Wednesday, August 31, 2005

metacarpal meditations

I spent my entire work day tweaking a new website. Although I spend much of my typical work days on the computer, today seemed particularly computer-intensive. I had very few phone calls, didn't leave my office for any reason other than a trip to the cafeteria (to bring a salad and Fresca back to my desk), and conducted only one meeting -- which took place on my computer! Even my email volume was below normal levels, which was good because I needed to focus on the website.

For some reason, I found myself examining my hands as I worked. It might have been because my fingernails have grown unusually long -- something I attribute to not using the computer much for 3-4 days last week (don't worry, they're not really that long). I'm surprised they haven't all ripped, pulled, and torn by now: they're terribly thin and fragile. Although the nailtips have largely adapted by curling somewhat around the fingertips, they sometimes collide with the keys. It is that mild jolt that makes me look at a keyboard I otherwise never look at. And when I looked to the keyboard, I looked at my hands.

My fingers have always been a bit crooked. For as long as I can remember, the pinkies haven't line up neatly against their respective ring fingers. Gradually since then, nearly all the other fingers have otherwise metamorphosized.

For a solid ten years, I held writing instruments against my ring finger instead of the "standard" middle finger position. I also pressed extremely hard in an effort to have meticulous (neat and dark) penmanship. The combination caused an enormous callous on my ring finger, which over the years, affected the shape of the nail on that finger. Even though I did adopt the standard middle finger position sometime in high school, that fingernail remains noticeably out of whack to this day (the callous did eventually go down, although the inside of my top knuckle on that finger is still malformed). The callous and strange nail growth now appear on the top knuckle of my middle finger.

My left middle finger was slammed between two boulders while trying to move rocks to help build a stone wall when I was 13 years old. The nail popped off in about an hour and took what felt like a year to grow back. Once it did, it never again grew in normally. The left side is distinctly slanted, which causes the cross section of the nail to look a bit like a house roof when it gets long.

Years of bizarre finger exercises may also have contributed to some of the misshapenness (I love making up words). My favorite was to curl my pinky up over my ring finger, then curl them both up over the middle finger, then curl all three up over the index finger, then do the same thing to the other hand, and see how long I could hold it like that. I had a contest with my friend, Diane, in the 8th grade to see which of us could maintain that stance the longest -- all the while being productive in school. I don't remember who won (which probably means that she did), but I do remember that we both came close to making it through the entire day, something like six hours.

I played piano for many years, and have recently tried (although with meager enthusiasm) to resurrect the practice. The old times may have curved the joints in the first place, but now the deformities make for rusty renditions of Bach and Mussorgsky.

My mother has marvelous hands. I wish I had a picture of them. Her fingers are long and slender, her knuckles are strong, and her nails are natural French tips. The first three things I think of when I think of my mother's hands are how happily they hold babies, how fervently they prepare food, and the effortless twirling of her 49-year-old wedding rings. I always wanted to have hands like hers. For now, I'll have to suffice with my own crooked fingers.

Two asides for the evening.

[1] I must confess. Usually when I write my blog entries, it's well past midnight before I finish them. I have often posted the time at just nearly midnight, however, to reflect the true day on which the entry was created. I will continue to have 11:58pm or 11:59pm entries, but henceforth will include the actual time of posting at the end of the entry. Just a weird Kelly thing.

[2] I'm doing a fairly good job about blogging unimportant topics, aren't I? No real mention of life turmoil or an insanely busy schedule. That said, please, if you can, help those people whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Katrina. Any amount you can afford. I have a collection jar that I use each year to raise money for Rebuilding Together, and I set it next to the cash register in our corporate cafeteria. People basically use it as a penny cup, to discard the change they don't want to carry. All those little contributions regularly add about $300 to the final donation. So, don't worry that you can't give as much as you'd like to. Give what you can. Every cent counts.

Real post time 12:36am

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

organic vs. chemical

This is not the debate you might think. I'm no Rachel Carson. No, this is much more pedestrian than that. Remember. I'm trying to talk about evanescent topics, nothing that requires me to think.

To that end, tonight's topic. By the way, party shuffle is once again providing my soundtrack. For a different spin on the list of songs, I will randomly insert the artist and title as each plays (plus my rating on a 1-5 scale). Should make for fun reading!

"It's My Life" - Talk Talk llll

The bathrooms at my office are ugly. Really ugly. Actually they're hideous. As best as I can tell, the building is circa 1971, and by the looks of it, much of the decor is original. The stalls are bright orange. The semi-stone-like tiles are rough and unattractive and terribly greenish brown. They not only cover the floor, but also the walls. The grout is distinctly dingy (actually, it's turned black in most places).

"Come Dancing" - The Kinks lll

There's little in the way of real ventilation, oftentimes making the experience, um, less than invigorating. You know, everyone thinks they smell like roses. Everyone is wrong. In my home, I have multiple means of abating such situations (I know better than to think anyone using these particular rooms in my house emits floral aroma). Apparently, the desire to attend to such considerations in a work environment is not as strong.

"Just the Girl" - The Click Five lll

That doesn't mean that the opportunity to address it doesn't exist. It does! In the form of the automated sprayer box thingy mounted to the top of the stall support panel. A few years ago, some scent was installed, and for about three days, the bathroom smelled not as stale and, um, unpleasant as otherwise. But once that can expired, it was never replaced.

That is, until now. Apparently, someone was recently inspired to try again.

"Clara Bow" - Fifty Foot Wave lll

Maybe there was a traveling salesman who convinced the building services director to try this new product guaranteed to make restroom patrons not think about the potentially offensive atmosphere. Maybe it was a catalog of office maintenance products, with a shiny can claiming "fresh citrus aroma!" Maybe someone got a whiff of this stuff and was so stunned that they were hypnotized into buying it and installing it into our corporate restrooms.

"Curtains Aside" - Tord Gustavsen Trio lllll

I'm not sure because I've never had the opportunity before now to test it, but I think that malodorous and organic human scents may actually be preferable to the chemical-drenched waft of irradiated oranges and limes. Words can nary describe the toxicity of this "air freshener." For the first week or so, it could actually be detected from outside the restroom door, about 20 feet down the hallway. Heaven forbid the door was open or -- worse -- you entered the room!

"World Between Us" - Ephraim Lewis lllll

During that first week, I encountered several phenomena when utilizing this facility.

[1] I held my breath a lot.
[2] My eyes watered.
[3] My throat became sore.
[4] My nostrils burned.
[5] I felt the need to exhale long enough to warn incoming patrons of the dangers.
[6] I got dizzy (although I don't know if this was due to the smell, or the lack of oxygen from holding my breath).
[6] I began contemplating a chamber pot for my office.

For the next couple weeks after that, it only assaulted the olfactory at the reach of the door knob.

"I Wonder Why the Wonderfalls" - Andy Patridge llll

It still pained me to enter, although to a lesser degree. Recently, it seems to have levelled off. While that may seem to be a good thing, it's still a remarkably strong odor. Has anyone else been so adversely affected by this misguided attempt at enhancing the ambiance of our facilities? Nobody has said anything. But really, who would? People just don't talk about the smells they encounter in bathrooms.

Except me. What else are blogs for?

"Salt" - Lizz Wright llll

Still waiting to receive my new and hopefully by then unbroken computer back, so I can retire this old tired dog that bites me every time I try to listen to music and write on my blog simultaneously. Maybe it's trying to give me a signal that I shouldn't try so hard to multitask. Yeah, that's it. Maybe the corporate air sanitizer is manufactured in the same plant as emachines, and the citrus turned my brand new computer into a lemon!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

organizational tactics

A few weeks back, whilst contemplating the shifts in my grounding, I spouted off a little list of meaningless things upon which I could expatiate without concern for the important and difficult matters in my life. I've already expended the energy of two entries talking music, and I've touched on the computer situation here and there (and will again now). If so inspired, I might continue to use this list for some time to come, peppering my intermittent blog entries with specific references from it. I doubt that, in my present state of mind, I would be capable of being that organized. But you never know.

Speaking of organization, and in fact, referring back to the list, today's topic addresses a couple of the methods I have employed to better re-organize myself. I emphasize the "re" because I am generally an organized person. That said, it's been a messy year. So, I've taken it upon myself to enact a few steps to get me back on track.

The first step was getting a new computer. This has failed miserably. Not only is the machine I purchased on July 16th not up and running on my desk, it's been packed in a box and FedEx'd back to the mothership. To look at the optimistic side of this situation, it will be a step that will continue my ongoing quest for re-organization a few weeks from now. In the interim, I'm just not going to talk about it.

The next step was getting a new purse. Don't laugh. This was a big deal for me. Some time in the late 80s, I stopped carrying purses. I was pocket-intensive for a while and transitioned to a DayRunner as my only means of transporting personal belongings on a daily basis. It worked quite well for many years. I became adept at locking my keys onto my pinky finger, and the lack of open space in the book prevented unwanted clutter.

A couple years ago, however, I purchased an incredibly cheap and small pleather-like backpack. Inspired by a similar one my sister carried, I thought it would be a good way to carry both my DayRunner and a few additional items (like keys). Unfortunately, the DayRunner was too tight a fit to be practical, and so I transitioned everything into the backpack.

Recently, I've grown increasingly frustrated with two problems that plagued me decades ago: [1] big open space that allows items to float around freely, banging into one another, making it messy and difficult to easily access the necessary items; and [2] the deterioration of the lining caused by all that shifting. I spent some meaningful time contemplating this situation and deciding to dive headlong back into the world of the purse.

In this process, I determined that I would only go back to the purse if it was a high quality product that allowed me a ridiculous level of organization. No floating, no mess, no torn lining. The result? The other end of the spectrum. Now in my possession are a "bag" (not merely a "purse"), a wallet, a coin purse, a credit card holder, an accessory bag, and a business card holder -- all in leather (note the lack of a "p" in that word). My justification for this spree is two-fold. All the above-mentioned reasons, and the fact that I purchased everything from an outlet store.

Mind you, this last fact did not make it affordable. Yes, I saved $137.80. But I spent a fair bit more than I saved. I could have purchased 64 of the PayLess backpacks for what it cost me to buy this ensemble, but I still wouldn't have the level of organization that I have now.

It's always a fascinating process the first time I buy something that heretofore has been completely out of my realm of reality. I'm happy to say that I have since adjusted to the weirdness of the situation and am very happy with my real leather organizational kit.

Meanwhile, I started a new crusade to re-organize at home. And my husband happily joined the effort. While I weeded through my clothes closet -- setting aside about half of its contents for charity and a handful for the trash, Ted weeded his book collection down by three large boxes (I'm guessing about 150 books) to give to the local library. I also found a plethora of items in storage bins on the floor of my closet that were easily reassigned for Christmas or the charity boxes.

Oh, and I changed the design of my blog. Like it?

There's still much to do. First the purse and the clothes closet, next the computer, after that Christmas gifts, and from there who knows. But for now, it's bed time. Mabye next time I'll tackle 'board games and dinner guests' or 'furniture rearrangement sans feng shui.'

Sunday, August 14, 2005

fresh raspberries and party shuffle

We've been to Costco twice this week. That's not terribly unusual, especially when there are several factors such as:

1. Passport coupons to buy great stuff at even better prices than usual

2. Amazing fresh produce (this week: mixed greens, green beans, raspberries, and red grapes)

3. A huge influx of items that make great Christmas presents (yes, we're already well underway for our 2005 shopping with 39 gifts procured thus far)

4. Stocking up on our contribution to pre-season football viewing at our friends' house

5. I love Costco and use almost any excuse to go there

So, Costco, football, and planning for next year's vacation took up a chunk of the weekend. When I was here and working on/around the computer, I was listening to iTunes (easier than setting up my iPod dock or plugging in the earbuds). The "party shuffle" option lists up to 100 of the last songs it has already played and up to 100 of the next songs it's going to play. Cool feature. Here are the last 37 songs it's played:

"Genius" Julia Fordham
"You Know How I Do" Taking Back Sunday
"Devil" Staind
"Nobody Not Really" Alicia Keys
"Freddie Freeloader" Miles Davis
"Bruised" The Bens
"If You Were Here" Thompson Twins
"Heaven" Los Lonely Boys
"Mr. Wrong" Sade
"My Funny Valentine" Constantine Maroulis
"Everything Is Everything" Phoenix
"Say Yes" Floetry
"Edges of Happiness" Harald Johnson, Jarle Vespestad & Tord Gustavsen
"No Matter What" Def Leppard
"Cantaloop" Us3
"There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart)" Eurythmics
"Roof Garden" Al Jarreau
"Chains" Duran Duran
"How'm I Gonna Sleep" Tim Finn
"The First Taste" Fiona Apple
"Haunted" Go West
"Skin" Ephraim Lewis
"Through With You" Maroon 5
"Illusion" Soulstice
"78 Stone Wobble" Gomez
"Night in Tunisia" Dizzy Gillespie
"The Game" Trapt
"You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" Wolf Parade
"Freddie Freeloader" Jon Hendricks
"Future Love Paradise" Seal
"Kaleidoscope" Matt Bianco
"Powerless (Say What You Want)" Nelly Furtado
"Rocksteady" Marc Broussard
"Motorcrash" The Sugarcubes
"Everything" Alanis Morissette
"Mothers Talk" Tears For Fears
"Smooth Criminal" Alien Ant Farm

I'm working on my old computer, which is being incredibly uncooperative tonight (and my new one still isn't set up -- watch this space for an anticipated rant against the maker of said computer, if I don't get those recovery disks soon), so this is all I can do. It's not letting me format the list to make it a bit more readable, and I don't want to just kill the entry (after all, how intriguing to see the combination of music I'm listening to, right?). So, that's it for now. Maybe tomorrow night I'll be busy setting up my new and incredibly fast and cooperative computer, and be back to blogging in style by Tuesday.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

always the left shoulder

The best intentions to catch up on work email today have thus far been delayed via:

Milo helps by climbing up to my shoulder and hunkering down. This is standard operating procedure for him when I'm at my desk. For some reason, he never cuddles to my right shoulder. Maybe the view out the window behind me is better from my left side.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

my ipod's recent playlist

The real joy of iPod is the ability to play a wide range of songs randomly for long periods of time, and not want to skip to the next song. At 2,677 songs, I have not yet begun to properly represent my library on this wonderful invention. Nonetheless, I have created one playlist with about 600 songs in it that keeps me entertained and creates some interesting segues.

So without fanfare, I present The Last 25 Songs That My iPod Played. There are no particularly intriguing transitions in this grouping, and because the vast majority of my library is not included, this list is not wholly representative of my musical preferences. But it is a tidbit. A taste. A smattering.

I only wish this list could play the songs for you. Perhaps I could at least link each to another site on the web where you could listen. Perhaps I could include details for each song to explain the reason I like it, or a piece of trivia on the artist. Perhaps I could update this entry to do those things. Some other day. Perhaps (or not).

And now, the List:

“Peel Me a Grape”
Diana Krall

“Welcome Home”
Coheed and Cambria

“Ruby Baby”
Donald Fagen


“Miss Chatelaine”
k.d. lang

“On Love, In Sadness”
Jason Mraz


“Higher Ground”
Stevie Wonder

Thomas Dolby

“Letter Read”
Rachael Yamagata

“Why Georgia”
John Mayer

“How Soon is Now”
The Smiths

“Even Flow”
Pearl Jam

“Concert Fantasy on themes from Bizet's ‘Carmen,’ for violin & piano, Op. 25 (arranged by Sarasate)"
Sarah Chang

“Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well”
Mike Doughty

“Sin Wagon”
Dixie Chicks

“Daydream Believer”
The Monkees

“But Not For Me
Joey DeFrancesco

Barry Manilow

“Come On! Feel the Illinoise!, Pt. I: The World’s Columbian Expedition/Pt. II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me in a Dream”
Sufjan Stevens

Stone Temple Pilots

“Human Racing”
Nik Kershaw

“My Lover’s Box”

“Anima Sola”
The Magic Numbers

Jeff Buckley

All songs I like. Some more than others. "How Soon is Now?" and "Sunrise" would both easily be in My Top 500 Songs of All Time (a list that doesn't currently exist but maybe, in my spare time...). This particular Smiths' song would most likely be in the Top 10 of that list. Find it and play it very loudly. I think Jeff Buckley's "Grace" album is an amazingly sublime and nearly perfect record.

k.d. lang's voice is unparallelled, irrespective of the genre she chooses to sing at any given time. And I can only hope that Sufjan Stevens has a profound effect on the sound of pop music for years to come. Women are underrepresented by this group, although that's certainly not the case with my collection (that's what happens when it plays randomly). There's an uneven distribution of genres, and if the decades were included by volume of play and penetration of playlist, there would be a larger number of songs from the 80s.

Like I said, it's a tidbit.

And for now, that's all there is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

nausea and soul gnawing

It's one of those years. My sea is changing. Either I let it happen to me, or I take control and steer it in the direction I want it to go. Because I've been through it a couple times before, I know that it's necessary and the result will be good and right. Meanwhile, I'm just sick to my stomach. All this contemplation -- questioning the past, analyzing the present, and trying to determine the best future -- eats away at the core of my being.

This is both the perfect venue and the wrong place to hash out the details. For now, it is an explanation for my inconsistency and weirdness. There are big decisions to be made, the details (and consequences) of which won't be shared here until after it's done.

Possibilities for the next entry:

  • the sun and moon and stars
  • music
  • the deployment of organizational tactics
  • sixteen paws
  • my nieces' and nephews' race to adulthood
  • declaration of success in getting the new computer up and running (TBD)
  • board games and dinner guests
  • furniture rearrangement sans feng shui
  • anything but this

P.S. Ted, I love you.

Friday, August 05, 2005

frustrated fat chick

I was wrong. It's only August 4th. OK, so the date above this post says it's August 5th, but I started writing this thing on the 4th and because I haven't gone to bed since then, for all intents and purposes, it's the 4th. Do I sound cranky? Sorry.

WARNING: What follows is a rant about fat. If you are in any way offended by this topic, or if you don't want to read my crankiness about it, please stop here. Thanks, and have a lovely day.

SECOND WARNING: When engaged in emotional typing (as I have been since I started this post), I revert to my tried-and-true writing style using copious parenthetical phrases. Some have found this technique distracting (you know who you are). I find it brings my writing closer to feeling like spoken words. In any event, consider yourself forewarned (that is, if you are brave enough to continue beyond this point even after two warnings).

THIRD WARNING: (Uh oh, make that three.) Several of the links in this post go to sites with potentially offensive content. Please be mindful of that when you click. You can't say I didn't warn you (repeatedly).

I allude to size acceptance in dribs and drabs, inconsistently in this online journal. And as I’ve mentioned in those mini-rants, I believe that the only way I can do justice to my take on the subject will be to write an extensive and well thought-out essay. Said piece would require me to spend large, dedicated amounts of time doing nothing but wordsmithing my sentiments and opinions. The last time I mentioned this, I all but swore off writing about it again until which time I can get around to requesting a sabbatical and moving to the mountains of Montana (temporarily) to concentrate on the craft.

But there’s a new controversy swirling on the heels of a revelation, and the lure is too strong to resist. (Not that I don't empathize with the people who will lose their jobs or be otherwise negatively affected by the latter turn of events, but this made me chuckle.)

Quick! What is the first thing you think of when you see this picture?

Be honest.

OK, here's the evolution of my unspoken thoughts when I first saw it:

Wow, those women look more like real women than most anyone else I've ever seen in any ad. Especially in their underwear. That's kinda' cool. And how brave of them to pose so exposed. Of course, they're still far slimmer and shapelier than I, and they still adhere pretty closely to the emperical standards of beauty. But, hey, good effort.

I'm not brave enough to show my face zits and all (unlike Rosie O'Donnell, who regularly posts pictures of herself sans make-up and coif), much less my entire body covered only partially by my Skivvies. These women have the confidence to show us their not-size-0 bodies. Personally, I think it makes a tremendous stride toward creating an atmosphere where people can be comfortable with themselves, and other people are comfortable (and polite) enough not to sling barbs at them. It will be an immensely long journey -- especially in the current 'obesity epidemic' mania -- but this is a step in the right direction.

Now of course, there are a great many people who don't want porkers like me getting the crazy notion in our heads that we're OK and can (that is, are allowed to) be happy with ourselves. So, they're jumping up and down all over the place screaming, "FREAKS! FAT FREAKS!"

Take Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times. He fired a shot, and the ensuing barrage has been deafening (although it really started several months ago in England, where the Campaign For Real Beauty began). In this short article, he jams home his belief that these women are "chunky" and should be replaced with "fantasy babes" so as not to offend his delicate sensibilities any more. I now take a giant personal risk as a writer and dive head-first into a very old cliché. Beauty, my dear Mr. Roeper, is in the eye of the beholder. Just because you prefer women whose physicality differs from those represented in these ads, rest assured that there is a healthy contingent of men (and women) who are salivating (and more) at these women on a regular basis.

Then, there's Slate’s Seth Stevenson. His invective runs deeper and meaner than that of Mr. Roeper. I initially gave him leeway for his use of the word Brobdingnagian, because despite its dictionary definition of “marked by tremendous size,” I could see where he might be relating the tallness of the billboard ads to the giants in Gulliver's Travels (although I doubt that he would have called them Lilliputian had it been a small magazine ad). However, I could no longer give him the benefit of the doubt when he ripped through "husky," "big-boned," "ample," "round," and "hefty." He goes on to speak of paunches, asses, and cottage cheese thighs, and finally delivers his zinger, "bedonkadonk,"which he even misspelled (if a definitive spelling can be had when using urban slang).

He says, and I quote,

Dove says these ladies range from size 4 to size 12 (it's not tough to tell which is which), and were discovered all over the country.

It's not tough to tell? Are you serious? Do you have so little to do with your life that you have mastered the skill of being able to visually determine a woman's dress size by simply scanning her photo? Do you not live in the same country I do, where the average size of an adult woman is a 14 (which, by the way, means that all the "husky" women in this campaign are still smaller than average)? Do you really not interact with any women bigger than a size 4?

He goes on,

... in the end, you simply can't sell a beauty product without somehow playing on women's insecurities. If women thought they looked perfect — just the way they are — why would they buy anything?

Well, now I think you've missed the point that the supporters of this ad campaign are touting. It's not about the fact that Unilever wants to sell stuff. We know that. We're not complete morons. The point is that they were bright enough to realize that featuring women of various shapes and sizes would speak to tens of millions of women who can't relate to Kate Moss (and thereby potentially sell more products). The fact that it causes debate further drawing attention to their products (and thus, bringing even more sales) is a bonus.

There's also the very important point that it is possible for a woman to be comfortable with herself and still want to take care of (and pride in) her appearance. Not everyone who teems with self-assurance denounces all personal care products because their egos are intact.

At one point, he almost comes close to getting it:

When I first saw one of these smiley, husky gals on the side of a building, my brain hiccupped. Something seemed out of place. Here I was, staring at a "big-boned" woman in her underwear, but this wasn't an Adam Sandler movie, and I wasn't supposed to laugh at her. It felt almost revolutionary.

He tries to redeem himself:

Short-Term Grade: A. These ads are real attention getters—everyone's talking about them. On that level, they're a smashing success. Also, Dove now owns the "friend of the everywoman" angle. Smart move on their part to spot this open niche and grab it. Finally, if I can get sappy for a moment, it is sort of nice to see the unperfect have their day in the sun.

I'm supposed to believe that he's sentimental about these women whom he has just repeatedly disparaged, and thus gets "sappy?" The proximity to the word "unperfect" negates his flimsy attempt at supporting the poor fat chicks. I'm not buying it, Seth. Then, he backslides,

Overall Grade: D. Sadly, this is not a winning play for the long haul. If Dove keeps running ads like this, women will get bored with the feel-good, politically correct message. Eventually (though perhaps only subconsciously), they'll come to think of Dove as the brand for fat girls. Talk about "real beauty" all you want—once you're the brand for fat girls, you're toast.

"The brand for fat girls?" Please provide an example where a product became "the brand for fat girls" and then subsequently plunged into oblivion (i.e. became "toast"). If you're really paying attention to the numbers (you know, the ones we hear all the time about 60% of the population being overweight or obese), you might realize that 100 million not-thin women in the U.S. need products of all types (clothes, jewelry, furniture, cars, etc.). If only a portion of that group finds a brand that caters to them specifically and meets their needs appropriately, I guarantee you that their billions of dollars will be gladly spent to keep the maker of that brand (for fat girls) afloat.

And do you really think people will tire of "feel good" messages?

Eh, phooey! I've had it up to here with being treated like a human being. Bring back the ads that make me feel like crap! I'm more accustomed to being treatedly badly (and alternately being completely ignored) anyway.

I'd also like to know when it became politically correct to be a size 12 woman, or more importantly, to address size 12 women as a protected class.

All right, so I've been working on this for hours. It's far too late for me to be here, and I'm not done. My husband has already had about half his night's sleep, and I haven't even brushed my teeth. So, the rest of this might be sloppy, and I won't get another edit in on the first part, so be kind. I'll come back and clean it up later.

Huzzah, a nice counterpoint to the two previous writers mentioned. Wendy McClure wrote this piece, also in the the Chicago Sun-Times.

A book I recently discovered and only just started to skim is The Fat Girl's Guide to Life by Wendy Shanker . This is the first I've heard of Ms. Shanker, but so far, so good. I haven’t read the entire book (and therefore can’t account for the entirety of its content), but what I’ve read thus far is spot-on to my life. It is a more mature version of the connection I earlier felt reading Marilyn Wann’s Fat?So! and Camryn Manheim’s Wake Up, I’m Fat!

An aside. Why all the exclamation points?

In any regard, what I’ve seen of Ms. Shanker’s book bears a striking resemblance to what I would like to convey in my future essay; partly because the details ring familiar, and partly because I find her writing style to be engaging (perhaps it's that comedic training). The book also introduced me to the first website I've found that comes close to addressing size acceptance in the manner I find most intelligent (although, like previous disclaimers, I have only read portions of it and can't attest to all its content). That site is Big Fat Blog.

On an indirectly related topic...

There’s this movie that I love, mostly because I believe that -- had I seen it when I was 14 years old and been capable to take its message to heart -- I might have better handled the struggle I had growing up big. It’s no Citizen Kane, but it’s required viewing for my 12-year old nieces and nephews when they come to visit. It’s called Angus.

In a nutshell, Angus is “the fat kid who’s good at science and fair at football” – and therefore the subject of much verbal abuse, ridicule, and humiliation from his peers. (Here’s one tepid review, but at least it’s not the dreck found on those horrible movie review sites.)

To me, the crux of this movie is simply learning to accept oneself. It culminates in his monologue at the Freshman Winter Ball. He’s decked his nemesis, Rick, and sets about defending his Bethune Theory that “there is no normal.” After observing that there is a room full of people who each have their own individual idiosyncrasies, he asks, “so what is it, Rick? Are you normal, or are you just one of us?” Rick –- obviously thick-headed and overly convinced of the power of his good looks and popularity –- replies, “whatever I am, it’s something you’ll never be.” Angus responds confidently, “Thank God,” turns on his heel, and walks out to the thunderous applause of his approving classmates.

Last vignette for today/tonight/this morning.

Stephanie Klein keeps a blog called Greek Tragedy. The weak thread between my above rant and this often-brilliant site is her claim to be a fat girl. But the real reason I mention her here is because of her intermittent ability to write the hell out of a thought. Today’s entry is riveting.

I just recently learned about her blog (reading an article in the New York Times about how she turned her blog into a book contract), and so I’ve read very few of her numerous entries. I feel like I’m veering into that standard disclaimer again: “Any references made to Stephanie Klein, her blog, and any/all of her writings is in no way an endorsement of her opinions… .” Well, like I said, I haven’t read the vast majority of it, so it’s difficult to make a fully formed observation. But after tonight’s post, I had to mention her.

Good stinkin' night. Ack, snorfff, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

not prodigal, just patchy

Slow and Steady
Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.

They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder.

It'd really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment.

They expect you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then usually decide against it.

Gosh, I don't think I'm that bad. I think that the phrase "slow and steady" is more forgiving than the description that follows (a painstaking, fussy plodder who never tries anything?). Was it because I said I like purple? Maybe it's because I said that I smooth my hair when I talk to people, even though the reality is that I don't do any of the things the quiz gave as potential actions. If you know me, tell me if you agree with the above assessment of me. Go ahead, be honest.

Many things have transpired in the almost-month since my last post, not the least of which has been a major computer malfunction. Sadly, it was with my brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box computer, which still isn't resolved more than two weeks after I purchased it. That, along with several other things that I've consciously given priority, have kept (and will continue to keep) me in a state of "all quiet on the blog front." I suspect it will be at least August 13th before I blog again. There's a reason for that date. Perhaps I'll explain it when next I return to sanguinary blue.