Archive | June, 2011

Six strange Sarah things

27 Jun

This is the first in a series of reader requests! This one is from sillywrongbutvividright, who asks, “Sarah … why don’t you keep a personal blog anymore? Go on, give us something of you ;)”

Well OK then. How about more than you ever wanted to know?

1. I sign the alphabet along with dialogue in movies. It helps when watching very tedious films, like, say, Gone in 60 Seconds, to see whether or not I can keep up with the dialogue when spelling out each word letter-by-letter with my hands instead of speaking. I usually can, unless it’s something really talky like a Whit Stillman flick. Sometimes I catch myself doing this in public, like in long meetings or while talking to boring people.

2. When going up or down stairs, especially new sets of stairs I’ve not been up or down before, I count them. If I’m going to be going up or down them often, I feel like it’s important to know exactly how many there are. In the house I grew up in, for example, there were 14 stairs to get to the front door, and another 16 to get to my room. My old office was 65 steps from the ground floor. It takes three steps to get to my front door now.

3. I am terrified of escalators. Especially getting on them when going down. What seems to go totally unnoticed in the general population is that these things are death machines. Who’s to say my pant cuff won’t get caught in those evil-looking teeth? And what happens if I stand between a step instead of on one? Surely I should plummet to my untimely demise. I have a similar dislike of treadmills for this reason, much to the amusement of my physical therapist.

4. Shopping malls give me panic attacks. I can tolerate being inside one for maybe a half an hour before I start to feel an overwhelming sense of doom, freak out, and have to make a beeline for the exit – escalators be damned. It matters not whether I’ve purchased or even located whatever it was I came to buy – I have to leave right then and there – no time for Orange Julius, it’s out, out, OUT I SAY!

6. I smell books. All books. Library books. New books from the bookstore. Books you lend me. Books that come in the mail. I do this in public, in front of people. I can’t help myself. Something about growing up being the nerdliest of all the nerdly readers has given me a peculiar affection for books – their weight, their smell, their binding, their textured pages and covers. You can’t get that from a Nook or a Kindle or even packages of books on tape. I will always be a book sniffer.

Missing gay pride: No fairsies!

24 Jun

So I flew out of Portland on the day of the Portland gay pride parade/festivities, and I will be flying out of New York on the eve of the same in the bigger of the two cities. How is this fair? I haven’t been in ages – not since I was, oh, say, 19. That was my first and last gay pride parade – if I recall correctly I got heatstroke from sitting on the sunny sidewalk for so long, got treated to some screamed obscenities from some d-bag four floors above street level, and experienced the wonderful world of intentionally bad table service.

We are too cute. No, really

I also recall driving four hours with a group of fun people, singing along to Aqua at the top of our lungs the whole way, parking illegally in some abandoned lot, doing our makeup in the side-view mirror of my first car, making friends with drag queens, getting kicked out of that one all-ages gay dance club since none of us were of age, and having real grown-up champagne brunches. Good times!

Let me live vicariously through you. Tell me your gay pride stories, whether you’re doing something this weekend or stopped going 15 years ago. Why do you go? Is it too commercial now? Or did you just not notice the commercialism before because you were young and idealistic? What does your city do? Oh yeah, here’s some inspirational music for you to listen to while you compose your Odes to Pride:

And did I mention: HAPPY FRIDAY!

Where I am this week

22 Jun

Here’s a video some guy made about the neighborhood where I am habitating this week (brief NSFW-ness due to some harmless mooning). I could probably make some Very Serious Social Commentary here, but I’m pooped so I’ll just let it speak for itself:

Sooo… yeah. Where are you this week? What shenanigans are you getting up to? And um, did you ever live anywhere like Murray Hill? What was THAT like?

Father’s Day Special

19 Jun

Looks like the Wall Street Journal – always a conservative rag anyway – is starting to show its Murdoch underbelly. For Father’s Day, the WSJ’s Sue Shellenbarger brings us an article telling us all about why men make better parents than women. In fact, she proves with science (science!) that men are simply better people than women! Peep this quote:

“Under stress, men’s brains are wired to … leap into action. Women are more likely to withdraw or shut down.”

via the WSJ

The article goes on to gush about how fathers’ disinterest in their children helps kids to grow up awesome, while mothers’ damn mothering turns kids into whinging, weakly brats. There’s even a cheesy full-color illustrations in which men are shown heroically sweeping in to save the day while mothers, offscreen, according to the unattributed cutlines, withdraw, shut down or otherwise over- or misreact, turning the unsuspecting children into balls of exposed nerves. The author throws a bone to the ladies by stating, repeatedly, that moms are darn good at teaching their squalling brats to “express their feelings” and “talk through their emotions.”

But wait! There’s more: “Because fathers have had to learn to manage their own impulses to strike out or react physically to frustration, they may be better equipped than mothers to help children manage their own urges to behave badly.”

Oh right. Because women never learned to manage their own impulses to strike out or react physically to frustration – we’re just born meek and feminine of course! The last little bit of conservative trope? Why, it’s that single mothers are ruining everything:

“Another reason involved fathers help kids, of course, is that families often function better when two parents are working as a team to give children what they need, supporting each other’s efforts.” Oh of course! How could we forget? Although it’s hard to see the logic in this conclusion, since the article’s assumptions are really building up to the conclusion that fathers should do all the parenting themselves, since they’re so great – actually, it would be best if all children were raised in two-father households, not one-father, one-mother households. But then we’d have to support gay marriage, wouldn’t we? Oh dear. Now we’re just confused!

If you want to read the whole Father’s Day Wall Street Journal piece, feel free.

Weekend Open Thread

17 Jun

Since I’m too lazy to write anything today, it’s open thread and animal pictures time! In honor of spring FINALLY getting off the ground here in the Pacific Northwest (just in time for the official start of summer), here’s a delightful picture of an adorable turtle eating a delicious strawberry:

On a related note, check out this old dude:

There’s a story on this tortoise, who is called Lonesome George, here. He’s the last of his kind, the poor bugger. I want to cuddle him to pieces. But not literally, that would be wrong. And am I the only person who can’t hear anything about the Galapagos without thinking of the eponymous Vonnegut novel?

So to all of you out there with or without turtle shells, happy Friday! Here’s an open thread for you for the weekend! Discuss whatever you want, so long as it’s not, you know, mean. Here are some topics and random questions to get you started:

-          Self-promotion: What have you written/sung/eaten/podcasted/flashmobbed about lately? Put a link in the comments and reap the glorious rewards of droves (read: 20!) people flooding your web site with unmitigated adoration. Try your hand at using the a href tag to make it pretty!

-          You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing s/he is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?

-          What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

-          Pitches: Want me to write about something, or answer a question, or interview your grandma in order to make her internet-famous? Leave a comment and I’ll probably do it. Unless it’s, you know, mean. Or creepy. Or costs money. If there are cookies involved, all the better.

-         What are you doing this weekend?

Mean friends: Vignettes d’troi

7 Jun

Sophomore year of college. Upstairs apartment. Blue carpet. Slatted blinds. Beanbag chairs and grandstanding:

“Oh my god that is totally such an unexpected thing for you to say. I mean, it’s just a really good insight. You know, smart-sounding. You sound smart. And profound. And it just took me by surprise, you know? Because you just don’t come off as that kind of person. I mean, you’re just normally not that way. Smart I mean.”

Last summer, over lunch and $12 cocktails. Outdoor seating. Heat and heavy traffic:

“Ohmigod I love your sunglasses! They’re so cute and pink. I totally have a pair just like them. Except mine are Ray-Bans. I mean, those are cute and all too. No yeah they’re cute. I mean I think they’re a little crooked though. Oh wait no I think that’s your face! Ha! Anyway, where did you get them? Target or something? Oh I hate going there. I mean, everything is just so… sweatshoppy and cheap. Actually I’ve never been there. It’s kind of like, this moral stand I’m taking. Anyway those are super-cute from far away. I mean up-close they’re scratched but for Target sunglasses they’re totes adorbs.”

Senior year of college, standing on my front porch overlooking the city. Late-night fluorescence:

“It’s totally weird how you study. I mean, I just don’t understand it. Like, when I was in college I did mountains of cocaine. I know, I know. But I still graduated at the top of my class! It just was never that hard for me. Like it is for you. No. Yeah. No. No, I just mean… You know what I mean, right? Hahahaha! I totally just don’t get it.”

… this post inspired by the book “The Underminer: The Best Friend that Casually Destroys Your Life.”

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