Saturday, September 29, 2007

Good for Girls

I hate the term pre-teen. I think that it encourages girls to grow up too fast, looking forward to those "magical" teen years and the joys of makeup and boys and eating disorders and binge drinking. Oh, wait, maybe those were just my teen years.

And more even than pre-teen, I hate tween. Seriously. Tween what? Reminds me somehow uncomfortably of twink. And also the Olsen Twins.

But there is no denying that I am the mom of a person going through some serious changing and growing. The most recently contentious piece of which has been the ridiculous and beloved Bop magazine. I read Bop (and its evil stepsister Teen Beat) as a young teenager; I cut out posters of Corey Haim and Corey Feldman and Kirk Cameron and plastered them on my walls. But I hate when my daughter reads it (drools over it, more like) because it just seems so... vapid. My mom should have stopped me. Although I would have hated her if she did. Plus S just seems so young for all of that.

In a fit of insanity I purchased for her a copy of some teen magazine that featured her favorite movie, High School Musical. And when I found her comparing her very healthy body to the oversexualized, made-up, airbrushed, professionally good-looking young actresses in the magazine, I freaked out and banned teen magazines completely from our house. I have not yet been forgiven for this act.

It was, perhaps, an overzealous response to a bad situation I created myself. I should have forbidden them from the beginning. In my own defense, I have always tried to let her make decisions for herself and then engage in dialogue about them (this has worked well with Barbie dolls and swearing)--but my own history with body issues made this magazine issue very real and concrete for me, and I could not let it go.

I've been looking for an alternative magazine to offer her that is geared towards her age group but with positive and thoughtful material, and finally found a couple that I think I can live with:

New Moon Magazine has no advertising and tackles such pressing issues as "Barbie: Friend or Foe" and represents a wide range of real girls and diversity of lifestyles. There is a free sample issue available onine (pdf). Best of all, it doesn't look lame.

Muse Magazine
also looks good, if a little more academically oriented.

I might just get her both. I feel like I should offer an alternative instead of just saying no. I wish parenting came with a cheat sheet.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Startlingly Effusive

Since I disconnected from the old Boob Tube back in April I've been a little out of touch with, you know, popular culture. I've never even heard of this movie, but the beauty is that I didn't have to because it turns out that I've already seen fifteen variations on it.

Seriously, folks. Funniest movie review I've ever read. And that's saying something, since I must have read about fifty movie reviews in my whole life.

No, really. Funny.


My buddy K just sent me this fucking clever video which actually made me LOL, which I have only actually done three times before on the internet (OK, maybe four if you count My Hands Are Bananas which also came via K).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pool Boy Speaks, But Not Truth to Power

The man who cleans George H.W. Bush's pool speaks out to the press, but not to the former president:

"I look at the biggest middle finger in the world all day,"

(via eyeteeth)

In other news, I'm still not back at work. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Triumphant Return II: Daughter of the Triumphant Return

I return, minus an ovary, having taken a week off to be lulled in the gentle and forgiving arms of oxycodone (and my friends).

It was surprisingly a pretty productive week: I watched the entire third season of The L-Word and a huge selection of John Hughes movies; read six novels; finished crocheting a scarf; canned, dried, and froze my allotment of Winter Cache tomatoes; visited with many friends; and yes, did allow myself to be taken care of just a little bit. That piece is hard for me; I tend to be private with things that I find embarrassing--you know, needing help, having feelings, stuff like that.

I am slowly returning to the real world after my week lived within a two-block radius of my house. Yesterday was a big deal as I drove my car (!). All by myself! Down to the video store! I forgot how big the world is and how many people are in it. I think that under the right circumstances I could really become one of those people who never leaves one room, since I was for the most part perfectly content to stay here in my bed and loll around and nap and only answer the phone sometimes. Honestly, I think it was partly the unaccustomed joy of feeling justified in being completely selfish that I liked so much.

I'm going to try to do some writing today (I don't know how all of those famous opiate-addicted writers got any work done; narcotics make me far more interested in gazing at my arm hair than doing anything truly creative) and maybe take a walk with S and her friend. Sadly, we're not going to the Common Ground Fair, but my bestest friend Bec went and is doing some shopping for me: a Common Ground poster, maple sugar candy, some non-alcoholic echinacea tincture. She should be back with my wish list, and for a long visit, this evening. And I think it's back to work tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

That's What I Was Saying

The New Yorker has a good, if somewhat flip, article about localism/local eating. This paragraph pretty much sums up what I was so awkwardly trying to say the other day:
There are powerful arguments against localism: apart from the inevitable statistical tussles about exactly how much fuel is used for how much food, the one word that never occurs in the evocation of the lost world of small cities and nearby farms is “famine.” Our peasant ancestors, who lived locally and ate seasonally from the fruit of their own vines and the meat of their own lambs, were hungry all the time. The localist vision of the tiny polis and its surrounding gardens has historically led to bitter conflict, not Arcadian harmony.
(via megnut)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I haven't been entirely honest with you.

Those medical problems that I mentioned a while back? They're kind of a bigger deal than I let on, and soon I will probably have to take another--shorter--blog break while convalescing from a surgery that will hopefully correct them.

I have a favor to ask of you, though (and you should know that I'm rolling my eyes as I do this because if someone had told me five years ago that I'd be asking [mostly] strangers on the internet, for chrissakes, to do something for me I'd have poked their eyes out). As part of the treatment for this thing I've been seeing an energy worker. It's kind of like Reiki. Actually, I don't really understand exactly what she does, but whatever it is, it helps, and I feel about ten million times better after a visit and for a week or two afterwards.

This energy worker suggested that I ask folks who know about this surgery to send me positive thoughts instead of anxiety about my health or about the procedure; so what I'd ask you to do is on Monday (9/17), just send me some happy thoughts. If you wanted you could imagine me "wrapped in a tan-colored blanket of love" (that's the energy worker's suggestion, and the blanket is tan because that's the color of my favorite blanket). If that's too fucking hokey for you, just, you know, give me a mental hug, or even one of those raise-the-jaw acknowledgments that the wicked cool people do when you pass them on the street. Anyway, it can't hurt. And I'll try anything (except watching/reading/listening to The Secret).


This is the kind of thing that could just push me over the edge. Here I am, thinking I'm doing a good thing by buying local goods, and it turns out that it maybe doesn't even make a difference:

Even when considering transport-related emissions alone, simply measuring the distance food has covered does not accurately reflect the energy consumption of its journey...

And it turns out our own part in the chain is often the most damaging, since when we drive to the supermarket, we might come back with only a few of bags of food in the car boot. Such a trip is far less fuel efficient than the one taken by that same food on its way to the supermarket in a truck packed with the assistance of load-optimisation software, which determines how to stack cargo so that barely an inch of empty space is left in the back of the vehicle.

A more realistic assessment would be how many pounds of carbon dioxide are generated by transport for each pound of food carried. (via kottke)
It's a good article that weighs out the benefits and costs of food, which is something that I'm pretty interested in. I participate in a gardening project, for example, and drive out to Cumberland every Sunday to work for several hours in the garden that will provide some of our winter food. And just about everyone else drives there, too, although we do really well at carpooling. Besides the fact that I love gardening and learning about how things grow, does it equal out? Would it have been less damaging to the environment to just buy those 50 lbs of potatoes, etc. rather than having everyone drive out to the farm all the time?

I've been thinking, lately, after hanging out with some radical anti-capitalist friends (whom I love intensely) that food politics--and other kinds of anti-capitalist politics--are kind of about control issues: striving for the zero-carbon, zero-waste lifestyle feels similar to eating disorders in that there is an unattainable goal that one is always trying for but can never achieve.

There is no "outside" of capitalism, there's no way to make zero impact on the environment, unless you go feral and live in the woods. I guess that the traditional Native American lifestyle is held up as an example of how that can work, but the logical part of my brain protests that that way of living is just not possible right now, with the population as large as it is. And as nice as it would be to live that way (ha ha ha), that kind of existence is probably short and hard. There is an idealization of that kind of life that I think neglects a lot of the problems that are inherent, like the possibility of mass starvation.

I enjoy a lot of the luxuries of 21st century living, like running water and the internet, but most of all I like having free time to write.

And the idealism of the zero-impact goal makes me feel guilty all the time. Every second I could be doing more, wasting less, and I start to feel frozen, like I can't do anything. I think it would be more helpful to talk to a lot of people about how to reduce their waste and their carbon footprint rather than to individually chase that ever-retreating zero.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Triumphant Return

I feel somehow that I should return with something really clever and summarizing of the time I have spent on my blog break. But really, I don't have anything like that, because not only am I not that cool, but I've been doing other things (moving... um, moving... talking about my feelings).

Instead of something clever, I have for you a photo of The Ponies of Death (thanx to Jacob). Enjoy.

Welcome, welcome. Good to see you again.


Blog Archive