Hey, I'd watch it.


08 January
seven ten seven
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I did it. I'm not finished with it yet (not close, even), but I have at least the skeleton of my new design domain up and functional.

Seven Ten Seven Design

Criticism is welcome.


good on the tv
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Check it out: Jennifer Weiner's "Good in Bed" is going to be a sitcom. That's one darn cute book. We already know I liked it.

And, while I know a lot of people would say a woman who wears a size 16 is normal (eh, they're probably right), it will still be a huge step to have a woman starring in a sitcom who is larger than sitcom size. That's probably why I find that goofy Sara Rue so cute - sure, she's not really fat - but she's television fat, so she's a stand-in for the rest of us.

Point is. Rather than get into the exhausting debate of how fat is enough (shining counterpart to the usual "how fat is too much" argument that it is), it's okay to celebrate the idea of showing a woman who isn't television thin becoming happy with her body in the most normal medium of them all - the situation comedy.

I, for one, am thrilled.

[Link via Big Fat Blog.]


07 January
2002 in review
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I haven't posted anything in several days because I had to sit and
think about the year that just ended. Oh, absolutely.

Well, not really.

But, hey - the guys (plus girl sitemaster) of a certain local band are doing
this year-in-review thing, so I shall, too.

So. A list of things about 2002.

but wait! there's more »


01 January
i buy yet another domain
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Today, while the boy was off in a crazy small town, I built a whole new site. It's not live yet, but it will be soon.

It's the next iteration of my design site. There's more to be done (of course), but I'll tell you where to find it soon.


23 December
my personal portal
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This site is gradually becoming an encyclopedia of me. Of things I like.

I've taken to posting all the books I read and recommend, all the sites I come upon, and a world of other interesting things in the exits/links section. I don't know if anyone ever reads that part of the site, but I realized today that it contains over 250 links in my various categories. That, my friends, is a lot of links. It's now my own personal mini-portal.

I think that means it needs a search function. Eventually, it will get big enough that even I won't know whether I have a certain site linked or not.


19 December
the movie
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The buildup we created for ourselves with the pre-movie gathering, Risk-playing, etc. was well worth it. I mean, movie going just isn't the event it could be. Most of the time.

So, there we were with our event. It's good to see a movie crowded at a midweek noon showing, though it wasn't the awestriking geek esprit de corps of seeing the first movie in the dark in the dark (that is, in a dark theater on a dark night). Something in my head connects geek lore to darkness. Late night. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. [Or is that queer lore? So hard to tell.]

In any case. Two Towers finally got me okay with the whole maleness of the thing. I finally saw the whole Six Months in a Leaky Boatness of it. It's brotherhood. I can dig brotherhood. I can even accept distance from it.

My complaints were few, and small - that Gollum was cutely slimey (Caveat Lector articulates it well) where I wanted him to be disturbingly ordinary (an opinion few share), and that the movie appears to have been cleaned up in a hurry when mom headed down to the basement. In other words, it ended too quickly.

Not, perhaps, unlike this post.


06 December
my content is inappropriate?
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It appears that my own site has been blocked by the new content-filtering software at the office. More specifically, any internal page of the site has been blocked. So, when I went to check on whether the pale green color morphed into some pathetic imitation of khaki on certain poorly calibrated monitors, I saw something about ethics policies.

Our ethics policies are primarily focused on not conducting inappropriate political business or dealing, but I thought the content blockers were focused on porn (which, despite not being specifically mentioned in that policy, can be agreed as inappropriate if not unethical content for one to browse at work).

So, how is my site content porn-related, I wonder? Or maybe the filters are more or less sophisticated than I imagine. Maybe they've discovered certain verboten political words on the site. Maybe it's just the occasional curse word. A surprising number of other sites that meet similar criteria (in my book, at least) are not blocked, so I'm confused.

I'm also wondering when the blocking in question happened, as I rarely visit the site from work except to check email (which I can still do). I suspect that both checking up on my daily reads and fomenting revolution are activities in which one is not expected to engage in the workplace, ergo I rarely do either.


05 December
more. new.
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As you can see, I've just redesigned the site. And moved this blog to MT.

I did it all on one snowy evening, so I suspect there are huge nasty messes somewhere and I haven't seen them.

Why? It's nearly winter (the snow here today proves it) and I need something other than September to look at.


23 November
the old mac
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Ah, most of the time I wonder why I even keep my old iMac around. [I'm an early but infrequent adopter; our backup computer is one of the 333's (the second release) and can't even handle an Airport card.] It's fairly klunky, I've never installed most of the current versions of my design software on it, etc.

But, wow. This thing has an exquisite display. It's "smooth fonts" thing works beautifully. The colors are true. This is all about why computers that aren't Mac's suck. Seriously. The fact that this much care went into the design and polish of what I see when I turn on what is essentially a low-end computer...

This kicks the ass of even the nicest PC monitor I've had. And it's not the best a Mac can do, not nearly.

Just had to share. If you design for the web, and you don't do it on a Mac, you're missing out. If you disagree, it's only because you're unenlightened. [All the strong political opinions I have, and this is the one area in which I won't broach argument. Go figure.]


21 October
we all look alike
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I thoroughly and completely enjoyed Good in Bed.

Great, you're thinking, a book review.

but wait! there's more »


skip this if you're not into my shameless self-promotion
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I learned (via referrals) that someone had nominated me for bloggy of the month this month.

That's really sweet. But honestly, folks, there are much better writers than me floating around out there. Particularly if you consider this (the actual blog) as the primary represenative of my writing. I can do better (and occasionally do, via the journal). Other people regularly do.

So I suppose I'm saying I don't deserve an award. But go vote for me anyhow, because someone was so kind as to nominate me. And I think, if you were nice enough to nominate me, I should be courteous enough to say thanks and then shamelessly promote myself in effort to bring your nomination to fruition.

Or something.

Can anyone tell I'm distracted, diffident, and ambivalent today?


18 October
ick. ick. ick.
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My computer at work is now using IE 6.

And I can see those damned colored scrollbars everywhere. Like, the Greymatter default template - colored scrollbar! Friday Five - colored scrollbar! Some Girls Design - colored scrollbar (actually, that one's not too bad)! Freaking Lex - colored scrollbar!

Seriously, I think these things are a usability issue. I do not approve. And even if, for some sad reason, I start designing on a PC, I promise not to put colored scrollbars on my pages. They distress me.

And I'd like to thank some of my devoted fans (or rather, people of whom I am a devoted fan) who don't use colored scrollbars: Eris. Caveat Lector. Revolution Nine. Nod Ltd. Digital Down Low. Exposure.


17 October
biography project update
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The Biography Project is up and running. That is - there are some bios posted, finally.

As predicted, everyone is busy or lazy, and they're trickling in slowly (mine included). But the ones I have so far are definitely worth reading. More soon, I promise.


14 October
anyone have a really old browser?
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I'd like to know how the site looks on it. It should be pretty backwards-compatible, except for the CSS.

For those of you on backwards versions of Netscape with all your useful stuff turned off, I think I resolved the text/background contrast issue that you were griping about Saturday night. Will you look again? I can't make my old Netscape behave quite so badly as yours seems to.

Also, if you're colorblind or otherwise impeded, let me know if the color scheme is a problem. I'm a little worried that the wine color is too dark/not dark enough.


24 September
the power of search results
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Anytime you're feeling powerless, or even just cranky, a peek at the things that drew people to your site is always delightful.

Well, most of the time.

[As a complete sidebar, I just tried to spell "delightfull" the way my great grandmother would have done. I don't know if she'd be proud or what.]

For instance, I am the number one search result for "inspiring rant".

And I appear (not surprisingly) in searches for the "meaning of persephone", which also pulls up a Jungian interpretation of eating disorders via Alice in Wonderland. You might also wonder how the people tried to please persephone, as at least one person did. Sounds a little naughty to me.

I also turn up darn close to Kerri if you look for blog feminism, which also has a number of interesting results.


18 September
five percent, schmive percent.
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Not only does Apple's OS represent more than the mysterious "5%" [you hear this all the time from Windows users, who obviously Know This Sort of Thing] of the operating system market, if you look at it in just the right light, Apple is the number one computer in the world.

So, ha.


10 September
why i'm not a member of PETA
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I think PETA has finally secured itself the "We May Be Liberal, but We're Still Assholes" award.

Quite some time ago, they managed to alienate a large portion of their former women members (self included) when they started run ad after ad capitalizing on the usual misogynistic advertising schlock - and shockingly enough, managing to be as offensive as a Calvin Klein underpants billboard. (check out nostatusquo.com for some vintage PETA advertising). Personally, I wasn't so much offended as annoyed by the shear, persistent tackiness of it all.

But now, they're just being fat-hating idiots. Check out the latest in fat-bashing misinformation. As sizeacceptance.org points out (as does nearly everyone who's referenced PETA's "Go Veg" campaign), there are plenty of fat vegetarians. To add to the absurdity, PETA has latched on to the notion of meat = fat at a time when that outdated notion has already been replaced with the trendy (and gimmicky, and unhealthy) Atkin's diet and such.

I'm also just overjoyed by the now hip and funky use of The Anoymous Fat Belly. It's not just a PETA thing; it's a new trend in news and advertising media. Enough of a trend that it's been officially mocked on The Daily Show, even. Could we be any more rudely anti-fat?


03 September
some girls give to charity
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Some Girls Design is hosting another charity design auction this weekend.

I'm too booked to participate, but I hope you're not. It's always a great site and a great cause.


26 August
the biography project
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I've started a new project as part/an extension of We Have Brains. Basically, it's a biography-writing project. Each person who participates will be matched with someone else, and they'll be charged with writing the short story of each others' lives.

Since not all of you who read this are members of the collab, but most of you have some feminist leanings, I thought I'd open it up a little. The project is intended for women and/or feminists, so if you identify with either or both of those (or you don't, but you'd like to start your own), stop by the collab and find out more about the biography project.


24 August
horror. bliss. fashion.
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Allison did something interesting with her wishlists awhile ago that made me rethink the notion of the wishlist on bloggers' sites. I don't think it's so much a "buy me this" phenomenon as a "learn all about me" one.

I don't want you to know all about me, but I did notice today that one of the wishlists I've kept pretty much epitomizes my taste in clothing. So here it is: my sense of style epitomized in one page (minus accessories).

I love that store.


21 August
kindred spirits
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I read something on eris' site, the way she does links, that made me think, gah, i must have that. So I went back to my collection of daily-read journals and found words in them. Now I have it, too.

Now when I go to read journals, I remember instantly the texture of each person, which makes their sites that much more irresistible.

You should read everyone I read. I think that's the message of the blogroll (not that I have a blogroll, but I do use MT to update my exits section now). And also, these are the other people who define me. These are the kin of my spirit.

I suppose they are. In a way.


16 August
the weblog review
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Quite awhile ago, I submitted the collab site to The Weblog Review. I was hoping to attract a little attention to the site (at the time, it had just started) and maybe to get some feedback that could make it more appealing.

It didn't really drive a lot of new writers to the collab, but the review was amazingly nice (he called my writing "dazzling" - I'm touched), and I feel like a schmo for never giving any credit or thanks. In my defense, the review came out right in the midst of our real-life move, and I forgot to get back to it, read it, etc.

In any case, thanks (belatedly) to the very kind lt torasso and to TWR in general.

Finally reading the review after all this time reminded me that it's made huge progress - gone from bimonthly to weekly, added my kick-ass staff with their great ideas, and developed a "following" of regular contributors. It's exactly what I wanted it to be.


12 August
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I'm returned from vacation. Slightly browner but not too worn.

I changed the splash page on the site (here) to make it easier to skip to the stuff you want. Better? Worse? Did you notice?


29 July
friday five (blogging)
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This week's Friday Five is randomly interesting. It's [sort of] historical.

1. How long have you had a weblog?

Since October 2000. I initially thought of it as a diary, but it really started as a blog and became both.

2. What was your first post about?

The Sierra Club's insistence on wasting paper (glossy five-insert mailings) and money (a million dollars spent to campaign against Nader).

3. How many changes (name, location, etc.) of your weblog have there been, if more than one?

Initially, there was the Diaryland journal, which has always been - continues to be - called Edge of the Season. Then I added a blog to the main site, mostly for site updates. Then I added Bending, which I wrote at work during the worst six months of my job. Then I killed Bending, and went back to just having this title-less blog (which is now what it is) and the journal on my site.

4. What CMS (content management system) do you use? Do you like it or do you want to try something else?

Greymatter is still my favorite; it's what I use for this site. I use Movable Type for some other things; it's nice, but it's not very portable (say, should you change webhosts). And yes, painful to set up initially. I still think Diaryland is an excellent service for people who, for whatever reason, want their blogs/journals hosted somewhere. I used Blogger briefly, and it made me really glad to find Greymatter.

5. Do you read people who have both a journal and a weblog? Or do you prefer to read people who have all of their writing in one central place?

I read a number of people who have several regularly updated sections of their site. Not all of them have separate blogs and journals - some are basically blogs on different topics, for instance. I think I also read some people who have multiple sites, but I don't read (or even know about) all the places I could read them. I really enjoy getting a couple of different perspectives from one person - I particularly like the internal/external duality that a lot of separate journal/blog writers present. That's also why I maintain a separate blog and journal - one is for everyone to read, and one most people don't find.


18 July
site hosting tragedy
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My webhost sent me an automated reminder to renew my hosting account. Okay, good. But the link in the reminder email took me to nothing. So I emailed. Nothing. Emailed another address. Nothing. Emailed sales, thinking surely sales would care. Nothing.

but wait! there's more »


16 July
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I've started thinking about a new concept for this site. This should come as no surprise. I've been increasingly using it as a base of operations of sorts, for instance, the feminist collab sits here. Other things sit here. I'm thinking about pulling cuntzilla.org back here, too. Why not just have one site?

So, new concept coming. Some day.

I'm struggling with a design idea, this notion of a memory box. More Shoebox of Lies than Victorian. More Beeswing than Shoebox of Lies. And then it occurs to me that what I'm really thinking is inverting all the colors of nod ltd. because she's really already gone and done it better.



10 March
i started a collab!
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I was reading this month's topics from the If project and Ampersand, and I started thinking how much I wished there were still a collab for feminists like at the old khunt.net.

So, I started my own.

We Have Brains. It's for feminists and really anyone with a brain. I'm planning on having topics every 2 weeks, and managing it with a notify list. So, go join. Comment on posts. It'll be, well, not necessarily fun, but interesting. And, I hope useful.


08 March
little technical triumphs
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I had to drive for a meeting yesterday, and everything I saw just seemed amazing. Then I came home, and my mind kept translating things into disgusting, mismatched textures.

Somewhere in there, I ended up with a new site design. At least, I think it's a new site design. For now, it's implemented on the journal. I even added images for the dates, so I could see days as words. My favorite thing about the design is the mismatched letters and sections (the main nav, on your right). It seems somehow perfect for a picture inspired by dadaists.

I think I actually get greymatter now; I've had all these little triumphs with it lately. The image thing, and getting it to display my monthly archive not as a stream of text, but as a list of links to individual entries (that was the thing that made this least useful as a journalling tool). These little triumphs are about as technical as I get.

I'm glad of all the content management tools. If it weren't for them, I'd have a pretty but very dull site, mostly just a design portfolio (of sorts). But currently, I'm particularly glad of greymatter (and not just because getting moveable type installed on somegirlsdesign is continuing to be a vast and pondersome pain in the ass).


23 February
actual site news
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okay, i never bother to post actual site news, so here. since last update in january, i've added: five or six new photos in the art section, somewhere between five and ten designs to my portfolio, a teeny handful of rings and independent site portals/collectives, several new journals and domains in the exits section, moved this blog up to the front of the site and added more info to this section (the "about me/site" stuff). also made several little nipping improvements after some of you started seeing javascript errors and, in unrelated news, bought a domain for me and my cheerleader friends. *

and, as does not require saying, written a month's worth of new journal entries.

is the world a better place because of this? no. but i'm taking up a lot more space in it.

*note: no actual cheerleaders, past or present, are involved.

update: actually, i lied about that last bit with the cheerleaders. apparently.


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