Archive | December, 2011

Merry (heteronormative consumerist misogynist) Christmas!

24 Dec
Artist’s interpretation of my gayyyy
Christmas tree to go with my gayyyy scarf.

Hey! Today is Christmas Eve! That means it’s time to celebrate queery feministy socialisty things, right? No? It’s time to sit around and celebrate buying stuff and eating animal products, you say? Bah. My version of Christmas is awesomer than that, cuz it has rainbows.

Seriously, though, we actually do have a Christmas tree this year, and it has a faaaaabulous rainbow tinsel garland. But you’d never know that Christmas is an equal-opportunity holiday. Why? Because it ain’t. That’s right, kids, Christmas isn’t for everyone. And it excludes lots more people than just non-Christians.

For starters, Santa gives more presents to rich kids than poor ones. Santa’s kind of a dick that way. Illustrative anecdote:

In the third grade, Cole Slater, sporting his flat-top haircut, came up to me on the playground and asked, “What’d you get for Christmas?” I knew it was a trick, so I tried to avoid answering. “A few things,” I said (reality: A heap of stuff – probably a dollhouse, some footie PJs, more candy than a full-grown adult, let alone a 7-year-old, could ever possibly eat, an assortment of various other trinkets). “Why, what’d you get?”

“DIDDLY SQUAT!” he screamed so vehemently that his face turned red and blotchy.

Then he ran off to retrieve a basketball so he could spend the rest of recess hurling it at my head. Man that kid was pissed. Although in his case, he didn’t get any Christmas presents because he was a gen-u-wine jerkalope, there are plenty of angelic little sh*ts out there that do, indeed, get diddly squat for no other reason than Santa is not a fan of the Great Unwasheds. Christmas is for the rich.

Christmas is also for the straights. Specifically, straights with kids. And in particular the holiday is FOR children, not adults. Woe be to ye who is:

a)    Queer
b)    Childless
c)    An adult
d)    All three

Don’t believe me? Turn on your TV. Watch the onslaught of happy (white upper-middle-class headed by heterosexual couples with two point five tow-headed children and one golden Labrador) families (read: children, because everyone knows a family ain’t a family without kids) tearing into boxes stuffed with goodies from your favorite Holiday Retailers.

Even non-humanoid
illustrations are heteronormative.

Try finding an illustrated Christmas card that has humanoid figures on it that are not either of children (children ice skating! children looking hapless! children raptly gazing into Santa’s pedo eyes!) or families with children (the classic nuclear family portrait with surrounding sun-ray beams and matching outfits) headed by, you guessed it, one man and one woman. Man is center-frame, with his incubator wife and minion children around him.

What if you’re the adult female part of that hetero-happyland? Well then lucky you! You get to do all the work:

It’s the lady of the house’s job to make her kids happy – nay, enchanted – on Christmas, because kids that aren’t absolutely over the moon on Christmas get taken away by child protective services here in Amerikuh. Also she’s in charge of mailing all the cards to her family AND her husband’s family, as he certainly can’t be bothered with such niceties, as well as cooking, cleaning, and arranging the familial obligations and travel plans. He will carry the tree in, though. What a mensch!

All that being said, I do enjoy Christmas (particularly the excuse to mail stacks of cards to folks). It’s not my favorite (that’s my birthday, naturally, followed by Halloween), but any reason to gather with the three Fs (friends, family, food) is OK in my book. Passover, Christmas, Tuesday night potluck, pub crawl debauch, whatever, I dig it. What are your favorite holidays/holiday traditions? Do you notice the homogenous target demographic of “The Holidays,” and how does it make you feel? And what are you doing today, tomorrow, and the day after?

Solstice: Dies Natalis Invicti Solis

22 Dec

It’s winter solstice today here in the Northern hemisphere (or, if you’re an ancient Roman, the birthday of the unconquered sun!). It’s the time of year to spend many hours inside, doing home-y things. Like baking cookies to mail to your friends and give to your neighbors and then eating them all instead. And reading Adrienne Rich poems about winter:

Homage to Winter 
by Adrienne Rich

You: a woman too old
for passive contemplation
caught staring out a window
at bird-of-paradise spikes
jewelled with rain, across an alley
It’s winter in this land
of roses, roses sometimes
the fog lies thicker around you than your past
sometimes the Pacific radiance
scours the air to lapis
In this new world you feel
backward along the hem of your whole life
questioning every breadth
Nights you can watch the moon shed skin after skin
over and over, alway a shape
of imbalance except
at birth and in the full
You, still trying to learn
how to live, what must be done
thought in death you will be complete
whatever you do
But death is not the answer.

On these flat green leaves
light skates like a golden blade
high in the dull-green pine
sit two mushroom-colored doves
afterglow overflows
across the bungalow roof
between the signs for the three-way stop
over everything that is:
the cotton pants stirring on the line, the
empty Coke can by the fence
onto the still unflowering
mysterious acacia
and a sudden chill takes the air

Backward you dream to a porch
you stood on a year ago
snow flying quick as thought
sticking to your shoulder gone
Blue shadows, ridged and fading
on a snow-swept road
the shortest day of the year
Backward you dream to glare ice
and ice-wet pussywillows
to Riverside Drive, the wind
cut loose from Hudson’s Bay
driving tatters into your face
And back you come at last to that room
without a view, where webs of frost
blinded the panes at noon
where already you had begun
to make the visible world your conscience
asking things: What can you tell me?
what am I doing? what must I do?

May your days continue to lengthen, dear readers. And have a good solstice – those cookies are in the mail, I promise. *covers mouth*

101: Progress report

19 Dec

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled sarcasm to bring you a progress report on my list of doom! Here are some things I have accomplished so far:

38. Organize one meetup per month

On Saturday I organized not one but TWO meetups. Quite the action-packed day for a misanthropic hermit such as myself. Meetup No. 1 involved me running into an old friend (this always seems to happen at meetups, who knew?) and meetup No. 2 involved regimented jello shots, rad chicks from the internet and Portland’s favorite pastime. So. Much. Fun.

80. Visit some of my blog readers in person

I met Ms. Writersays in NY last time I was there (we went to disco improv! she kept me from getting run over! a lot!) and I met a couple of cool blogular ladies at aforementioned meetup Saturday. YAY!

39. Learn to do proper makeup

Thanks to the power of YouTube, I’m fairly solid on this now, so long as I continue to have internet access. Apparently having appropriate brushes with which to apply makeup is key. I achieved a most excellent “smokey golden-y sparkly eyeball look” over the weekend of which I was most proud. However, today the eyeliner has still not worn off completely (despite a lot of remover and face wash) and I am significantly less enchanted with my newfound girly powers.

Works in progress:

92. Stay up all night, then watch the sunrise

I am less enthusiastic about sleep debt than I once was, and I keep psychotically early hours, so this one’s a challenge even when there’s a good reason to stay up all night. Further research pending. Disco naps may be involved.

37. Yarn bomb something

Here’s a picture of my first yarn-bombing knitting project (it may look like a scarf, but don’t let it fool you – it’s actually a stop-sign-pole cozy):

What happens to the rainbow stop-sign-pole cozy: Does it meet its destiny, or will it spend its days on a neck, forever ruing its cosmic missed connection? Tune in next time to find out!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Soundtrack for junior high

14 Dec

There comes a time in everyone’s lives where we have to stop listening to Dad’s record player and Mom’s piano and develop our Very Own Taste in Modern Music. For me, this happened in middle school. Sure, I also worked on maintaining my love of post-1965 Beatles and early 19th-century Beethoven, but around about the 7th grade, I began receiving music from outside sources – friends, boys and other bad influences.

Here’s some stuff I started listening to then:

I first learned of Tom Petty via a mixtape. Then, a boy gave me “Wildflowers” on cassette. It’s hard to choose a favorite from that album, especially with so much creepy fodder like “Cabin Down Below,” “Honey Bee” and “House in the Woods,” but here’s one (of the many) I dug:

Much later, I would make a foray to a faraway city to see Tom Petty live with a selection of friends given to shenanigans. Naturally, shenanigans ensued.

My nascent love of Tori also began in middle school with a mixtape with two Tori songs on it. First, “Mr. Zebra” which is quirky and therefore suited my pubescent misfit image well:

And second, Caught a Light Sneeze, which is just awesome. I can’t find a video or audio clip of the studio version, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Tori would also be my first concert, which I went to with my dad, as I was too young to drive, or even have friends who could drive.

What middle school girl’s music list would be complete without some Cranberries, huh? I purchased not one but TWO Cranberries tapes with my allowance money at the local emporium after listening to some on, you guessed it, a mixtape. Here’s one from “No Need to Argue” (no, it’s not “Zombie.” Why is that the only song anyone remembers from the Cranberries?):

The Cure’s Lovesong, which I also bought on casette:

Much later I discovered Tori’s cover of Lovesong and almost died of awesomeness.

Bonus track: My favorite Beethoven song (cliche, sure, but it’s popular for a reason):

There was a lot of other really horrible stuff I listened to, but this is the stuff that stuck in my mind, and wasn’t too humiliating to post on the internet. What did you listen to when you were a youngin?

Portland: Not as shitty as TV would have you believe*

13 Dec

I spend a lot of time hating on Portland, and for good reason. There are several forms of distasteful and pervasive elitism here, including but not limited to geographic elitism (more than half the city is subject to public services discrimination), nerdly elitism, and general vehicular asshattery. Also, it’s cloudy all the time, public transit sucks, and we have three times as many miles of unpaved road than Nashville, Boise, Seattle, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Boston, Austin and San Francisco—combined. Also?
In the city with the reputation for having the largest concentration of lesbians on the West Coast, they closed the only lesbian bar.

However, in the spirit of fairness to this not-so-fair city, there’s a lot of cool stuff here, too. For example:

  • Awesome radio! I love good radio. Even radio static. Especially I am a fan of when two or more stations get mixed up so music and talking and static fade in and out, creating a creepy and old-timey and oddly comforting cacophony that would do well at the beginning or end of a certain genre of techno song. Anyway, Portland has some great radio stations:
    • A new one I discovered recently is KZME, found at 107.1 on your Portland FM dial. So far it is tons of really amazingly good (and local!) music.
    • Good ol’ classic, KBOO. They have a feminist talk show! And a queer one! And a show called “Fight the Empire”! And super-early morning mellow commuter tunes!
  • Unexpected Art:
  • Community-y things: 
    • Multnomah County Libraries: Second only to New York City in the volume of rad books and what-have-yous that are checked out. Pretty significant when you consider that it’s No. 29 in population, but No. 2 in readers. Yay books!
    • City Repair Project is here.Their whole mission is pretty much all about painting trippy stuff on the streets, hippie-style. I have every intention to avail myself of their services come paintin’ weather. Which is approximately one week a year, in mid-August.
    • Friends of Trees: These people will come to your house and plant trees for you. We got two trees last spring. I like to water them, because I like trees.
  • Event-y things:
    • Science Pub! My roomie told me about this thing where scientists talk about cool science-y things while audience members enjoy pub grub and boozey things. Yay science! Yay cocktails!
    • Arts for All! Even po’ folks here are allowed to watch cool dance-y things and play-y things and music-y things. Imagine that.
    • Music for All! See above.
    • The meetup groups here are not sketchy like they are in other cities that shall not be named.
  • Snobbery I agree with: I am not the only person who lives here that hates:
  • And, last but not least: Our neighbors bring us cookies! Then we keep their plate for way too long, because we are all too antisocial to go over and bring it back to them. We suck. 

If you live here: What do you love/hate about Peeland? What did you think of it before you moved here? After? If you don’t live here: What do you love/hate about your hometown/the town where you currently reside? And what is your perception of Portland from lands afar (I know at least one of you thought it was near Chicago…).

    *Or rather, shitty in entirely different ways than TV would have you believe.

      Things You Find in Unexpected Places

      10 Dec

      Here is a lonely shoe I found while walking from the gym to my friend’s apartment, complete with creepy filter:

      Where is the other shoe? How did foot and shoe become separated? Perhaps we’ll never know. (Although I have a strong suspicion alcohol and foot pain were involved – those heels look pretty teetery.)

      Here’s a Mystery Berry:

      It’s so spiky! It looks nefarious and irresistible. Naturally, I brought it home so that while I slept, it could disperse its evil spores and hatch little berrylings as part of its plan for galactic domination.

      Here we have a fine Bathroom Graffiti Specimen:

      It reads: “Ladies, you made me feel more like a lady tonight than I’ve felt for soo long. You are beautiful, I am too and love yourself, try to forget insecurities and mistakes! Love, Elaine 06/21/10″

      Elaine’s self-esteem pep talk was, of course, located in the ladies’ room at a vegan strip club. Portland is rife with them. Anyway, I suspect the men’s room graffiti leaned more toward the Sharpie-penis genre of wall art, but again, we’ll never know.

      Found anything interesting lately?

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