Saturday, March 08, 2008

In honor of International Women's Day

And totally cribbed from Feministing

I don't know if you peeps know about my undying love for the Muppet Show. I still get the theme song stuck in my head regularly. And Miss Piggy could easily be the foremother of fat acceptance and fun feminism (the girl can kick ass in pearls, high heels and satin gloves).

But this clip has another awesome feminist icon. Can I just say- I want the t-shirt she's wearing at the end, but in red and black.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Every woman has an eating disorder

A little while ago a friend and I were comparing our high school eating disorders. I was an exercise addict. I worked out about four hours a day and lived on saltines, water and salads. I was also sick (bronchitis, pneumonia, etc) and injured (broken ankle, torn meniscus in both knees, torn hamstrings) for almost 4 years straight.

She was bulimic. I had wished I could be bulimic because I could have eaten whatever I wanted and not spent so many fucking hours of my life working out. She then told me about throwing up in her sleep. I don't want her eating disorder anymore.

But I do wonder, if we hadn't spent so much time starving ourselves, how much thinner would we be now? Every time I lose weight, I gain back double. If I had just been happy weighing 140 in high school instead of trying to starve myself down to 112, or been happy at 160 instead of trying to starve myself down to 130, or (you get the idea- it just goes on from there).

And then I read this article and had one of those moments when your head just fucking explodes with understanding. 1600 calories a day and 3 miles of walking is way more food and less exercise than I get when I diet. It's more like 1000 calories and 6 miles of walking, plus pilates, plus bellydancing, plus aerobics.

I have another friend who is freaking out because she went over the 300lb point. She's gorgeous and one of the kindest people on the planet. So she started weight watchers. I was not exactly supportive. Instead of doing the normal "good for you for trying to get healthy", I said "You know you're just going to gain back more later".

Last night, she and I went out for shopping and dinner. She has given up weight watchers for the moment, but I can tell that she is not yet there about being okay with herself. She wants to lose weight cause her knees hurt. I told her it might be a better idea to work on strengthening her calf and thigh muscles so there is less pressure on her knees to hold her up.

What I also need to do is send her this article, with this passage bolded and highlighted and written in shocking neon so there is no way she can miss it.

The extreme physical and mental effects Dr. Keys observed led to his famous quote: “Starved people cannot be taught democracy. To talk about the will of the people when you aren’t feeding them is perfect hogwash.” This was also what led early feminist activists to see dieting and weight concerns as a way to keep women preoccupied with food, filled with guilt and self-hatred, more easily influenced by others, and too mentally and physically exhausted to succeed professionally and politically.
I had another discussion with a friend last weekend about size. She had been very fat when she was younger but is now a skinny little thing. She said she likes being small because she likes not taking up too much space. I say I like being large because I like being here, very here, undissmissably here. Gone is the teenage girl who tried to starve herself into disappearing. I like that I am not a little girl, that my size makes me more of a threat to guys than I was when I was starving and that I am not too mentally or physically exhausted to meet any challenge.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Theme song

Totally inspired by Little Ms.Randombabble in gmail chat. After listening to the lyrics I am pretty sure Freddy Mercury wrote this for me the year I was born (1975- coincidence? I think not)

She keeps moet et chandon
In her pretty cabinet
let them eat cake she says
Just like marie antoinette
A built-in remedy
For kruschev and kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You cant decline

Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily nice

Shes a killer queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

To avoid complications
She never kept the same address
In conversation
She spoke just like a baroness
Met a man from china
Went down to geisha minah
Then again incidentally
If youre that way inclined

Perfume came naturally from paris
For cars she couldnt care less
Fastidious and precise


Drop of a hat shes as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
To absolutely drive you wild, wild..
Shes all out to get you


Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?
You wanna try...

Why B and I will someday rule the world

We are planning guerrilla attacks on hetero weddings. When the priest type person asks if anyone objects, we will stand up and say that "until gays can marry too, we object to all weddings".

I just want an excuse to drink vodka tonics for breakfast

One of the nice things about living in Seattle is that we are a medical research hub.

We also have several large international charities based here (Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, PATH, Mercy Core).

So I saw this article and immediately sent off an email telling them I want to volunteer. Part of it is the money (I'm not gonna sneeze at 2000 to stay in a hotel and get the what amounts to a bad case of the flu). But also, malaria is a major killer of children under 5. It's not a sexy disease. It's not a disease of wealthy countries. Without big charities like the Gates Foundation, there would be no research into a vaccine.

So if suffering with a weeks worth of chills, fever and aches means that little kids in Africa and Asia and South America will have a better shot at living to be grown ups, I'm down.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More inappropriate conversations with children

After watching this commercial

I mused out loud "I wonder why boys are more likely to get struck by lighting than girls?"

To which the Kid replied "Maybe the penis acts like a lightning rod"

That, my friends, is definitive proof that the child is mine.

Poverty is not a game for the faint hearted

Via Shakes comes the story of an over privileged doochenozzel who thought he would prove to the world that poor people really are poor because they are lazy and don't understand the value of hard work and savings.

Let's start with a few things the asswipe forgot on his way to playing poor.

1) He's a dude, a young, single white dude with no children. When looking at the census numbers, women between 18 & 64 with children are 30% more likely to be poor than a man in the exact same situation. Elderly women are are 2.7 times more likely to be poor than elderly men.

The numbers are even more disturbing when looking at race. Overall, 22% of Black men and 26% of Black women live in poverty. For whites, only 9.1% of white men are poor.

So before we even look at things like education, he starts out with a greater likelihood of being able to earn a living than virtually everybody else in the country.

But that's not all folks. He starts with a college education. Some of us (me, hello) have been working on a college education for about 12 years now because we do not have the funds to both support ourselves and attend school full time. Financial aid, for the poorest of us, barely covers tuition and books. It is not uncommon for students to work full time (or more) and attend school full time. And when that is the situation and somethings gotta give (like say your boss threatens to fire you because your class schedule is interfering with his work scheduling) it is usually school that goes first. An education is great but it's damn hard to get an education while homeless, so basic needs get met first. That's simple human psychology. I would love to introduce the doochnozzle to Maslov's pyramid, but since he already has a college education I am sure he knows about it.

So he's a young single white dude with an education. And he's healthy, in no small part due to the fact that he probably had things like health care and good dental work up until he decided playing at poverty was a solid plan. Do you know how many days of work I have missed because of an abscessed tooth? More than a week. If I had dental coverage I could get it root canaled and crowned, or even just pulled. But I don't have it. And neither do most people in poverty.

And let's not forget, it's not like he's really poor. He had a credit card with him for emergencies. He had a way out of awful anytime he chose. He could quit a job if his boss was a dick. Some of us don't have that option, especially poor women who are sexually harassed (oh that's another one I have experience with multiple time over). And if worse came to worse, say if he didn't have the money to pay his car insurance and it lapsed and he got pulled over and arrested for it, well he still has Mom and Dad and his credit card to bail him out.

Poverty means there is no out. There is no back up plan, there is no benevolent savior, there is no way to save for a rainy day when you're $300 in the hole every month for just basic living expenses. Poverty is awful because it is finite for the individual in it. The myth of the bootstrap is just that. The tokens of exceptionalism that are occasionally trotted out in front of us are no different from the Catholic church telling feudal peasants that if they were good they'd get rewarded in heaven. Poverty is not an individual disease, it is a cancer on the society that creates it. Only massive changes to that society will cure it.

So Mr. Doochnozzle, you start out with a shit ton of privilege and you end with no real knowledge of what poverty looks like.

Hey! RQ! I Think It's a Sign!

Your Deadly Sins

Wrath: 40%

Gluttony: 20%

Lust: 20%

Sloth: 20%

Envy: 0%

Greed: 0%

Pride: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%

You will die, after conquering the world as an evil dictator.

Not as sinful as I figured I would be, but I will take it...
And when we are Rulers of the World, so will everyone else!

It's no wonder that Obama prefers to caucus

when his supporters act like bullying thugs and lock Clinton supporters out of the building.

This is not Pakistan sir. This is not some third world backwater where bullying and thuggery are part and parcel of the voting process.

Any candidate who would condone that kind of behavior cannot be trusted to restore democracy and the rule of law to our country after 8 years of a Bush theocracy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

But you've been to Paris before?

From a conversation with my favorite aunt yesterday

Favorite Aunt: But you've been to Paris before?

Me: No, I've been to the south of France. I've been to Cannes and Nice and Monaco and Montpellier, but I've never been to Paris.

FA: How is that possible, it's a very small country? Nobody goes to France and misses Paris.

Except for me, that is.

Have I told you peeps my favorite France story so far?

I was in Montpellier. We had rented a small studio apartment with a kitchen near the university. I was tired and starving and the bastard Russian didn't want to go out. So on my own I wandered around till I found a tiny market that was open on a Sunday and normally served the visiting college students. It was run by a little old man who was ancient enough to have been around during the Roman conquest.

I looked around and most of the stuff that I wanted, like produce and meat were all behind the counter while chips and soda (college student foods) were readily accessible.

I know exactly 2 words in French, hello and thank you. I had just come from Italy where I managed to get by mostly because Italian and Spanish are so similar and because I had poured over my tiny Langenscheidt dictionary for days before going. But French scared me. It's difficult for me to figure out how it's pronounced with all the silent letters and mushing together of sounds. Spanish and Italian are fairly straight forward once you know the sounds each letter makes (there is this weird thing in Italian with c's. One C is pronounced like ch, two C'c- cc is pronounced like a hard c, but I have never figured out how to pronounce cch).
Being that Montpellier is fairly close to the Spanish border and that several of the meat products I wanted were Spanish (Jamon Serrano, oh how yummy you are. Better than prosciutto) I tried all the Spanish and English words I could think of for onions, carrots, potatoes, eggs and garlic. I also tried pointing, which was useless.

Finally, the ancient old man just let me come back behind the counter and pick what I wanted. He was very kind and charming. Once I finally had the makings of a Spanish style omlette/tortilla dinner and had paid, the old man pointed to a jar of candy on the counter and gesturedd for me to take one. So I did take exactly one. He shook his head, gently grabbed my hand and proceeded to stuff it full of candy. I think he might have been happy to have someone buy something other than chips and soda. (Though I did get some peanut flavored chips while I was there and OMG- they were awesome).

For all the scary talk you hear about how the French are rude and horrible, I didn't find that at all. Every single person I dealt with was kind and patient, including the overrun pharmacist when I was trying to buy Advil for a migraine. She must have had a dozen people waiting in line, but she perfectly understood my gestures for headache and ibuprophen. I am sure that the symbols for migraine are universal.

Dear Idiot Newspaper

Some of you may have read about the insanely stupid piece by Charlotte Allen published in the Washington Post. If you haven't, here is a snippet

Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true. Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men's 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women. The only good news was that women tended to take fewer driving risks than men, so their crashes were only a third as likely to be fatal. Those statistics were reinforced by a study released by the University of London in January showing that women and gay men perform more poorly than heterosexual men at tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness, both crucial to good driving.
Ah yes, women are bad drivers, so all women must be stupid. Except women are more careful drivers and their accidents tend to be less fatal. But wev, we know there are idiots out there and we know that some of those idiots are women. What blows me away is that some editor at the Post thought this was worthy of publication. So I wrote the Post's Ombudsman a little letter

Dear Sir (or Madam, but I am sure you must be a sir because judging by the pieces your newspaper chooses to publish, women are to dumb to serve as ombudsman):

Over the last few years whenever your newspaper has come up in conversation, it has become common practice to dismiss it because judging by the number of misogynist articles you choose to publish, you have already dismissed half the population. The recent piece by Charlotte Allen, while astonishing in the breadth of it's stupidity, just takes away any thin veneer of reason that might have served to mislead unsuspecting readers.

Perhaps you thought to publish the piece so as to drive up readership on sheer controversy alone. While that might have succeeded in the very short term, you have shot yourself in the foot by alienating half your potential readership. Anyone that stupid does not deserve my attention or the attention of anyone with a reading comprehension level. This article might have been interesting (but still completely asinine) 100 years ago, but for a serious newspaper to publish it today makes it the literary equivalent of a fart joke. Are you 10? Do you wear footy pajamas? Do you think "ewe, girls are gross and have cooties" whenever you have to deal with them?

Cheer up though, you have managed one major thing with this article. This essay makes the tits and giggles girls of Fox news look positively brilliant when compared to Ms. Allen. I'm sure they will appreciate it.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Less than 3 weeks to go

Before I am in Paris!

Last night some friends and I watched The Darjeeling Limited, and my running comment through the whole thing was "Those boys should have let me pack for them, that is way to much crap" (Ok, the other running comment was about the naughty things I would do to Adrien Brody and his gorgeous nose) Things you should know about me dear readers. I am completely OCD about packing. Not about anything else, but when I pack it is a sight to be seen. I know down to the ounce how much shampoo, conditioner, face soap, body wash, lotion, hair goop, perfume, etc. that I will use for a week, two weeks or three weeks. I test it out with sample bottles at home. I hate that I might have to skip some part of my normal beauty regime (I have really good skin mostly because I take really good care of it) so I refuse to skip something because I am traveling.

So I have been working really hard to whittle everything down into small enough containers so that I can fit it all into a quart sized ziplock.

I also like to play bathroom chemist. I hate having to use 3 products when one would do fine. So I took my normal face moisturizer with anti-zit medication and mixed it with some foundation. It works really well as a sheer tinted moisturizer. I also mixed my moisturizing body wash with my drying face wash and came out with a really awesome bottle of stuff that works all over my body. And I have switched all my normal makeup products for things that come in pencil form. I don't wear a lot of makeup to begin with, just eyeliner and lip gloss but I have a problem with EVERY SINGLE LIP COLOR I wear making my lips into some horrible candy pink color. Think teen hooker Barbie. I found an awesome lip gloss pencil in bronze that doesn't make me look like a streetwalker in candy land. YAY.

Now that toiletries are done (and mostly packed- I just have to throw my bag of makeup pencils in) I am working on clothes.

The clothes part for Paris is daunting.

This handy little backpack from ebags is what I take for trips from weekend length to 3 weeks long. (Mine is in a now discontinued pink color- HA). It is barely bigger than my school backpack, weighs less than 3 pounds and is awesome.

I don't want to look like garrish American tourist but I also don't want to look like a boring middle aged traveler with a wardrobe of black pants, black skirt, ugly blouses. This trip we won't be there long enough to do laundry (one of my favorite things about traveling is sending the laundry out to be washed by someone else). So I have to either bring things that can be worn more than once without looking wrinkled and lame (like jeans) and/or pack a particular outfit for each day. I've been making lists, trying things on, remaking lists. It's sad really.

My one best hints for packing clothes is using a couple of 2 gallon sized ziplock bags instead of spending money on compression bags or folders. You just roll the air out of them like you would a compression bag.

I also have a large microfiber towel that is awesome (packs tiny, sucks up mountains of water, dries fast and doubles as a blanket) and a silk bathrobe that always go with me. And I have a tote bag that folds into itself so it's no bigger than a key chain. This is very handy for carting food from the grocery store or laundry to the cleaners and as an overflow bag when I come home loaded with goodies (the Kid always gets a t-shirt from wherever I go and I am bringing back wine for the two darlings who have agreed to watch the Kid while I galavant around the world).

Can you all still respect me knowing that I am packing freak of nature?