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Day Seven: Gold star for me!

21 Nov

Starting with Friday, I spent the weekend doing Scary and Challenging Things, some of which were on my List of Doom:

No. 56: Take a hip-hop dance class:

After my epic failures at taking dance classes in the past few weeks, it’s understandable that I almost didn’t go to this class on Friday. I had to drag my mopey self out of my safe, safe bed to go out. I posted several apocalyptic tweets about how 100 percent sure I was that it would be a horrifying, humiliating experience. Not so! Teacher lady was super-awesome and friendly and so were the other students. We danced to Michael Jackson. Or rather, they danced, I stumbled around and, miraculously, was mostly able to keep up.

Also: Forcing internet strangers to sign up for stuff with me is, as it turns out, an excellent way to trick myself into doing things that are terrifying. Also it helps with goal No. 38 (below). Although technically I suppose I could cross this goal off my list now, I think instead I will modify it to “go to hip hop class every week until I can dance like a crazy mad dance fiend.”

No. 38: Organize one meetup per month

Above dance class was attended by two shiny new members of my dance meetup group. Yay! One of the people I’ve known for years, the other was a brand-new to Portland beginning dance enthusiast. WOOT! The internet truly is a grand place. Afterward we went to Produce Row and had fancy drinks. Fancy!

No. 72: Go to Barre Method class

On Saturday I got up relatively early and went to a Bar(re?) Method class. It was absolutely divine. Usually I hate the Pearl, but apparently yuppie jerkalopes sleep til noon on Saturdays so I managed to find a parking space easily, and only got hassled by one middle-aged botox victim in a North Face technical jacket with a tiny dog on a leash.

The bar studio was amazing. The people at the front desk were actually friendly and gave me a tour instead of looking at me like I was an alien (which sometimes happens when you are a new person at a fitness or dance studio – go figure). Then I got into the classroom: Plush carpets! Clean mirrors! Personal attention! Very few other people! Amazing workout! Still sore! Going again Tuesday! Seriously you guys – the teacher remembered my name AND that I have a back injury AND remembered to tell me about modifications for stuff that hurt. YAY!

No. 43: Go on 52 hikes

Sunday: I rounded up the Special Ladyfriend and the Roommate and we went trek-trek-trekking. I had to wear three pairs of pants to stay warm and I almost popped my leg fully out of its hip socket, but we made it a full 4/5ish miles through the woods, merrily kicked our way through giant piles of leaves, and only saw three or four other people, all smiling, mostly with adorable dogs. Dogs! Yay! This means I have only 51 more hikes to go…

In conclusion: Go me! Also: Please say nice things in the comments! It will keep me motivated to do other things from The List of Doom. Like visit y’all. And send y’all postcards.

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?

I want a trust fund

18 Mar

When I grow up, I want to be blessed with a chip on my shoulder, imbued with a sense of entitlement I’ve never questioned or lived without. I want a trust fund so I can look down my nose at people who desire money. I want to show my scorn for a poor man’s desire by wearing thrift-store clothing ironically. I’ll call myself a socialist, a populist. All my friends will be just like me. I want to assume that I am more intelligent than Steve the janitor by virtue of the sort of work I do, nevermind that his mind, unlike mine, is free to think truly original thoughts while he does his work; whereas my mind is occupied trying to figure out new ways to sell the same old shit, office politics, and the bottom line. I’ll invent dumpster-diving, train-hopping, international travel, and be the first person in history to discover poetry and nature. I’ll buy cases of expensive wine, refuse to cross rivers and train tracks, never leave my neighborhood, call myself a philanthropist, consider graduate school, complain about how hard it is to find good help these days.

Having puppy = having baby

22 Nov

A little Monday levity for all y’all with twisted senses of humor out there:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2042969&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0
Baby HD from summer of tears on Vimeo.

Can’t watch this ‘cuz you’re at work or you’re visually impaired or you just hate web video? It’s cool, here’s a synopsis for you:

White middle class couple sits on couch smugly discussing how their lives changed post-baby. They gloat about how they were more prepared than your average couple to have a baby, since they already had a dog. “Raising a baby is just like raising a dog!”

Cue scenes of baby eating food out of a dog bowl, mom yelling at baby not to poop on the floor and rubbing its nose in it, mom swatting baby off the furniture with a rolled-up newspaper, baby being packed off in a kennel carrier, dad making jokes about baby humping a guest’s leg: “He must smell your baby!”

OK, so the ending is kinda weird, and they totally could’ve moved their lighting setup out of the last shot, but the whole thing is worth it for the shot of the baby in a kennel. For some reason that probably signals deep psychological issues, I laughed like a crazy hyena.

Satter’s Hierarchy of Food Needs

4 Sep

Reposted from the wonderful Sociological Images with permission from Lisa Wade

Responding to critics who argue that poor people do not eat healthy food because they’re ignorant or prefer unhealthy food, Ellyn Satter wrote a hierarchy of food needs. Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it illustrates Satter’s ideas as to the elements of food that matter first, second, and so on… starting at the bottom.

The graphic suggests that getting enough food to eat is the most important thing to people. Having food be acceptable (e.g., not rotten, something you are not allergic to) comes second. Once those two things are in place, people hope for reliable access to food and only then do they begin to worry about taste. If people have enough, acceptable, reliable, good-tasting food, then they seek out novel food experiences and begin to make choices as to what to eat for instrumental purposes (e.g., number of calories, nutritional balance).

As Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist writes, sometimes when a person chooses to eat nutritionally deficient or fattening foods, it is not because they are “stupid, ignorant, lazy, or just a bad, bad person who loves bad, bad food.“ Sometimes, it’s “because other needs come first.”

This, this is glorious. Why? Because FINALLY, someone has come up with a succinct counter-argument to foodies who think they simply ‘have better taste’ than hoi polloi. I would love to see a similar argument applied to travel snobs and smug parents.

Red Lines of Portland

12 Mar

I’ve been in Portland long enough that I can safely say I’ve figured out where the red lines are. If you live here, you know what I mean. If you don’t live here, chances are your town has its own borders that nice girls and boys are not supposed to cross.

People say things like, “Harold drives a Ford and lives out by Clackamas Town Center, if you know what I mean.” I have to restrain my sarcasto-reflex to stop myself from responding with, “No, actually, I don’t know what you mean. Unless you’re trying to say that Harold is poor and kind of trashy so that you’ll look better by comparison? But surely that’s not what you’re saying, because gee, that doesn’t reflect well on you.”

This quadrant-ism is so freakishly prevalent that when trying to pick a happy hour location with a coworker yesterday, she laid out her requirements like so: “I won’t go over the hill on the weekends, and I won’t go past 82nd.” This was her way of saying that she is wealthy and hip enough to live downtown, and urbane enough to avoid the suburbs like the plague.

In case any of you are thinking of moving here, I have drawn a map to help you quickly get up to speed on where all the “right” kinds of people live:


As you can see, the city is neatly divided into four parts for convenient segregation of the haves from the have-nots. All political correctness aside, here is how it was explained to me when I moved here: Southwest is downtown (tall buildings, people with smartphones.) Northwest is yuppietown (coffee shops, people with smartphones and skinny jeans). Northeast is the ethnic ghetto, and Southeast is the white ghetto.

If you can swing it, it’s best to live on the west side, but if you absolutely must live on the east side, the rules are as follows: Live above Holgate (preferably above Foster) and west of Powell. Live below 60th, but preferably below 39th. If you live on the West side, your best bet is the alphabet district if you’re inclined to hipsterism (delineated by the hipster glasses, above) or the Pearl if you’re inclined to use a hair straightener. You should probably work downtown in a tall building (see drawing of briefcase), but if you can’t manage that, you can serve $10 drinks at a Northwest bar until you’re30. After 30, people will start wondering if you should move to the East side.

The problem is this: Limiting yourself geographically is also limiting experientially. The same people who refuse to leave the 20-block radius around their condos are the same people you’ll find extolling the virtues of world travel and blathering on about how their trust-fund funded trip to Europe changed their lives by broadening their horizons. As someone who has lived in both Marin County and Oregon’s Illinois Valley, I can tell you that you don’t have to leave the country to have your mind blown by cultural differences.

So what’s the give? Once they’re back in the States these worldly folks are suddenly no longer interested in traversing outside their comfort zones, or meeting people with different backgrounds than their own? Why have the same people who bore me with 12,000 pictures of the natives in Nepal, complete with narrative about the mind-expanding qualities of learning about different cultures, decided that they will only socialize with their own kind when they’re on their home turf?

And – if you live here, what are the neighborhood stereotypes you know of? Longtimers: Have they changed?

Naked Nerds: With your clothes off, no one can tell you read Gaiman

2 Mar

What’s better than looking at scantily clad ladies? An excuse to look at scantily clad ladies! With nerd burlesque, you get to allay your naked-lady guilt by pretending to be interested in them because they like comic books. Just like you, you sweaty, doughy pale thing, you! Epic Win’s marketing gimmick has worked like a charm, and now losers like me know about Batman Burlesque, the latest in a string of ploys to get nerds to come watch strippers.

Just look! They dress up like characters from Batman, then take their clothes off! How original!

Nerd burlesque represents a glorious confluence of sophisticated horribleness. It’s meta-bad:

First, you have the gentrification of stripping that is burlesque. Burlesque is retro and involves elaborate costumery. It’s for hipsters and other college-educated white folk who like to congratulate themselves on their politically correct love for “the female enigma.” Which is a nice way of saying they like looking at boobies, just so long as they don’t have to feel dirty while doing it. And the bonus is their girlfriends get to feel good about the woman-empoweringness of it all. Although how naked performing is somehow better when it’s stylized escapes me. Sure, they’re artistes, but so are strippers. You don’t see them renting space in art houses and touting their Ivy league educations.

Add the nerd factor and you get another thing I hate: The co-opting of nerd culture by the mainstream. I liked nerdhood better when it was still an uncool subculture. Combining hot girls and nerd culture is just repackaging nerdiness as capitalism for fanboys, enabling ticket sales, and giving nerd rags a way to up the hit count.

Related Posts: Naked Women Gots Brains!, Give Me G-Strings or Give Me Death, Indie Yuppies

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