Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sometimes I get gloomy

You all might have noticed that I have a tendency towards melancholy sometimes. It's true, I do.

And I've been chaffing lately. I'm cranky. I'm feeling pigeonholed and ignored at the same time "oh here little blogger girl, you're so good at writing about poverty- thank gawd it's a topic we almost universally ignore".

I didn't start out being a poverty blogger. I started out, like a lot of women, being the big idea political blogger. That's my major after all. I can get down with the inside out Washington wonkery with the best of the Big Boy Blogs. But I'm a girl, and no one listens when girls write about that shit unless they are former rethuglicans turned fauxgressives (Arriana Huffington-cough). I can give you the run down, off the top of my head, the average percent of gdp spent on healthcare in prolly 15 countries. I can also break down for you exactly how those countries provide universal care, either through cost controls or non-profit private insurance or a mix of a things. But I'm a poor single mom who couldn't afford to finish a degree, my knowledge carries exactly no weight in the political sphere.

I wrote a long ass time ago about the Pink Zennana, the women's only ghetto of politics that we are pushed into (or join gratefully, happy to finally have an audience where our words aren't drowned out by bellowing boys). Hurray, feedback! But only if we stick to a very short list of topics with a decidedly pink theme.

So great, I'm good at writing about the poor. Because I am actually poor, I will never get a paid position writing about the poor. We don't allow that in this country. Period. And because I am actually, full throated-ly progressive (and female), I will never get a paid job writing about big politics. We don't allow that in this country.

So after many many years of blogging, I'm a bit frustrated.

And there are so many other things I like to write about. I love art. I would be an art critic in another life. But why not this one? And music. And movies. Fuck it, if my serious shit is going to be ignored for the most part (not by you, my darling few readers) then I might as well throw in more of the writing that makes me happy.

So that's it. You all will be seeing more (and have been seeing more) of the fluffy posts. It's better for my mental health. Not that I'm giving up politics, but writing should either make me happy or make me money or both. It should not make me more pissed off at the world.

And now for a thank you. Yesterday I got a zillion happy birthday, I love you messages from my darling friends and family. It's hard being physically away from my friends, and I'll tell you a little secret. Growing up in the house that I did, I am always shocked that people remember who I am, let alone that they like me or love me. It's a deeply seeded childhood insecurity that comes from never being able to trust that your parents love you. I think it must be an abused kid thing.

Anyways, I got all these awesome messages and I think my heart exploded. It feels a bit like becoming a solid thing, something that takes up space in the universe, that has a place and a mass, instead of being just a bit of whispy ether with no tether to the world. Thank you all for that. Big smooches and serious love for that.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What I want for my birthday is eye candy

So if any of you all can drop one or all of these pretty pretty men off at my place, I'd give ya a birthday smooch
Noah Wyle (shameless admission time- I LOVE the silly Librarian movies)

And since it would be a crying shame to leave out Goran Visnjic if we are including former ER hotties- here he is

And no list of my favorite eye candy would be complete without Clive Owen

I think you all also know of my love for Tahmoh Penikett

And you all should know that I frequently re-watch Monsoon Wedding just to get my hot Indian boy fix (I am only allowed to look, I cannot for sanity reasons date another hot Indian boy no matter how pretty they are)
This is Parvin Dabas- he plays the groom in the movie

And I can't for the life of me find the name of the guy who shows up at the very end of the movie, but trust. Watch the movie (it's really good) and wait for the eye candy treat at the very end.

I just realized that there is exactly one American on this entire list. Yep- that pretty much looks like my dating history for the last 10 years or so. What can I say, I'm an international girl.

Birthdays, Blogiversaries, And things that are less joyfull

35 years ago today, I was born. For the first time, I feel old. I don't know if it's actual age or the horrid state of the world, but I feel every ounce of my years and then some. 30 was an easy breasy piece of cake, (I had my 30th birthday 3 times, that should give you all some idea of how much fun 30 was). But 35 makes me want to stay in bed. No drunken karaoke. No phallic cookies. No trips to exotic places. Just a warm bed and a stack of sappy movies. Recommendations please? I just watched White Teeth on Hulu and thought it was fab. Not so much sappy, but I loved it.

Now that I've depressed you all.

It's also the blogiversary, 4 years to be exact, of this here little blog. It's had it's ups and downs. It's spikes in readership and drops. It's trolls. It's had 2 names and more co/guest bloggers than I can shake a stick at. Overall, it's been a good thing. But sometimes I feel so frustrated that so very little ever changes. It's hard sometimes not to get bogged down in the totality of shit that there is in the world.

Speaking of shit in the world, on this day, March 19, 2003 Bush started the Iraq war. 7 years later and we're still there. That should shock and awe the shit out of you. Perpetual war, great.

So here's a little birthday music to lighten the mood

The Sugarcubes- Birthday

Concrete Blonde: Happy Birthday

Altered Images: Happy Birthday

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Food snobbery in action

Last weekend, for Kid's birthday we took him to the local strawberry festival. Think county fair plus strawberries. A good time was had by all.


Kid wanted strawberry cheesecake as his b-day cake. Auntie promised to make it and what better place to get awesome rad strawberries than a strawberry festival. Now I have shopped at a bunch of farmer's markets, etc. Never have I been given the stink eye for being picky about what I am buying, till the Strawberry festival. After confirming that my aunt did in fact want an entire flat of strawberries (12 pints people) I went about looking through the flats for the nicest one. And I didn't like any that I saw. When the booth lady finally came up to me I said "I want a flat, but I want pretty ones". She pulled the top flat off, looked at the (moldy) one underneath it and proceeded to pack up the one I didn't want. While Wonder was paying her, another booth lady came over and replaced my now purchased ugly flat with a flat of gorgeous, perfect strawberries.

"Uhm excuse me, I don't mean to be a pain, but can i have these instead?"

Booth lady (with obvious annoyance) "They're all the same berries!"

Me: "True, but these are prettier and I'm a food snob".

I got my pretty berries peeps, and Auntie informs me that my pickiness paid off. Only one strawberry out of 12 pints had to be tossed.

It's odd to me, having bartered in open markets and pantomimed to french grocer's to get pretty carrots and onions, and having lived for a long time in a city with one of the best farmer's markets in the country, to have been to a festival all about pretty strawberries and to have been harumphed for wanting pretty strawberries. Lemme tell you folks, the French have nothing on the unpleasantness of rural southerners.

Free to good home- time for some TMI

Since I have now spent 3 days in bed due to a horrible menstrual cycle and a uterus that hates me, Wonder and I were discussing the possibilities of getting rid of said uterus via craigslist.

Now i understand the type of crunchy earth goddess feminists who love their periods and want to make paintings with their own blood. But that ain't me. Granted, I bleed enough every month to stock an entire Sherwin Williams store, but meh. The crunchy earth goddesses I have known were never laid out once a month on a pile of already ruined sheets and towels, making only short trips to the bathroom and worrying the entire way about staining the floors underneath them. That's my reality, more of a Niagra falls than a gentle flow.

So if you know someone who needs a perfectly functioning but otherwise unwanted uterus- take mine. It works. It's been pregnant more than once, it carried the kid through an entire pregnancy and then some. It bleeds on schedule, if somewhat excessively. Moving expenses, of course, not included.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just A (singular) Kick Ass Feminist Playlist

The peeps at Jezebel are having a hard time coming up with a feminist playlist cause it's hard. Insert pouty face). Boo fucking who for them. For YEARS and years and years, whenever I've given a dude a playlist of some sort it has always included some kick ass feminist stuff (subverting the patriarchy one mix tape, burned cd, mp3 player at a time).

So here's a list, just off the top of my head, of some of my favorites

Le Tigre- Hot Topic
This song will give you a quick and dirty guide to a motherload of awesome feminists. That's all the song is, a list of names. And it's catchy as hell

One of the bands mentioned in the above song is Sleater Kinney. Here's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone

The Sundays- I Kicked A Boy Till He Cried (I love love love Harriet Wheeler's little girl voice singing mean sarcastic lyrics)

The Gossip- Standing in the way of control

And since Pearl Jam's been on my mind lately, how about Daughter

PJ Harvey: Sheela Na Gig (this was the Kid's favorite song when he was younger. Now he's moved on to Green Day)

And (just as a fuck you to Onion's AV club for including the original of this song, by James Brown, on their list) Concrete Blonde covering It's a Man's World

Let's see, that took me about 5 minutes o' googling, maybe a few more because I couldn't find the Betty Blowtorch video that I wanted. And granted, yes this playlist dates me as 90's slacker teenager.

What's your feminist playlist look like?

ETA: I can't fucking believe I forgot this one. It makes me cry every single time I hear it. Patty Griffin- Mary

One more test

of the elizabitchez broadcasting system

this is a test

of the multiple feed posting options to twitter and facebook. Did it work?

Internet geeks - assistance por favor

So I have a twitter and a facebook account that are rarely updated because I am mucho lazy and can't be assed to update 3 different things twitter, blogger, facebook) all the time.

Is there an app of some kind that will link the 3 together so that whenever I put up a new post here, a link is created there?

And because Pearl Jam always makes me think of Skip james, here's a Monday morning present for any of you all who are feeling a bit hung over and or bruised by the weekend

Sunday, March 14, 2010


is way too good to disappear into the shared items in the reader.

One of the biggest problems of lefty theory is that it is often seen as solely a critique without alternatives. Shit, even I'm guilty of it. But that's one of the reasons I play Queen for a day, it gets me to imagine the possibility of a better world.

From this piece, I've just had my brain boggled by the idea of imagining a world where credit is democratic. What if everyone got access to a reasonable loan to own a home, or start a business, or shit, just was able to have a checking account? (Lack of checking accounts is a HUGE problem among the poor, the better off of you all might not realize that those of us on the poor end get our accounts closed for being overdrawn and then have to wait 5+ years before you can open another one. We're called the Unbanked- I'm sure it's google-able).

My brain is whirling at the idea of a world without overdraft charges that are more than you spend on groceries. What if everyone was guaranteed a low interest rate home loan for a specific amount (say the average home price for a home big enough or small enough for your household in your area) that kept all housing costs under a specific percentage of your income? Rich people could still buy ridiculous houses, but they'd have to do it with their own cash, and poor people wouldn't be relegated to slums or exurbs only. What if we mandated living wages and eliminated consumer debt? With the wages people wouldn't have to go into hawk every month using credit cards to pay basic living expenses, and paychecks would go back into the production (industry) side of the economy instead of to the speculative side in the form of credit card payments.

What if credit was not a hierarchial system? Perhaps then the wealth gap between races and sexes would not be so grand, but the "deserving" white folks with their good credit scores might have to give up a wee bit of paternalism towards those of us who they keep trying to teach middle class values to. But in the end it would benefit all of us (well all meaning everybody not stealing, I mean earning a fat paycheck in the banking industry).

Art blogging: perhaps I am missing something?

I've been chewing on something for a good long week now, trying to figure out if a bit of time would make me change my mind about it.

So I stumbled (not stumbled- the blog is in my reader) across this blogpost .The work is by Kimiko Yoshida and is a series of ongoing self portraits.

(Because the blog where I found this and the artist's own site don't allow posting of pics, I am not going to post them here- please do follow the links to follow along)

Most of Yoshida's work (ok all) is stunning and thoughtful and twists your brain around the ideas of cultural traditions and women (Yoshida herself) becoming so entrenched in those traditions that you can barely make the person out whose self portrait it is.

But then there is the whole blackface issue. Now since I'm not black, I'm just trying to go with some empathy here. Forgive me if I struggle a bit, but here's what's bugging me.

1) Blackface- never right. I understand the point, reducing classic images of the female gaze perpetrated by male artists into monochromatic self portraits. It's clever. But my internal squick measure is still freaking the fuck out.

2) But Yoshida is Japanese and lives in France, different cultural baggage that she's carrying around there. Does blackface have the same connotations when done by someone with no cultural narrative for it? And am I missing a huge point in that this is a Japanese woman, representing (at least in the Gauguin type painting) a brown Tahitian woman, in blackface.

3)That said, I can't "give" the artist a pass on the blackface being that I'm white and all.

4) But what really bugs me is that with all Yoshida's work and with the specific work/show (see here also for more of the same show) that this blogger is writing about, the blogger/designer, Brad Ford at Design Therapy, chose to ONLY focus on the black face portraits in his blog post. (To the best of my knowledge, meaning what I read into his blog and I could be totes wrong- he is white and American and therefore has at least a passing knowledge that blackface is a no no).

So am I bothered by the art itself (a little) or by the manner of presentation of it by a blogger (a lot)? While intent does not a an anti-racist make, I think the artist might be trying to intentionally make us question, while the blogger seems to be following a lazy path of social conditioning+oh look at the pretty shiny thing.

Speak up peeps. You don't have to be an art geek, really. (Talking or writing about art is a bit like being a wine snob most of the time- you can make up all sorts of pretentious sounding shit and get away with it, depending on the audience. You can also just keep it simple with a confident like/dislike. People will assume your opinion is patently the obvious one with the simple answer and that they are dumb for going on about it like an actual critic).

Watching SNL and being nostalgic

Well, not really, it's on in the background. But I am remembering just how fucking hot Eddie Vedder is. Damn. I may be officially old (well not for another few days, then I am officially old) but Eddie Vedder still makes me squee.

ETA: I knew there was an unplugged video where Vedder writes PROCHOICE on his arm in sharpie during the middle of the song. It just took me a minute to find it.

Pearl Jam, more than any other band of the era, was what got me through the worst part of my childhood, the year my mom went into the mental hospital and I went to live with foster parents. I borrowed Ten from a cute boy (on tape even). Before that, the only music I knew that wasn't bubble gum crap that had no relation to my actual life was "alternative" music from the 80's (my first ever concert was the Cure, for example). Listening to Pearl Jam was like that super satisfying moment where a scab falls off and you can see the new pink scar underneath. Vedder wrote about bullying and horrid parents and not exactly believing in god. The songs hold up well 20 years later (while I pretty much can't listen to anything the Cure did after Boys Don't Cry and Depeche Mode, well we won't go there).

BTW, I loved Just Breathe, the song I just watched them performed on SNL.