Monday, December 16, 2013
Saturday, October 19, 2013
I have a repeating rant in my head about brevity. Editing is a religion to me. Artists NEED to have people around them telling them to cut songs. An album you can play in its entirety is going to be 8-10 tracks long. Edit, people! There's just never a good reason for 15 tracks and three bonus remixes, in my opinion.
Verbosity aside, I am very partial to JT, to his entire person. I like his attitude, his acting, his style, his dancing, and his lovable freaking face. I'm always going to give Justin's endeavors a fair shot, because I find him to be a spectacular human being. His lyrics are sexy in a way that at first seems a bit submissive towards his women protagonists, but on closer inspection the submissiveness is revealed as respect and consent. Consent is hardly ever implicit within pop songs about sex, but JT's overall song demeanor is body-positive, respectful, AND consensual. Timberlake's lyrics have just a touch of bravado, instead of the usual r&b man's downright assault of it. This makes the man actually sexy in all the ways that other male r&b artists THINK they are.
Justin seems to have a lot of respect for women in general. Even onstage, his women backup dancers aren't objectified. They're typically wearing suits as snazzy as their frontman's duds. In JT's world, women are appreciated and the implications that their pleasure "comes first" are obvious (in "Cabaret") and welcome. It's easy to feel like this man is a good man AND an excellent lover. I can't say that about any other male artist off the top of my head, except maybe Josh Homme.
Though I am obviously very enamored with JT's personae, I find his music aurally to be hit or miss, like a lot of pop/r&b artists. I skip the r&b tracks, gravitating toward the more pop/dance flavors of JT. I typically keep about half the tracks on each of his albums, but I usually fiercely love those tracks. "Cry Me a River" is still a masterpiece 11 years later.
With "The 20/20 Experience" it's a different animal entirely. I wasn't compelled to buy ANY of the tracks from part 1 and I'm just sorting through part 2. So far, I really dig the first two tracks of part 2, but overall, the "...Experience" is a disappointment. I read that he's fulfilling a (record) contractual obligation by putting out these two records this year, and it shows. His heart doesn't seem to be entirely in it, though part of that could be explained in that his vocals seem to be processed a little back in the mix. In listening to this album, I feel JT is distanced from me. For an r&b man, one is supposed to feel like it's just you and JT in a bedroom. This album gets there in lyrics about half the time ("True Blood" and "Gimme What I Don't Know [I Want]" are the songs I'd like to be alone with.). But again, that voice that's usually so invitingly confidential seems partially hidden on this album, or perhaps Justin is putting on that fake smile that doesn't quite reach the eyes.
This lack of warmth makes me afraid this is Justin Timberlake's last musical effort. Though this album falls flat, the man behind it has got a voice (both literally and P.O.V.-wise) and I don't want to stop hearing it.
MixtressRae's final RATING -- 1/5
Best Tracks -- "Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)" and "True Blood"
Top Five JT songs ever:
"Cry Me a River"
"What Goes Around..."
"True Blood" (maybe...I've only known this song three days)
Thursday, October 10, 2013
We all know that some people are boys and some people are girls.
Most of us also know that some women feel like they should have been born men and vise versa.
But the thing that hardly anyone (outside of the internet) talks about is that some people don't identify with any gender at all. Or maybe you feel about 65% man, 30% woman, and 5% "meh?"
Gender identity is a continuum. You can identify at any point on the 0-infinity scale.
My theory is that gender is a made-up construct*.
*Overall, I am a female with no real problems with this fact. I don't want this theory/argument to AT ALL diminish the very real struggles transgender individuals deal with on a daily basis. I don't know how that feels. However, I theorize that without the societal pressure surrounding gender constructs that I feel we imposed upon ourselves as a species perhaps people wouldn't feel uncomfortable in their own bodies anymore. If there weren't all these rules about WHO you're supposed to be based upon your genitalia, would you be unhappy with the shape of that genitalia?
How many of, again societal, problems would be fixed if gender binaries weren't so strictly enforced?
I've whined many times about the continuum of sexuality. The dial tunes precisely for preferences of frequency and gender. A third dial is for gender identity. Or maybe the second two dials shouldn't even exist at all. Without gender, your identity AND your attraction to another would be attached to who you are, not what's between your legs and flooding your brain.
Life could be more about how we treat each other and whether or not we're nice human beings than about gender and sex.
While it's not as simple as dials that go from 1-10, if you were to determine where you fit on these three dials, what would your numbers be [see chart above]?
Sexuality -- 3.5
Gender Preference -- 6.5
Gender Identity -- 4
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
Watch her videos. They will make you happy.
I used to count calories. I used an app and logged every damn thing I ate. Did I lose weight? Maybe at best, I lost 3-5 pounds. Did I learn to hate eating? Yes. Did I avoid eating things so I wouldn't have to log them (how many peanuts is a serving? ah, fuck it. I'll just go take a nap.)? Yes. Was I constantly hungry? Yes. Well, ok, so there would be days that my allotted calorie intake was too high. I'd be full and satisfied but still have 750 calories left and wonder if I was starving myself without knowing it and then eat more than I wanted to eat. Most days I would hit my calorie-quota at like 5pm and be hungry the other 8 hours of my day (My bedtime is 1am.). Hunger causes headaches and crankiness. I was bitchy a lot of the time and for what? A measly couple of pounds? About a month ago I decided to try to count calories again after a hiatus. I did it for less than a week before I decided once and for all that I'm not doing that anymore. Suddenly it seemed so simple. Calorie-counting makes me nuts. It isn't enjoyable. Following numbers on an app instead of listening to my body and how much food it wants on any given day not only didn't work as a weight-loss tool, but made me hate eating. I typically take great joy in eating.
I now suffer from the earth-child belief that if I really listen to when my body wants food and when it's full and when it needs to eliminate waste (I have sphincter-shyness, so I kind of have to remind myself to poop.) I will be happy and healthy and weigh whatever it is I'm "supposed" to weigh. Since adopting this attitude I have been steadily losing a bit of weight. When I feel idle, I take a walk or pop in a bellydance or yoga DVD or Just Dance game. When I'm hungry, I eat, etc. Mindfulness is the key here, I think.
I just finished a three month long challenge a friend on Facebook started. We were all supposed to pick a fitness-related goal to be achieved in the months of July, August, and September. Most people chose a number to subtract from their bodies. I knew from the beginning that if I chose scale-digits, I would be setting myself up for self-loathing and disappointment. I chose to walk 900,000 steps in those three months, the equivalent of walking 10,000 steps/day for all but two days. I figured two days off were pretty reasonable. I've had a Fitbit (pedometer-type activity tracker) since April of last year and only ever really averaged 7-8,000 steps a day. Let me tell you, 10,000 steps a day is a bit of a feat. To get that number, I had to walk 45 minutes - an hour and a half per day. I picked up the habit of walking to work every day. I even started walking home for lunch on days I had an hour lunch. It takes about 15 minutes for me to walk from home to work or vise versa, so on 8-hour workdays I'd walk half my hour lunch break and another half hour total at the beginning and end of my shift. I also walk around at work a bit, though I'm sitting most of the day. These days I'd average about 12,000 steps. On days off if I don't take any walks whatsoever I average about 4,000 steps. On a brisk-paced walk, I get about 1,000 steps per 10 minutes so on days off I have to take at least two half-hour walks in order to get to my goal of 10,000. That's a lot of stats.
So what happened with the three-month goal of 900,000? I made it. I totally achieved that shizz and it was hard! I walk everywhere now. I only use my car now to get to my cleaning job on Thursdays and to run errands or go on road trips. I learned that I can walk to work in the middle of terrible August heat. Sure, I'm a bit sweatier/stinkier at work these days, but if anyone has noticed, they're being too polite to let me know. I learned that I can walk to work in the rain. I suspect that snow and cold won't be a problem either, come winter. I have a coat and boots. The 10,000 steps per day goal is also a number that doesn't always need to be achieved, however. If you're sick, you might want to listen to your body's pleas to sleep and drink OJ. On my cleaning job days I work really hard for 6 hours straight scrubbing and vacuuming and dusting, etc. At the end of 6 hours cleaning I might have only amassed 6,000 steps but I worked my ass off, so I think I can skip the 40 minute walk. Computing fitness can be helpful, but it's no match for listening to YOURSELF.
A big important message that seems so nauseatingly simple that I don't think many of us consciously realize it: OUR BODIES ARE OUR OWN. We can do with them whatever we please, no matter what the people around us tell us, both to our faces and behind our backs. I ultimately decided that walking to work is more important to me than showing up to work sweat-free and squeaky clean. I might be a bit red-faced and sweaty when I get there, but I'm invigorated with exercise and mentally ready for the day. If it feels like a no-bra day, I don't put on a bra. What the worst that could happen? I get cold and someone sees the definition of a nipple? OMG, not like we don't ALL have nipples.
It bears repetition: OUR BODIES BELONG TO US. I have the right to go braless or cultivate pit hair or wear glitter or take a nap at four in the afternoon and so do you. It's not even a matter of listening to our bodies...our bodies are ourselves. We need not fragment the whole of who we are; mind, body, soul. What's the fucking difference? If we listen to ourselves, we know what to do. Eat, sleep, move, nap, intellectualize, create. What do YOU want to do right now?
An' it harm none. Do what thou wilt.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
In my baby moleskine on 9/14/13 I wrote the following:
"Figuring out where you fit in a world (any world, be it highschool, marriage, as an art major...) isn't worth the turmoil. Be a world unto yourself."
What I mean by this...
A person can waste a life worrying about what others think and squelching their natural reactions.
Today I tried to stop myself from smelling souvenirs a friend was giving me from Iceland. But, I ALWAYS smell things! That's how I know I like them. If they smell good. It helps me get the full sensory experience. I suppose this is one of the things I'm learning as an Aspergirl...to just let myself have the reactions. I tend to have to get STINKING WASTED DRUNK in order to do some of the things I naturally want to do in life like a/ hug ppl, b/ scream "you're the hotness!" at the top of my lungs, c/ lay in the grass, and d/ prance. I will get upset if I don't remember doing these things when drunk, but I'm not at all surprised. I do those things then because I do what I feel in that state. I really do love my friends and think they're the "hotness" and I want to dance and sing and prance and act like a freaking weirdo, because that's what I fucking am.
Here's a gif of Buffy drinking. I love her post-shot face. It makes me happy:
So my point, and I do have one, is that as long as you're not hurting anyone else by your behavior, please just be yourself. Do your thing and others that are just as whatever-the-fuck-you-are will be attracted to your aura and shit. I swear, I'm only on my second beer as I write this...
Anyway, this is not at all a new sentiment. I'm not saying anything interesting here. I do want you to know that you've got specialness, bitch! Flaunt it.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Sounds simple, yeah? NO. It is unfortunately not FUCKING SIMPLE at all. I am angry.
So, after finding out about this thing I decided that I would check on the status of my favorite movies and every potential movie in the theatre I wanted to see. I have, for now, refused to see any movie that doesn't pass. Guess what doesn't pass? "Star Trek" barely has two female characters and they sure as shit don't talk to each other. A movie about the future doesn't include women, apparently. Gene Roddenberry would NOT approve. "World's End" (wtf, Simon Pegg? What the ACTUAL fuck?) has two or more named female characters but all they do is talk about the men. This movie is ostensibly (and I don't know, because I prevented myself from seeing a film that I SHOULD really enjoy) about a bunch of friends drinking and hanging out waiting for the end of the world. God, that sounds like a riot. I want to watch this movie, but it's on the surface a film that doesn't care enough about half the population to have them talking about something other than their male counterparts.
This thing has RUINED TV and movies for me, but it needed to be done, so I hope it ruins it for you too.
After the "World's End" debacle I asked myself if I was being too strict. I decided I was not. In the year 2013 women (again, 50% of the population of Earth? You know, HALF?!?!?) should be respected enough to appear in movies for reasons other than support of men in the form of sexuality and pep talks. I happen to know a lot of women (being that we're HALF the population of Earth) and you know what? We barely ever talk about men, especially for the purposes of trying to figure them out and never, I repeat NEVER, to worship them. There's the occasional, "He's so dreamy" but then we shake the stars out of our eyes and talk about our creative projects and music and pop culture and politics and literature and....
*deep cleansing breath*
When you think about it, this Bechdel Test is a really low expectation. All a movie has to do is have named females talking to each other about something, ANYTHING, but boys. How hard is that? A lot of terrible movies can pass the test. The test was created in the '80s and we still need it. This pisses me off to such a ginormous degree that I can actually feel my heart slamming against my rib cage right now. We deserve better, Simon Pegg. How hard would it have been to include three or four females in your pack of boy BFFs in your damn blockbuster movie?
One ray of hope is Paul Feig, the creator of "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat". "The Heat" is the only movie I've been able (As in wanted to watch and then succeeded in going to watch, time and funds allowing. There are others I have yet to see that pass.) to watch this summer. It is hilarious. See it. Paul has stated he strives to make everything he creates pass the Bechdel Test. Thanks for being on our side, Feig. Thank you so much.
Another pet peeve that's so far in our hypothetical future that it's like four post-Bechdel Tests from now: men in graphic sex scenes are never shown with a hand to the vagina during coitus. Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm during sex. As in the majority. But the women in movies and TV are shown losing their fucking minds during sex while the dudes are just jackhammering away (I'm talking to you, Bill Compton) without any regard to the nerve-centric pleasure center on the female body. Cliteracy, people!
My favorite movie of all time (as stated in this blog after extensive hours of analysis) is "High Fidelity" and it doesn't pass. There are many named female characters, but the only conversation between two of them occurs at a lunch between the characters of Laura and Liz and they're just talking about Rob the whole time. I had to reorganize my brain to explain away this betrayal by telling myself that they probably talked about several other topics too but because this movie is told from the point of view of Rob, this conversation could have been entirely in his head anyway and he's a selfish character so why would he think they talked about anything BUT him? Check out bechdeltest.com to see if your favorite movies pass.
The Bechdel test can be modified for minorities as well. Are there two or more named (insert minority here) characters? Do they speak to each other? about something other than the main white male characters?
Why the fuck is our society so backwards? We're just now letting same sex people get married but we still act as if women and people of color are second class citizens decades/centuries after legally giving them "equal rights" so how long will gay people still have stigma-status after their rights have been equalized? We're backsliding. I hate us so much right now.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Also, the last few days I've been thinking about how massive smartphones are getting. Like physically massive. They're getting so ridiculously huge that they might as well be called tablets. And what's the difference between a phone and a tablet these days if the size doesn't distinguish? Why do I have a laptop and a tablet and an ereader and an iPod and a phone? If phones keep getting bigger will we eventually reach a point where we just say "fuck it" and just carry our laptops with us everywhere? I mean, we might as well.
I listened to a podcast today that was speaking to this issue and the hosts brought up examples...like, we make reservations for dinner from an app on our phone and then check in on foursquare when we get to the restaurant and then we upload pictures of our food to Instagram when it gets to the table and on and on. Frequently, when out at dinner or a bar or a show all I can see are blue-light tinged faces sucked into their "dream machines" as my mom calls all handheld devices since my GameBoy in the '90s. The boys on the podcast mentioned an article comparing our relatively new smartphone era (the iPhone has only been out 6 years, though it feels longer) to the "TV in the Kitchen" phase when TVs had become such a member of American families that we started letting them interrupt our dinner. But this phase arguably (though I still know people with televisions in their kitchen) didn't last long. One can hope that smartphones will fade into our pockets in a few more years and they won't be the downfall of human interaction like a lot of us are foretelling.
I am so torn on this issue. On the one hand, I'm hopelessly in love with aluminum electronic devices that keep me plugged into the Matrix. But I worry about how fragmented my time has become by checking my phone every five minutes. I used to be very strict about keeping my phone out-of-sight out-of mind in social situations. I still hardly ever take pictures in the presence of others and I never answer my phone when I'm with friends, but so many of my friends just have their phone's screen up-and-at-the-ready on the table and I've started doing it too. But I want to be present. I still will not take my phone out at concerts because the pictures/videos you take will be crappy and distract from your experience in the moment. The lens through which we view the world organically (our eyeballs/brains/etc) is still farrrr superior to the 8MP lens on our phone camera. The sensory world is something I feel I am missing more and more. While I relish the opportunity to plug in and tune out the world sometimes, I'm overusing this tool. For fuck's sake, as I'm writing this blog I'm getting texts that alert me on my phone, my tablet, and my computer simultaneously in case I miss a single emoticon.
Don't even get me started on social media. There's TOO much! Google +, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest...ahhhh. They all have their advantages, of course. I go to Facebook to actually get ahold of people I know in my life. I go to Instagram to upload pictures of my animals. I go to tumblr to get validation for being a weirdo. I avoid Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ most of the time....but they're tools too. I'll use them to promote this blog. It's maddening. It would be nice if we were all connected to one conglomerate social media that was infinitely customizable...oh, wait, that's just sitting in front of a person and fucking talking to them. What?
As introverted as I am, I still prefer face-to-face when it comes to my real connections, my top ten friends and family.
All this blathering is to say that I'd like to make some parameters for myself...boundaries between me and my technology. My first move was to delete all but Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram from my social media folder in my phone. Next, I think it would behoove me to unfollow a chunk of people on my Instagram and Tumblr to remove the temptation to get sucked into those worlds. I tend to scroll through those sites until I'm updated on EVERYTHING, which has got to be the mark of insanity. I get up every morning two hours before work in order to play with my tablet while drinking my coffee. True, I got up that early before the smartphone era, but then I was READING and/or WRITING.
And how much do you hate Facebook these days? It's gotten to the point that people seem to think just because you're friends on Facebook that you have seen and memorized all the details of their lives and the lives of our mutual friends. It often seems that people are continuing a conversation with me in person that started with a pictures of someone's granddaughter online assuming I have seen every single update on Facebook. Or that I want to see every single update on Facebook. And how weird is it when someone from high school you haven't seen SINCE high school runs into you at Target and already knows everything that's going on with you because you posted it on Facebook and forgot to make your post "friends only"? Social media is this weird privacy invasion we all signed up for!
Just in the time it's taken me to write this blog I've gotten an email and a dozen or so text messages. Maybe I should turn the alerts off on my phone too. This world of immediacy is driving me bonkers. I feel like I don't hone in on a task anymore...the distractions are constant. I feel like I'm about to have some sort of meltdown and go back to my pink Razr, sell my tablet, and just log onto the internet for an hour at the end of the day like I did back in high school. I had a social life back then. And I got lots of exercise too. Damn screens are ruining my life!! I don't really mean that. I love you, screens. Don't ever leave me.
Friday, August 16, 2013
I give you my current top 5 characters in Buffy I would so totally date if they were real and I weren't happily married to a man who embodies qualities of all 5 (yes, even the Honorable Mention, Michael. Embrace the similarities!). Oh, um *spoilers* ahead, if you care about that kind of thing.
#5 -- Giles.
Admittedly, though I do at times find him sexy as hell, what I really want from Giles is for him to be to me what he is to Buffy. He gets to be on the list because a) the older I get the more attractive I find him and b) if I were Giles' age and lived in the Buffyverse, I'd totally ask him out. Back to wanting him to be my dad though (ok, that sounded gross. Someone that isn't your dad you can find attractive AND want him to be your dad, right?)...
Giles is smart, protective, witty, goofy, and wise. My whole life I've chosen men in pop culture to be the "dad I never had" (It's a whole thing, but my dad and I were at odds most of my childhood. He wasn't really a "dad" so much as an adult who yelled at me every other weekend. We made up before his death in 2011, but our relationship was never easy.) in my mind, and Giles is really the most satisfying example of a father figure in pop culture. Though he did betray Buffy that one time (he tried to help Wood kill Spike in season 7), he was otherwise consistently supportive of Buffy without coddling her or sugar-coating life. He was willing to say and do the hard things (confronting Willow after bringing B back from the dead, killing Ben when Buffy couldn't, etc) while still being unquestioningly there for Buffy (When her mom dies, that moment when he immediately belays his reaction to comfort Buffy within an INSTANT of realizing what has happened just KILLS me.). If all dads could be like Giles, Cliff Huxtable, and Red from That '70s Show we'd all turn out just FINE, thank you.
#4 -- Spike.
Spike used to be my #1 Blondie Bear, but upon recent re-watchings I've realized how manipulative and terrible he was to Buffy when they were boinking in season 6. As SOON as he finally "got bouncy" with her, he got cocky and started saying controlling boyfriend-type things to her to get her to keep coming back to him. It was really gross. And I still haven't forgiven him this last time around for attempting to rape Buffy. That was a genuinely terrible moment. I kind of glazed over it like it wasn't "no thang" when it first aired (2002), which just tells you how abusive my relationship was at the time. Spike was a fluffy puppy in comparison. Anyway, he is #4 on my list because of his complete loyalty to the woman he loves. It's blind and retarded loyalty (he was willing to kill Drusilla to "prove his love" to Buffy!), but if that loyalty is directed at you, you've gotta respect that. The way he looks at Buffy when he's in love with her and having empathy for her is enough to put him in this list. That look he gets when he's awkwardly trying to comfort Buffy slays me. Even before he got his soul back, he had genuine love for Buffy and Drusilla. He would literally die for Buffy or Drusilla. He treated Harmony like shit though, so I don't know. Spike has the most interesting character arc of any male character on Buffy, and I really genuinely like him, but he would be an unhealthy boyfriend to have. Probably a good lay, however.
#3 -- Tara.
Tara is the perfect girlfriend. She's sweet and loyal and beautiful and awkward and nerdy and smart and empathetic and a good witch. She's just perfection. She has the coolest bedroom ever in the history of television (black walls, crystals, white Xmas lights, candles, jewel tones, etc). She doesn't put up with Willow's shit and she has integrity coming out her ears. There is literally nothing wrong with Tara. I wish Tara had gotten more development on the show, but since she wasn't a main character or a bf of Buffy, she was often too much in the background. She deserves her own comic or something. Origins of Tara? That would be awesome. Anyway, her place on the list starts the practical S.O.s. From here to #1 on my list, these are the relationships that could be forever-material as actual loyal, realistic, fully-actualized relationships to have.
|Look, I refrained from posting that topless pic of Nicholas Brendon!|
Xander is loyal, pretty (just look at those eyebrows!), and genuinely good. His character probably changes the least of anyone on the show. He starts off dweeby, cute, and sweet and he stays that way. Extra points for becoming a carpenter! His attraction to weird girls, demons, and tactless-truth-saying females is probably his most endearing quality. He also has mad empathy and delivers the most heartwarming speeches of anyone on the show. Why can't Willow magic him a freaking eyeball?!?! Grrr. He still has the patch in the comics! His refusal to like any vampires ever, even if they have earned redemption-status, is a little annoying, but I forgive him because he's just such a stand-up guy in every other respect. He's a lot like my pretty Mike, too.
|I like pictures of pretty people|
standing in trees, apparently.
Pale. Black fingernails. Ever-changing hair color, while being a ginger in his natural state (rawr). Smart. Loyal. Likes weird girls. Taciturn. Philosophical. He's just as perfect as Tara, really. I don't think I was ever mad at Oz, until he left Sunnydale. He needed to go, though. I understand that. I don't know how I could have chosen between Tara and Oz when he comes back after Willow is already beginning a relationship with Tara. Willow gets to have the most perfect boyfriend ever AND the most perfect girlfriend ever in the space of a year. Bitch! Seriously though, Oz makes my heart melt and he is absolutely the boy I'd pursue if I were Willow, and often when I dream about the Buffyverse, Willow is the character I embody. The only thing that could make Oz cooler would be if he could control himself when he was in wolf form, so he could be an asset in a fight and maybe be cuddled as a wolf. That could be cool, but that would require a totally different mythology of werewolves than exists in the Buffyverse. In my mind, he's that kind of werewolf, though. And he has Buddy Holly glasses. Ok, NOW Oz is perfect.
|A velvet shirt AND a tree in this one. Ooh!|
Initially, Angel was a character I truly didn't give a fuck about. The more I rewatch both Buffy and Angel the more I like Angel. He likes to sit around in the dark and read all broody-like. I can respect that. He can be really funny and he's a good guy as long as he hasn't lost his soul or anything. The way he tirelessly seeks atonement for his evils as a vampire is pretty endearing to me, as well. I do love an angsty boy! I used to not find him attractive at all, but he's grown on me in the last 5 years or so. I absolutely love it when he and Spike bicker. Cutest. I also enjoy all the opportunities the writers of Buffy took in getting any male character topless whenever they could, though I wish Spike and Angel hadn't been intentionally hairless. Let that chest hair grow wild, boys! Angel does look good in velvet, I must say.
Thus concludes my list of Buffy relationships. Here's a couple of other pictures I found that are pretty hilarious:
|This looks like if Willow, Xander, and Buffy had been a cool '90s electronic band. Awesome!!|
Friday, August 2, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
In the past three years I have owned: 4 iPods (a touch, 2 nanos, and a classic), 4 tablet-type devices (an iPad, a nexus 7, a nook color, and an iPad mini), 2 ereaders (nook touch and nook touch with glowlight), 3 iPhones (3GS, 4S, and 5), and miraculously, only one computer (MacBook Pro). Of these 14 devices, I still own 6. To my tiny credit, I typically only keep one item in each category and give away or sell the other items. My iPods are the only exception here, as I have kept my nano and my classic. I reason that I NEED the classic for its capacity to hold all of my media with 160GB of storage capacity. I keep the nano because I like to use it at my cleaning job, because it's small and light and I have a little belt-holster for it. Most of the time Apple products can fetch me at least 80% of what I'll pay for the next thing, but that's still no kind of excuse for being such a greedy bastard.
At this very moment I have a pedometer listed on ebay (fitbit ultra) because selling it means I get to get the new one (fitbit flex)! And the new one will sync to my phone via bluetooth!
Let me further outline the more pornographic details of this obsession. Part of the intense infatuation with these gizmos is the amount of wooing I do in conjunction with the desire for a new device. I watch YouTube reviews of the device I covet. I read the reviews on cnet over and over until I have sections of them memorized. I walk about my daily life pretending I have the new device, imagining how awesome it will be to have it. I make pro and con lists to justify my need. I stare at images online of the device at all angles. I go to Best Buy and Target to see if I can touch the device/see it in person. It's really sick.
This expensive addiction has to stop but I cannot kid myself here: it won't stop. But perhaps I can at least slow the boiling madness to a bit more of a simmering bubble.
This post is a letter to myself, intended to help me resist the siren call of new technology by describing why I love the top 5 bits of technology I already have (and the ones I'm most likely to want to replace with the next better iteration of that thing every time there is a next better iteration of that thing) and why they're perfectly good enough to last me for years to come.
Dear Future Stephanie,
These are the top 5 perfectly functional items of technology you will be tempted to, but don't need to, replace ANYTIME SOON:
1. iPod -- Your iPod classic holds 160GB of media. You won't have 160GB of music for a very long time (only at half that now) and this device will work for at least the next 5 years, so don't even think about replacing it unless you break it beyond repair or lose it. I love my classic so much. Her name is Strict Machine. She has an inscription on the back: "Wonderful electric, cover me in white noise." She is covered by a custom skin of my mixtapes (that image I use for everything). I've mutilated her both by accident (dropping on pavement) and on purpose (trying to further customize an earlier skin with an Xacto knife left small slices in both her screen and her steel back-plate). I don't use her much in day-to-day life, but she's indispensable at parties and on road trips and anytime I want my entire music collection with me when there's no internet connection. As for my Disco Stick (iPod nano), she's lovely for cleaning, but she's only 8GB and is essentially extraneous.
Summation: You are not allowed to get a new classic unless yours is lost, stolen, or broken beyond functionality. No exceptions. When Disco Stick bites the dust, suck it up and start using Strict Machine for the same purposes. Do not replace Disco Stick. Let her die in peace.
2. iPad mini -- His name is Frank Sinatra, for the Cake song, not the singer (though the song is named for the singer, so there's that) and he's a fine tablet. His inscription says "We know of an ancient radiation, a faintly glimmering radio station." You will want the new mini when it's released this fall. You will want it soooo bad because it will probably have a Retina Display and might even come in fun colors! Heart palpitations! But remember, Frank Sinatra hasn't caused you any turmoil and you really only use him on the road and in the mornings to play Yahtzee and watch YouTube videos. You've never thought the screen resolution was crappy, so you don't need the new one.
Summation: You are not allowed to get a new tablet device until the third or fourth generation, at least. Calm down. You don't have to have all the new things. Resist.
3. MacBook Pro -- Her name is Honeycrisp and she has served me well for almost three years now. She will live for another few years, I suspect. She's only 250GB, but when I get to capacity I can always relocate my music, photos, and videos to my 500GB hard drive, so that's not a good enough excuse to replace her.
Summation: You probably won't be tempted to buy a new computer until Honeycrisp dies, so this isn't much of a risk. Just remember that Macs last 5-10 years and they cost like a thousand bucks. Don't do it until Honeycrisp becomes ridiculously sluggish.
4. iPhone -- Her name is Daughter of Avalanche and she's the most current iPhone, for the next few months anyway. She will get iOS updates for the next couple of years and she's 32GB, which is PLENTY of space for a phone. Even when your upgrade is available, really ask yourself if you neeeed to drop a couple hundred dollars on the newest phone. Yeah, you don't. Let this one live for three years...it won't kill you.
Summation: You don't get to have a new phone until at LEAST your upgrade with Verizon arrives (October 2014 probably). Apple will make you want the 5S. You will be shaking resisting it, but you must. Do this for your well-BEING, Stephanie.
5. Nook -- This ereader is fine. It holds books and has a nightlight. It works in bright sunlight, has a long battery-life, and is light. Nothing is wrong with it. Nook is getting out of the ereader biz anyway, so there probably won't be a better version of this ereader.
Summation: For this device, you really just need to let yourself keep it and use it when you want. When it dies, you may buy another on ebay or just use your mini to read with from now on. Just don't get rid of it. You prefer it to tablet-reading. It's ok to have an ereader AND a tablet. You like this device, so keep it until its demise. It'll be fun to see how long it lives.
Seriously, all of these devices have the capacity to live for YEARS, so let them. You take care of your devices and you don't like wasting things. It will be so much more gratifying replacing things because the other things are no longer functioning. You won't have to feel guilty! Imagine NOT feeling guilty for buying an electronic device...how cool will that be? Please refer to this list after every Apple announcement.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
- Library: You can upload your entire music library (up to 20,000 songs; songs you buy on GooglePlay don’t count towards this total) for free on GooglePlay.
- Quality: Music you listen to on the site or on a mobile app (gMusic on iOS and Google Music on Android) streams in high-quality audio at 320kbps. That’s good.
- Frugal: When you buy albums on GooglePlay, it will typically be a bit cheaper than buying through iTunes (an album usually runs about 9.49 on Google and 9.99 on iTunes) AND the files are 320kbps to iTunes’ 256kbps. That’s better.
- Happy Music Family: With Google Music All Access, for a monthly fee (again 7.99/mo if you sign up by June 30th and 9.99/mo after) you can add ANYTHING to your uploaded music library, whether you own it or not. It will be integrated into your preexisting tunes. Whoa. Your music can all live in one happy household of sound. That’s stupendous.
- Radio: With Google Music All Access you don’t even need Pandora anymore, because you can base radio stations on artists and songs here like you can with Pandora. I simply recreated all my Pandora stations on Google. The service isn’t quite as nuanced as Pandora (as of now, you can’t have multiple artist/song seeds in one station), but the song selection is pretty decent.
Monday, June 24, 2013
2. Simply type in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” into the search box of your favorite music acquisition site and sample some of the best songs the show featured, including musical numbers, scores, and regular old soundtracks. For the most comprehensive-in-chronological-order playlist, email me-- email@example.com
- Transylvanian Concubine // Rasputina
- Full of Grace // Sarah McLachlan
- Spoon // Cibo Matto
- Need to Destroy // THC
- Pavlov’s Bell // Aimee Mann
- Prayer of St Francis // Sarah McLachlan
- Blue // Angie Hart
- It Doesn’t Matter // Alison Krauss
- Strong // Velvet Chain
- Displaced // Azure Ray
Saturday, June 15, 2013
It made me realize that Brite is largely responsible for the positive aspects of my budding sexuality. At the time I first read this book (again, 14 or 15) I hadn't had experiences with men yet, apart from a couple of makeout sessions. Poppy's taste in men is very similar to my own (again, goth, tortured, pale, awkward) and writes of them and their sexuality in terms of beauty and body-worship. In our culture, we're just not used to thinking of men as beautiful, but Poppy compares certain *blush* body parts with rose petals and genuinely relishes their expressions of desire and pleasure in a very visceral way. Further, when hesitation is expressed on the part of Trevor, Zach slows, stops, and talks things through with him. There is clear, verbalized consent present. Despite the violence in this relationship in and out of the bedroom, everything is consensual. Upon pure happenstance, I experienced erotic literature with body-positive imagery (towards the sex that I'm primarily attracted to), consent, with gender and sexual ambiguity. And the ambiguousness was portrayed as ok, just a part of adolescence/life. I was on my way to becoming a sexual adult that might just have turned out ok, despite my culture. I was on my way to appreciating men's bodies even though I was mostly unfamiliar with them. That's pretty cool.
Upon this realization, if you happen to know a goth kid, whose primary interest is boys, who also might be experiencing sexy things sometime in the near-ish future, I recommend this book. Some of it is not necessarily healthy (violence, blood, etc) in the relationships therein, but it only helped my angsty teenage soul.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Drawing Blood // Poppy Z Brite
This is my first. The first book I ever fell in love with. The first book I ever read with gay protagonists. The first Poppy Z Brite book, of whom I would become obsessed. I picked this book up after a suggestion from my BFF Kim somewhere around the age of 14 or 15, at the Joplin Public Library. Fun fact: the library's copy I read then is still there! I can barely believe it! It's a historical artifact in my life!
So, I read this book probably once every three years or so. It's a tale of a tortured boy (thin artist-type with ginger hair) who confronts his dark past (his dad killed himself and his mom and brother with a freakin' hammer when he was like 5, but kept him alive) and falls in love with another tortured boy (thin hacker-type with blue-black hair) in the process. Sound cheesy? It is. Sound freakin' summer-read-FLUFF-amazing? It is that too.
So I'm rereading it again (started on my vacation, reading by creeks and in deserts and weird Tucumcari motel rooms) for like the 6th time. This is serious for me. When I reread a book, I might reread it once, mayyyyybe twice. But this book. This book keeps me coming back like crack. I can't get enough of Brite's prose. She makes ugly sound so textural and thick and smelly and wonderful, somehow.
This reread I'm feeling the fluff more than ever; this book is not serious, despite all the gore. This is a coming-of-age story, and it came for me at the perfect time. I needed to see goth kids in fiction at 14, because I was just getting into Shirley Manson and "The Long Kiss Goodnight". I needed to see gay men in fiction because there was nothing I was into more than skinny pale boys with a side of tortured-past. Broken beautiful boys like wounded birds. Yep, that was my thing. I still enjoy a little whimper here and there, but I like to keep that to myself, mostly. Anyway, so fluff. This is probably the most erotic book I like. Most of the time I don't do erotica unless there's something off about it. Off about the people, not off about the act.
I love all the characters in Brite's earlier works (for me her cheesiness didn't translate to her Ricky and G-Man characters in the aughts). They're all strange and interesting and....did I mention tortured? Angsty? I just eat that shit UP, I tell ya.
I'm enjoying it immensely, if you were confused. ;) This is my familiar blanket book. I like to revisit the relationship of Trevor and Zach the same way I like to relive Jim and Pam, Buffy and Spike, and yes, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. I feel love too! I just like it when it's tortured. Have I said tortured enough times in this blog?
I want to buy the hardcover again (lost in the you-know-what of 2011) because my paperback is beginning to resist my multiple attempts at gluing it back together. So, I'm just to the part where Trevor has gone back into the house and the lamp worked after 20 years and Zach is going to show up ANY minute. Then things get real weird. Stay tuned!
Monday, June 3, 2013
I've come to the final, and somewhat freeing, conclusion that this book is no longer meant to be in my collection. It is too...I was going to say esoteric, but I guess I mean the opposite. One might need to be a studied intellectual to understand this book, but one also that doesn't mind the word/concept of "god". It's such a trigger word for me and I keep trying to look past it to the deeper meaning of universe-and-all-of-us-within-it, but it's just not working and never has. As I've said before, I like the idea of "that art thou" but that seems to be all I've taken from this book in the 8 years I've known of its existence.
What makes this particular book-purging really fun is that I'm in a hotel room in Tucumcari, NM, so it's getting left with the Bible in the bedside table. Wait, do they still have Bibles in hotels? ... Yep.
I love letting go of things. First book checked off the list, not 'cause I read it, but because I'm leaving it behind...which meeeeeeaaaans
Next book is one of my favorite books ever, the book I've read the most times in my life, a guilty pleasure summer read, and a book to use on my library book bingo sheet: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z Brite, about two boys in love in New Orleans (there's also murder, jazz, and goth kids!). Perfect vacation read!