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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?

The five people you meet on the internet

19 Sep

I like to sign up for random stuff on the internet. Even better if whatever I sign up for results in me getting stuff in the mail. Who doesn’t like receiving things in the mail? The same people who hate puppies, that’s who! And Nazis. Nazis totally hate mail.

This is pretty much the sole reason why I am an IMPer, and why I had loads of fun with the book “High Weirdness by Mail” as a dorky preteen. It’s also why I recently signed up for a penpalling site. I figured it would be a good way to make new friends in interesting places, who I could then go visit. Specifically, I would like to make new friends in New York City. You see, I visit New York a lot.* And when I am there, I know approximately .75 people.**

Knowing less than one person while in a city of more than 19 million is kind of depressing. I am sure that, out of that 19 million, there are probably at least five or six really rad people that would totally think I was rad, and would eat dinner with me or maybe know of a good bar to go to. And the sort of people who can pull their shit together enough to write a letter, put it in an envelope, and add a stamp? Well, they tend to be the types that are better at follow-through than, say, your average Facebookian. Right? Wrong. Well, at least so far.

Thus far, I have met five types of people on the penpalling site:

  • Sideways hat guy: This guy is really skinny. If he is wearing a shirt, it is a too-big tee shirt with a stretched collar. His cap is on sideways, because he is COOL. He says “Wassup GURL!?” on your profile. He may or may not have a gold tooth. He is sometimes making a gang sign in his photo.
Via
  • Middle aged guy: Hi! Your smile is so bewitching! You may think I am young because of my command of hip slang, but OH NO I AM OLD! HA HA! But oh-so-mature. I will treat you niccceeeee, Clairisssse. And by “nice” I mean I will buy you a bandage dress from Wet Seal and then expect head as payment.
  • Scammer guy: I hope you don’t mind friendship. CLICK ON LINK to win!!!
  • Large-breasted, scantily clad, headless girl: CHk oUT my PICXXXX!! thx! Click here! xoxoxxxoooo
  • Toothless people: I try not to judge based on appearance. I do, I really do. But teeth, they do not reach this state of rot by natural means, OH NO. There is only one way they get that way. And it is by abusing a drug featured in countless public service announcements. Meth heads in real life scare me plenty, thanks.

*Furthermore, I may be moving there a year from now and it would be cool to know people then, too.
**Curious about the math? Well, here is how it adds up to .75:

  • .25 person: The son of one of my mom’s work friends, to whom I was introduced solely because he lives in New York. Had dinner once. May one day have lunch.
  • .25 person: A delightful lady who I know through a work vendor relationship. We could be friends, if she wasn’t always trying to sell me something.
  • .25 person: An old friend from college, who has since acquired a wife who is threatened by my presence, which I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know about anyway. Can you say skeezy?

Klondike responds!

21 Jul
The ice-cream purveyors at Klondike/Unilever have responded to my complaint about their heinous heinous ads! Read below:
—–

Hello MS. SARAH _____,

Thank you for writing to us.

We do apologize for the experience you reported concerning Klondike Commercials.

Unilever Ice Cream markets its various brands in ways that are meant to entertain and engage our target audience. It was only intended to be humorous.

We certainly do not wish to offend anyone. You may be interested to know that all of our commercials and advertisements are pre-tested and various techniques are used to evaluate consumer reactions. Based on the results of our pre-testing procedures, the presentations are chosen for their majority appeal. Please let us assure you that your comments are extremely important to us in evaluating the success of our commercials and advertisements.

We will certainly forward your comments to the Marketing staff. Consumer comments are very important and evaluated on a regular basis.

Sincerely,

Your friends at Klondike

– 
More to come on this later. But feel free to poke some holes in their pre-testing procedures with their target audience. I see no way that these ads wouldn’t offend most demographics – even the darling demographic of straight white men dislike being portrayed as oafish.

Also: Note their use of an honorific!

Birthday Blowout: Roundup

19 Oct

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I insist my friends (really, anyone even remotely proximal) make a big deal out of my birthday. True to form, this year I kept my coworkers up to date on exactly how many days were left before the Big Day. They performed admirably, sneaking in sometime in the night to decorate my messy, messy cube with balloons…

…and a GIANT BIRTHDAY COOKIE!

No individual in particular would own up to having done the decoration deed, but I have my suspects who will be repaid in kind with embarrassingly loud and off-key birthday singing next month. To complete my breakfast of champions, Coworker A brought me my favorite type of deep-fried sugary treat, the Almighty Apple Fritter:

My Special Lady Friend sent me some Very Pretty Flowers:

… and my other Special Lady Friend (no no no, not like that) sent me some other Very Pretty Flowers:

You see that red thing on the table there? That’s chocolate. A whole bar of it. Dark. Moonstruck. INSANELY GOOD. And all mine. Chomp chomp chomp.

I also received a tree from my Pops:

 …which has been planted securely in the yard, and I hope someday will grow tall enough to provide some shelter from all the passing thugs and/or hooligans.

I left work early and arrived home to find a couple of SUPER AWESOME packages* waiting for me from Deena, who sent me a bespectacled dog card and two mix CDs** that could not have been more perfect (no, really: I have been listening to them almost as obsessively as I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica lately):

…and Dani, who sent the ultimate care package of glittery goodness and stickery swellness:

…which I immediately put to work decorating my Lebanese-Mexican Coca-Cola full of rum:

By this time, my adorable mom had arrived after making a Lengthy and Arduous Journey Full of Dangerous Thugs to brig me a delicious homemade birthday cake, complete with sprinkles and pretty pretty candles:

Om nom nom! We scarfed it with some Extra Special Ice Cream, which apparently is difficult to get in Some Parts of This Here State:


And then, to cap off the night, I did a Very Daring Thing. I went from this:

To this:

That’s right boys and girls! I am now a hairless little freak! Or something of the sort. It’s pretty exciting. Be sure to tell me what you think of the change in the comments, lest I think you hate it with a fiery passion that knows no word-y outlet.

One would think that I would be all sugared out, right? Wrong. My capacity for sugar intake is indeed large. The next day, my mom and I undertook The Great Donut Tasting of oh-ten. We went to Heavenly:

which was populated by adorable friendly workers and very wrinkled old men drinking black coffee, and Voodoo:

…which was running refreshingly low on hipsters. We put the donuts to the test:

and determined that while the maple bars at VooDoo are indeed superior, the Cock and Balls are not cream filled, which is disappointing, not to mention false advertising:

The apple fritter taste test (yes, I had MORE apple fritters. They’re delicious, OK?) was categorically won by Heavenly. Much to our chagrin, we did not track down a single bear claw.

The week was rounded out nicely with some actual food from the Farm Cafe with one of my favorite journalism defectors and her be-Beibered ladyfriend, who were kind enough to treat me to dinner, witticisms, AND a dessert with a candle. So fiendishly clever, those two.

All in all,  pretty awesome birthday, with only minimal reminding and whining from me. OK, not so minimal, but hey. If you don’t ask for what you want, how will you get it? Am I right? Huh? HUH? AM I? Of course I am.

*Proof positive that giving strangers your mailing address over the internet is always a good idea. ALWAYS! No seriously, though, you guys rock. Of course you already knew that, right? ^_^
**You, too, can get down with your bad self by checking out the track lists.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Friends With Me

18 Sep
  1. I am fiercely loyal: I demand an extremely high level of loyalty from my friends, and I reciprocate in kind. If you need someone to, say, testify in court on your behalf, or help you hide a body, I’m your girl. 
  2. I will send you things in the mail: If you live far away, I will write you letters. By hand. And then put them in envelopes with sealing wax and mail them to you. I will burn you carefully considered mix CDs and send those in the mail, too. I might also send you weird things like leaves, bookmarks, and glitter.
  3. I will be there for you: Need someone to help you move? Need someone to talk you through a bad trip or a suicide attempt? My phone is always on, I don’t mind drunk dials and I will respond to your 2 a.m. texts. 
  4. I am an extremely good listener: Need to vent about your SO? Your job? Have a heartbreak or unrequited love that you need to discuss? At length? Over the course of, say, five years? I’m all ears. If you want advice, I’m ready with answers. If you don’t, I’m good at shutting up.
  5. I will give you a ride: Don’t have a car? That’s OK. I will pick you up from your hovel and drive you to the coffee shop so we can have mochas and discuss whatever it is we’re going to discuss.
  6. I love parties. I will throw them for you. I will harass your other friends until every last one of them shows up. I will surprise you with them. I will come to yours, and come early to help you set up. I will be your safety guest when you invite your boss to a party. I will (probably) not get drunk and embarrass you. Much.
  7. I will fight your battles: People in your life giving you sass? They better reco’nize your authori-tay, or they’ll have me to contend with. I am deeply offended by injustice, particularly when it affects people I care about – so when you need to sue that slumlord, I’ll do everything I can to bring the offender to justice.
  8. I don’t judge: Cheating on your boyfriend? Got a teensy coke habit? Four payments behind on your mortgage? It’s cool, I still love you. Even if you’re doing something I don’t agree with, like voting Republican, I can still understand your side of the story and empathize.
  9. I will remember you: Did you meet me ten years ago? Think I won’t remember you if you send me an email, friend me on The Facebooks, or follow me on Twitter? Think again. I remember everything about you – your middle name, your quirks and your weird obsessions.
  10. I will make you look good by comparison: I get laugh too loudly and eat too many cookies, I “drop it” at dance clubs, I ask ridiculously forward questions of people I’ve just met, and I’m an unapologetic snob. These things bring fringe benefits to the people around me. You will learn. Oh, you will learn.

Related: Top 10 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Friends With Me

A method for the meatlessness

10 Jun

Let’s begin with a tale of two movies. Actually, not two movies, just two very valiant (and ultimately successful) attempts to watch the same movie. I first tried to watch “Earthlings” after reading about it in some glossy’s interview with Ellen Degeneres, wherein she spoke of her veganism (which was news to me), and recommended the film. I added it to my queue and forgot about it.

Shortly thereafter, my sweet kitty Annabelle (pictured) died unexpectedly, which weirdly coincided with the arrival of the documentary in the mail. I made it through about five minutes before my uncontrollable sobs got so loud that my then-SO marched in from the other room, turned it off, and immediately deposited the DVD in the outgoing mailbox.

I finally made it all the way through the film a few months ago. I powered through it, and an entire box of tissues, because I felt I needed to — my strict vegetarianism had faltered over years of being worn down by the usual crap a vegetarian has to take, ranging from innocent curiosity (being asked to exhaustively explain your reasons for not eating meat gets about as old as being asked to exhaustively explain your sex life), to outright animosity: “But you need meat, c’mon eat meat, what are you sumkindahippiefreak growin’ armpit hair and eatin’ tofu and bein’ all uppity *head shake tongue wag tsk tsk*?”

In middle and high school, my friends would constantly try to get me to eat meat. Their more bald-faced tactics included shoving cold cuts in my face and chanting “eat it!” In rural Southern Oregon, I was the only vegetarian I knew of (turns out there was another one at my school, a couple years ahead of me, who now has a very worthwhile blog on just this topic!) We had to drive a long way to get to a conventional grocery store, and an even longer way to get to a hippie grocery store that sold Mysterious Things like tofu and organic spinach.

Various SOs have also served to derail my goal of eating compassionately. One insisted that the lifetime of pain and suffering animals raised for food endure was all “worth it” so long as meat was cheap; another’s steak cravings overpowered reason. ANYWAY, long story short: I had devolved into eating lots of bacon, which is delicious, but dag nab it, piglets are the cutest little things, and I needed to connect the two, viscerally, again. Get back to my hippie roots.

So I watched Earthlings. And you should too. I want you to watch this so much that, if you leave me a comment or send me an email or something telling me what you think of the movie after watching it, I will promise to send you something neat or funny or random in the mail (provided I am able to procure your mailing address in some safe manner, say, DMing me on Twitter, or e-mailing me. You also kind of deserve a cookie anyway for reading to the end of this long post and not just skipping to the video or skimming the topic sentences, which would be a fairly inefficient method here, as topic sentences are for chumps.

How do you find this movie? Well, you can watch it for free on the internets. You can also add it to your Netflix queue if you have one. Your favorite local independent video rental store probably has it, too. A word of warning: You probably shouldn’t show it to small children, unless you don’t want them to ever sleep again.

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