Sunday, December 28, 2008


You know, there's nothing like planning the next several years of your life around going to grad school and then finding out that due to the financial ineptitude of the President of your University causing a hiring freeze there might not be a graduate program to apply to.

Anyone looking to hire a budding anthropologist?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Festivus

Happy Festivus

Let's face it, kids, Christmas in America is a completely secular holiday. As such, my little secular self celebrates it merrily. Seriously, it's the depths of miserable winter, so everyone drink some spiked nog and get presents. It's great!

But I also understand those who have difficulty divorcing the holiday from its origins, for whatever reason. If you're in my circle, though, you're still getting a present from me. A secular one, but, nonetheless, a present.

So happy whatever to you all, and to all a nice time.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

YouTubing, the "Disgusting Joys of Parenthood" Edition

Abbie has been using the potty successfully for a few days now.

If you're my sister and/or my father, you'll get the in-joke. Or, you know, if you're Captain Obvious you'll probably figure it out.

RIP, Bettie Page

I wish I had time to do more of a tribute because of the complicated role this woman's image played in the formation of my own sexual identity/performance of gender.

But she will be missed.

Almost done!

Three final papers down, one more and one math final to go.

Then sleep.

Then spending some normal time with my family,

Then some good old time blogging. It's been awhile.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dear whomever created the virus now happily chewing on my hard drive.

Please Die In A Fire.

No really, I hate you.

I have enough on my plate without having to deal with this bullshit.

With utmost sincerity,


*added* All fixed. But I still hate you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm really feeling like shit lately

Carpal tunnel's been a throbbing bitch, not sleeping much, been hella busy. Everyone at Thanksgiving kept asking me if I was "okay," in that annoying, touchy-feely way that makes me want to grow my Mohawk back. I just want to sneer at everyone.

So blogging might be light and misanthropic through the end of the semester. Then I can sleep for eight hours, brush my hair, do some laundry and have a nice drink, then feel like a plucky human again. Until then, deal with me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Marxist alienation

I'm really feeling the Marxist alienation today, as I get ready to go to work, aggravating my carpal tunnel and repeating the same ten words over and over again (Yes, I'm sorry, the office is closed for the weekend.) in order to earn money to buy crap I've been living fine without so far.

And I peruse the news and see this.
NEW YORK – A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday after an "out of control" throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a suburban store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.
This is a sick culture, sometimes.

And then I find myself wondering, which is worse? Killing each other on purpose, for made-up religious differences? Or on accident, to be the first of many to get a common, cheap crappy DVD player for 60 percent off? I'm not so sure which horrifies and shames me more.

This day after Thanksgiving, I'm thankful to have had the privilege to grow up in a family that taught me (sometimes, despite themselves) to be tolerant of others and to be grateful for what I have. I should be more grateful than I am, actually.

That sounds a little snobbish, I know. I don't care.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

YouTubing, Circle of Life Edition

It's almost the end of the semester and I have to start switching gears from coasting-along-procrastination mode to oh-shit-time's-almost-up mode. So as usual this semester, I'll just link to some YouTube videos instead of doing a real blog post.

But let me tell you, I think my kid is fantastic. Abbie says to me, "Mama, Abbie wants robot music." (She has an odd thing for robots in general, Wall-E and Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba! in particular.)

So I say, "Okaaayyy (wracks maternal brain), ummm, ah! Eureka!"

Abbie, meet Kraftwerk:

I used to play her this song when she was a baby, but she didn't remember. Anyway, she liked it, doing the seated butt-shake, head-nod dance she does when she likes something.

This led to:

This appears to be from a recent-ish concert in Japan (it's weird to see them middle-aged) which she deemed "cool" (or rather, koooo, as she pronounces it). "Autobahn" was deemed "too weird" and "Trans Europe Express" got a "That's a crazy guy!"

And then I had a sudden flashback to my dad playing me Kraftwerk records when I was a kid, which I loved because there was a song where they sampled a Speak 'n' Spell (remember those?) which I found hilarious.

It was a very "circle of life" moment.

Incidentally, off-blog, belle recently turned me on to the phenomenon of mashups on YouTube, and I can't get enough of these two.

Toxic Love Shack:

Do You Wanna Cuz it's Tricky My Sharona:

This one's pretty cool. Sweet Dreams are Made of Seven Nation Army:

And Abbie's favorite, of course. That's Not My Name: Yo Gabba Gabba Mix:

I also spent all morning coloring in a My Little Pony coloring book with her, which was also a big circle of life moment. It's weird how having a kid makes you feel young and old at the same time.

Incidentally, one of my best friends from high school is having her second kid right! Happy birthday Chrissy's baby!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Okay, this is funny.
Nicolas Sarkozy saved the President of Georgia from being hanged “by the balls” — a threat made last summer by Vladimir Putin, according to an account that emerged yesterday from the Élysée Palace. . . .

The Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.

Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked.

“Why not?” Mr Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?”

Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah -- you have scored a point there.”
Poor. Bush. I almost feel bad for him

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear frightened white people,

This is just a joke.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

This is a picture of my dad in a dashiki and a funny mustache.


He is not part of Obama's special army.

I swear.

Incidentally, here are my parents looking very funny, albeit in a completely unrelated, yet still funny way.

parents in the 70s

Poor things. How did they live in the 70s?

Anyway, this is all related tangentially to several threads at Palin PUMA Watch, my new favorite blog. I know it's not nice to laugh at people having a freak out, but I woke up this morning and read this article, so I take what bitter joy where I can.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm procrastinating again.

I have several biggish school projects to be working on now. So obviously, I'm posting pictures to the internet.

Abbie at the park the other day, for a fleeting moment.

halloween 2008 019

Abbie as Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. Happy Halloween!

abbie and the duckies

Abbie at the duckpond.

abbie at school

Abbie jumping on clangy metal in the ground on campus, making terrific noise.

Now, get to work, Vanessa.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Have I mentioned my girlcrush on's Heather Havrilesky? I have? Well, I'll say it again. Because this rocks, and again totally sums up my feelings on the subject.
But when we watched Barack Obama's victory speech on Tuesday night, we looked into the eyes of a real leader, and decades of cynicism about politics and grass-roots movements and community melted away in a single moment. We heard the voice of a man who can inspire with his words, who's unashamed of his own intelligence, who's willing to treat the citizens of this country like smart, capable people, worthy of respect. For the first time in some of our lifetimes, we believed.

Suddenly it makes sense, what you've been trying to tell us about John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Sure, we knew all about their roles in history, we'd learned about them in a million classes, through countless books and documentaries. Eventually, though, the endless memorials and tributes and TV specials and Oliver Stone films grew a little tedious. We didn't quite understand why you've never let those two go, why you'd speak so relentlessly about a better time.

But how could we have known? We were raised under Ronald Reagan, smiling emptily under a shellacked cap of shiny brown hair like a demon clown, warning us (With a knowing nod! With a wink!) about those evil Russians stockpiling nuclear arms thousands of miles away. We were raised by "The Love Boat" and "Eight Is Enough" and "Charlie's Angels," a steady flow of saccharine tales with clunky morals. There were smiling families, hugging and learning important lessons on every channel, while at home, our parents threw dishes at each other's heads. We went to church and learned about God's divine plan every Sunday, but all it took was one Dr. Seuss cartoon about an entire world that existed on a speck of dust, and our belief in God was deconstructed in an instant. Our childhoods were one long existential crisis. We ate Happy Meals while watching the space shuttle blow into tiny bits.
Go read the whole thing. Why this woman is just their TV critic I'll never understand.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This is how I feel this morning.

I feel cracked open.

To continue the Les Miz theme from yesterday:

I know Barack Obama is a politician and like any politician he'll fuck something up in no time or he'll pander to the center or be otherwise disappointing somehow.

But this morning, in a country founded on the unwilling blood and muscle of my people, Barack Hussein Obama (because, that middle name is nothing to be ashamed of) was elected president.

It's a good feeling. I think I'll just bask in that glow for awhile.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama!!


Can't even say anything more than that.

YouTubing, Super Mood-Swing Tuesday Edition

I'm a weird weepy nervous wreck today. Come, cathart with me!

This, via Dw3t-Hthr probably would have made more sense if I posted it yesterday.

Also this is very cute.

This made me cry.

This is an official Obama video, but it still made me cry.

Finally, children explain your civil duty to you, some with surprising intelligence and some with total cuteness.

John Stewart said on The Daily Show last night that if Obama wins today, it's a "show-not-tell" moment. As in, instead of having to tell your kids, "Oh yeah, you can be President if you want to," African-Americans (and others) can now see that for themselves.

Gah. Here's to hoping, folks, here's to hoping.


I can't sleep.

Abbie, for some reason, can't sleep either.

This is going to be a long next 24 hours.

Monday, November 03, 2008

You don't want to feel like a motherfucking asshole, do you?

Jay Smooth, as usual, is master of the internets.

By the way, if anyone I know (and you know who you are) who hasn't early voted despite my constant needling of them to do so winds up not voting tomorrow, I will personally poke you with a stick for five or six minutes. So go vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blessed are the cheesemakers?

obama rally 2008

45,000 people came to hear Barack Obama speak in Albuquerque Saturday night. The line to get in was two miles long.

Earlier that afternoon John McCain held a rally. 1500 people showed up.

'Nuff said, I think.

It was exciting to be there, not so much to hear Obama speak (couldn't really see him, we were way in the back and it was very 'Blessed are the cheesemakers,') but it was great to see everyone together, united for one cause.

8 days, people. I think I'm going to die of suspense.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Does it say something about America that my favorite campaign ad so far stars characters from an old beer commercial?

added **Here's the original ad for contrast. Ah, the 90s. Remember the 90s? Everything was stupid and fun?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm just glad *someone*said it.

Colin Powell endorses Obama.

This is the part I thought was important:
"I'm also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. "But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be president?"
Someone had to say it.

I pretty much consider Colin Powell to be a war criminal. But this is the most moving and effective take-down I've seen of the McCain campaign's ugliness in recent times.

Do be do be doooo....

So, here I am, one at, oh, one fourth page into a ten-page paper, and I'm procrastinating.

I have writer's block. Biiiig time. So, I'm trying to use blogging to snake out my brain.

How is everyone, lately?

I'm feeling kind of, well, weird lately. I think the election is distracting me from my studies, to be honest. I've been trying to get a crack into this paper for a week now, and every time I do I just find I've been refreshing this website for an hour and then Abbie wakes up from her nap or it's time to go to bed or to work or something else happens, and I haven't been able to get anything done.

You see, I'm so confused. It seems like my country, my America that I've had a love/hate relationship with my entire adult life, is about to do something that I'd honestly never thought I'd see in my lifetime.

I think you know what I'm talking about. It makes me kind of...warm and fuzzy inside. It doesn't help that Abbie recently can't fall asleep without making me play this song on YouTube.

The Gen X cynic in me tries really hard, but it's difficult to feel jaded while rocking your two-year old to sleep while hearing "We can chaaaange the wooorld" sung over and over again.

And yet, and yet. Things like this scare me.

Oddly enough I've said this several times in the past eight years, but when Pat Buchanan sounds measured and reasonable compared to you, then you're fucking scary. And this woman, this fascist, was elected to office. (Incidentally, check this out.) Fucking scary. And then there's these people.

I really wish these people would wear t-shirts or signs or armbands or something so that if I saw them coming I could cross to the other side of the street. People these unashamedly racist make me paranoid. I wind up peering at every white, older person I see with a quizzical eye thinking, "Are you the person here who thinks brown people are inferior? Are you? Is it you?" Please, just tell me straight out. That way I know and can run away, screaming and pointing.

I'm stuck between fearing for the future of my daughter, having to grow up in a nation infested with this close-minded culture, and proud and amazed at the step that nation is apparently about to take.

We'll see, I guess. Now back to the paper!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is this a good or bad thing?

The gas station next to my house, the same one that this summer listed gas at 3.99 and 9/10 of a penny, listed gas at 2.89 a gallon this morning.

I nearly plotzed. Sure, prices dropping are great, but surely prices changing that quickly is some sort of sign of an unstable, volatile market or something?

Economics scares me.

To be fair, it was a pretty predictable plot twist.

Barack Obama saw the nasty new attacks from the McCain-Palin camp coming a mile away.

The clear analogy, I think, is that John McCain thinks as little of the American public as, say, a TV company executive or Hollywood movie producer. The same thought process that leads to Knight Rider 2.0 leads to "Obama-Osama, friend of terrorists!" Oh, sure, they know it's dumb, but they think Middle America will eat it up whole!

Personally, I think (most) of America is smarter and more sophisticated than that.

Via Afarensis.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dear Sarah Palin,

The word is nuclear. New-clee-yar.

Go ahead, try it. It practically rolls off the tongue. It's really not that fucking hard. My two-year old can pronounce it correctly.

Pronouncing it "nook-you-lar" while winking and wrinkling your nose doesn't make you sound folksy and cute. It makes you sound like a fucking moron.

But I guess that plays well with the "morans" who think Obama is a "muslin."


Really, Sarah Palin, even you can't really want these people as your base.



Thursday, September 25, 2008


So this semester I'm reading Louise Meintjes's Sound of Africa!, a really fascinating ethnography of a music studio. It's about all sorts of intersecting issues about how style and genre in music are used by an oppressed people as a way of identity formation while at the same time the production of said music can involve the oppression of the same people, and blah blah blah academic blah anthropology words blah blah blah.

Most importantly, it's about how mbaqanga music fucking rocks! Seriously, listen to how awesome this music is!

I would recommend the book, though, for sure.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


You Are 80% Normal About Sex

You're so normal about sex, it's a little scary.

Your sexual attitudes and experiences match up with most other people.

Like everyone else, you're a little naughty and a little traditional.

You enjoy sex, but you're not a total freak about it!

Is that a good thing? I don't know, I was kind of hoping to be...weirder.

Via Uncool.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Still busy with school and life, but wanted to point this out.

During the next few weeks I'm sure we'll see more of this. Namely, articles that dance a veritable Fandango in order to avoid using the term "racism" to explain why some white people just can't bring themselves to vote for Barack Obama.

In this one article alone we have "Racial views," "Deep-seated racial misgivings," "negative views toward blacks," "racial attitudes," "the racial question," and "racial stereotyping." While someone quoted in the article does make a reference to "bigots," not once does the writer of the article call white people who refuse to vote for Obama because he's black what they are: racists.

Calling white people racists still remains a bigger insult against white people than being a racist against black people is an insult to black people.

Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits

And this one, my friends, isn't even funny.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yar, I be the best mothar o' the seven seas!

Me: Hey Abbie, what does a Pirate say?

Abbie: (curls finger into convincing hook) Arrrrr.


Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, Mateys!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This is just funny

I think Tina Fey gives the best political impression on SNL since Dana Carvey's Bush the first.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Yes, I am that fashion victim who must end the summer with a gladiator-sandal shaped tan line on their feet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


abbie 2 year old 010

Abbie. In this picture, she reminds me of my mother's mother, and the summer I spent at her Florida house when I was 12 or so. It was very Golden Girls. One night I won 30 bucks off her and my aunt playing UNO.

Abbie 2 years old 026

Abbie at the easel Brian made for her for her birthday. Pretty cool, eh?

Abbie 2 years old 014

Abbie and I, clowning. We spend about 20 minutes taking doofy pictures of ourselves.

Abbie 2 years old 042

Brian, Abbie and I. We have so few pictures of all three of us together. Here we are!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

In which I have a small breakdown while watching video footage on the internet.

Can you do a mostly-video link roundup? Because I have some Franz Boas to read, and then some Soviet History to read (and, let me tell you, hehe, the parallels suggest themselves), and then some math to do. So I'll mostly let the people involved speak for themselves.

As usual The Daily Show says what I'm thinking. (Well, except for the part where Mike Huckabee stretches his scrotum into the shape of a sailboat. I wasn't thinking that. Before.) Um. Mitt Romney complaining about 'Eastern Elites?' Weren't you governor of Massachusetts? Rudy Giuliani sarcastically talking about cosmopolitan cities? Really? Weren't you the mayor of New Fucking York?

Especially grating is the part where Rudy Giuliani yuks it up over Obama being a community organizer (all the way at the end). How disgusting. Bwahaha! He tried to make his community better! Hi-larious!

I think I'll let Barack Obama take this one, because my response would be more along the lines of telling Rudy to fuck himself with something hard and sandpapery.

I mean seriously. How can you on the one hand mock the work done within a community by someone just out of college, and then have your nominee's acceptance speech call for people to "go out and fight" on the other? Fight for what? Against whom? Certainly not in any way that involves organizing at the community level, yuk yuk yuk. Because that would be completely ridiculous.

What do you think community organizers do, exactly?

How do your heads not fucking explode with the cognitive dissonance all the time? Does practicing all that doublethink burn a lot of calories? What the hell is wrong with you people?

I'm sorry, but if you're going to be president of the United States, you're president of the entire United States. Including the East Coast and San Francisco. I'm sorry that all of us can't live in towns small enough/are rich enough to run a campaign for mayor. Some of us have to resort to community organization. Aren't we hilarious?

Also, what brownfemipower said. And what Anxious Black Woman said.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Especially the polar bears part.

Remember kids, Sarah Palin drinks America's milkshake. She drinks it up!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Nothing to see here, move along folks.

While everyone is all het up about "ZOMG! Teenaged girl had teh sex!" (although it must be said that Sarah Palin's hypocrisy totally kicks the ass of the hypocrisy of everyone else) you might want to take a look at this.

Nothing to see here, folks. We're just arresting the journalists. Welcome to Soviet America.

Now, did you hear that George Bush was so busy dealing with the storm of the century he couldn't even associate himself with Mcain, like he totally wanted to?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

This semester is already kicking my ass

And it's only been a week. It would help if I weren't sick like I always get at the beginning of every semester (you college kids have lots of germs), or if Abbie weren't sick as well, or if my damned financial aide woes would sort themselves out without my constant babysitting, or if my carpal tunnel arm would stop going all pins-and-needles, or if I had shoes that fit properly, or, well, you get the picture.

There are a thousand blogular things to blog about, but there are so many other bloggers with time that I won't bother writing anything half-assed.

For my own personal use more than anything, here's some awesome YouTubing instead. Think of it as a Friday Random 10, but from Saturday morning, not random, and with videos. And less than ten.

Wanda Jackson - Hardheaded Woman. Via Daisy at Feministe! Also, I love that dress. I would rock that dress.

Rent Soundtrack - Take Me or Leave Me. Yes, I love showtunes. So sue me.

Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash. I've posted this one before, but I really need the energy this would give me lately.

Liam Sullivan - Where Do You Think You're Going In That?. This is what I hear when certain feminist bloggers write certain things. A strawradfeminist, I'm sure, I'm sure.

Bikini Kill - Rebel Girl. While the song is awesome without question, the pro-Maoist fanvid perplexes me. Is it in earnest? (And if so, really? pro-Maoist? Way to exoticise and simultaneously not get another culture, dudes!) Ironic? Ironically in earnest like William Shatner? Not sure. Although I'm pretty sure I spot some clear-eyed gazing in there.

And finally, on a completely different note, Bob Marley - Judge Not. Although I kind of think officially it's The Wailers - Judge Not. In either case, it's advice I should probably take more often.

Well, tonight I'm going to try to clean my house a little, and do some homework (yes, already) and maybe even get some sleep. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

But on a quick random note

This is one of the funniest columns on the Olympics I've read in awhile, and also sums up my feeling on the subject.
But Costas is so hot to stir things up that he can't help overstating the entire affair. Like the square football announcers who tsk-tsk endlessly about "showboating" in the end zone like it's the end of modern civilization as we know it, Costas has been trilling about "class" and "classiness" among athletes for decades now, as if it's the pinnacle of human achievement to reach a seemingly impossible goal, and then celebrate by acting like you're waiting for the F-train. What kind of bizarre WASPy mentality suggests that raw emotions should be saved for the most appropriate time and place, and then expressed in the most proper, so-called classy way?

Bolt enjoys joking around with his competitors. One of his shoes was untied when he ran the 100-meter race. His technique is described as sloppy and amateurish. He polished off a bunch of Chicken McNuggets right before the race. He's that kind of a guy. He's 21 years old, for Chrissakes! He became the fastest man on earth by a long shot, breaking his own record, while every other contender huffed and puffed along several feet behind him. How would anyone dare to claim that he owed it to the fans to run even faster, or that he disrespected them by celebrating a little early? What in the world is Costas, space alien from Planet Honky, talking about? Why should Bolt care about class, of all provincial, bourgeois values? What the hell is class, anyway, but some arbitrary code that soulless, high-capitalist professional robots live by?

You know what I like to see in the world's greatest athletes? Exuberance, and joy, and tears. I'd like to see them rip their clothes off and run around the Bird's Nest naked. I'd like to see a guy who's fast enough to beat his competitors then walk slowly across the finish line while grabbing his package. There's your world record right there, motherfrackers. Take that, masters of the corporate-sponsored Olympic universe. I'm just too goddamn fast to heed your mortal concerns.
Heather Havrilesky continues to be the only readable columnist for Salon. Yay!

Anyway, back to school nd the Kafkaesque struggles. I'll be missing the Olympics!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's that time of year again

I've been spending the past few weeks negotiating the Kafkaesque descent into absurdity that is the financial aide department at UNM, trying to get everything settled before the semester starts and finding that every time something has the slightest possible potential of getting half-done or going wrong or getting entered into a computer incorrectly or becoming fucked up in any way, it will, and it will be the most spectacular and disastrous possible fuckup that could have happened at that point in time.

Seriously, it's like they're annoyed at me for trying to pay them money.

I think I'm just going down there in my Viking outfit carrying my halberd and screaming Russian at them to see if that makes the process go any more smoothly.

In any case, school starts Monday so I'll be scarce. On an interesting note, my husband is also taking classes this semester, so we'll see how that works. Abs will get to spend a lot of her formative years on a college campus, which is cool, I guess. It's how I grew up, for sure. But I will be scarce probably for awhile.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Hey fashion industry!

More of this, please.

America's Next Top model is featuring a trans woman this season. I may have to start watching this show.

In any case, check out her walk! This reminds me so much of the attitude of the non-anonymous supermodels whose loss I was lamenting here. No blank stare, no robotic, trance-like movements, no scraped-back hair. She would bring any garment to life on the runway. Even the hideous ones the apparently crack-smoking judges of Project Runway seem to be favoring this season. WTF is up with them lately?!?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And along those same lines.

Via Broadsheet, Are You Ready for Men in Skirts?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Although I wonder what flag that is? Anyhow, I love the combination of buttoned up/not so much, down to the formal shoes sans socks that this guy put together.

But I'm sure he's a slave to the patriarchy somehow.

To whomever designed Michael Phelps' hip-hugging swimming pants.

Thank you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Actually, not that surprising, no.

Can we stop having a panic about fat people now?
CHICAGO - You can look great in a swimsuit and still be a heart attack waiting to happen. And you can also be overweight and otherwise healthy. A new study suggests that a surprising number of overweight people — about half — have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while an equally startling number of trim people suffer from some of the ills associated with obesity.

The first national estimate of its kind bolsters the argument that you can be hefty but still healthy, or at least healthier than has been believed.
Oh wait.
But, for those without elevated risks, losing weight "might be important only from a cosmetic perspective," she said.
Which means, of course, they'll still find a way to needle us about it.

Everybody watch this again. Because it's true.

YouTubing, Olympic Women's Gymnastics Edition

Ren's Olympic love got me browsing YouTube to find awesome old Olympic moments.

First off, Olga Korbut's 1972 routine on the uneven bars (which, IMO, used to be cooler back in the day). Just flawless. I love how the announcer notes "that's never been done by a girl," way condescendingly and the other announcer says "not by a human!"

Next, Nadia Comaneci's 1976 perfect 10 performance on the balance beam. Again, far more precise and elegant than anything you'll see today.

I remember watching this one. Mary Lou Retton in 1984 landing a perfect 10 vault and then figuring, hey what the hell, I'll toss off another effortless one.

And we've all seen this one, but really, it deserves to be seen again and again. Watch Kerri Strug stick a one-footed landing on an injured foot to win her team the gold. That's just incredibly brave.

Or how about this woman. Oksana Chusovitina was a gymnast on the Soviet team, and this year could potentially medal in vault and the age of 33. In a sort where most of her competitors are 16 (and some might be even younger, according to Bela Karolyi anyway). I'll be rooting for her for sure.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympic Thoughts

Thanks to the magic of TiVo, I've just watched the entire, fantastically long opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. I have mixed thoughts which I will now present in a totally disordered fashion.

First off, that was pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever seen on television, ever. No, really. Not even exaggerating. From the drummers to the beginning to the dancers painting with their bodies to the aged gymnast walking on air, amazing.

Secondly, Yao Ming is the tallest man in the universe. And did no one else notice the little boy who was walking with him was carrying an upside-down Chinese flag?

More seriously, as amazing as those images were, you know, this. Or this. It's difficult to appreciate the show the Chinese government has put on for the world when you think about the things they've done behind the scenes. Also, any paegent-based retelling of Chinese history that skips from dynastic China to 1978 is missing a significant chunk of the story. Don't think we didn't notice.

But then again, what can you really say about the Chinese government that you can't say about the American government right now? Any difference is a matter of degree, not kind. Torture, spying on citizens, environmental destruction, failure to prevent genocide, and oppression of workers for monetary gain are plagues on both our houses.

But, this.

But it's hard, after seeing the suffering brought on by the earthquakes in May, it's hard not to understand and be happy for China's moment of national pride.

I don't know. I'm confused, emotionally. Anyone else have more coherent thoughts?

*added** It's also pretty clear that the BBC is cooler than any corresponding television outlet in the US. Just in case you were wonderng.

Friday, August 08, 2008

This is pretty much the most amazing video I've ever seen on YouTube

Kind of long, but worth watching all the way through.

Lesson learned: don't fuck with whatever species of water buffalo that is.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Blogging? What's that?

I'm having too much fun enjoying the last remnants of summer.

This is what happens when you egg on your hyper two-year-old. WARNING: turn down your volume, lest you fall prey to her mighty squeak of doom.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What I've been up to while sitting at my computer watching Lost.

First off, season 3 finale? Woah.

But I made another purse!

Still haven't worked out the closure yet, and not sure if it needs a strap or if it's just a clutch, but here it is. I collaged the inside of this one, too, which actually may have caused some issues with the lid/flap closing correctly. It's a learning curve, I guess.


purse mark III 002

purse mark III 003

purse mark III 004

purse mark III 007

purse mark III 010

Also, I really need to learn to take better pictures of this stuff.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dude! Are they bringing back the Muppet Show?

maybe it's because it's 3 a.m. (wow, I'm not even watching Lost tonight, why am I still awake?) but these (linked in comments at Natalia's) literally made me laugh until I cried.

(World Wide Web? Is there a way to put this on just the American Part?)

ZOMG. Epic win.

The Happy Me! Meme

Natalia tagged me with yet another cool meme, this one of her own design in honor of her birthday. The idea is this, in Natalia's words:
Basically, the idea is to tell the world 8 facts about your life that you find heart-warming or facts that cheer you up on dark days or some cheesy crap like that. It’s a way to make you feel good about your life, no matter what. The facts can be as random and seemingly innocuous as you wish them to be. I chose 8, because it’s my favourite number.
Here's mine.

1. I'm on stage with the band in this video. You can see me and my friend Ginger dancing at several points, most notably giving our best "Hey ho, Let's Go!" at about 1:40.

2. When I was in the ninth grade, I got the high score on the Galaga machine in the lobby of the dollar movie theatre, and it stayed there for the next couple of years!

3. I was born while my parents were in college. My mother, who was in labor for 48 hours, took a psychology final the day after I was born, and aced it. Also, right before her water broke she was bowling. At like 2 a.m.

4. Я говорю на русском языке лучше чем Вы. (Unless you're Natalia, of course, lol.) I started studying Russian in high school because everyone else was taking Spanish, and I just had t be different. Of course, knowing Russian in New Mexico is fantastically impractical. And when your entire father's family is from Cuba and speaks Spanish, well, let's just say I have to explain a lot that the second language I speak is Russian. Yes, Russian. But, funnily enough, my grandfather somehow speaks Polish.

5. On my father's side I'm descended from Generoso Campos-Marquetti, the first black person to hold political office in Cuba. On my mother's side, I'm descended from mob-connected mayor of Philadelphia Frank Rizzo. Oh, and the mob.

6. I know what it's like to get a standing ovation, and to move people in your audience to tears with your performance of words you wrote yourself. Kind of a good feeling.

7. I make stuff. Another good feeling I know is when soneone comes up to you and says "Ooohh, where did you get that?" And then you smile coyly and say, "Oh, this old thing? I made it my own damn self."

8. I get to share my life with my husband and my daughter. Cheezy and cornbally, I know, but there it is. I just can't imagine a happier, funnier, more beautiful, more exasperating, more supportive, and more wonderful pair to call my family.

Serisously, look how great he is.

abbie 2 year old 013 And look how great she's turning out!

There we go. I tag Goody, Lilo, and Daisy, and whomever else feels so inclined.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Estelle Getty, who managed to capture exactly what it's like to have an Italian mother.

"If I breathe and it bothers you, then put a pillow over my face!" and "I'll get the melon baller!" are especially familiar.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Look, I made a purse!

Materials include: the cardboard box some Pampers Cruisers came in, the December, January, and March issues of VOGUE, a piece of fabric trim from the Wal-Mart craft department, a buckle, needle and thread, Elmer's glue, and about 30 coats of polyurethane varnish.

purse 004

purse 002

purse 015

My crappy pictures kind of fail to do it justice. In real life it kind of has a Lagerfield-at-Chanel-esque, pop-art quality. This is actually purse mark II. Purse mark I failed in the construction phase. I'll post how it fits together if anyone is actually interested.

This gets me interested on the difference between fashion/design, which I think is great and fun and full of wonderfulness, and the fashion industry, which, to say the least, has its issues. It's like the difference between Tim Gunn on Project Runway and Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model. I do think that sometimes this difference gets glossed over in certain feminist discussions/circles, which is Yet! Another! Reason! why I'm meh on feminism as a movement lately, albeit a very frivolous reason.

(And if anyone says "strawfeminist" I will throw up, thank you.)

Monday, July 21, 2008


Anyone know how to tell if your vintage Gucci bag is really a vintage Gucci bag?

And now I am hopelessly addicted... Lost.

Yep, that's right, I was the last American to never have seen Lost. For the past few nights I've been watching old episodes streaming (surprisingly good quality, natch)on And now I must see them all. It's filled with all the horrible cliche characters from hysterical woman to magical negro, yet somehow I cannot look away.

I'm about halfway through season 2. Please nobody spoil me.

I have just three questions. How come Claire opens her mouth sooo wide when she yells at Charlie? And how come Jack has to punctuate ever single sentence with a little incredulous head nod (very annoying)? And how come Dimples McGee is so hot? You know, asshole guy? Sawyer? Totally hot.

Also, malevolent cloud of cgi dust? Not too scary. But shoeless, muddy, legs soundlesslycreeping though jungle foliage dragging a teddy bear on a string? Somehow completely scary. Like, Bob in your livingroom scary.

By the way, if you don't get that reference then you can't be my friend anymore.

In celebration of me finally joining the rest of the universe in keeping up with a basic pop cultural literacy, I will now complete the Sawyer nickname thingie from months ago.

...and my hilarious Sawyer nickname is apparently "Twiggy." Heh.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dear gas station on the corner,

Please just go ahead and charge four bucks a gallon for gas. Because 3.99 and 9/10s is not fooling anyone. That one tenth of a penny is not all that stands between normal, functioning civilization and a Road Warrior-like apocalypse. So, just let it go.


Slightly OCD Vanessa.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zombie Meme!

This may be just the best meme ever. Tagged by Natalia.

You are in a mall when zombies attack. You have:
1. One weapon
2. One song blasting on the speakers
3. One famous person to fight along side you.

1. You know the big fuck-off gun they had in Aliens? The one you strapped to your body?

That one.

2. Stigmata by Ministry

Industrial doesn't get much better than that, IMO.

3. Mr. Spock.

I know that's not a real person, but there's no such thing as zombies, so I figure it's flexible. but seriously, hat more could you ask for in a zombie-fighting companion? Superhuman strength, logical, able to formulate plans of escape, oddly hot, wouldn't hesitate to put you out of your misery should a zombie bite you.

There you go. I tag Jack, Ilkya, and Evil Mommy, if she feels like coming back from summer vacation.

Um, yeah.

So I've taken a bunch of deep breaths, counted to ten, and feel better now.

Sorry for flouncing off like a big baby.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I'm taking a break from the internet.

Some seriously stupid shit went down somewhere, and I am feeling the need for a summer vacation.

The internets and I, we are on a break. I'll see you in awhile.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


As a movie geek, I can't tell you how awesome this news is.
The cinematic world was today celebrating the rediscovery of missing scenes from German director Fritz Lang's legendary silent film Metropolis - thought lost for 80 years, until they were found in the archive of a museum in Argentina.
Now all I need to know is how soon the Criterion Collection will be charging 80 bucks for the uber-version of Metropolis. And how soon I can just Netflix it instead.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th.

I had an odd moment of affection for Americans the other day, standing in a Wal-Mart, looking down an aisle of nothing but ketchup, mustard, and relish, and smiling to myself imagining all the summer fun family barbecues those plastic bottle of goop represented.

It sounds like a war zone in my neighborhood right now, with all the (illegal) fireworks going off. A neighbor is having a serious party, with tons of sparklers and those sparkling fountain things and tejano music. Sounds like fun.

I myself have a sort of somber patriotism. I feel like America to me is your best friend who always gets too drunk at the bar and you have to spend all night looking after them. And sometimes they throw up on you, and they never remember that the next day, and even if they do they're too embarrassed to apologize.

But they're your best friend, so what are you going to do.

And now it's starting to rain out. The war zone noises have the cats all weirded out. I hope Abbie doesn't wake up.

This clip feels appropriate tonight.

Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin.

Well, shit. Piss cunt cocksucker motherfucker and tits.

He was like America's dirty old uncle.

Carpe Diem.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seven songs meme: youTubing version!

Daisy tagged me with this ages ago. Sorry! D'oh!

Also, this will be my chance to out myself as some kind of semi-aged hipster music geek from ten years ago.


List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring-summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. They Might be Giants: Birdhouse in Your Soul

Whenever this song comes on the ipod in the car, Brian always sings the main part and I always sing "Who watches over youuuuu!!" It happens every time. Incidentally, I knew I loved the really great show Pushing Daisies when this happened.

2. The White Stripes - Hotel Yorba

I find the White Stripes get crappier with each progressive album. (Seriously, this is the first track off their first album. Awesome, right?) Their first album is awesome, IMHO. This is from their second one, I think. My friend put this on a mix CD of really upbeat songs, and I've had it stuck in my head recently. Happy earworms!!

3. Beastie Boys - Shake Your Rump

For no reason. There's no need for a reason with rump-shaking of this caliber.

4. Venice Shoreline Chris - Rock Steady

Reminds me of hot summer afternoons smoking weed on the porch while living in a run-down old ginormous Victorian house in Allston. Good times.

5. Zebda - Tomber la chemise

I always feel kind of dumb listening to music in languages I don't speak. I'm afraid the lyrics might be really racist or sexist or otherwise horrible. I'm pretty sure the title of this song translates to "take off the shirt" or something, which seems somehow like a cultural thing I don't get. Oh well, I still like it.

6. Gogol Bordello - 60 Revolutions

Abbie can't get enough of Start Wearing Purple, and that's a good song too, but hearing it seventy trillion times is enough for me. I like this one better, anyway, so I'm trying to wean her off the purple song to this one. Listen at around 2:45 where they start to play Master of Puppets for like a nanosecond.

7. Seu Jorge - Queen Bitch

From the soundtrack of the criminally underrated The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I also like this one. And this one. Also the Mark Mothersbaugh score for this film is kind of weirdly wonderful.

Well, there you go. Since I kind of missed the window on this meme and everybody's probably been tagged with it already, I tag whomever wants to do it still.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Cyd Charisse.

In this scene, Cyd looks just like my friend Chrissy from High School (except Chrissy was a redhead).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on the Mammy thing.

Because, dammit, it keeps coming up.

In comments here, in defense of another blogger's owning a Mammy figurine (and using it as a reminder not to foolishly drunk-dial men), PrObama says:
There are far more destructive contemporary stereotypes at work, ones that remain unacknowledged, and therefore that much more insidious. On balance, a blogger making light of racist shtick from 80 years ago is a less worthy adversary than, say, an entire news network equating everyday black culture with terrorism.
Okay. The image of a happy, helpful female servant of color with a bountiful body that gives and gives selflessly? A thing of the past?

Tell that to her.
Georgia Danan was both laughing and crying. It was Friday, June 6, and she was sitting in a Barnard College classroom, telling the tale of how she came to be a 76-year-old Filipina domestic worker fighting to win $22,000 in back wages from a recalcitrant employer. Speaking in hurried, distraught sentences, she unfurled the story of how she immigrated to Los Angeles in 2005, sought a job as a domestic worker through the Mt. Sinai Home Care agency, and then, like so many before her, found herself being both poorly treated--she said she was regularly yelled at and accused of stealing--and cheated out of a minimum wage. For one fifteen-day period, she said, the agency didn't pay her at all.
Or her.
"The lady said, 'Scrub it, scrub it, scrub it!'" recalled Araceli Herrera, a 58-year-old housekeeper in San Antonio, replaying a former employer's obsessive insistence that she clean, clean, clean even though Herrera was suffering from agonizingly painful gallstones. Later, when she tried to return to work after a monthlong recovery from gallbladder surgery, she found that the employer had hired somebody else.

..."They never think we are humans," Herrera said, her genial voice turning suddenly raw. "I am a lady. I am a woman. I have dreams. I want to do something. No, they never [think] that. They maybe think we are machines."
Or her.
"The roots really date back from the days of slavery," she said, tracing the evolution of modern-day domestic work from the forced household labor performed by women slaves, to the free but rarely voluntary housework performed by post-abolition-era African-American domestics, to her own degrading treatment in the house of her first employer.

"To see the way I was treated in that first job, having to wear a white uniform from head to toe and white shoes," said Gill-Campbell, describing a scene in which, while dressed in this full servant regalia, she was forced to push her employer's dog in a stroller.
I'd say the stereotype is alive and well. (Via Jill.)

From the original offending post:
I keep Emancipatia by my bed now, and whenever I look at her, I hear Brian’s falsetto voice saying, “Now Miss Sarah, you know you don’ wanna be callin’ that boy!” Everyone needs one of these. They should hand them out at bars.
Just remember while you and your friends are yuking it up over how funny and weird and baffling it is that people were treated like your Mammy was, people are still being treated like your Mammy was. This stereotype is not a thing of the past. This stereotype continues to affect the lives of millions of women in the United States and elsewhere.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dear White People Everywhere

If a bunch of people of color have just agreed that something you're saying/doing/owning is racist, it probably is. Saying "No, it isn't!" is not a convincing argument otherwise.

(See the comment thread to this post.)

Yes, that.

Read this by brownfemipower (whose return to blogtopia is most excellent) about the rhetoric surrounding veganism as a so-called "cruelty-free" lifestyle.
Is a vegan lifestyle really a “cruelty free” lifestyle? Why is it so easy to prioritize cruelty inflicted on animals over cruelty inflicted on brown people? Why can people list a whole litany of wrongs committed against animals by the food industry–but at the same time those people “never really thought” about what happens to the workers?

Should I consider these things while contemplating veganism? Should I mourn them?

Can I bring myself to say with a straight face that I no longer eat meat because I care about ending violence against animals? Can I say to the workers, to myself, that even animals are more important to me than they are, than I am? Can I continue my own people’s erasure? Can I continue mine?

How do I make eating vegan/vegetarian a political choice about liberation without making the sacrifice one set of beings make with their bodies more important than another set of beings?
Yes, that.

I mean, there's no easy answers. There's no one product to boycott, or class of products to avoid that can save your soul and make you a perfect ethical consumer. Tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers are usually as tainted with suffering as meat. And meat is often as tainted with the suffering of humans as it is with animals.

And yet it's the suffering of animals that's so often given preference in these discussions.

I know I've said this before (in a slightly different context), but we in the West live off of the backs of most of the rest of the world. Pretty much everything you touch is laced with cruelty. Calling a vegan diet "Cruelty free" privileges the suffering of animals over the suffering of your fellow humans.

Friday, June 13, 2008


The "women with deep voices and probably emotional issues" version. With commentary!

Ethyl Meatplow - Ripened Peach. I love love love this band. My favorite song of theirs though is the profanity-laced Queenie, which I was unable to find online.

**ADDED** Oh, look, I found it.

Queenie - Ethyl Meatplow

Fiona Apple - Fast As You Can. (Sorry about the ad, this was the only embeddable version I could find.) Actually a really good song, I think, on that super-pretentio-titled "When the Pawn blahblahblah" album. Which, if you're trying to make a serious album where you prove you're not a spoiled pop princess, you should probably avoid really gimmicky titles. Because that was a really good album overall, with a really stupid title that made it easy to overlook.

Amy Winehouse - Rehab. Yes, I know, I know. But it's a good song.

Thanks to years of drinking whisky and smoking cigars (joking!), I too have a deep voice. So much so that sometimes on the phones at work people I'm talking to call me "sir." One time, a woman called me, memorably, "Sir, er uh, maam. Um, sir."

This baffles me because like the above three women, my voice is deep but not masculine, really. Gender conformity, then, extends to things as inane as vocal pitch. Whenever this happens I shift my voice up a few octaves and get all breathy-Marylin Monroe-in-Some Like it Hot on them. Just to brighten up my day.