Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
" Anonymous said... Why do you have so much anger toward thin people and rich people? This is a thread that runs through a lot of your entries."
I answered the anonymous comment in the thread on that entry. Then, because I really do believe in owning your opinions and being confident in them, I turned off anonymous comments. I'm happy to engage people who are willing to show their "face" online.
It got me wondering, though. Just how much "anger" have I demonstrated toward thin people and rich people out here?!? I did a search on all my posts - all 1,243 posts since March 2005 on this blog - for the following words (and their variants):
- "thin" - references to thin people appear in FIVE entries on this blog
- "skinny" - references (many of them positive or appreciative) to skinny people appear in TEN entries on this blog (including my adoration of skinny English guys in new wave bands in the '80s, Conan O'Brien, "skinny Luther Vandross", and friends of mine)
- "rich" - FIFTEEN entries reference rich people (and, yes, most of them less than charitable)
- "wealth" - SEVEN entries make references to "wealth" or "wealthy" people - I took out references to things like "cultural wealth", etc.
- "fat" - SEVENTEEN entries referring to fat people, and, if I'm not mistaken, almost every one is about ME and my personal experience as a fat chick
Well, while math is not my strong point (I flunked out of honors math in high school and haven't taken any since) I believe I can provide you some fairly accurate numbers here:
In just over four years of blogging on the Church of the Big Sky, in the course of 1,243 published entries, the following is true:
- Thin people specifically get discussed in .4% of the blog
- Skinny people specifically get discussed in .8% of the blog
- Rich people get attention in a whopping 1.2% of the blog (oooooh!)
- Matters of wealth (and the negative aspects thereof) rate .6% of the blog (and that's rounding up!)
- And fat? Largely (har har) references to myself? 1.4%
Read more often, friend. Shame that some of my very best entries are ones that nearly no one reads. Try my "Interview With a Silverback", for instance. I really liked that one. Sadly, only about three people read it, including me.
And don't judge a blog by 1.2% of its entries, 'k?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Y'all know who I am. :) I don't think it's too much for me to ask to be on an even playing field.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I just learned this past week that I owe you an apology. You see, a London-based researcher (probably eager for a little Earth Day publicity to keep his grant extended) released a report saying that fat people are pretty much responsible for global warming. (Matt Drudge, the bottomfeeder of web news aggregation, titled his sensationalistic headline "Scientists' Alert: Fatties Cause Global Warming." Stay classy, Drudge!)
I pondered this concept as I traveled to work the other day, being passed in traffic by petite Washington women driving solo in Hummers and Escalades and Land Rovers (complete with roo bars - because you never know when you might get assailed by cattle or kangaroos en route to your Georgetown hair appointment!) I get that I am using up more fuel by driving a car in general. Any of us behind the wheel is guilty. I live in the suburbs, far enough from a Metro station that I cannot walk with my damaged spine (damaged by - wait for it - a thin Washingtonian woman driving alone in an enormous SUV) and Montgomery County doesn't run buses in my neighborhood on weekends. And considering that someone threw a Big Gulp at me in my car for being fat, I'm not about to start biking on Rockville Pike and find out how much hate there is for someone without the protection of some steel, thanks. I want to or need to go to the store? I drive. But I don't drive aimlessly, and I draw up shopping lists, just like my mom used to do, to maximize my efforts, minimize my travel time, and my impact on the environment.
I live in an area where excess reigns supreme, despite the green rhetoric. White Hummer limousines are not uncommon sights. (Not sure what's worse about that statement, btw: white limousine or Hummer limousine?) Saw one parked outside the Apple store in downtown Bethesda just two nights ago at oh-so-tony Bethesda Row. You cannot walk a block in downtown DC without seeing a dozen people with disposable coffee cups in their hands (usually, it's coffee cup in one hand, Crackberry in the other) - and 99% of those babies are not ending up in a recycling bin at home or at work. There are people here with homes that require the GNP of a medium-sized African country to cool in the summer and heat in the winter. You can find receptions all over this region, night after night, with seas of bottled water and tons of wasted food. That London scientist? His suggestion is that one of the reasons fat people cause the seas to rise and the ice caps to melt is because of all the increased food production. Apparently, he's never been to a reception full of well-heeled K Street lobbyists, piles of water bottles, and a four-foot-high fountain of shrimp. Let's face it - this is a place where a lot of people live high on the decadently disposable hog on a regular basis.
But I don't. Nor do my friends. But none of us are poster children for Washington wealth.
Would it be different if we had the big bucks?
Even if I had the moolah to be a gas-guzzling wastrel, it just wouldn't appeal to me. I'd like to think I'm making efforts to help maintain your health, Mother Earth. But apparently, since I'm fat, I'm doing more damage than the self-indulgent boneheads I see filling up their 7-feet-to-the-gallon urban assault vehicles with premium gas. Go figure. Who would have guessed? It's just another reason Why Fat People Suck, it would appear. Do we all get trophies for our continuing suckage?
Guess I'll go hide my face in abject shame now. I'm killing you, dear Planet Earth. Is there a big scarlet F for fat that I should have tattooed on my forehead, or perhaps velcroed to my chest? Dear god, no one should be seen with me! (Well, at least the strange, lycra-clad bike courier who propositioned me on my way into the office on Wednesday wasn't offended by me or my global warming-inducing size. He wanted to - and I quote: "Dive into all that hot loveliness." Of course, I could not take him up on his offer for many, many reasons. Lord knows, I would not have wanted that "hot loveliness" to further increase your temperature and climatic damage, dear planet. Of course, it was also only 43 degrees outside, he wanted to "do it" under the giant magnolia directly outside the entrance to my office, and, unsurprisingly, I didn't want to know what was under the dirty lycra leggings.)
Listen, Earth: I'm walking. I'm trying to eat right. I'm limiting my driving. I freaking recycle every damn thing I can. Apparently, that isn't enough, though.
If I became a skinny Washington babe and drove a massive car all alone, would that be better? Would my global warming activities be less offensive to the general public?
I know. I'll just try to breathe less. How 'bout that?
Personally, I think shutting down Drudge's website would bring about a massive reduction in hot air and pollution. But that's just me.
Hugs and kisses, dear planet. Dig your crust, love ya to the core.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
And roast marshmallows.
Monday, April 20, 2009
But I digress...
FiOS TV service provides you with short descriptions of programming. Sometimes, the text is very straightfoward and sometimes it actually gets snarky. (You wonder if the person typing it in just lost a job.) However, today's adventure in on-screen text seemed to indicate that the FiOS employee had suffered a seizure or was really, really, really profoundly high. What follows is the is the verbatim program description for "It's Me or the Dog" as provided by the fine people of Verizon:
"Karen, believes that her newly purchased cat, Niles, is possessed and straight from bowels of hell it was purchased due to his resemblance to a cat; it's abhorrent its cat's behavior is abhorrent, it bites, growls and pees inside the home."(Niles, for the record, is a chihuahua.)
FiOS, FiOS, FiOS peeps - didn't you know, if you bring hallucinogens to work, you should always bring enough to share with the whole viewing audience?
Illiterate and confused is no way to go through life, son.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
If you want to keep a close eye on your cute kiddo while he plays with the toys at the coffee shop, might I recommend that you sit at the empty table next to the toys?
I went to the Caribou Coffee in Bethesda today, right at the corner of Woodmont and Old Georgetown Road. Truly, I felt like I was cheating on my beloved Mayorga, but, honestly, on a Sunday evening when the fuel tank's nearly on empty, a stop at the local Caribou is a lot more convenient that a drive up to King Farm or over to Silver Spring. This was especially true today, as I had to swing by one of my favorite Bethesda spots, The Store That Has EVERYTHING (aka, Bruce Variety - and yes, that is a link to an NY Times article about Bruce Variety!!), which is next door to The Hardware Store That Has EVERYTHING (Strosniders.) Man, I love that strip mall! You can go into Bruce Variety and ask for a shepherd's crook, buttons, a bra, contact paper, flip flops, a tiny notebook, a bag of little green army men, and pirate eye patches, and the staff will quickly direct you to everything on your list. I swear, it's true. Today, I just needed shower shoes and some buttons & thread. Mission accomplished in about two minutes. It's like ropin' calves.
After my swift victory at the five & dime (more like $8.50, really), I snagged a parking spot right across the street from the downtown Bethesda Caribou, in front of the new, incredibly pretentious "doorman building" on Woodmont with the creepy, deformed lion statues at the entrance. Sorry if it sounds mean, but I'm hating the continuing devolution of Bethesda from what was once a town with some character (hooray that places like Stromboli and the Writer's Center survive!) into an overpriced Stepford Wife plastic crap land. Grr.
And Stepford Wife communities attract Yuppies. And Yuppies breed. With alarming regularity. Bethesda has more than its share of vaguely absentee, yet paranoid Yuppie parents. I encountered a set of these parents today when I walked into Caribou. This particular Caribou location is tiny. If you get there at a busy time and find a place to plant yourself, count yourself lucky. Today, I was fortunate to find a small table open, right next to the toy pile, where a happy toddler was investigating a Fisher-Price barn. (And may I say, the modern Fisher-Price barns are not even close to being as cool as the old wooden ones were back when I was a toddler. We had wood grain contact paper and doors that moo'ed! And sharp corners, too! YEAH!) As I approached the table, which is nestled in a narrow corner, a man jumped up from a table two spots down from the oblivious toddler and stood in my path, glaring. After pondering my human roadblock for a moment, I realized the man-wall was the father of the toddler. Mommy sat at the table, blankly staring at me as I tried to get past her mate.
Finally, I said, "EXCUSE ME." Politely, but very loudly. Daddy-o hustled over to the toddler's side, squatted down, and stared daggers at me as I settled in and set up my computer. After a couple of minutes, he retreated to his table and watched, glowering from a distance. I could feel this guy's eyes boring a hole into my back, and every time I turned my head or stretched my arms, he started to get up again. I've looked at myself in the mirror many times, kids. I'm not exactly child predator material. Nor am I swift enough to grab your toddler and run for the door with any chance of successfully making a break.
And why, oh why, if you are incredibly paranoid, wouldn't you take the damn table right next to the pile of toys, rather than make a stranger feel like Chris Hansen is going to pop up out of nowhere and ask your intentions?!? When I got up to get my iced coffee refilled, dad bolted up from his seat again and watched my every move. And that's when I said, "You know, the table next to the toys was open when I got here. Why didn't you sit there - or move there - rather than sit at a table so far from the toy area? I'm not posing any sort of threat to your kid, and I have a right to sit at any open table." Father of the Year didn't say a word, but he did sit back down. When I got back to the table, the kidlet (who was adorable) dragged the big plastic barn down onto the floor and over onto my feet. I finally had to say to him, "You know, I bet that barn is supposed to stay on the table, buddy." He stared up at me and grinned. Before I'd said another word, his father had swept down like a one-man locust plague and snatched the kid up. (Not the barn, though.)
I swear, it was as if I had "HORRIBLE DISEASE CARRIER - DO NOT TOUCH" tattooed on my forehead. The Yuppie Clan was out the door immediately, with the little guy crying to take the barn home with him. I moved the barn off my feet and back to the toy table and just shook my head. I yearn for the days of old school parenting and parental responsibility. Or, at the very least, parental attention. Bethesda is seriously lacking any of that.
Rant over. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Here at Chez Merde, I've had quite the week. There's nothing like a little uncertainty in the workplace and long-distance alienation to kick off springtime in DC. (Yeah, I know it's been spring for a few weeks already, but the good weather - and the cherry blossoms - really only revved up recently.) I've been engaging in manic spring cleaning in my office. I'd like to call it Zen Reorganization, but in these unsteady economic times, I also think of it as Advanced Planning. You know, just in case I'm in the path of a large, unwavering economic tidal wave. It's not just me, though. I see this clutterbusting behavior going on all over. It's a way of turning fear into something productive, I guess. All I know is, by this time next week, you'll probably be able to eat off my office floor. (Well, not really. Carpeting and all that.) And if I get laid off, I will be able to sweep all my stuff into one box and slink away.
Hopefully, that won't happen. I light candles. I think good thoughts. I work hard. And I work harder. And I pray for people who have lost everything in this economy - jobs, homes, health, lives - and I thank my lucky stars I'm not there yet. And, fingers, toes, and the good eye crossed, I won't go there. Friends, I hope the same for all of you, too. I know the job-sucking monster has already hurt some of my friends out here. I think about you often and send out good vibes that your unemployment will be a short experience. Very, very short.
Speaking of very, very short... I have the tale of a seriously curtailed reacquaintance for you. I recently reconnected with a high school friend via Facebook. We really haven't spoken since 1985-ish, I would think. He pinged me on FB, I accepted his friending invite, and we spoke on the phone once, a bit awkwardly. He very kindly helped one of my sisters with a graphic design project for the hospital where she works, which I thought was way above and beyond the call of duty for someone I hadn't been in touch with in any significant way for decades. I expressed my tremendous gratitude, and then we fell (briefly) into that Facebook limbo land where you see notes from folks, nod, say nothing, and more onto the next note.
However, during this week's tea party nonsense, he posted something to Facebook about the whole bruhaha. (Or, har har har, should that be brew-haha? Oh, I am such the card, no?) What he wrote was short & on the serious side, but, as most of you know, I can't pass up an opportunity to be crass or goofy when it presents itself. To his serious note, I added a comment to the effect of "It's all about the teabagging, Friend X. It's all about the teabagging. (And there are a lot of people out there today who really should become acquainted with the Urban Dictionary...)"
Silly comment, sure, but who can't get a good giggle out of the misuse of the term teabagging?
Yikes, kids. Yikes.
I got an answer to that query: this gent, apparently, finds it remarkably giggleproof.
Almost immediately after I posted my bit of goofiness, he got pissed. Really pissed. Pissed enough to declare my comment "irrelevant, flippant... and highly insulting." And, so pissed, that he immediately deleted me from his Facebook friends.
Now, lord knows, I can be a jackass. A big, braying jackass. I can also be very hard at times, which is a function of self-preservation, honestly. Many times, I'm my only defender, and I have to make tough choices to take care of myself as best I can. But humor? That I use to disarm or charm or bring people around to my point of view.
Or, simply, to get a good belly laugh out of life.
In this case, giggling over the use of the term "teabagging" was just that. A giggle. I mean, there were even plenty of Republicans and Libertarians across the country that really wished people hadn't used that term. It did their cause a disservice. I - having the sense of humor of a 13-year-old on the best of days - could not help but laugh.
But not everyone has a bawdy sense of humor. Sure, I get that. And some folks get offended much easier than others by crude humor. I'm pretty sure I've told the following story out here before, but it speaks so well to the situation, you get it again. I recall a phonecall from my oldest sister (who disowned me at the start of this year, after our sister's funeral) a few years ago where she described in great detail the Beatrix Potter-themed baby nursery she was decorating for the coming birth of a grandchild. I was somewhat distracted during the call - I remember it was at an astoundingly inconvenient time. I believe I was cleaning the kitchen floor (the oft-mouse-afflicted kitchen floor) with ammonia, and I just wanted to be done and no longer sniffing the fumes.
As my sister waxed on and on about a room festooned with fuzzy bunnies and ducks, she mentioned that she'd found a treasure trove of bits to complete her work. Apparently, Walmart had a discount crafts bin full of wooden Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit items, ready to be painted in happy pastels and tacked to a wall. My sister raved about the "12-inch Peter" she'd found for a dollar and how should could "do the project alone", and I could not help myself. I really couldn't.
"Wow. You know, there are women everywhere who would be thrilled to find a 12-inch peter for a buck. I know a lot of ladies would love to 'do the project alone.'"
There was a very, very long silence at the other end of the phone. And then, finally, this: "You know, Merujo, I don't think that's very funny."
Shame, really. I thought it was hilarious!
Then again, I've always been a groundling. I'm not much of an intellectual. I don't have the outstanding educations that most of my friends have. I don't read Great Books for entertainment. But I love to laugh.
And so, here I was this week, with my childish humor crushing a tenuous old friendship. Last time this happened, it was my supposed lack of communication that killed the beast. But no, this time, it was my use of humor to communicate that stuck a fork deep into a Facebook friendship.
I had to laugh. I mean, it was a little shocking that a goof on teabagging - teabagging, people! - would cause someone to strip me from that modern day badge of honor, the Facebook friend list. My nephew, Jersey Cop, suggested that there should be a someecards greeting appropriate for occasions like this. Well, through the wonders of user-generated cards and ten seconds of my time, there is now:
I didn't send him this card, but I did write him an e-mail. I expressed surprise over his reaction and did tell him to lighten up. In his opinion, I was outrageous and offensive. In my opinion, I was just being funny. And being funny doesn't mean you're being disrespectful to Politically-Focused (or Politically Rabid) Americans or the Great Sweeping Concepts That Engage Their Minds. If we can't find something to laugh at in the giant tepid cup of Lemon Zinger that's been brewing for the past eight years, we're all gonna need therapy/an enema/a bullet to the temple.
The Constitution grants peeps here freedom of speech (well, actually it says Congress can't abridge free expression, but you get my meaning.) And that means there are a helluva lot of people in the United States mouthing off - for good, for bad, for whatever - all at the same time. But free speech makes such a lovely cacophony. Doesn't mean you have to like it all. Doesn't mean you have to listen. But you have to respect the rights of others to say their piece. (Recently, I stopped following a handful of friends on Twitter with whom I have major, fundamental political differences. They have their right to speak freely. I have my right to walk away.) Speaking your mind doesn't harm the Constitution, it reaffirms it.
Even humor reaffirms it.
So, lighten up folks. Have some herbal tea. Might I recommend two bags? Nothing like the robust flavor of a good pair.
(I'm SO going to Hell.)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
You can blame my friend Hoyameb for bringing this to my attention.
And for those grownups who *really* don't know what "teabagging" is... go forth and visit the Urban Dictionary. Now. Please.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Y'all know, I have had some major physical setbacks in the past couple of years. (Lord knows, there's nothing like crushed vertebrae and bulging discs to make life more interesting.) And, I can assure you, the physical setbacks come with their own painful set of mental setbacks. It's depressing as hell - nothing you would wish upon yourself. On Hitler? Sure. On yourself? No. Never. But, there isn't any single way you can stop someone else from hitting you with their car (unless you never leave home.) However, you can help yourself move forward. This is a time of renewal for me.
A lot of stuff has happened since December: death, illness, separation, frustration. And now I'm trying to detoxify myself. I cut my hair, cleared all my old, forgotten possessions out of the building storage room, ended some relationships... and I try to remember to breathe deeply. Hell, I even listen to the sound of the ocean at work when things get me riled.
And tomorrow I walk.
I know I have more than a few friends who find themselves in transition right now, too. Very sincerely, I think the best advice I can offer to everyone is to take a moment (or two or three) to do some mental spring cleaning. Take stock of what you have, what you need, and what you need to shed from your life.
Don't just declutter your home. Declutter your mind. Let go of toxic ideas. End toxic relationships. Move on. Heck - go talk to a therapist. Let it all go and just live your own life!
That's advice I'm not only giving to myself, but I'm offering up to the people I've released from my life in recent months, too. I know you are still out here, reading the blog. You need to let me go, just as I have let you go. You will be healthier for it. Move on. Seek new people who understand your world view and can offer you the friendship you need.
Live your own life.
And please, let me go.
Let it all go.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
Life is too short to be weighed down by people who don't want you to succeed. Life is too short in general.
Tomorrow I walk. I have new-ish sneakers and my last couple of Vicodin tablets set aside.
Here goes nuthin'...
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Don't worry. It's coming.
I replaced my dead printer with one of those all-in-one deals with the flatbed scanner on top. Oh, the old, dreadful and wonderful things I can now post.
Bwah hah hah hah hah hah hah!
More soon, from the goofball on the right.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
On specific blog-related notes, you'll see that, only a mere 4+ years after starting the blog I actually put an RSS feed subscribe button at the top. I'm a little slow sometimes. What can I say? Things have been nutty at work and I'm still catching up on post-pneumonia sleep, so I completely forgot about my "blogiversary" on March 12th. Four years of spewing junk at you, and there are still five or six people reading this for something other than salacious Google search results. Thank you, friends other than horny, deviant guys!
A few days back, I went to post something, and Blogger completely ate my three-column template. I have no idea how or why that happened. I didn't go in and change anything. Today, I've revamped the code again, thanks to the folks at Tips for New Bloggers. The page doesn't seem to have been updated since 2007, but the code still works. For now. Why Blogger just doesn't offer a three-column template or two in the first place is beyond me. Eh, what the hell. As long as their are folks willing to fix the html for us, I'm cool with that. The header is still screwed up, but I can live with that for now. It's off-kilter, much like me.
You'll note that I have accepted advertising from BlogHer on the page. I may re-include Google text ads at some point, too, now that Google has improved the ability of bloggers to limit crap ads from showing up on pages. Here's hoping.
My finances are still very challenging, hence my willingness to accept advertising. That said, I just always want quality writing to be the primary reason for the page.
Time to get ready to go downtown and brave the cherry blossom traffic. (Ugh.) But, before I go, for those I don't see on Facebook or Twitter, I would like to report that I cut my hair. Well, more accurately, a student at the Aveda Institute in DC cut and colored my hair. Hair is shorter than I'd intended and the color is darker than I'd intended (the student dozed off during the cooking of the color on my head - nice going, chica) but I like it. Still gets insanely frizzy when it rains, but years of home hair color, the chemo from the eye, and just a lot of negative energy went bye-bye:
I utterly suck at blow-drying my hair, so I haven't been able to replicate this a single time since coming home from Aveda, but I bought one of those "Hair Maid" thingies on eBay, so I'm hoping a mirror and two free hands will help.
We shall see.
Happy Saturday, y'all!